Jenna Harvestine
Precision medicine to fight cancer and improve patient care

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

Jenna Harvestine is pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. She graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and has experience as a research and development intern with the High Performance team at Rust-Oleum.

In a nutshell, describe your project or venture.

I recently joined Ariz Precision Medicine and will be co-founding a spin off start up with two other UC Davis biomedical engineering Ph.D. candidates, Anita Rajamani and Jennifer Price. Our technology leverages precision medicine to fight the root cause of cancer.

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

For my Ph.D. I design biomaterials to work synergistically with a patient’s cells to enhance regeneration of diseased or damaged tissues.  We are learning new things in the lab every day that I hope will be used to improve patient care.

What are you most passionate about in your work?

I love interacting with patients. I am passionately driven to translate my research into usable technologies for the betterment of health care.

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

I gained a new perspective on moving an idea forward. Now I can evaluate my ideas not just as an engineer, but through the viewpoint of future investors and customers.

What is the most unexpected advice you received from a mentor?

There are a million jobs out there. Love the journey, and focus on finding the one that fits into your life, not fitting yourself into the job.

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?

Yes, I will be competing in the Big Bang! with my fellow co-founders on our new spinout. We are hopeful that through this experience we will gain skills and receive feedback that will help us successfully launch our startup.

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

Scientists and engineers may come up with brilliant ideas, but businesspeople bring those ideas to the world. My Ph.D. provided me the tools to design a product, but my experiences as a Business Development Fellow will prepare me to get that product through the pipeline and into the market.