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Yale Startups in Formation (YSIF) is a program for entrepreneurial faculty founded and directed by the Office of Cooperative Research (OCR). Each YSIF meeting is designed to be partly educational and partly new venture seminar, aiming to serve Yale innovators and their co-founders as these teams launch their businesses and formulate their go-to-market strategies. Each session includes opening remarks from an OCR corporate partner, a featured presenter, and a highlighted faculty venture team.

UPCOMING Fall 2021 Sessions

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2021 | 4:30 - 6pm 


2021 Fall Session Recaps


TOPIC: Advanced Therapies - RNA Therapeutics: RigImmune


Host: James Boyle, Ph.D., Exec. Director of Venture Development, Yale University

Moderator: Brian Gormley , Reporter and Special Writer covering life sciences, Wall Street Journal

Expert Panelists:

  • Alex Waldron, Chief Executive Officer at Wellinks
  • Ellen Su, Chief Product Officer at Wellinks, Inc.
  • Adam Chekroud, Co-Founder, Spring Health
  • Eddie Martucci, Founder and CEO at Akili Interactive Labs

2021 Spring Session Recaps


TOPIC: Advanced Therapies - RNA Therapeutics: RigImmune


Host: James Boyle

Moderator: Roy Herbst, MD, PhD: Ensign Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) and Professor of Pharmacology; Chief of Medical Oncology, Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital; Associate Cancer Center Director, Translational Science

Expert Panelists:

  • Anna Marie Pyle, PhD, Co-Founder, RIGImmune, Inc.. Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology; Investigator Howard Hughes Med Inst; Prof Chemistry
  • Akiko Iwasaki, PhD, Co-Founder, RIGImmune, Inc.. Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases); Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Marty Driscoll, Executive Chair, RIGImmune, Inc.
  • Donald Corcoran, Advisor: Business Development, RIGImmune, Inc.


TOPIC: Where is Medtech Going?

  • HOST: Dr. James Boyle, Exec. Director of Venture Development, OCR
    • Dan Volz, President, Medtronic Neurovascular
    • Marc Goldberg, Managing Director at BioVentures Investors
    • Sri Muthu, CEO & Managing Founder, HealthVenture 


TOPIC: Gene Therapy 2.0: AAV beyond monogenic gene correction

OVERVIEWGene therapy using adeno-associated virus (AAV) as a vector has emerged as a novel therapeutic modality that has the potential to lead to substantial disease modification in many monogenic disorders, or perhaps even cures. The approach has been further boosted by the recent approval of two AAV-based gene therapies by the US FDA, and a multitude of initial public offerings and mergers and acquisitions in the space. However, the success of the AAV gene therapies has thus far been mainly confined to replacing monogenic defects in the retina, the liver, and the brain. In this talk, I will explore the current state of AAV gene therapy and its recent clinical and financial progress, as well as its potential applicability beyond simple gene correction and the importance of meta-analysis and evidence-based planning in gene therapy clinical trial design.

  • HOST: Dr. James Boyle, Exec. Director of Venture Development, OCR
  • MODERATOR: Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, Ensign Professor of Medicine, Professor of Pharmacology, Chief of Medical Oncology, Director, Thoracic Oncology Research Program Associate Director for Translational Research, Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine
  • FEATURED SPEAKER: Dr. Dmitry ‘Dima’ Kuzmin MSc, Managing Partner of 4BIO Capital


TOPIC: The Winning Investor Pitch

OVERVIEWLearn the art of building and delivering a winning investor pitch with perspectives from Stephen “Zam” Zamierowski from Deloitte moderated by Evan Kipperman from Wiggin & Dana. This interactive presentation will provide insights on how to effectively communicate your innovation and the necessary elements that investors want to hear. You will be able to interact with the presenters in a Q&A session that follows.

  • HOST: Dr. James Boyle, Exec. Director of Venture Development, OCR
  • MODERATOR: Evan Kipperman, Partner, Wiggin & Dana
  • FEATURED SPEAKER: Stephen “Zam” Zamierowski, Managing Director, Deloitte


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2021, 4:30-6:00 PM 

TOPIC: Rare Diseases: Inside the Veil of Business Development Evaluations

OVERVIEW: With investment levels in rare & ultra-rare diseases increasing, are they all attractive for biotechs & venture capital? What factors are executives & investors looking for in new opportunities? Please join a panel of industry veterans for discussion and Q&A “Inside the Veil” of rare disease business development evaluations.

HOST: Dr. James Boyle, Exec. Director of Venture Development, OCR

MODERATOR: Dr. Akansha Bhargava, Blavatnik Fellow, Yale University


  1. Richard Brodsky, Founder & Strategy Lead, Naveos Biopharma Consulting, Yale Entrepreneur-in-Residence

  2. Behrad Derakhshan, PhD, Chief Business Officer at Edgewise Therapeutics

  3. Jeremy Springhorn, Ph.D., Chief Business Officer, Syros Pharmaceuticals

2020 Fall Session Recaps

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2020, 4:30-6:00 PM

TOPIC: How to Raise Angel Capital (VIDEO) (PRESENTATION DECK)
HOST: Dr. James Boyle, Exec. Director of Venture Development, OCR
MODERATOR: Kristin King, MBA, VP of Corporate Development & Strategy: Defibtech
• Ziad H. Moukheiber: President and CEO, Boston Harbor Angels Inc.
• Anthony Gellert: Founder, Livingston Ventures
Alva Health Spotlight:
• Sandra Saldana, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Alva Health
• Kevin Sheth, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Alva Health & Professor of Neurology and
Neurosurgery, Yale University
• Hitten Zaveri, PhD: Chief Technical Officer of Alva Health & Assistant Professor, Yale
• Julie Gionfriddo: Director, FML

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2020, 4:30-6:00 PM

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2020, 4:30-6:00 PM

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2020, 4:30-6:00 PM

  • HOST: Dr. James Boyle, Exec. Director of Venture Development, OCR
  • OPENING REMARKS: Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (WSGR)
  • PRESENTER: Susan Kelley, MD, Independent Consultant (PDF)
  • FACULTY SPEAKER: Ya Ha, Yale Associate Professor of Pharmacology

Past Speakers

YSIF Past Speakers chart

For Yale investigators seeking to participate as well as external business experts seeking to join the EIR corps, please contact Jim Boyle at OCR.