SEAS Translational Fellows Program

Program Goals: To provide necessary support and resources to SEAS postdoctoral researchers interested in commercializing research originating at SEAS, either via licensing or via new company formation.

Program Description: The TFP program will support 20% of the salary of selected SEAS postdoctoral researchers and research scientists for one year. This is a competitive, nomination-based postdoctoral research program that funds selected fellows for one day per week, providing them with the opportunity to pursue commercialization of a technology that originated in SEAS research. The program provides mentoring resources, conflict-of-interest (COI) management, and other support to maximize the opportunity to create a new venture. The TFP aligns resources available through Columbia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to accelerate the pace of technology translation.

Congratulations to the fellows in the 2015-2016 Translational Fellows Program! All fellows are leaders with demonstrated potential in their technical and entrepreneurial vision:

  • Dr. Daniel Hochstein, Department of Civil Engineering in the laboratory of Professor Huiming Yin, designing building integrated photovoltaic thermal panels
  • Dr. Alessandro Marone, Department of Biomedical Engineering in the laboratory of Professor Andreas Hielsher using vascular optical tomographic imaging to diagnose and monitor wound care.
  • Dr. Ninna Rossen, Department of Biomedical Engineering in the laboratory of Professor Sam Sia, creating self-assembling injectable blood vessel networks to treat critical limb ischemia.
  • Dr. Hirobumi Wantanabe, Department of Mechanical Engineering in the laboratory of Professor Jeffrey Kysar, creating a surgical tool to assist in cochlear implantation.
  • Dr. Daminano Zanotto, Department of Mechanical Engineering in the laboratory of Professor Sunil Agrawal, desigining footwear to accurately perform gait analysis and regulate gait.
  • Dr. Xiaozhou Zhou, Department of Earth an Environmental Engineering in the laboratory of Professor Ah-Hyung Alissa Park, producing a system to manage slag and carbon emission of the iron and steel industry.

The TFP fellows will be working towards commercializing their research and will be presenting the outcome of their work in April 2016.


  • Study the commercial opportunity and potential markets of a specific body of IP generated through research
  • Connect with mentors and the CU entrepreneurship ecosystem
  • Assess the necessary technological development and the path to a minimal viable product
  • Build a founding team and become or recruit a business leader
  • Engage CTV on options including licensing
  • Meet advisors, fellow engineer-entrepreneurs, and potential investors to begin fundraising


  • Be a current postdoctoral associate at SEAS or a research scientist within 4 years of PhD
  • Have support of your research advisor
  • Conduct research with potential path to commercialization
  • Be a significant contributor to the technology proposed
  • Commit to a 20% (one day per week) effort
  • Be available for TFP programs

Application and Selection Process

1. Nomination Letter: Applicants must be nominated by their research advisor via a nomination letter that addresses the selection criteria.

2. Presentation: The postdoctoral applicant must provide a presentation (in person as well as documentation, PDF preferred) providing an explanation of the idea/technology, addressing the selection criteria, and including information about the applicant’s motivation and suitability for exploring their technology’s commercialization. The presentation should be no more than 10 slides (see Slide Guidelines below).

Deadline: Both the Nomination Letter and Presentation are due on March 1, 2015 by 11:59 PM to

Selection Criteria: Applications will be reviewed by the Selection Committee, comprised of SEAS faculty, alumni, and industry experts. Proposals will be evaluated based on:

  • Support of research adviser
  • Market potential and impact
  • Likelihood of commercialization
  • Presentation in 8-10 slides (both documentation and in person if requested)


TFP Slide Guidelines

Guidelines for Presentation, 8-10 slides in PDF format

About You. Your background and what motivates your involvement in entrepreneurship and the TFP program. (1 slide)

Context. What problem does your technology address? Who is going to care about this? Why is this problem important? (1 slide)

Technology. Solution to the problem. What’s your big idea? Include the scientific background, technology status, references to IP, and publications. (2–3 slides)

Confidentiality Statement: Please indicate here (at the top of Technology slides) if you are including confidential information that has not been publicly disclosed. If you indicate yes, we will send the application to Columbia Technology Ventures (CTV) to ensure all IP is protected before external reviewers see your application.

Path to Market. What is your path to the market? Please include any prototypes, proof of principle, and the technology-readiness status. How far are you from a commercial product? What are the current barriers or risks to commercialization? (1–2 slides)

Milestones and Metrics. What milestones do you intend to reach over the next year? What metrics will you use to measure your success? (1–2 slides)

Plan. What do you want to accomplish, including expectations and value building in the year-long Translational Fellows Program? (1 slide)

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