H2i Programs
FemSTEM 2021
A multi-event series, our FemSTEM program looks to inspire, engage, and celebrate women entrepreneurs.

Our goal at H2i is to grow the infrastructure, practice, and local culture to translate discoveries and ideas into problem-solving designs, services and products. We do this through building connections, linking people with mentors, resources, researchers, key opinion leaders, and professionals to help them translate, defuse, and scale discoveries.

With this simple but extraordinarily effective model, we’ve been able to support a record number of ventures commercializing their health innovations. FemSTEM is our dedicated program focused on fostering an increasingly diverse and inclusive community.

We are committed to supporting women and building valuable, diverse connections, uplifting women in STEM who are looking to create their own businesses.

Check back here for registration information in February 2021.

Event Details and Registration

FemSTEM Kick Off Event

Join us online January 13 from 2 – 4 PM EST to hear from our panel of extraordinary women entrepreneurs on their lived experiences innovating in the health space. We’ll also hear from our Director, Paul Santerre, on the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and venture building. The event will close with an hour-long workshop session where you’ll work together to create a compelling short pitch addressing one of today’s pressing health problems, supported by the H2i team and our exemplary panelists.


2:00 – 2:40 PM | Panel (Joella Almeida, Natalie J. Galant, Rabia Khan, moderated by Vivian Cheung) 2:40 – 2:55 PM | Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship and the H2i 10 Point Plan (Paul Santerre) 2:55 – 3:50 PM | Workshop 3:50 – 4:00 PM | Closing Remarks (Paul Santerre, Vivian Cheung)

FemSTEM 2021 Kick Off

January 13, 2021

4 PM EST to 5 PM EST


Meet Our Panelists

Headshot of Joella Almeida

Joella Almeida is Co-Founder & Operations at MedEssist, a health-tech startup that focuses on improving the everyday health of patients by empowering them to access, understand, and manage their health through technology.

Joella has worked in both start-ups & corporate organizations over the past decade. During her time at a fintech startup in 2017, she had the opportunity to experience first-hand a large-scale startup-acquisition by one of the 6th largest non-commercial global banks in the world. By leveraging business planning & relationship building to pursue strategic goals, she excelled in industries such as financial services, payments, & e-commerce. Today, as Co-Founder & Operations at MedEssist, she works to change the adoption of digital health across Canada through equitable access to healthcare opportunities.

Dr. Natalie J. Galant is a co-founder of Paradox Immunotherapeutics, a pharmaceutical company dedicated to the creation of antibody therapies for the treatment of rare protein misfolding diseases, especially those characterized by amyloidosis.

Prior to taking on this role, Natalie received her PhD from the University of Toronto’s Department of Medical Biophysics and in her short academic tenure has co-authored over 15 publications in research areas ranging from chemical informatics to immunotherapy drug development. Her PhD work helped lead to the development of a monoclonal antibody currently in FDA clinical trials for the treatment of ATTR Amyloidosis. Additionally, she is the recipient of numerous academic fellowships and together with her team, was the winner of the inaugural Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research ECHO 2019 $250,000 pitch competition.

Rabia T. Khan, PhD, MBA is Founder and CEO of Ladder Therapeutics, a foundation stage biotech, a YCombinator company.

Rabia has a background in immuno-genetics and is focussed on bridging the worlds of science, business and technology in the areas of medicine, healthcare, network biology and genomics.  Most recently, she was Managing Director for the Discovery Sciences division at Sensyne health, a publicly listed company with a unique partnership model with the NHS. At Sensyne, she established the scientific strategy, built the data science and discovery teams from 4 to 50 in 6 months. Dr. Khan was pivotal to a number of significant pharma partnerships with BayerBMSLifeHubRoche, Alexion and lead the launch of the SENS product focused on the development of Predictive Algorithms for patient deterioration. Under her leadership, the discovery sciences division launched multiple successful products alone or with pharma partners; the development of these products benefitted from Sensyne’s unique access to NHS data resources.

Prior to joining Sensyne Health, Rabia held senior roles at BenevolentAI and Meta. At Meta (acquired by Chan Zuckerberg BioHub), she was pivotal in the partnership with the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to acquire horizon-scanning technology that used NLP to research the biomedical corpus. At BenevolentAI, she helped shape the discovery strategy, and led the Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Glioblastoma drug discovery programmes and served as the interface between the technical and biological teams alongside Prof. Jackie Hunter.

Rabia regularly presents on embracing the intersection of healthcare and technology to advance better patient outcomes and advocates the importance of STEM in industry and education. She was part of the feature 50 Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness – 19 and Invivo’s 30 Rising Leaders 2020. 

Fireside at FemSTEM

From February through to early March, H2i will be hosting an interactive conversation series, Fireside at FemSTEM. Once every two weeks, we’ll sit down with a special guest who will speak to us about their experiences as a women in the health and entrepreneurship ecosystems, sharing their valuable lessons and insights into successful venture building and innovative thinking.

Fireside at FemSTEM with Dr. Debbie Lin

February 10, 2021

4 PM EST to 5 PM EST


Speaker Biography

Dr. Debbie Lin is Executive Director at Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund in the US and leads the Fund’s North American efforts in Digital Healthcare.

She joined Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in 2008. Within Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma, she worked across various regions and divisions. She has worked in Medical Affairs in the area of women’s health and later in Health Economics and Outcomes supporting all commercial product sales with large payers and providers accounts on the West Coast. She also led the US organization’s social entrepreneurship program in Boehringer Ingelheim’s Making More Health collaboration with Ashoka.

In 2013, she transitioned to Corporate Headquarters in Germany in Corporate Strategy and Development as Director of Corporate Development. There she was responsible for BI’s global development strategy, leading BI’s global venture into stroke rehabilitation. She led multi-country teams to set up the company’s first stroke rehabilitation centers in Shanghai, China and in Lisbon, Portugal.

Prior to Boehringer Ingelheim, she worked as a Public Policy Consultant for Pacific Health Policy Group supporting Medicaid Policy implementation in various states such as Vermont and West Virginia during the Clinton Administration. Her doctorate is in Pharmacogenomics and Bioinformatics from UCSF, she also has a Masters in Engineering from Stanford University and a Masters in Public Policy from UCLA. Debbie is a native Californian, she loves sunshine, being around nature and the ocean, yoga and dogs.

Fireside at FemSTEM with Dr. Wendy Naimark

February 24, 2021

4 PM EST to 5 PM EST


Speaker Biography

Dr. Naimark is one of the founders of Ripple Therapeutics (RIPL) following its spin out from Interface Biologics (IBI) in 2020.

Dr. Naimark has been leading teams in the development of local drug delivery products for over 20 years. She joined IBI in 2016 and led the Research & Development of both Epidel and Kinesyx technology teams and partner projects. Prior to joining IBI, Dr. Naimark led the Clinical Program for the development of a drug-eluting, self-expanding, biodegradable scaffold at 480 Biomedical.

Dr. Naimark began her industry career at Boston Scientific in the Corporate R&D group, which developed the TAXUS® Drug Eluting Stent. At Boston Scientific her work spanned developing combination products to deliver angiogenic biological agents to leading Regulatory Submission Strategies for approval of Class III combination products.

Dr. Naimark received her PhD in Biomaterials from the University of Toronto and began developing her career interest in local drug delivery at Caltech during her post-doctoral fellowship. Dr. Naimark is an inventor of 29 patents in the local drug delivery field.

H2i Presents: FemSTEM Pitch Competition

Only made possible by the generous donation of the Temerty family and the support of the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, H2i’s 2021 FemSTEM programming culminates in our first ever FemSTEM Pitch Competition. Teams led by women entrepreneurs that are innovating within the health space are invited to apply for this opportunity to win up to $10,000 in non-dilutive funding.

FemSTEM Pitch Competition

March 8, 2021

4 PM to 5 PM



Attendance and Team Composition Eligibility Criteria

To be revealed at our January 13th FemSTEM 2021 Kick Off Event!


Mentorship for finalists

Pitch finalists will have access to 1 hour of mentorship time from the H2i core team:

  • 30 minutes of pitch deck and story refinement with H2i Program Coordinator, Vivian Cheung
  • 30 minutes of venture and business idea refinement with H2i Director, Paul Santerre, and one of our Associate Directors


Fireside at FemSTEM with Soror Sharifpoor

March 10, 2021

4 PM EST to 5 PM EST


Speaker Biography

Soror’s bio