Pratt Reaches Out to Venture Capitalists

June 1, 2004

Leaders of the Duke Bioengineering Initiative met with venture capitalists and leaders of technology based companies in California's Silicon Valley following graduation to outline some of the innovative bioengineering research underway at Pratt and School of Medicine.

A symposium in Menlo Park May 11 discussed some of the most promising cross-school collaborations in the Duke Bioengineering Partnership. There were five presentations at the half-day event.

Laura Niklason, MD, PhD (biomedical engineering and anesthesiology), discussed engineering the replacement of arteries for humans. Eric Peterson, M.D. (cardiology), talked about the potential of adult stem cells in cardiovascular disease. Lori Setton, PhD (BME), discussed emerging technologies in cartilage and disc repair. Craig Henriquez, PhD (BME), discussed his partnership with Miguel Nicolelis, MD (neuroengineering), in engineering the brain-machine interface. Barton Haynes, MD (director of the Human Vaccine Institute), and Robert Clark, PhD (mechanical engineering and materials science), talked about infectious diseases and human vaccines.

The purpose of the Duke Bioengineering Initiative is to capitalize on collaborations between the Pratt School of Engineering and the School of Medicine to build teams of sientists, engineers and clinicians focused on improving human health.

The symposium was made possible by the support and guidance of Brook Byers, Bill Younger, Steve Sullivan and Alan Kaganov. Byers is a Pratt parent and a partner in Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, in whose offices the symposium was held. Younger also is a Pratt parent as well as member of the school's Board of Visitors and managing director of Sutter Hill Ventures in Palo Alto. Sullivan, who is with Skyline Ventures in Palo Alto, also is a Pratt parent, a Duke alumus and member of the Board of Visitors. Kaganov is a Pratt graduate, Board of Visitors member and a partner in U.S. Venture Partners in Menlo Park.

Following the May 11 event, Pratt Dean Kristina Johnson spoke as a member of a panel of engineering school deans at the National Venture Capital Association meeting in San Francisco. She told the leaders of venture capital firms and organizations who invest in emerging companies about Pratt and its strategic research initiatives. Also on the panel were Dean Jim Plummer of Stanford and Dean Tom Magnanti of MIT.