Executive Committee


Craig Crews, Ph.D., Yale University Lewis B. Cullman Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Pharmacology

Dr. Crews is the Principal Investigator of the PITCH program and understands the road academic faculty must take to succeed in translating their discoveries for commercial application. Craig is the Lewis B. Cullman Professor member in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Founder of the New Haven biotech Arvinas and Co-Founder of Proteolix. 

Dennis Wright, Ph.D., University of Connecticut, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry

Dr. Wright’s career has focused on developing small molecule agents for the treatment of infectious disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. His spirit of collaboration is instrumental in current efforts to build a new multi-institutional partnership for infectious disease centered at UConn. A serial entrepreneur, Dennis is a Co-Founder of Promiliad Biopharma and Synaptic Dynamics.

Susan Froshauer, Ph.D.

Dr. Froshauer brings valuable perspectives from her career as an entrepreneur, scientist, investor and technology community builder. With strong ties and roles as an advisor for academic, industry and government partners, Susan deeply understands the climate for innovation and the ripe opportunities for growth.

David Wurzer, CPA, Executive Vice President & CIO, Connecticut Innovations

David has an extensive senior-level experience in operations and finance, including more than 10 years as Executive Vice President, Treasurer and CFO of CuraGen Corporation. In his current role as an Executive Vice President & CIO, David is responsible for managing the investment function at Connecticut Innovations, which includes staffing, portfolio and risk management, outreach, budget planning, and performance measurement. He also is responsible for oversight of the Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund (CBIF) and the Regenerative Medicine Research Fund (RMRF).

External Advisory Board


Peter Farina, Ph.D., Canaan Partners, Executive in Residence

Dr. Farina has successfully developed and registered treatments for HIV, COPD and emphysema, during his career at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, where he served as Senior Vice President of Development. Deeply committed to state-wide collaboration and economic development, Peter is a board member for non-profit, government and academic organizations within Connecticut.

Brian Dixon, Ph.D., Consultant

Dr. Dixon brings a depth of experience on the commercialization of academic technology as the former President and CEO of BioRelix, and has a broad pharmaceutical industry perspective developed as a Vice President of Bayer Healthcare. Brian also brings his medicinal chemistry expertise to evaluate the potential of PITCH projects.

Amy Burd, Ph.D., Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Executive Director Research Strategy

Dr. Burd brings strategic insight as a consultant and portfolio manager in non-profit organizations and Connecticut pharmaceutical companies (Boehringer Ingelheim and Bayer) and start-up ventures. Amy recognizes the value of opportunities where academic research and medical needs collide.

Bill LaRochelle, Ph.D., Scientific Director at Roche Sequencing Solutions

Dr. LaRochelle translates ideas from visionary thinking to well positioned applications based on sequencing technologies. With a career spanning experiences in large biopharmaceutical company (Roche), biotechnology (454, Curagen) and government science (NCI), Bill is well positioned to understand the perspectives of academic researchers and application of their technology.

Sam Gerritz, Ph.D., Senior Principal Scientist at Bristol-Myers Squibb

Dr. Gerritz contributes a wealth of knowledge in medicinal chemical gained from his senior role in drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry.  An expert in the design of chemical methods for the identification of small molecules as therapeutic agents, Sam has published extensively in leading science journals and has filed numerous patents.  Sam is highly experienced in a scientific advisory role having served on and frequently chaired several committees, boards and panels. 

Laurel Sweet, Ph.D., Consultant

Dr. Sweet is an experienced leader in pharmaceutical research and development, working predominantly in the field of diabetes.  Working in biotech and pharma (Bayer, Pfizer), she led drug discovery/early development portfolios from idea through Phase 2 proof of concept clinical trials.  She has significant experience working with academic, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical communities to identify potential research programs, collaborations, and licensing opportunities.

YCMD Staff

The Yale Center for Molecular Discovery is staffed by a team of experienced biomedical scientists with experience in both academia and the biopharmaceutical industry.  Our diverse experiences provide unique insights to advance projects through hurdles that sometimes limit applying promising academic research to fundamental challenges.



Target Expression Core at UConn Health 

The Target Expression Core is staffed by a team with expertise in bacterial expression systems, large scale purification and preliminary characterization of target proteins. We will work with you to develop a tailored solution to customize expression and purification strategies appropriate to your protein of interest.