UConn-Canaan Fellowship Program

UConn-Canaan Fellowship Program

Contact Information

Blanka Rogina, Ph.D.
Chair, UConn-Canaan Fellowship Program Committee
Email: rogina@uchc.edu

Stephanie Holden
Administrative Coordinator
Email: sholden@uchc.edu

The University of Connecticut Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine and Canaan Partners are proud to offer venture capital and entrepreneurship fellowship opportunities for Ph.D., M.D., M.D./Ph.D., D.M.D., or D.M.D./Ph.D. students. Canaan Partners is a multibillion-dollar venture capital firm focused on investments in early stage health care and technology companies. Fellows work in multidisciplinary teams that provide scientific review, due diligence, and when relevant, business strategy, and market analysis around new ventures and potential investment opportunities. Students selected receive hands-on training through working directly on real life, venture capital projects with Tim Shannon, M.D., general partner (and 1985 alum of the UConn School of Medicine), and Colleen Cuffaro, Ph.D., principal, of Canaan Partners.

Application guidelines for the 2024 UConn-Canaan Fellowship competition will be distributed in the Spring.

2024 Fellows

Deepa Anjan Kumar

Deepa Annan Kumar is a fourth year PhD candidate in the neuroscience department in the Levine Lab. After obtaining her master’s degree in pharmacology from Northeastern University, she worked in the biotech industry in Boston in therapeutic antibody discovery. Her current research primarily uses electrophysiological techniques to identify genes responsible for Dup15q, a syndromic form of autism and epilepsy. Her long-term goal is to work in drug discovery and development for rare neurodevelopmental disorders. She has been a part of Nucleate, a student led non-profit organization that assists academics in forming life-science companies and is excited to learn more about venture capital through this fellowship. Outside of science, she enjoys running, baking, and rooting for her favorite sports teams.

Jonathan Batchelder_headshot_2023

Jonathan Batchelder is a third-year Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Wendy Mok’s lab, where he studies antibiotic treatment failure in Staphylococcus aureus. He grew up in rural Maine working in his family’s small businesses and developed a love for both business and science. As a first-generation college student, he earned a B.S. in cell biology with minors in business and chemistry from Bob Jones University before entering the Ph.D. program at UConn Health. Jonathan’s career goal is to use his scientific skills to shape biotech innovation by investing in the companies that will deliver tomorrow’s cures. In his spare time, Jonathan enjoys visiting new coffee shops with his wife and hiking with his dog.

Ryan Hannon_Head Shot copy

Ryan Hannon is a rising fourth year medical student interested in oncology immunotherapies. Born and raised in Cheshire CT, he attended college Northeastern University where he participated in two research co-ops: the first at Sengupta Lab through BWI exploring the resistance mechanisms underlying tumor heterogeneity, and the second through the Rare Disease Research Unit at Pfizer screening for small-molecular therapies for sickle cell disease. After graduating, he moved to Cambridge and developed TCR and CAR-T cell-based immunotherapies for solid tumors while working at bluebird bio as an Associate Scientist. He has remained interested in exploring novel therapeutic approaches to cancer treatment and helped establish murine models for ongoing intratumoral bacteria studies while at the Wan Lab at Johns Hopkins through the CUPID program (Cancer in the Under-Privileged, Indigent, or Disadvantaged) during his M1 summer.  Recently, he has been nationally selected to partake in the Medical Research Scholars Program at the NIH where he will be continuing his research endeavors this next year. When not in the lab or the clinic, you can find Ryan reading in coffee shops, singing on stage, or training for a half-marathon.

Nicolas Jorden

Nicolas Jorden is a first year DMD student at UCONN SODM who is undecided between general practice and orthodontics. He graduated from Amherst College as a Psychology Major in 2022. In college he researched lipophilic assays and fluorescence/UV-Vis technology as a mechanism to assess the quality and quantity of antioxidants in oils. Meanwhile, Nicolas studied Psychology as a means of empathizing with future patients and to better understand the psychology of healthcare. He also learned French, Spanish and some German to better connect with people from other cultures. Before UCONN, Nicolas worked as a surgical assistant to an Oral Surgeon in Massachusetts, enjoying comforting and taking care of patients and learning more about oral surgery procedures. Stemming from Amherst College's open curriculum, Nicolas has always had a broad focus and is aspiring to learn more about the world of business and investing as it relates to both being a clinical provider and promoting health outcomes for patients. In his free time, Nicolas enjoys indoor/outdoor rock climbing, needle felting, sailing and lovingly taking care of his pet snake, Sam, and gecko, Craig.

Mohsin Mirza

Mohsin Mirza is a third-year MD student at the UConn School of Medicine. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Molecular & Cell Biology from the University of Connecticut where he conducted clinical, laboratory, and translational research. In 2021, he joined the research & development team of DeBogy Molecular, an industry startup specializing in antimicrobial surface modifications working to bring infection-resistant orthopedic implants to market. Recently, his research has also included validating novel inner-ear biomarkers for clinical use in otolaryngology for early detection of pathologies such as hearing loss and vertigo.

With experiences in R&D and innovative clinical research, he is looking forward to the Canaan Fellowship and the opportunity to learn about another branch involved in bringing solutions to patients in the world of biotechnology and healthcare. In his free time, he enjoys almost any sport, from basketball to pickleball, running, and pond hockey.

Hui Sun

Hui Sun is a third-year Ph.D. candidate at UConn Health, specializing in Biomedical Science. I am simultaneously enhancing my expertise with an MBA from the UConn School of Business. My educational journey has taken me across the globe, starting with a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Pharmacology through a collaborative program between the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, and China Pharmaceutical University in Nanjing, China. I further enriched my academic portfolio with a Master's in Neuroscience from University College London and a stint at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where I delved into Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety. My Ph.D. thesis project is centered on the innovative field of tissue engineering, specifically focusing on growth plate cartilage regeneration using a novel tri-color reporter mouse model developed by our lab.

About Canaan Partners

Tim Shannon, M.D.

Tim Shannon, M.D.

Dr. Shannon pairs his operating experience and medical background to create value for companies from the earliest stage through FDA approval. Prior to becoming an investor, Tim was president and chief executive officer of CuraGen, a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology. He began his career as a pulmonary and critical care physician. Tim earned his medical degree from the University of Connecticut in 1985 and has a B.A. in chemistry from Amherst College.

Colleen Cuffaro, Ph.D.

Colleen Cuffaro, Ph.D.

Dr. Cuffaro's investment focus is early stage biopharmaceutical companies. Her interests lie in transformative medical technologies that deliver value to providers and patients alike. In her time at Canaan, Colleen helped launch the Canaan-Yale Fellowship program. Colleen previously worked as a chemist at Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Research Services, Inc. She holds a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Physiology from Yale University and a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania.

2023 Fellows

2023 Fellows

Titas Grabauskas, MD, PhD student

Titas Grabauskas is a third-year MD/PhD student who was born in Lithuania and moved to the US during high school. As part of his thesis, Titas is currently interested in the epigenetics behind autoimmune disease. Specifically, he employs single-cell approaches to investigate the relationship between chromatin accessibility, transcriptional signatures, and clinical presentation in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. In the future, he aims to utilize his medical training and skillset in bioinformatics to conduct clinical trials and introduce new pharmaceuticals to the market.

Patricia Hare

Patricia (Trish) Hare is a fifth-year DMD/PhD student at UConn Health and is currently working towards her thesis investigating antibiotic tolerance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the Mok Lab. She earned her B.A. in Chemistry from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota in 2017 before moving to Boston to work as a research technician in the Benes Lab at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. Trish enjoys interdisciplinary projects that capitalize on the expertise of different parties and she is excited to learn about the business side of scientific advancement as a UConn-Canaan fellow. In her spare time, Trish enjoys playing volleyball with her husband and playing with her rescue rabbit, Gus.

Timofey Karginov

Tima Karginov is a 7th year MD/PhD student in the Department of Immunology at UConn Health. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Chicago, where he conducted research in neurobiology, molecular biology, and structural biophysics. His PhD thesis in the lab of Dr. Anthony Vella has challenged the classical understanding of transcriptional programs regulating the T cell immune response to viruses, cancer, and heart disease. Specifically, he has shown that post-transcriptional RNA modifications are fundamental governors of T cell function. His current work, funded by an American Heart Association predoctoral fellowship, offers a novel immunotherapy-based CRISPR-targeting strategy for post-transcriptional regulation that has significant clinical promise. Tima’s years as an Urban Service Track Scholar, editor for The Curbsider’s podcast, and President of Hartford’s sub-elite, non-profit running team Hartbeat Track Club have shaped his vision to effectively communicate and deliver therapy to his community. Tima’s primary goal as a UConn-Canaan Fellow is to gain experience in biotechnology investment and analysis in order to make his future research endeavors widely accessible and affordable.

Justin King

Justin King is in his fourth year of the combined UConn MD-PhD Program. He grew up in Idaho Falls, ID and graduated from the University of British Columbia, where he majored in Biochemistry. Prior to attending medical school, Justin was a research assistant at Boston Children's Hospital investigating heart disease using cutting-edge genomic approaches. His current doctoral research is in the lab of Dr. Archana Sanjay at the Musculoskeletal Institute and focuses on understanding how age-related changes in bone affect fracture healing. In the future, Justin wants to translate laboratory-based discoveries into clinical practice, developing better therapies to treat orthopedic conditions, particularly for those who are medically underserved. He is an avid trail runner and enjoys skiing and playing tennis.


Steven Toro, a first-generation student and bilingual speaker of English and Spanish, is a Ph.D. candidate at UConn Health. Entering his 3rd year of studies, he focuses on Skeletal Biology and Regeneration. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Steven earned his BS in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico in 2018 and further developed his expertise with two years of postgraduate experience in the Department of Neurology at Yale Medical School.

His research, conducted in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, focuses on developing and applying innovative micro-needling techniques for various clinical applications such as chronic wounds, drug delivery, and antifungal treatments. Steven is currently preparing to submit his first patent for a biomedical handheld device designed to assist in healing injuries in clinical settings.

As Steven aims to broaden his expertise in finance and investing and consider potential career paths post-Ph.D., he is enthusiastic about collaborating with and learning from Canaan Partners' experts. This experience will enhance his understanding of these areas and introduce him to new opportunities in the health care and technology sectors where Canaan Partners focuses their early-stage investments.

Corbinian Wanner Headshot

Corbinian Wanner is a fourth-year combined MD/MPH student interested in pursuing a specialty within pediatrics. He completed his bachelor degree at the University of Connecticut in Biological Sciences and spent two years working at Connecticut Children’s as part of the Glycogen Storage Disease Program prior to starting medical school. In this role he worked both in clinical and basic sciences/genetics research areas of the program  He was part of the team that discussed and worked with industry partners such as Ultragenyx to establish research collaborations for future gene therapy clinical trials including AAV-8 vector based approaches. He has continued work on his granted-funded research work in determining novel genetic etiologies of energy and metabolism deregulation disorders working with Youngmok Lee, PhD during his tenure as a medical student. He is looking forward partaking in the Canaan fellowship program and learning insights on the business, marketing, and structuring of the biotech/medical sciences industry. When not on campus, you can find him working at Two Roads Brewing Company or exploring the next newest brewery in Connecticut. 

2022 Fellows
Thomas Nelson, Dental Student

Tommy Nelson is a second-year dental student at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. He grew up in Seattle, WA and earned a bachelor's degree in Microbiology at Brigham Young University. His current research focuses on new applications of Cone-beam computed topography in the dental field. Before dental school, Tommy gained extensive business development experience and sourced over $10m of recurring revenue in his previous employment. He is grateful for the opportunity to now gain first-hand experience in due diligence, business strategy, and scientific review. Tommy is passionate about innovative and disruptive ideas and he hopes to someday leverage these skills to build solutions to patient care distribution and effectively serve a wider patient population.

Anthony Pettinato

Anthony Pettinato is in his final year of the UConn MD/PhD Program. He completed his undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Maryland, after which he was a postbac research fellow at the National Institutes of Health. For his PhD studies, Anthony worked in Dr. Travis Hinson’s lab at the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine. With funding from the American Heart Association, he developed high-throughput methods for predicting how genetic mutations can lead to different forms of heart failure, and harnessed state-of-the-art genomic technologies to better understand cardiac regeneration. In his spare time, Anthony enjoys spending time with his wife, Feria, and playing with his dog, an Australian Shepherd named Hercules.

Bennett Propp

Bennett Propp is a third-year medical student at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. His interest in pursuing a career in medicine was fostered by his studies in Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science Engineering as an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut. Bennett has performed research in designing synthetic cartilage, analyzing the genomics of Type I Diabetes, and evaluating outcomes of surgical techniques for those with chronic knee instability at institutions such as Boston Children’s Hospital and the Hospital for Special Surgery. Bennett is looking forward to partaking in the UConn-Canaan Fellowship Program this summer and learning the skills of device development, business analysis, and biotechnology investment that help bring vital interventions from the benchtop to the place where they can improve lives at a considerable scale.

Max Trudeau

Max Trudeau is a third year Medical Student at the University of Connecticut. Prior to Medical School, he worked as a Harrison Surgical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine conducting clinical research for pancreatic surgery. His research focused on progressing surgical risk stratification and prediction of pancreatic fistula, as well as evaluating the efficacy of intraoperative mitigation strategies. The past two years, he worked as the lead developer producing a smartphone application and website entitled FRS Risk that provides real-time patient risk assessment for pancreatic surgery, and automatically calculates surgeon outcome performance metrics. Additionally, Max has also been involved in clinical and biomechanical orthopaedic research at the Musculoskeletal Institute under Dr. Augustus Mazzocca. Max currently serves as a board member of the Research Interest Group at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. Max is hoping to pursue an academic surgical career and leverage this experience to innovate in the future improving surgical care and efficiency.

Charlotte Winkler

Charlotte Winkler is a third year medical student whose interest in the business side of medicine was piqued during her time at Yale University where she worked with one of her professors on the process of launching a new platform based biotechnology company.  She was involved in all aspects of the process from drug efficacy studies for the cancer therapeutic, to marketing materials for potential investors, to next steps for IND approval.  She is interested in everything from surgery to family medicine, and is also excited to learn about alterative career options where medical knowledge is an asset.  She is a cyclist and trail runner, and enjoys competing in long distance events.

Pengyu Zong

Pengyu Zong is a third-year Biomedical PhD student at UConn Health studying the prevention and treatment of ischemic stroke. He grow in Jiangsu, China and earned his M.D. degree at Xuzhou Medical University in 2016. After finishing his residency at Nanjing Medical University in 2019, he came to U.S. to pursue a Ph.D. degree with the concentration of Cardiology and Neuroscience. His research mainly focus on screening serum biomarkers for predicting the risk of ischemic stroke and developing more effective therapies for mitigating the brain injury during ischemic stroke. He has already identified a promising small peptide that can effectively attenuate ischemic stroke in model mice and applied a provisional patent for this discovery. Several pharmaceutical companies have shown interest in his patent. He wishes to apply his novel therapy into clinical trials to save more patients with ischemic stroke. He appreciates the Canaan Fellowship Program for giving him the valuable entrepreneurial experience, and for preparing him for building his own biocompany in the future. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, fishing and hunting with friends.

2021 Fellows
Sergio Acevedo Cortes

Sergio Acevedo Cortes is a second-year dental student at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. He grew up in Moca, Puerto Rico and earned a bachelor's degree in Biology with a concentration in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico in Aguadilla. An avid investor since the age of 16, partaking in the Canaan Fellowship program allowed him to combine his interest in finance with his passion for healthcare. Increasing his knowledge on how venture capital assists in the development of clinical innovations in the realm of dental medicine and beyond. 

Ryan Beach

Ryan Beach is a fourth year PhD student at UConn Health studying Molecular Oncology. He received his BS in Allied Health Sciences and MS in Applied Genomics from UConn Storrs. After completing his M.S., Ryan worked at small Biotech startup for two years developing next generation microbiome sequencing assays for clinical and basic research. His research focuses on studying the effect of natural and synthetic compounds on Colorectal Cancer prevention. Upon graduation he wishes to pursue a career in biotech with a focus on brining cancer therapies to market. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son and hiking with friends.

Dea Gorka

Dea Gorka is a fifth year Biomedical Ph.D. student at UConn Health. She was born in Tirana, Albania and came to the United States with her family in 2000. She earned her B.S. from the University of Connecticut-Storrs, where she majored in Physiology and Neurobiology with a minor in Psychology. Her doctoral research focuses on using patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells to better understand genetic and cellular deficits underlying two 15q imprinting disorders: Angelman syndrome (AS) and Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Her overall goal is to gain a broader understanding of how imprinted expression of the 15q region is epigenetically regulated in human stem cells and neurons, with the long-term goal of expediting the development of potential therapeutics for AS and PWS. She is grateful for the experience at the Canaan Fellowship Program for giving her first-hand experience on venture capital projects, and for increasing her knowledge about investing in the biopharmaceutical industry. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, playing tennis and soccer, traveling, and spending time with her cat Cashew.

Ziwei Pan

Ziwei Pan is a Ph.D. student in the Biomedical Sciences program at UConn Health, currently conducting the dissertation research in Sheng Li’s lab at the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine. Her work is focused on developing computational framework on third-generation sequencing for epigenome study. She is grateful to the Canaan Fellowship Program for providing her with the professional venture capital knowledge and perspectives, and helping her turn the nascent interest in the healthcare business into real-world biotech investing project experience. Ziwei is a fan of literature and music, and she enjoys playing with her rescue dog named Gemma.

Benjamin Pesante

Benjamin Pesante is a current second year Medical Student at the University of Connecticut. Prior to medical school, he worked as a remediation engineer for Cardinal Health, a large health care supply company. While working to ensure medical devices conformed with company, national, and international regulations and specifications, Benjamin learned about the intricacies product development and remediation. He is interested in continuing to learn about the business of health care to become a better physician in the future and create meaningful change through innovation. Benjamin is interested in many medical specialties, including neurosurgery, emergency medicine, and family medicine, and in his free time enjoys working out and spending time with family.

Adam Thiesen

Adam Thiesen is entering the second year of the MD/PhD program at UConn School of Medicine. He is interested in immunology and oncology, and has worked in labs at the Fred Hutchinson Research Center and Mass General Hospital. Adam is also the founder of the healthcare app ScrubsOnly (which can be find online or on the iOS app store). When he is not studying or working, you can find him playing pickup basketball with classmates at Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain.

2020 Fellows
Laura Doherty

Laura Doherty is 7th year DMD/PhD student. She successfully defended her PhD dissertation and is in the final two years of dental school. She grew up in Harrison, NY and earned a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, where she double majored in biology and religious studies. Her doctoral research focuses on skeletal stem cells and their role in bone regeneration, and she intends to pursue a career in research and academia. Laura is a licensed pilot with an additional rating for seaplanes, and enjoys spending time with her dog, a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever named Murray.

Kyle Grabowski

Kyle Grabowski is a second-year student at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine from Monroe, CT. Kyle currently serves in the American Dental Student Association District 1 Cabinet as a Professional Development Committee Vice-Chair, and is heavily involved on other student dental societies on campus. As an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh, he was exposed to research as an assistant in a lab studying influenza and served as the president of the Pitt Dental Science Club and the Pittsburgh Ski and Snowboard Club. He hopes to gain new perspectives on the wide-reaching applications of research and use this introduction of the field of venture capital investing to view research projects from a new lens.​

Vijay Kodumudi

Vijay Kodumudi is a 4th year medical student at UConn School of Medicine. He grew up in Fairfield, CT before attending the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT, where he earned his B.S. in Molecular Cell Biology with a minor in Sociology. During his time in college and medical school, he interned in multiple biotech startups, where his responsibilities included market research, patent registration, and coordination of clinical trials. Vijay completed his MBA degree at the UConn Graduate School of Business as part of a dual degree M.D./M.B.A. program. In his spare time, he likes playing basketball, hiking, and listening to music.

Peter Larson

Peter Larson is an MD/PhD Student at UConn School of Medicine, currently finishing his dissertation research in Julia Oh’s group at the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine. Peter completed his undergraduate degrees in Pathobiology and Molecular & Cell Biology from the University of Connecticut in 2015. He is the recipient of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship for his previous work engineering complex genetic circuits in viral vectors for vaccines and oncolytic viral therapies. His graduate work seeks to characterize the relationship between aging, the microbiome, and infection risk, as well as to engineer skin probiotics that can deliver nanobody therapeutics or even detect and kill pathogens such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Socheata Lim

Socheata Lim earned a B.A. in Chemistry from Western Connecticut State University. She went on to become a researcher at Duracell working to improve the technology in alkaline batteries. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Science at UConn Health and is interested in drug discovery. Her thesis is focused on using NMR spectroscopy and biophysical techniques to study the interactions and dynamics of the E. coli β-clamp, which is a druggable target for new antibiotics. She also took a biomedical entrepreneurship course through the UConn School of Business where she learned the inner workings of how to create a biotech start-up, including how to develop business plans to pitch to investors. She is grateful for the experience at the Canaan Fellowship Program for giving her first-hand experience on venture capital projects, and for increasing her knowledge about investing in the biopharmaceutical industry. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis and playing with her dog, Duke.

Anthony Sposato

Anthony Sposato is a rising second year medical student who spent time before medical school working in academia and the biotech industry as a researcher. He has worked towards bringing molecular technologies to market and has published a paper on the inheritance of dicentric chromosomes—a unique type of chromosome involved in various types of cancers—in fruit flies. In his free time, he enjoys literature, travel, and skateboarding.

2019 Fellows
Omar Allam

Omar Allam is a medical student at UConn School of Medicine. He attended UConn where he received his B.S. in Chemistry, summa cum laude. He received the American Chemical Society award and recognition as a University Scholar for his outstanding work in chemistry and research. Omar has always had a passion for business through the years he has been a part DECA, a fellow for How I Built This/NPR, and has led and been involved in various local startups. Omar plans to pursue surgery. 

Christian Ayeni

Christian Ayeni is a rising second year dental student with a background in virology and bioengineering and a general interest in business. During his undergraduate years, he was an active member of his college's Business Club, and as a graduate student, he was a fellow with the Office of Technology Development at Harvard. He joined the UConn-Canaan Fellowship to learn more about the behind-the-scenes details regarding what makes ideas and businesses successful and the steps necessary to secure funding from venture capital groups. As a fellow, he has learned about the many steps of due diligence that go into selecting startup companies in which to invest.

Menghan Du

Menghan Du is a Ph.D. student in the Biomedical Sciences program at UConn Health. Her research is focused on developing CRISPR-based strategies for cell engineering and disease treatment. Before attending graduate school, she worked in a Chinese startup company for IVD device, where she began to be interested in working for a multidisciplinary team of life science. As an enthusiast of cutting-edge biotechnology, she hopes to provide her scientific ideas to biotech companies after graduation. Menghan appreciates this opportunity given by the UConn-Canaan Fellowship to learn about venture capital in the biotech field.

Ryan Englander

Ryan Englander is a second year M.D./Ph.D. student at the University of Connecticut. He is working to leverage the exciting new CRISPR-based gene editing technologies to develop genetic therapies that target tumors on a patient-specific basis. When he is not in class or the lab, he enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, swimming, and playing with his cat.

Shaan Kamal

Shaan Kamal is a medical student at the UConn School of Medicine. He also attended UConn for his undergraduate studies and earned his B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology and his M.S. in Structural Biology, Biochemistry, and Biophysics while doing research in computational biology. His interests lie at the intersection between health care, academia, and business with particular interests in computational psychiatry and digital health.

Britt Knight

During the 2019 fellowship Britt Knight was finishing her dissertation in the Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program at UConn Health. Her research focused on understanding the relationship between key molecules involved in wound healing and the normal progression of pain during inflammatory conditions. After completing her doctoral work, she continued research as a postdoctoral fellow funded by the T90 NIDCR training grant in the Connecticut Convergence Institute. Under the supervision of Dr. Lakshmi Nair Dr. Knight established new animal models for formulating biomaterial drug delivery systems for treating musculoskeletal pain. Currently Dr. Knight works for the United States Association for the Study of Pain as a program coordinator and is the Director of the Connecticut Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS).


2018 Fellows
Scott Adamson

Scott Adamson is currently a Ph.D. student in the Biomedical Sciences program at UConn Health in the Graveley lab. His research focuses on developing and utilizing high-throughput reporter assays in order to study how genetic variants can impact pre-mRNA splicing. Scott also studies the diverse functions of many RNA-binding proteins and how they can impact the transcriptome. He is interested in exploring different career opportunities for employment after graduation and is grateful for the opportunity from the UConn-Canaan Fellowship to learn about venture capital in the biotechnology industry. He received his B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Connecticut.

Mitali Adlakha

Mitali Adlakha received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from UConn Health in 2019. Mitali has been working in life sciences consulting since she graduated. She is currently associate consultant at IQVIA consulting services.  In this position, she executes a variety of strategy and commercial implementation projects in life science and pharma space, consulting for most big biopharma clients. Her projects revolve around reimbursement, pricing, market access, forecasting/ asset valuation and product/portfolio strategy in US, EU5 and Asia. Mitali is extremely grateful to the Canaan Fellowship Program for providing exposure to the business side of healthcare. The knowledge gained from the fellowship is applicable to real world projects in consulting and was a great help during job interviews.  

Christian Gronbeck

Christian Gronbeck is a medical student at UConn School of Medicine in the class of 2021. He originally grew up in Simsbury, CT before later attending Williams College in MA, where he received his B.A. in Chemistry and Economics and was a member of the varsity swim team. Before attending medical school, Christian was a healthcare consultant at ClearView Healthcare Partners in Boston, MA. Here, he was involved in performing market research on various disease states in order to develop strategic business plans for novel therapeutics and diagnostic devices. In his spare time, he enjoys staying active and recently completed an Ironman Triathlon in 2017.

Gerard Kerins

Gerard J. Kerins was born and raised in Madison, CT before graduating from the College of the Holy Cross with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2014. He subsequently enrolled in the UConn School of Medicine, having just completed his third year. Gerard completed his MBA degree at the UConn Graduate School of Business as part of a dual degree M.D./M.B.A. program. He has business and entrepreneurial aspirations in medicine, and is likely to pursue a career in anesthesiology. He is the oldest of five and enjoys pickup basketball, fantasy football, and horror films.

Patrick McMullan

Patrick McMullan earned his B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and also holds over 5 years of industry experience with early staged biotechnology and medical device companies. Through his full-time roles as well as consulting, Patrick has successfully filed both IND and IDE applications with the FDA, and has played a direct role in launching clinical trials in the United States and internationally. Patrick is currently an M.D./Ph.D. student at the University of Connecticut and holds an interest in exploring the translational applications of Skeletal Biology and Regenerative Medicine into clinical practice.