Seattle, WA – October 10, 2023

Washington Research Foundation (WRF) has selected its sixth cohort of WRF Venture Analysts to assist with its grant-making and investment activities. A total of 24 analysts have now worked with the Foundation since 2019.

Venture analysts work part-time with the WRF staff while undertaking graduate studies or postdoctoral research in Washington state. Analysts are typically pursuing an advanced degree in the sciences, or a graduate business degree following a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) undergraduate program. Some are early-career scientists at a Washington state nonprofit research lab. They assist in the review of grant and investment opportunities under consideration for funding by WRF, applying their expertise across a wide range of scientific fields while gaining working experience of commercialization and entrepreneurship.

The following WRF Venture Analysts began their roles with the Foundation in September:

  • Cade Ito, a fourth-year Ph.D candidate in the Molecular Medicine and Mechanisms of Disease (M3D) program at the University of Washington (UW), specializes in engineered B cells and other cell therapies
  • Kevin Jiang, a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in UW’s Department of Bioengineering, specializes in point-of-care diagnostic technologies and medical device development for viral and bacterial detection systems
  • Ashish Phal, a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Bioengineering at UW, uses computationally designed growth factor mimics to investigate cellular fate decisions in early development
  • Chase Suiter, a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in UW’s Molecular and Cellular Biology program, is developing high-throughput techniques for studying protein degradation at scale
  • Lillian Tatka, a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Bioengineering and Data Science at UW, develops software tools for computational systems biology

Diego Alba Burbano and Jay Lubow, Ph.D., will continue to work with WRF as senior venture analysts.

Kim Emmons, WRF’s manager of research and information services, co-manages the venture analyst program with managing director Will Canestaro, Ph.D.

“We’re thrilled to have so much talent and experience across different realms of science and industry this year,” said Emmons. “I’m looking forward to working with each of them as we evaluate a wide range of grant and investment opportunities to decide where our funding can have the most impact.”

Venture analysts are appointed to work with WRF for up to a year during their studies. Many have progressed to positions in academia, industry and with early-stage startups upon graduation from their programs.