Aaron Selfridge
Compressing one- to two-week courses of antibiotics into a single injection

Note: Aaron Selfridge was a Business Development Fellow in 2017/18. This interview was conducted in fall 2017.

Aaron Selfridge earned his B.S. from UC San Diego and is pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. His current research focuses on medical imaging, and the development of a new Positron Emission Tomography system for imaging rats and mice.

Describe your project or venture in a nutshell.

I’m interested in developing a biomaterial that compresses a one- to two-week course of antibiotics into a single injection. This approach to sustained release of a pharmaceutical reduces the risk that a patient wouldn’t follow through with their full course of antibiotics, leading to recurrence of infection and creation of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

What’s important about your research or project—and where do you hope to take it?

Since I’m still working on my Ph.D., following through on this project isn’t a priority. But as I move towards graduation I’ll be interested in applying for an SBIR grant and developing the idea. Within my current research, I’m most passionate about building a broad set of skills that are useful both as a researcher and as an entrepreneur. Medical imaging is great for this, since you’re exposed to concepts in computer science, electrical engineering, molecular biology and medicine.

What was the most important thing you learn at the Entrepreneurship Academy?

The most useful thing that I’ve learned so far is the difference between assessing ideas as an entrepreneur and as a researcher. Understanding the marketability of an idea is really an important skill for everyone, even though it’s often overlooked by researchers.

Do you plan to participate in the Big Bang! Business Competition or just the workshops? How do you expect this to help you as an aspiring entrepreneur?

Hopefully I’ll be able to follow through with the Big Bang! competition this year, but even if I don’t manage to, I plan on doing it next year when things have had more time to mature.

How will your experience as a Business Development Fellow help you to change the world?

At this early point I’m not concerning myself with changing the world. I think the most valuable thing that I can do now is to build a diverse set of skills that I can bring together in the future to be an effective engineer and entrepreneur.