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Alexandra M

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at Dartmouth College


Cancer biology, immunology, biotechnology, venture capital, entrepreneurship, startups


Hi, I'm Ali! I obtained my PhD in cancer biology & biotech innovation from Dartmouth. My research centered around human endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) and how these elements impact cancer immunity. This research was ultimately a blend of cancer biology, epigenetics, immunology, & bioinformatics! Prior to Dartmouth, I worked in Boston conducting immunology research at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT & Harvard. I then transitioned into biotech where I spent several years working at an immuno-oncology startup, Neon Therapeutics. At Neon, I worked on the vaccine technology team developing neoantigen-based therapies for cancer. It was during this time that my interest in biotechnology, startups, & healthcare innovation took root! Alongside my PhD, I worked as a venture fellow at an early-stage healthcare investment firm. I was also involved in Dartmouth's startup accelerator for cancer. Through this accelerator, I helped to spin out a CAR T cell therapy platform from an academic lab. Additionally, I served on the student leadership board at Dartmouth's Center for Entrepreneurship. In my free time, I love to snowboard, listen to podcasts, and volunteer at the local the animal shelter! I remain passionate about all things related to animal welfare and mental health.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Going viral: endogenous retroviruses in immunity

Did you know that 8% of our DNA is made up of viral sequences? Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are fossilized sequences of past retroviral infections that have become fixed in our genome. This project will explore basic questions around ERV expression and regulation in human health and disease.

It's all about the presentation...

The ability to understand, interpret, and relay complex biology and experimental data to a target audience is invaluable. You will pick a scientific topic or research paper of interest and learn how to put together an effective seminar-style presentation. This project will provide you with the tools, skills, and confidence necessary to give an informative (and memorable!) scientific presentation.

Have a startup idea? Interested in entrepreneurship? Let's pitch!

Do you have an idea, technology, or tool that you would like to see out in the market? Let's build out your startup plan and put together a 10-minute pitch deck!

Coding skills



Work experience

Dartmouth (2018 - 2024)
PhD Candidate & Innovation Fellow
Borealis Ventures (2018 - 2024)
Venture Fellow
Neon Therapeutics (2016 - 2018)
Senior Research Associate
The Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard (2014 - 2016)
Research Technician


Stonehill College
BS Bachelor of Science (2014)
Neuroscience (BA) & Chemistry (BA)
Dartmouth College
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Cancer Biology

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