Yilan Shi


Major & School:
PhD in Biomedical Science at
University of California San Diego

Start Date:
May 2019


Yilan is a graduate student in Genetics at UCSD. Her thesis focuses on developing genome engineering tools to study RNA dynamics in neurodegenerative diseases. She hopes her research will one day help remediate diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Fragile-X disorders.

Before graduate school, Yilan worked at growth-stage startup companies in both scientific and operational capacities. During her Master’s, she was a market research analyst and worked directly with the VP of Marketing and Operations at OncoPlex Diagnostics (now NantOmics). During her 3-year tenure as an Application Scientist at Bio-Rad Laboratories, she co-led product development in the flow cytometry and cell biology spaces. Her favorite part of this experience were cross-functional collaborations between external start-up companies, internal manufacturing, marketing, field sales and engineering departments as well as travelling with her team to evaluate emerging technologies from University of Washington’s technology incubator. She also served as technical consultant for Ligandal, a gene therapy company that was the first to develop nanoparticles (a safer alternative to viral vectors) as delivery vehicles for CRISPR-based therapeutics.

Her work at Ligandal helped the CEO and CTO raise $3M seed funding in 2017. Though offered a position as the first non-founding team hire, she was eventually drawn to San Diego’s vibrant entrepreneurial community and sunny beaches.

During her time at the University Growth Fund, Yilan enjoys learning from her Mentors and colleagues, and working on deals spanning sectors like database infrastructure, enterprise SaaS, digital healthcare platforms, and direct-to-consumer technology.

She enjoys making sushi, fashion photography, gymnastics, and hosting potluck parties during her free time.



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