Academic-Industry Core

Description and Contact

The SYNERGY Academic-Industry Core (A-IC) provides institutional support for translational research and fosters industry partnerships to benefit human health by developing the commercial potential of advances in biomedical research, biomedical engineering, health care outcomes research, and other translational efforts. Such services include intellectual property and entrepreneurship education, asset evaluation and development planning, access to both operating and bricks-and-mortar incubators, outreach to industry as well as private (angel/home office) and venture capital investors.

Aaron Kaplan, MD

SYNERGY Clinician-Entrepreneur Fellowship (S-CEF)

As they diagnose and treat patients, clinicians often recognize the need for innovation, such as new or enhanced devices and technologies, that might significantly improve patient care. However, they often lack the knowledge and skills, and time required, to successfully bring a new product to market. The SYNERGY Clinician-Entrepreneur Fellowship (S-CEF) is a one-year program that provides fellows with one day per week of protected time, plus the resources to develop and study the commercial potential of their ideas.

The SYNERGY Clinician-Entrepreneur Fellowship was developed by Aaron V. Kaplan, MD, a professor of medicine at Geisel and an interventional cardiologist at the Heart and Vascular Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, who leads the Academic-Industry Core for Dartmouth SYNERGY. The unique and innovative one-year fellowship program is central to efforts at Dartmouth to create an environment that nurtures and facilitates translating innovative ideas into routine clinical practice. The goals of this fellowship program are three-fold: 1) to cultivate entrepreneurial skills among Dartmouth clinical faculty; 2) to develop and evaluate ideas and inventions designed to address specific patient care needs; and 3) to facilitate institutional processes that foster commercialization of faculty ideas.

The award provides the Fellow with one day per week of protected time to develop entrepreneurial skills. At the end of this fellowship, it is expected that the Fellow will have developed an in-depth business plan and have a deep understanding of the challenges involved in becoming a clinician-entrepreneur.

Fellowship Awards

Photo: SYNERGY Clinician-Entrepreneur Fellowship (S-CEF) fellows Richard Barth, Jr. (left), MD, and William Hudenko (center), PhD, with Aaron Kaplan, MD, who leads the Academic-Industry Core for SYNERGY and developed the S-CEF. (photo by Jon Gilbert Fox)

Richard J. Barth, Jr., MD (2015)

Richard J. Barth, Jr., MD, Professor of Surgery at Geisel School of Medicine and Chief of General Surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), was the first (2015) recipient of the SYNERGY Clinician-Entrepreneur Fellowship. Dr. Barth and colleagues, from Radiology and Pathology at DHMC, Geisel, and Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, have been developing a system that improves surgical accuracy for non-palpable breast cancers. Barth and his colleagues Venkat Krishnaswamy and Keith Paulsen have created the Breast Cancer Locater, a bra-like form that is customized to each patient and allows surgeons to more easily identify the borders of tumors and remove them with greater precision. Barth’s goal is to reduce the positive margin rate to 10 percent or less while optimizing the cosmetic result for patients. “So far, it’s working very well—it’s been highly accurate with the patients we’ve tested it on,” he says.

William Hudenko, PhD (2016)

William Hudenko, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Geisel School of Medicine and DHMC, is the 2016 recipient of the SYNERGY Clinician-Entrepreneur Fellowship. Hudenko and his colleagues have a company, Incente, LLC, whose software product, Proxi, serves as a digital toolbox for mental health clinicians, with modules designed to improve mental health treatment in three areas, by: (1) increasing collaboration; (2) improving monitoring of patient progress and (3) helping therapists connect with each other for networking and learning purposes. Hudenko will use the fellowship to transition Proxi from its beta testing phase into a commercially viable product. "It’s very exciting to have this opportunity,” Hudenko says. “To be able to devote time to this that previously was unavailable to me will make a tremendous difference for our company and our ability to really make progress.”

For more details, see: SYNERGY’s Clinician-Entrepreneur Fellowship: Fostering Innovation, Enhancing Patient Care- by Tim Dean.

An annual solicitation for SYNERGY Clinician-Entrepreneur Fellows is anticipated. Please direct any questions regarding S-CEF to:

Aaron Kaplan, MD
SYNERGY Academic-Industry Core Director
Sheila Noone, PhD
SYNERGY Executive Director