Leila Daneshmandi is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering and a member of JLLA’s inaugural cohort. Her dissertation is centered on the development of biomaterials to repair and regenerate bone tissue.
Leila is also a student entrepreneur and the co-founder and COO of Encapsulate , a start-up that is developing automated precision diagnostics for personalized cancer therapy. Encapsulate has won numerous awards, and was most recently awarded the prestigious 2019 International Space Station U.S. Laboratory and Boeing “Technology in Space” Prize for $500,000 and the opportunity to conduct research projects onboard the International Space Station (ISS).
She says that building her own company has been based on collaborative teamwork and through combining her background on tissue generation, with her co-founders on anti-cancer drugs and delivery systems.
Being a member of JLLA has taught Leila to better navigate through her leadership role both within her company and also as a Ph.D. student.
“We’ve started this business and are continually growing. We’ll hire people in the near future and so it’s really important for us to learn leadership skills not only in terms of running the business but also in terms of our team and creating a positive culture for our employees.”
JLLA’s curriculum helped Leila better understand the nuances of leadership. Inspired by learning more about leadership, she took a project management and a leadership and communication course from the business school. “Leadership skills may seem to be intuitive, but there’s actually a lot of resources available to help you develop skills and have techniques and tools that you can use.”
Leila wants to pursue a hybrid career between academia, research and entrepreneurship. She is passionate about bringing real-life healthcare solutions to those in need. So, a valuable aspect of JLLA for her was “to learn how to work across different groups and develop better communication skills,” she said. “JLLA and the school of engineering in general, have been so helpful in providing support and guidance. These programs are much needed, especially at the graduate level where everyone’s so much more focused on their studies and dissertation work”.
You can find Leila on Twitter @leiladaneshmand, where she tweets about her academic interests.