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https://www.concordia.ca/content/shared/en/news/jmsb/executive-centre/blog/2019/08/29/where-are-they-now-life-sciences-entrepreneurship-development-program.html

Blog post

Where are They Now? Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Development Program

We followed up with one of the graduates of the Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Development Program to see how she was able to benefit from it.
September 11, 2019
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When the first cohort of the Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Development Program (LSEDP) ended in January 2019, each of the participants went their separate ways. Having all come from different backgrounds, and being at different stages in both their lives and their professional careers in life sciences, the LSEDP provided something unique to each of them.

Open to students and professionals alike, the goal of the LSEDP is to provide soft skills and business knowledge to individuals who have a primarily scientific background. Ideally, this would allow researchers to become entrepreneurs, and help them to bring their research, developments, and inventions to market.

Often, startups are not presented as a possible career option, and the opportunity gets glossed over in favour of more established professions. 
JMEC_ChristianMastromonaco Christina Mastromonaco

Christina Mastromonaco was one of these participants. A PhD student who works in the ocular pathology lab at the MUHC hospital, Mastromonaco had a solid vision of where her career would be leading her. Or so she thought.

“I didn’t realize that it could be a potential job to go into startups after doing my PhD,” Mastromonaco says. Often, startups are not presented as a possible career option, and the opportunity gets glossed over in favour of more established professions. However, both the creation of startups and the collaboration of life sciences professionals with startups are relatively untapped markets for students who are finalizing their studies in the life sciences sector and entering the workforce. The prospect of following a different set of paths was interesting to Mastromonaco who had previously been unaware of the possibilities of straying from the career path she was pursuing.

For her PhD project, Mastromonaco is studying the different artificial lenses that are currently available on the market. These lenses are the ones used to replace the natural crystalline lens during a cataract surgery. Her research is to discover which artificial lenses are ultimately the best, or the most efficient, and what features make them so. The LSEDP allowed Mastromonaco to consider a hypothetical situation where upon completing her research, she could combine the best features of each lens to create a new lens for the market, a possibility she had never even considered.

JMEC_Christina_Lab01
I didn’t know I was going to have this many connections. I was able to connect with people I never would have met or knew of. I really enjoyed that, and I didn’t expect it.

Having spent the bulk of her studies in the sciences – focusing on details, and examining things up close – Mastromonaco says the program challenged her to look at things from a broader perspective, and from a more abstract point of view. As a professional working in science, she says that the little details are important, and always will be, however, having the ability to pull back from those details is highly beneficial for seeing things from another point of view.

Mastromonaco said one of the most valuable aspects of the program for her was the network of industry experts and professionals with whom she was able to connect.

“I didn’t know I was going to have this many connections. I was able to connect with people I never would have met or knew of. I really enjoyed that, and I didn’t expect it,” she says.

JMEC_Christina_Class01
We really learned a lot in the end. I would have never thought of entrepreneurship before. But after this it opened my eyes.

However, it wasn’t just the speakers and faculty who provided expertise. Mastromonaco says the mix of students and professionally experienced participants in the class was yet another aspect of the program that helped her to gain additional points of view on various concepts. One of Mastromonaco’s classmates was already the Chief Operating Officer of a startup, and was able to introduce advice and knowledge gleaned from her own experience to the project they ultimately ended up working on together.

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Through the program, Mastromonaco was able to better comprehend the challenges young entrepreneurs experience, and how to overcome them. She says that although she isn’t currently working for or creating a startup, the ability to understand the process is extremely valuable.

“We really learned a lot in the end,” Mastromonaco says. “I would have never thought of entrepreneurship before. But after this it opened my eyes.”

 

> Register for the upcoming info session on the Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Development Program

> Learn more about the Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Development Program


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