At Fifty Years, we believe more scientists should commercialize their research via tech startups. To do that, we believe we need more scientists in venture capital. Why? Deep experts are needed to diligence technical ideas and support the PhD founders. To get more experts into VC, we are launching a new event series “PhD to VC”. The inaugural event will take place on Tuesday November 19th at 5pm in Fifty Years’ San Francisco HQ and will focus on breaking into VC in bio and synbio. We will have a panel discussion with a few amazing scientists who are now investing in bio and synbio startups, followed by a generous Q&A and networking.

Hear from PhDs who are now investors at some of the world's top early-stage VC firms and accelerators like Y Combinator, IndieBio, Upfront Ventures, and 8VC:

  • Jun Axup, PhD, Scientific Director & Partner, IndieBio

  • Uri Lopatin, MD, Visiting Partner at Y Combinator

  • Megan Blewett, PhD, Life Sciences Investor at Venrock

  • Francisco Gimenez, PhD, Principal at 8VC

  • Alice Cheng, PhD, Associate at Upfront Ventures

See detailed speaker bios below. The discussion will be moderated by Seth Bannon, Founder and Partner at Fifty Years. Plant-based snacks will be served. If you would like to attend, please apply here. We will get back to select participants with location details.

Jun Axup, PhD

Scientific Director & Partner at IndieBio

At IndieBio, Jun advises companies, runs scientific programming, makes investment decisions, and builds community. Jun holds a PhD in chemical biology from The Scripps Research Institute. She worked in several startups in the fields of immuno-oncology, protein engineering, lab automation robotics, CRISPR, precision medicine, and have co-founded two companies. She is passionate about increasing human healthspan/longevity, hacking brains, and solving climate change. Focused on turning scientists into entrepreneurs, IndieBio has funded and helped build 116 biotech companies spanning all applications including future of food/agriculture, consumer biotech, computational biology, digital health, therapeutics, medical devices, neurotech, and regenerative medicine.

Alice Cheng, PhD

Associate at Upfront Ventures

Alice Cheng UPFRNT-1.jpg

Alice joined Upfront in 2018, with a focus on biology and deep tech. Prior to joining Upfront, Alice spent two years at the Boston Consulting Group in San Francisco, where she advised enterprise technology and biopharma clients. Alice also supported business development and operations at the Rare Genomics Institute, a nonprofit connecting families in the rare disease space. Alice received her PhD in biomedical engineering from a joint program between the Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, and Peking University.

Megan Blewett, PhD

Life Sciences Investor at Venrock


Megan joined Venrock in 2017 and focuses on biotech and pharmaceutical investments. Prior to Venrock, Megan was a Hertz Fellow and NSF Fellow with Ben Cravatt at The Scripps Research Institute, where she earned a PhD in chemistry. Her PhD work identified novel druggable nodes in immune signaling pathways and helped form the foundation of the biotech company Vividion. Megan also has a longstanding interest in healthcare analytics and has consulted for Google’s medical condition search team. Megan received an AB/AM in chemistry from Harvard University, where she spent nearly all four years working in the lab of chemistry Nobel Laureate EJ Corey and was awarded the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize for her senior thesis research. In 2019, Megan was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for Healthcare.

Uri Lopatin, MD

Visiting Partner at Y Combinator


Uri Lopatin, MD was a co-founder and the Chief Medical Officer of Assembly Pharmaceuticals (2012) and CMO/VP R&D for Assembly Biosciences (f\k\a Ventrus Bioscience), which reverse merged with Assembly Pharmaceuticals in 2014. He has helped Assembly raise over $300M to move their first 2 generations of novel therapeutics into global phase 1 and phase 2 clinical studies. Uri has held clinical and translational science roles at Schering Plough, Roche, and Gilead Sciences. He previously received his medical training at UMDNJ-NJMS, UW, NYU and the NIH. He lives with his wife and son in San Francisco.

Francisco Gimenez, PhD

Principal at 8VC


Francisco focuses on Bio-IT investments and Enterprise AI. Francisco previously was the Resident Data Scientist at Formation8 Partners where he worked with portfolio companies to strategize, prototype, and recruit for data products. He was the founder of Catenus Science, a data science consulting and recruiting firm that used an apprenticeship model to help early stage companies build data science teams. Francisco received his Ph.D. from Stanford in Biomedical Informatics, where he was a Ruth L. Kirchstein Fellow. His research focused on clinical decision support for Radiology which won him the Martin Epstein award for best paper at the American Medical Informatics Association in 2014. He was the commencement speaker for the Stanford School of Medicine in 2015. Prior to that he got his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from UC Berkeley while doing research in Parkinson’s disease at UCSF.


Fifty Years also runs an event series called! hosts monthly deep dive seminars around new technologies and brings together scientists, entrepreneurs and investors with the goal of exploring all the areas of business activity in which tech entrepreneurship can solve big social and environmental problems.