Geisel Graduate Students Selected for Entrepreneurs’ Fellowship Program

Two graduate student researchers from the Geisel School of Medicine, Heidi Chapman and Riley Hampsch, have been awarded paid internships to the local biotechnology company Celdara Medical as recipients of 2017 Dartmouth SYNERGY/Celdara Medical High-Potential Entrepreneurs’ Fellowships (DS-CHEF). 

The DS-CHEF program provides part-time (one day per week over a nine-month period) experiential learning opportunities to graduate students and post-doctoral researchers affiliated with Dartmouth—giving them exposure to many of the functions of an entrepreneurial organization while allowing them to develop a variety of executive skills.

Chapman and Hampsch are both PhD candidates within Geisel’s Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine (PEMM) and were selected by a joint Dartmouth/Celdara Medical committee following a highly competitive application process.

“I’m very excited and feel fortunate to have been chosen,” says Chapman, a fifth-year graduate student in Dale Mierke’s Lab whose research is focused on small molecule and peptide based therapeutics. “My career and research goals have always been to find effective treatments that can improve therapeutic options for patients battling diseases like cancer.”

“I became interested in the fellowship because I think there’s a huge gap right now between academia and industry. Companies like Celdara play a pivotal role in bridging this gap by onboarding late stage academic projects and working with the inventor to develop them into successful therapeutics,” adds Chapman.

“I feel very honored to have this opportunity,” says Hampsch, a fourth-year graduate student in Todd Miller’s Lab whose research is focused on finding ways to target dormant breast cancer cells that escape initial therapies and eliminate them before they recur in patients.

“Gaining enhanced insight into subjects such as intellectual property law, manufacturing, marketing, and finance—areas within industry that are crucial to drug development—is very important to me,” Hampsch says.

“We are extremely excited to have Heidi and Riley join our team as DS-CHEF Fellows,” says Irena Ivanovska, PhD, director of Celdara Medical. “This is a great opportunity for Celdara Medical to deliver on our commitment to give back to the community by providing graduate students with exposure to biotech. In this second year of the DS-CHEF program, we had a large number of impressive candidates, which speaks to the excellence of the Dartmouth students, and their interest in a well-rounded graduate experience.”

“It’s particularly gratifying for SYNERGY leadership to partner with Celdara in bringing Heidi and Riley on board as the latest fellows in the DS-CHEF program,” says William Green, PhD, co-PI of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA—locally known as SYNERGY) at Dartmouth.

“SYNERGY and the sister CTSAs across the U.S. are ever more focused on the full team science required for clinical and translational research and ultimately clinical trials, and we need to develop the specialized workforce to support such studies,” adds Green. “It’s exciting to identify and mentor young, energetic, and talented senior graduate students to do our part to enhance the workforce pipeline for the next generation of investigators who will be focused on bringing therapies and products to clinic.”

Further information about Celdara Medical is available at: To learn more about Dartmouth SYNERGY, visit: