An Interdisciplinary Training Program in Entrepreneurship and Translational Research for Alzheimer’s Disease and AD Related Disorders

Program Overview 

I2SEED is an entrepreneurship focused education program which provides training to help develop and commercialize diagnostic, supportive or therapeutic interventions for Alzheimer’s Disease and AD Related Disorders (ADRD).  This program is designed for:

Pre- and post-doctoral trainees interested in exploring opportunities to commercialize ADRD diagnostics/therapeutics/devices

  • Pre-doctoral trainees must be enrolled in a Master's level or higher degree program
  • Post-doctoral trainees must have completed a PhD, MD, DDS, or comparable doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign academic institution

Five to ten trainees will be enrolled in the program each year and expected to participate in the program for two years (approximately 2-8 hours per week). This program is funded by the NIA and available at no cost to trainees.

Opportunities for Trainees

  • Targeted education on biomedical entrepreneurship in a small group setting
  • Networking opportunities
  • Experiential learning with start-ups and commercial ventures
  • Long term mentorship
  • Travel funds for relevant conferences
  • STTR/SBIR grant writing assistance
  • Assistance developing and refining an investor pitch deck


The program will include the following elements:

    5-day boot camp (in-person or virtual)

  • NIH grant writing workshop to assist with STTR/SBIR application

  • Ongoing mentorship support

  • An integrated core didactic curriculum covering core domains of:

    • Ideation
    • Intellectual property and regulation 
    • Finance 
    • Team building and scientific cooperation
    • ADRD specific topics 

This curriculum was designed to ensure that the projects designed and implemented by trainees take into account the myriad of factors relevant to the complex characteristics of biomedical entrepreneurship and important considerations of developing preclinical and late-phase ADRD trials.

Didactics will build upon content from the Academic Entrepreneurship eBook, available here: academicentrepreneurship.pubpub.org


Nalaka Gooneratne, MD, MSci - Program Director

Nalaka Gooneratne Bio

Dr. Gooneratne is an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the Associate Director for the Master's of Science in Translational Research at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a board-certified sleep disorders physician. His research includes a multi-site NIA intervention study on sleep apnea in Mild Cognitive Impairment and he has been the PI on two NIH Small Business Grants. 

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Katie Reuther, PhD, MBA - Program Faculty 

Katie Reuther bio

Dr. Reuther is the Executive Director of the Penn Center for Health-Devices and Technology (Penn Health-Tech) and on the faculty of the School of Engineering and Applied Science as Practice Associate Professor in Bioengineering. She also has experience as a co-founder of Syntegrity Biomedical, an orthopedic medical device start-up.

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Apply Now

Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis so we encourage you to apply early for early consideration. 

  • Pre-doctoral applicants must be enrolled in a Master's level or higher graduate degree program and have at least a bachelor's degree
  • Post-doctoral applicants must have completed a PhD, MD, DDS, or comparable doctoral degree
  • Applicants must be from an accredited institution

Applications for the 2023-2024 class must be submitted by February 3rd, 2023

Application Process

Applicants must submit a full application which contains two parts:

1. Online I2SEED Application

 Consisting of an electronic application form and the following documents: 

  • CV/Biosketch 
  • Supplemental Questions
    • 3-5 short essay questions downloaded in the online application as a word document
    • Applicants will enter their responses and re-upload the document to the application prior to submission

To gain access to the I2SEED online application and additional instructions please contact Jennifer Morris, MS, Education Program Director.  

2. Letter of Support

Detailed information/instructions about the letter of support will be provided once interested applications complete the online application.

One-to-one application support is available! Just contact us to discuss your potential application or with any questions about the program 

Contact Administration


For questions related to the I2SEED Training Program, please contact Jennifer Morris.


Nalaka Gooneratne, MD, MSci | I2SEED Program Director | ngoonera@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Jennifer Morris, MS | I2SEED Program Education Director | jennifer.morris3@pennmedicine.upenn.edu