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Alexander Oleksy, College of Pharmacy student

An Innovative Internship: Alexander Oleksy

Having completed the REDIzone® Future MedTech Entrepreneur Internship this summer, Alexander Oleksy hopes the next interdisciplinary cohort of interns will garner as much excitement and information as he did during the pilot program.

The internship, a new program supported by a grant from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, provides medical, pharmacy, business and law students opportunities to learn from regional experts in medical innovation.

Oleksy has set himself the goal of earning an M.B.A, in addition to a Pharm.D. The third-year Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Pharmacy student explains how the REDIzone® Future MedTech Entrepreneur Internship opened his eyes to the business side of health care.

“As pharmacists, we’re in control of millions of dollars. Learning how to manage and utilize that money, learning how to achieve financial wellness, understanding how actual pharmacy operations work – all of that is very important,” says Oleksy.

Learning to pitch

After the interns were paired up, every team selected a technology – each one by NEOMED faculty researcher – to pitch at the program’s grand finale, held Thursday, July 25, in Cook Alumni Hall of the NEOMED Education and Wellness (NEW) Center.

Oleksy and his partner, Stephanie Wolff, a second-year College of Medicine student, chose to research and pitch a protein therapy for neuronal injuries developed by Fayez Safadi, Ph.D., director of NEOMED’s Musculoskeletal Research Focus Area and professor of anatomy and neurobiology. Their goal: to persuade a panel of start-up-savvy judges to fund their path to commercialization.

“We found that there is an anti-inflammatory protein that can be utilized to target inflammatory tissue connected to Parkinson’s disease,” says Oleksy. “If you find something like this, it can help an exponential number of patients.”

With his added knowledge of health care innovation, Oleksy is more eager than ever to get his third year of pharmacy school started.