GapSummit 2017

By Carolina Cheng
Communications Associate

GapSummit is a premier, international leadership summit bringing talented, young Leaders of Tomorrow (LoTs) to strategize innovative solutions to gaps in the global bioeconomy. Last week, Georgetown University had the privilege to host the first GapSummit held in the United States.

The 100 LoTs from over 40 countries were selected through a competitive application process, including four of our very own Biomedical Graduate Education (BGE) students – Samuel Edland (MS Candidate in Biotechnology ’17), Chaz Hinzman (MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology ‘16 & PhD Candidate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, TBD), Janet Li (MS in Biostatistics ’17), and John Psaltis (MS in Biotechnology ’17 & PhD Candidate in Tumor Biology, TBD).


GapSummit 2017 focused on five gaps in the global bioeconomy – 1) Precision Medicine and Diagnostics, 2) Sustainability, 3) Beyond Education, 4) Research and Innovation, and 5) Science Policy and Regulation – and challenged the Leaders of Tomorrow to develop potential solutions to address these gaps. The ideas developed were nothing short of cutting edge.

Chaz Hinzman and his team came up with an idea to create a novel model of human pancreatic cancer in vitro by combining microfluidics, tissue engineering, and “organ-on-a-chip” technology in hopes to streamline the drug discovery process for new pancreatic cancer therapies.

“D2R2I2P2 your way into the innovation stream”

The week was filled with inspirational talks from prominent leaders in the biotechnology community, enlightening workshops, and opportunities to collaborate with other high caliber LoTs.

Notably, the Biomedical Graduate Education Office of Career Strategy and Professional Development (CSPD) led the welcome workshop, Collaborate2Innovate. During Collaborate2Innovate, Caroline Goon, MS, MBA, Director of CSPD, Caleb McKinney, PhD, Assistant Director of CSPD, and Jill Lidsky, BGE Program Assistant, challenged the LoTs to competitively build the tallest freestanding structure using limited supplies and time. Through the activity, LoTs were able to get to know each other and uncover their strengths and weaknesses.

Key concepts reviewed after the activity include:

  • Difference Improves Design (D2)
  • Review and Refine (R2)
  • Idea Integration (I2)
  • Power Pose (P2)

As GapSummit 2017 has come to an end, the Office of CSPD hopes the LoTs feel empowered to “DRIP their way into the innovation stream.”


“GapSummit 2017 could be described as a total immersion into a high-caliber intellectually stimulating environment within the scientific community.”

Samuel Edland, MS Candidate in Biotechnology ’17

“Being in such an environment such as the GapSummit 2017 has really inspired me to bring back what I’ve learned to my own projects and work in observational and clinical trials project management and in statistical programming. As we enter the era of precision medicine and with the potential of breakthrough technology, researchers must be prepared to find new ways to advance the drug development process.”

Janet Li, MS in Biostatistics ‘17

“The GapSummit supplied significant opportunities to learn from some of the most prominent leaders in biotechnology today while providing a platform to cultivate global relationships with leaders of tomorrow.”

Chaz Hinzman, MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology ‘16
PhD Candidate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, TBD

“I feel as if I have made life-long friends in this one-week experience that will challenge and stimulate me professionally and intellectually. My passion for solving some of the world’s global gaps in biotechnology has been rekindled with an unparalleled ethos of inspiration. This one week event provided me with an amazing paradigm as to what it means to problem solve, think globally, and challenge complacency.”

John Psaltis, MS in Biotechnology ’17
PhD candidate in Tumor Biology, TBD