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Los Angeles Chapter


OBR expanded to Los Angeles in the spring of 2013. The sprawling Greater Los Angeles Area boasts many world-class biomedical research powerhouses including Caltech, City of Hope, University of California, Irvine, University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, Riverside, University of Southern California, etc. Amgen, the world’s largest independent biotechnology firm, is also located in LA. With the “Silicon Beach” tech scene emerging, we look forward to building a community to forge collaborations between academia and industry in LA. Please contact Kato Shum, President of OBR-Los Angeles, for enquiries regarding industry partnerships and joining the OBR-LA team.

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OBR-Los Angeles President

Kato Shum

Kato is a postdoctoral fellow at Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope working on the novel gene therapy approach for the treatment of HIV-1 and cancer. Kato previously graduated from University of Hong Kong with a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology. Outside the lab, he is broadly interested in helping technology commercialization and fostering communication between academia and industries.

Events Lead, OBR-Los Angeles

Amarpreet Bains

Amar is a PhD candidate at the University of Southern California and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. He previously graduated with a BSE in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently studying stroke recovery through computational modeling of neural networks. Amar is looking forward to helping to create a vibrant biotech community in LA that can connect academia and industry and push new ideas forward.

Stefanie Volland
Chapter Correspondent, OBR-Los Angeles

Stefanie Volland

Stefanie is a postdoctoral scholar at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA focused on cutting edge imaging techniques. She previously graduated from the University of Salzburg in Austria and has a background in cell biology and ecology. Apart from science she is interested in the commercialization of innovations. Stefanie is looking forward to contributing to a vibrant biotech community in LA.

Lisa Yan
Outreach and Marketing Lead, OBR-Los Angeles

Lisa Yan

Lisa is a Ph.D. candidate and an NIH TL1 pre-doctoral fellow at the University of Southern California, where she is currently working on the development of cancer immunotherapies. She previously received her B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles with an emphasis in organic chemistry. Lisa is looking forward to bridging the gap between the biotech industry and academia through OBR, allowing scientists in the Los Angeles area to explore options beyond their Ph.D. in business and the development of biotech companies.

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Consulting Project Manager, OBR-Los Angeles

Monika Polewski

Monika D. Polewski is a CIRM (California Institute of Regenerative Medicine) predoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurosciences at City of Hope’s Irell and Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences. Her research focuses on novel therapeutics for the treatment of glioma as well as neuroprotective mechanisms in neural stem cells. She is also a graduate of the Bioscience Management Certificate Program at the Keck Graduate Institute where she acquired business, finance and management education tailored toward the necessary skills needed in the life science industry. Monika has prior experience working as an independent contractor and consultant in biotech and is eager to foster fruitful relationships between academia and industry for the OBR-LA chapter.

Priya Choudhry
Consulting Project Manager, OBR-Los Angeles

Priya Choudhry

Priya is a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology working on glycosylated proteins in cancer biology. She previously got her PhD from the Huntsman Cancer Institute at University of Utah. She is interested in integrating scientific and business communities to promote sound and successful start ups ideas.

Bhavaani Jayaram
Consulting Project Manager, OBR-Los Angeles

Bhavaani Jayaram

Bhavaani is a Cell Biologist with background in Pharmaceutical Sciences. As a Postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, she is conducting research to establish the importance of neuropeptides in Multiple Sclerosis. Apart from research, she is actively involved with the business center to work on technology commercialization. Through OBR, she wishes to learn to translate science to the commercial market.

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CEO, Episona

Dr Alan Horsager

Alan is the founder and CEO of Episona, a company developing epigenetic-based diagnostics for men’s health. Most recently, he was the founder and Chief Science Officer of Eos Neuroscience, which engineers optogenetic gene therapies for blindness and chronic pain. Prior to Eos, he worked closely with Second Sight Medical Products to produce the first-ever neurological blindness treatment device for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa. He currently is a visiting Research Assistant Professor in the USC Department of Ophthalmology.

Administrative Director of PPM Program, Keck Graduate Institute

Dr Yvonne Klaue

Yvonne is the Director for the Postdoctoral Professional Master at the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) in Claremont, CA. She’s an instructor and faculty advisor for the team masters project. Yvonne’s scientific expertise stems from a PhD in Molecular Biology at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK and a Master’s degree in bioscience management from KGI. Before leaving the bench, Yvonne worked for many years on RNA-protein interactions (RNA interference, alternative splicing, RNA viruses). Most recently, she was part of a research effort to develop a point-of-care device to detect infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HSV. She has a Certificate in Project Management from UC Irvine and through her time at KGI has a passion about the integration of science and business.

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Lubka & White LLP

Bruce D. Lathrop

Bruce Lathrop is a business law and patent attorney with the law firm of Lubka & White LLP in Monrovia, California, representing entrepreneurs and established companies in intellectual property, corporate law, public and commercial contracts, and dispute resolution. Mr. Lathrop is a board member for the Pasadena Angels, Marketing Chair for the Advisory Board for the Los Angeles Chapter of the Licensing Executives Society, and a member of the Governing Board for the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, where he serves in his capacity as a councilmember for the City of Bradbury. Mr. Lathrop is also a member of the Intellectual Property Committee and Vice-Chair of the State & Local Procurement Division of the American Bar Association Section of Public Contract Law.

Thursday, 13th March 2014 @ 5:30pm

Los Angeles Chapter: Is Gene Therapy a Risky Business?

Argyros Auditorium, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, 1500 East Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010, USA
Tuesday, 18th February 2014 @ 6:00pm

Los Angeles Chapter: Write it Right: The Art of Science Writing in Biotechnology

Room 100, Hedco Neuroscience Building (HNB), Main Campus of University of Southern California, 3641 Watt Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Wednesday, 20th November 2013 @ 5:00pm

Los Angeles Chapter: University Technology Transfer: Fast-Track for Innovation or Stumbling Block to Commercialization?

Founders Room, 517 Building, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI), 566-582 Watson Drive, Claremont, CA 91711, USA
Thursday, 14th November 2013 @ 6:00pm

Los Angeles Chapter: OneStart Americas – Los Angeles Official Launch Event

Room G37, Center for the Health Professions (CHP) Building, Health Sciences Campus, University of Southern California (USC), 1540 Alcazar Street, USC Health Sciences Campus, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
Thursday, 10th October 2013 @ 5:00pm

Los Angeles Chapter: The Commercial Potential of Big Data in Biotech

Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Caltech, 1216 East California Boulevard, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91107, USA

USC School of Pharmacy

Founded in 1905, the USC School of Pharmacy has played a key leadership role in both the advancement of the field of pharmacy and in the education of new generations of pharmacists, and remains one of the nation’s foremost schools of pharmacy today. Recognized as one of the most innovative schools of pharmacy in the nation, the USC School of Pharmacy remains a model for other progressive pharmacy schools throughout the USA.


Keck Graduate Institute

Keck Graduate Institute is the first graduate school in the USA dedicated exclusively to bioscience education and discovery. The school trains graduate students for careers in areas such as biotechnology, diagnostics, genomic medicine, regenerative medicine and medical devices. Founded in 1997, KGI is the seventh and newest of The Claremont College Consortium, a highly regarded group of private colleges located approximately 30 miles east of Los Angeles.


Morrison Foerster

Morrison & Foerster is a global law firm with more than 1,000 lawyers in 17 offices in key technology and financial centers in the United States, Europe and Asia. Their clients include some of the largest financial institutions, investment banks, and Fortune 100, technology and life science companies. Morrison & Foerster has been included on The American Lawyer’s A-List for 10 straight years, and Chambers Global named MoFo its 2013 USA Law Firm of the Year. Their lawyers are committed to achieving innovative and business-minded results for our clients, while preserving the differences that make us stronger.


TriLink BioTechnologies

TriLink manufactures custom oligonucleotides, modified nucleoside triphosphates and CleanAmp™ PCR products for the diagnostic and OEM markets. In addition, custom chemistry, long RNA and mRNA synthesis, contract research services and ISO/QSR compliant GMP production facilities are offered. TriLink’s solutions help advance drug discovery and biomedical research. Founded in 1996, TriLink is a privately held firm based in San Diego, California and employs approximately 50 scientists and other professionals. For more information about the firm and products, visit their web site at

OBR-LA chapter correspondent
Chapter Correspondent, OBR-Los Angeles (13-14)

Ray Xiong

Ray is a PhD Candidate in the Neuroscience program at the University of Southern California, where he is studying how the auditory circuits of the brain process sound. He received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, where he ran a student newspaper focused on career development. Ray is interested in science, business and politics and how they shape our path to the future.

Zach Shao_OBR headshot
Outreach and Marketing Lead, OBR-Los Angeles (13-14)

Zach Shao

Zach is a PhD candidate in the Department of Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology. He previously received his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego. His current research interests include protein engineering, synthetic biology, drug discovery, and biotechnology. As the outreach and marketing lead, Zach is interested in developing healthy partnerships between life science industry and academia that will translate into useful therapeutics and products.

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