Accelerating Bio Venture Innovation (ABI)

Accelerating BioVenture Innovation (ABI) (Phar 5009 01)
Weill Cornell Medicine BioVenture eLab Course

Course Objective

Help scientists and clinicians transform scientific discoveries into useful commercial
medical technologies.

Course Description

The ABI entrepreneurship course and training program is organized and sponsored by the
Weill Cornell Medicine Office of BioPharma Alliances & Research Collaborations and BioVenture eLab. ABI
is a 12-week program that builds teams around patented, unlicensed technologies from Weill Cornell Medicine,
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Rockefeller University. Teams will complete practice business
plans in the program around these technologies. Lectures will cover the process of evaluating the market
potential of a technology, building basic financial models, funding mechanisms, and writing and presenting a
business plan to potential investors. Lectures are open to members of Weill Cornell Medicine, Memorial Sloan
Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University and the NYC healthcare community.

Course requirements & grading

Satisfies 1 quarter elective. Credit or audit option available to Weill Cornell
Medicine graduate students and CTSC students. Audit option available to Rockefeller University affiliates.
Attendance (24%), competitive analysis (4%), budget & timeline (4%), elevator pitch (4%), improved elevator
pitch (4%), written business plan (20%) business model/financing (20%), business plan presentation (20%).


Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays, 6:00-7:30 PM: Belfer Research Building Rooms 204 or 302 (413 E.
69th St.), OR Weill Greenberg Center (1305 York Ave. Room A/B).

ABI Organizers:

Larry Schlossman, Managing Director, BioPharma Alliances & Research Collaborations, Weill Cornell Medicine
Jessica Tabankin, Director, BioPharma Alliances & Research Collaborations, Weill Cornell Medicine
Jill Gold, Director, BioPharma Alliances & Research Collaborations, Weill Cornell Medicine
Jahan Ali, PhD, BioVenture eLab, Weill Cornell Medicine
Connor Dowling, BioVenture eLab, Weill Cornell Medicine

ABI Advisors:

Daniel A. Heller, PhD, Professor, Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Steven S. Gross, PhD, Professor, Pharmacology, Weill Cornell Medicine

Teaching Assistants:

Dinali Wijewarnasuriya, Head Teaching Assistant, PhD Candidate, Weill Cornell Medicine/Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Carol Li, PhD Candidate, Weill Cornell Medicine
Alba Chacon, PhD, Postdoc Researcher, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Critical Analysis of the Scientific Literature in Pharmacology

This course focuses on the underlying logic behind the design of scientific experiments. An emphasis is placed on understanding how hypotheses are generated and how variables, assays, rationales and model building are utilized in experimental design. Each class focuses on a recent paper in scientific literature and uses the paper as a starting point for discussion. Students are expected to propose and justify novel experiments based on the paper and discussion. Students are encouraged to use "Protocols in Molecular Biology," as well as other resources to become familiar with the methodology, advantages and limitations of the experimental approaches used in the papers. It is expected that students will have to read background papers for each of the papers discussed in class.

Drug Development: From Molecule to Prescription

Weill Cornell Graduate School - Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute

This course has been designed in collaboration with drug development experts from Roche and provides a foundation of integrated knowledge of the multi-disciplined process of developing a new medication. It includes real world challenges encountered in the areas of discovery, development, manufacturing, global regulatory approval and commercialization of new medicines. In addition, the impact of emerging technologies to healthcare and the development process will be considered.
While each lecture could be a topic for one (or more) graduate course, the goal of this integrated program is to provide an introduction to the whole drug development process, to raise awareness of all the different aspects that need to be considered to bring new medicines to patients, and to elicit interest for young investigators. SeePDF icon here for syllabus.

Dr. Hitesh Chokshi (Course Leaders)

Dr. Gudas & Dr. Heller (Course Facilitators)

Essential Principles of Pharmacology

One Week Introduction to all Pharmacology Courses

Neuropharmacology I: Genes, Drugs and Behavior

This course is jointly sponsored by the Neuroscience and Pharmacology Programs. It is designed to present current concepts of the major central nervous system (CNS) neurotransmitters and their functional neuroanatomy. The course will integrate discussions of the mechanisms of neurotransmitter biosynthesis and release, receptor signal transduction and the alterations produced by CNS drugs.

Neuropharmacology II: Neuropeptides, Pain and Drugs of Abuse

The Neuropharmacology II course focuses on signaling by neuropeptides, opioid receptors, mechanisms of pain management and drugs of abuse.

Next-Gen Methods For Neuroscience and Pharmacology

This multidisciplinary course combines lectures about the fundamental biochemical, cellular, molecular, immunological, genetic, and bioinformatics approaches that are used in biomedical research with critical discussion of research papers. In addition to lectures, each meeting will have provisions for a discussion period. Generally, the discussion period will be used to discuss an original research paper, but occasionally it will be used for a model building laboratory, or a review session. The development of a research proposal is a major component of the course. The course is open to all students and fellows and it is a core course for both neuroscience and pharmacology. (students can be exempted from this course if they pass the exam given at the beginning of the course. If they are exempted, they would then take Methods in Pharmacology instead as a requirement.)

Dr. John Wagner (Neuroscience), Director, Dr. Michael Kharas, Course Co-Director

Pharmacology Seminar Series

The Pharmacology Seminar Series is a series of presentations by invited speakers from universities and the pharmaceutical industry discussing topics of importance in the broad field of pharmacology. These topics include both scientific and policy presentations. Students may choose to have lunch with the speaker to discuss a wide range of topics in an informal atmosphere. In addition, each student meets as part of a small group with one speaker after the seminar to further discuss the selected topic.

Principles of Clinical Pharmacology

This course is designed to present basic principles for understanding the rationale behind development of drug therapy with consideration of the factors involved in individual variability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenomics. Topics will include: dose-response, drug efficacy and potency, drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion, the effects of liver and kidney disease on dose-response, drugs in the young, the elderly and pregnancy. In addition, guest lecturers from industry and the FDA will discuss drug development from their respective points of view.

Principles of Pharmacology I: Chemical Biology

Chemical biology is a diverse and evolving field involving chemical approaches to studying and manipulating biological systems. In this course, students will develop an understanding of chemical reactions used in the synthesis and biosynthesis of small molecules and macromolecules, and of the chemical principles that underlie enzyme function and receptor pharmacology. These topics are at the core of modern molecular pharmacology and are essential to understanding how drugs are currently developed in the pharmaceutical industry. At the end of the course students give an oral presentation on a current topic of their choosing in chemical biology.

Principles of Pharmacology II: Signal Transduction

The goal of the Signal Transduction Module is to provide students with an understanding of the basic recurring themes in cell signaling mechanisms and to familiarize the students with a majority of the key signal transduction pathways. The course comprises approximately 30 lectures, each 1.5 hours in length. An emphasis is placed on: 1) the use of pharmacologic and chemical tools to study problems in signal transduction; and 2) structural insights into signaling mechanisms based on x-ray, NMR and computational approaches. By the end of the course students feel comfortable reading and comprehending journal articles related to the latest findings in signal transduction.

Principles of Pharmacology III: Principles and Systems Pharmacology

The Systems Pharmacology Module occupies the third quarter of the year-long Introduction to Pharmacological Principles. The 9 week course is arranged into three modules: 5 sessions in the first module cover general pharmacological principles, 9 sessions in the second module focus on nervous and circulatory systems, and 10 sessions in the third and final module cover host defense and renal and endocrine systems. An understanding of systems pharmacology is necessary and valuable for all Pharmacology graduate students.

Principles of Pharmacology IV: Cancer Pharmacology

This course focuses on the principles and applications of modern cancer therapeutic approaches. Lecture topics range from traditional cytotoxic and anti-mitotic agents, to natural products and their chemistry, to biology and immunologic therapies, to rationally designed targeted small molecule inhibitors. Basic principles underlying mechanisms of cancer cell death, angiogenesis, and radiobiology and imaging are also covered. Cancer stems cells and therapeutic approaches focused on cancer stem cells are also discussed.

Responsible Conduct of Research

The objectives of this course are to: heighten students' awareness of ethical considerations relevant to the conduct of research; inform students of federal, state, and institutional policies, regulations, and procedures; and provide students with critical analysis and problem-solving skills for ethical decision-making.

Required Year 1 and Year 5.

2021 Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Course

We are excited to continue the use of the Saba /MyLearning Platform for the delivery of the Fall 2021 RCR course! All course modules, videos, slides, and case studies within this platform. Participants' status updates and completion will be monitored and updated within the Saba/MyLearning platform.

Enrollment for the Fall 2021 Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course is currently underway. Click here to REGISTERREGISTRATION ENDS August 30, 2021.

Trainees required to complete RCR training will receive an email with instructions and important information for Saba Could registration and password creation. If you are interested in taking the RCR course, but not on the “required” list,  please contact the RCR Course Director, Maika G. Mitchell, PhD at, or the RCR Course Coordinator, Patrice Best-Second at for more information and explore the external web page at

Out of the abundance of precaution, participants must complete 8 hours of “face-to-face” class hours via Zoom Virtual Meeting.

Orientation: Wednesday, September 8, 2021, from 4-6 PM.

Makeup Orientation: Wednesday, September 15, 2021, from 10 am-12 pm.

Small-Group Session #1: Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 4-6 pm         

Small-Group Session #2: Thursday, November 4, 2021, 4-6 pm

Small-Group Session #3: Tuesday, December 7, 2021, 4-6 pm

Additional REQUIRED Workshop as per RCR Policy: “Reproducibility, Replication, Rigor, and Transparency in the Scientific Enterprise” – recording and slides are embedded in the Saba Online Course.

Questions on course content, your obligation to participate, or waivers can be addressed to RCR Course Director: Maika Mitchell, Ph.D. at  or Patrice Best-Second

The course is a collaborative effort of Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Rockefeller University (RU), Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM), and the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS).

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