By Sarah Gantz
The Baltimore Sun
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As director of new ventures at University of Maryland, Baltimore, Rana Quraishi works with researchers and entrepreneurs to advance technology discovered in university labs to a point where it can be turned into a company.
The Baltimore Sun
Rana Quraishi was going to be a scientist.
Her mother was a psychologist and her father, who specialized in pesticide toxicology, worked for the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health.
Quraishi pursued the family profession, as was expected, but didn’t want a career in a lab or classroom like her parents. Instead she found her own niche in the field.
As director of new ventures at University of Maryland, Baltimore, Quraishi works with researchers and entrepreneurs to advance technology discovered in university labs to a point where it can be turned into a company.
“In those days you were in the lab, you published papers. Now it’s becoming so much cooler,” Quraishi said. “I love the interaction between science and being able to make a tangible change in the world.”
She pointed to SurgiGyn Inc., a startup that develops minimally invasive surgical devices, as one of the program’s success stories. University of Maryland Ventures worked with SurgiGyn to further develop its technology, raise seed funding and build a prototype of a device designed to assist in laparoscopic hysterectomies.
Quraishi also works with students who, like her, are interested in science but not its traditional career path.
With Quraishi’s support, a team of graduate students at UMB have been doing market research for SurgiGyn, to evaluate the opportunities to sell the device overseas.
“I think it’s really important for students to get that exposure,” she said.
Quraishi said she thinks it is important for the university to offer these types of opportunities for students because they increasingly are seeking alternatives to an academic research career path. Quraishi’s family is from India, but she grew up in
Iran and Canada before moving to the United States.