Humans of UCSF: Project Partners

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

We’re both enrolled in a master’s program that is focused on translational medicine, which is the process of converting scientific knowledge into medical technologies.

We were up late one night pondering unmet needs when we asked ourselves: how can we address the current opioid epidemic?

We then investigated the opioid prescribing process and found that drug screening tests, which are based on immunoassays, are fairly inaccurate. The antibodies used in immunoassays do not bind equally to all opioids, and often return either false positive or false negative results.

To address this problem, we developed an approach to build a better opioid screen, and pursued the idea as a side project throughout the year.

We applied to UCSF’s Startup 101 class, for example, to learn the basics of establishing a venture, and conducted interviews with healthcare providers to further understand their needs.

We also entered our project into various competitions, and worked with mentors to refine our pitch. We’re currently wrapping up our master’s program, but we plan to continue the project after we graduate.

We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from the UCSF community, and look forward to translating our idea from the bench to the clinic.

Alex Kot & Sophia Liang

Master of Translational Medicine (MTM) students