University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Medical physics names first entrepreneurial fellowship recipient
The Department of Medical Physics has selected Victor Santoro-Fernandes as its inaugural Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program recipient. This program was created to fast-track selected senior Ph.D. students and postdocs towards startup incubation. It focuses on customized training and mentorship for those who want to make real products out of innovative academic ideas.
Santoro-Fernandes, who will be defending his Ph.D. thesis over the summer, received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physics from the University of São Paulo in Brazil. He also earned a master’s degree in medical physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“I was impressed that Victor in his time doing a Ph.D. at Wisconsin had attended the Morgridge Entrepreneurial Bootcamp and taken advantage of training through D2P,” says Dr. Rock Mackie, advisory board co-chair. “But I especially liked that, while he had a plan for a company, he was still open for advice and mentoring because it is rare that a company does not pivot to some degree from the original course just as a ship has to make adjustments for weather and currents.”
Participants in the Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program (EFP) will work with a variety of leaders both within medical physics as well as industry. The program includes salary support, personalized training, idea incubation and company incubation. The board will select one Fellowship recipient per year and recipients will spend two years in the program.
“I am excited about the EFP as it encourages and supports entrepreneurially-minded students, like Victor, to pursue commercialization as an opportunity for societal impact and personal growth,” says Greg Keenan, Senior Director, Ventures & Accelerator at WARF. “This is an excellent example of Medical Physics’ long-standing commitment to positively impacting patient care through the commercialization of their research while also supporting their students’ professional development. This is a first-of-its-kind program at UW-Madison, and one that I hope will be replicated more broadly, as it represents an exciting approach to the Wisconsin Idea by nurturing the entrepreneurial mindset of our students and supporting the commercialization of our research.”
Since its inception over 40 years ago, the medical physics department has helped launch more than 25 companies and files many disclosures and patents annually which are licensed or used to make new products.