CHOC & ULP Establish a Unique Training Program for the Next Generation of Biotech Innovators

07/01/20 | 2 MIN READ Revised 08/31/23

CHOC and ULP have come together to develop a STEM program.

The CHOC Children's Research Institute and University Lab Partners (ULP) have jointly developed a new science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program, Medical Innovation and Entrepreneurship, geared towards inspiring Orange County high school students to become the next generation of biotech innovators.  Students will work alongside OC's top leaders in innovation and medicine to impart a real-world view of the multidisciplinary skills needed to thrive in the biotech entrepreneurial world.

The Medical Innovation and Entrepreneurship High School program takes students on a journey from idea to innovation, while gaining the understanding of what is required to implement their vision. Student teams will work with industry mentors to solve real-world unmet clinical needs presented by CHOC Children's clinicians, devising a proof-of-concept, an IP and patent strategy, and exit plan which they pitch to industry leaders on the final day. Through pediatric-focused case studies, customized lesson plans, team project work, and mentorship opportunities, students will identify real-world solutions to issues that directly impact pediatric patients. Students will learn the role a clinician and engineer play as they navigate unmet clinical needs, hospital systems, care providers, and regulatory trends required for healthcare innovation. In addition, The Young Entrepreneur OC will be fostering the next generation of leaders through the transformative experience of building a startup. While learning the skills to build and lead a company, the program also coaches young people to identify and leverage successful pathways to reach personal and professional goals.

“The CHOC Research Institute is thrilled for the opportunity to help inspire the next generation of leaders in healthcare innovation, potentially laying the groundwork for great strides in translational science, medical device development, and basic science research,”  said Dr. Terence Sanger, CHOC’s Vice President of Research and Chief Scientific Officer.

During the two-week program delivered through the North Orange County ROP, 60 students from five different school districts will learn the business of medtech and biotech through 50 hours of instruction, 10 hours of dedicated mentorship, and 20 hours of clinical needs assessments, project proposals/presentations, literature reviews, and intellectual property challenges. Students will earn 2.5  UC-transferrable credits for their participation. "By connecting our most precious commodity, our students, to businesses who will invest in them, this partnership benefits us all,” said Dr. Giamarino, Superintendent of NOCROP. “We want our students to remain in Orange County and be a part of our growth and sustainability.”

“Clinical needs can take many forms in a healthcare setting,” said Dr. George Tolomiczenko, Director of Medical Innovations at University of California, Irvine. “Success in meeting an unmet need relies on understanding the target disease, its underlying etiologies and subgroups. I’m looking forward to teaching these high school students how to refine an unmet clinical need.”

The Medical Innovation and Entrepreneurship High School work-based learning program is one of many projects that will launch from the partnership between CHOC Research Institute and University Lab Partners. The effort brings together clinical skills, business development skills, hospital management, technology strategy, product ideation, and technology development to help support the larger Orange County biotech and medtech community.

"This immersive program transforms career exploration and discovery for Orange County students interested in pursuing an exciting career in innovation” said Karin Koch, ULP’s Ecosystem Director. 

For more information about the Medical Innovation, Research and Entrepreneurship program visit 


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