The ASM seeks applications from advanced graduate students, postdoctoral scientists and early career scientists for the 2014 ASM Turning Your Science into a Company. The workshop will be held at ASM Headquarters in Washington, DC September 26 and 27, 2014.


This two-day entrepreneurship workshop provides basic information on establishing start-up businesses and utilizes examples from companies involved in biotechnology industries. Day 1 covers planning a start-up, and day 2 covers executing the plan and strategically exiting the business (if desired). Directed to advanced graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early-career scientists, the workshop features practical tips, advice, and resources from principals of leading start-up and small companies.

Learning Goals

At the completion of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Describe differences in preparation for careers in entrepreneurship versus academia
  • Identify steps and practices for structuring start-up businesses
  • Identify resources for conducting market research analysis
  • Identify alternatives for financing start-up businesses
  • Identify steps and practices for start-up research, product development, and commercialization
  • Understand when, why, and how to exit

Workshop Convener and Leader

IcenhourCrystal R. Icenhour received her doctorate in pathobiology and molecular medicine from the University of Cincinnati Medical School of Graduate Studies in 2002. She conducted postdoctoral research in the Thoracic Diseases Research Unit at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine (2002-2005) and the Department of Infectious Diseases at Duke University Medical Center (2005-2006). Icenhour has been involved in several local and national postdoctoral associations, including the Mayo Research Fellows Association Executive Committee (president), the Duke University Postdoctoral Association (membership committee chair), and the National Postdoctoral Association (2008 chair). From 2007 to 2013, Icenhour was president and chief science officer for Phthisis Diagnostics, a biotechnology company located in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 2014, Icenhour became CEO of NextGen Diagnostics in Ashburn, Virginia. NextGen Diagnostics’ focus is harnessing the power of next-generation sequencing to improve world health.

Featured Speakers

MillerJeffrey F. Miller is currently the president of ASM and a co-founder of AvidBiotics and professor and chair of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at UCLA. At AvidBiotics he serves as consultant and chairman of the company’s scientific advisory board. AvidBiotics generates non-antibody proteins that specifically target bacteria, viruses or cancer cells for human therapeutic and prophylactic uses, as well as food safety, biodefense, animal husbandry and a host of other potential applications. In addition to his ASM and AvidBiotics roles, Miller is the M. Phillip Davis Chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Miller holds a doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine, and his postdoctoral experience was at Stanford University School of Medicine with professors Stanley Falkow and Lucy Tompkins.


MulveyMatthew Mulvey is a founder and CEO of BeneVir and inventor of BeneVir’s immunotherapeutic platform for cancer treatment. Mulvey has eight years of experience in the biotechnology industry at Sequella, Inc., a clinical stage anti-infectives company. While at Sequella, Mulvey invented and patented a diagnostic technology, obtained NIH funding to support its advancement, and participated in a partnering effort that culminated in licensing of the technology to a major clinical diagnostics company. BeneVir’s lead candidate BV-2711 is an engineered human virus that kills cancer cells and programs the immune system to eliminate cancer throughout the body. BV-2711 is a second generation version of T-VEC, which recently reported positive Phase 3 results for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Amgen acquired T-VEC for $1 Billion because of its unique and powerful mechanism for targeting cancer. BeneVir founders invented key technology behind T-VEC and designed BV-2711 to exhibit improved clinical efficacy. BeneVir secured funding in 2012 and expects to initiate clinical testing in 2015.


Sylvia MaryMary Sylvia has nearly 30 years of experience in microbiology and patent law.  Trained initially as a molecular virologist, she focuses primarily on biotechnology and pharmaceutical patent law and the development of intellectual property strategy in both procurement and litigation settings.  As a former judicial clerk to Circuit Judge Raymond C. Clevenger III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Ms. Sylvia combines appellate practice with patent litigation strategy.  Having served as in-house counsel, as well as working in molecular biology and genetics labs prior to law school, she brings a unique perspective to her work.  She understands not only the technologies with which clients work, but the ways in which an intellectual property portfolio can add value from a business development angle.  Ms. Sylvia currently teaches as an adjunct at Georgetown University.  She also served as the first director of the University of Maryland School of Law's IP clinic and taught at American University Washington College of Law.

Workshop Site

The 2014 ASM Turning Science into a Company will be held at the ASM Headquarters at 1752 N Street NW, Washington, DC.

Sponsorship and Credentials

The ASM Turning Science into a Company is sponsored by the ASM Education Board. The ASM Education Board is a recipient of the 2000 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mentoring in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education. The Board was recognized by President Clinton for its contribution to graduate education.