Research Innovation Spotlight Series

The Research Innovation Spotlight Series presented by the Alliance for SoCal Innovation in partnership with BioscienceLA

The Research Innovation Spotlight Series is an invite-only virtual program led by the Alliance in collaboration with BioscienceLA (for Life Science) that connects industry with researchers developing innovative technologies and life science breakthroughs at Southern California’s top research universities and institutions. These highly technical presentations provide corporate leaders and early stage investors an early look at the innovations entering the potential pipeline of market-moving, disruptive developments and thus inform decision makers as well as create valuable connections to researchers and the universities before they enter the market.

Each spotlight session consists of 4 presentations where each researcher gets 20 minutes of ‘airtime’ of which 10 minutes is a technical presentation followed by 10 minutes for audience Q&A.


Contact us to learn more about how we can help your company get connected to breakthrough university research.


How the Research Innovation Spotlight Series program works

The Alliance goes through the following steps:

  1. Identify compelling research topics that match corporate and investor innovation agendas and R&D focus.
  2. Recruit a subject matter expert to moderate and curate the virtual mini-showcase
  3. Reach out to our participating research institution (mostly R1 universities) tech transfer offices to solicit appropriate projects
  4. Select the 4 most compelling projects to present
  5. Identify and invite 20-30 attendees from our network
  6. Host the virtual mini-showcase (via Zoom) where partners and researchers connect

Why should industry leaders participate?

  • Better understand compelling innovative solutions that are being created at the university level – as well as the trends that are driving them
  • Discover curated research and innovators that match your corporate innovation priorities without having to visit multiple universities or develop those relationships directly
  • Virtual demo day benefits:
    • See multiple solutions and technologies in one virtual session
    • Interact directly with the innovators to discuss possible future applications and build future relationships
    • Engage critical stakeholders in these discussions without travel/time hurdles

Why should research institutions/principal investigators participate?

  • Introduce their research to knowledgeable corporations and VC’s that could help fund their innovation
  • Receive valuable feedback from the commercial sector and insights into the commercial applicability of their work
  • Virtual demo day benefits:
    • Engage with a small group of directly relevant corporate innovation leaders and venture investors
    • Initiate valuable long-term relationships that are relevant to current and future research

Program Format

The 2 hr program will feature virtual (via Zoom) presentations from four Principle Investigators working on important research that fits that spotlight’s focus e.g. Immunology, Robotics, Rare and Orphan Diseases, Energy Storage, etc.

Each mini-showcase is moderated by an expert with deep industry and technical expertise who curates which research projects are presented and helps lead the Q&A with attendees.

Each presenter is given 20 minutes of “airtime” of which we recommend 10 minutes for the presentation and the remaining 10 minutes for moderator-led Q&A to maximize engagement with the attendees.

Life Science Program Sponsor

About BioscienceLA

Founded in 2018, BioscienceLA is the innovation catalyst for life sciences and health innovation in the greater Los Angeles region, accelerating the growth of funding, space, and talent, as well as messaging and awareness-building. The independent not-for-profit organization was seeded by LA County and has backing from Amgen, PhRMA, Richard Lundquist, Richard Merkin, City of Hope, and Cedars-Sinai, among others.

Its mission is to ensure that Los Angeles has a collaborative, well-coalesced ecosystem that encompasses biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical diagnostics, bioinformatics, healthcare IT, medtech, digital health, and more. BioscienceLA aims to advance the region’s capacity and pace of innovation by harmonizing the efforts of all stakeholders, including academic institutions, research hospitals, investors, startups, mature companies, trade associations, and public and quasi-public agencies. 

Visit to learn more.


Watch full length recordings of recent Research Innovation Spotlights. You can also see all of them on our YouTube Channel.

Most Recent Spotlight

Cell Therapy | March 28, 2023

Presenting Researchers

Saul Priceman, PhD., Associate Professor, Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at City of Hope (profile)

Research focus: building more relevant preclinical models to address the challenges facing T cell therapies for solid tumors and to evaluate innovative combination approaches that aim to improve the overall immunotherapy response rates in patients.

Christopher Richardson, PhD., Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at UC Santa Barbara (profile)

Research focus: How, why, and when cells deploy DNA repair factors in response to damage – and the impact these decisions make on repair outcomes – are central questions in genome biology. We use genetic, biochemical, and systems biology tools to investigate these topics.

Michael Demetriou, MD, PhD,  Director, National Multiple Sclerosis Society Designated Comprehensive Care Clinic, Neurology, School of Medicine at UC Irvine (profile)

Research focus: the roles of complex Asn(N)-linked glycans in cell function and diseases such as autoimmunity, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and cancer. Our work has revealed how genetic and metabolic regulation of N-glycosylation controls the function and activity of cell surface glycoproteins to affect cell growth/differentiation and diseases such as MS.

Cristina (Cris) Puig Saus, Ph.D., Assistant Adjunct Professor, Medicine at UCLA

Research focus: designing novel T-cell therapies including leading a multi-center effort to understand the natural neoepitope-specific T-cell responses induced after immune checkpoint blockade therapy and use this knowledge to improve the design of personalized T-cell therapies. Her interests are also focused on developing novel CAR-based adoptive T-cell therapies for solid tumors and on the improvement of T-cell gene editing strategies.

Event Moderator: Sumant Ramachandra, M.D., Ph.D, President and CEO at IMMPACT BIO (profile)

​ImmPACT Bio is dedicated to the discovery of transformative CAR-T cell therapies for cancer patients who have exhausted their treatment options. Our technology is designed to precisely distinguish cancerous cells from normal cells; thereby eliminating tumors without damaging normal tissues. Our goal is to eradicate tumors without generating the severe side effects that are difficult, sometimes impossible, for cancer patients to endure.


Oncology | November 8, 2022
Regenerative Medicine | September 7, 2022
Tools & Diagnostics | May 3, 2022
Rare & Orphan Diseases | March 1, 2022
Immunology | November 16, 2021
Neuroscience | September 14, 2021
Small Molecules in Oncology | May 18, 2021


Understanding & Influencing Human Behavior | October 26, 2021
Energy Storage | August 31, 2022
Applied Robotics | July 13, 2021
AR/VR | November 17, 2020