Catalyst Program

The Catalyst Program is UCSF’s translational accelerator focused on advancing UCSF discoveries for patient benefit and commercialization. The Catalyst Program enhances early translational research and entrepreneurship education for UCSF Innovators (Faculty, Students, Trainees).

Catalyst Awards 

The centerpiece of the Catalyst Program is the Catalyst Awards, our program that provides both industry advisor mentorship and seed funding to UCSF Principal Investigators with promising projects. The Catalyst Awards are focused on the development of therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices, digital health, and biotools.



Catalyst LaunchPad

The Catalyst LaunchPad focuses on student and trainee (including postdoctoral scholars, medical residents, clinical fellows, etc) innovation and entrepreneurship - regardless of career path. The LaunchPad offers several hands-on experiences and learning opportunities to cultivate an entrepreneurial and innovative mindset amongst students and trainees.

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Born in California


Kunal Patel UCSF Innovation Fund

in support of the Catalyst Program

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On February 6, 2024, the UCSF Catalyst Program hosted its third Rare Disease Symposium titled "Catalyzing Innovation and Bridging Gaps in Rare Diseases" sponsored by Foundation Ipsen. This event was combined into a two-day symposium with LaunchBio's "Invest in Cures".

watch the recording


The Catalyst Internship provides an opportunity to be part of an innovative project team to learn about early translational research and the process of translating academic discoveries into products for patient benefit. The primary focus for Catalyst Summer Interns is to draft Target Product Profiles (TPPs) for the Catalyst Award projects. While creating the TPPs, interns will learn about important aspects of translating an idea into a project. 

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The Catalyst Program Newsletter contains program highlights, success stories, funding resources, and upcoming events and opportunities. 

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The Catalyst Program has compiled a list of disease databases, incidence & prevalence figures, core facilities information, as well as other useful links to guide researchers and students through the translation of therapeutic, diagnostic, medical device, digital health, and biotool discoveries to clinical impact.

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What We Do

  • Translating Science/Commercialization
  • Translational Funding
  • Technology Development

Our Team

  • Charles Hart, PhD

    Executive Director

    Charles Hart is the director of the Catalyst program. From 2004 to 2017 he was at Threshold Pharmaceuticals and responsible for both in vitro and in vivo preclinical translational studies. He was also project leader for the global clinical development program for the hypoxia-targeted anticancer drug evofosfamide (TH-302), a partnership with Merck KGaA. Prior to joining Threshold, Charles was Senior Director of Biology at...

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  • Roopa Ramamoorthi, PhD

    Director - Catalyst Program and InVent Fund

    Roopa Ramamoorthi brings a diverse scientific background in drug development, bacteriology, biotechnology, and engineering. Prior to joining UCSF, Roopa was Associate Director Partnering and Scientific Affairs at BIO Ventures for Global Health, where her focus was putting together collaborations between academic, non profit and pharmaceutical organizations to accelerate the development of drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for Neglected...

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  • Nathaniel Prorok, MHA

    Director - LaunchPad and Senior Program Manager - Catalyst

    Nate Prorok brings a diverse and wide ranging skill set and experience to the Catalyst Program team. After undergraduate studies in Physical Therapy and Athletic Training at Loyola Marymount...

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  • Sohela Shah

    Program Director Catalyst Program and InVent Fund

    Sohela serves as the program director for Catalyst Program and InVent Fund, within Innovation Ventures at UCSF. With a strong passion for advancing research projects and promoting technology patenting and commercialization, Sohela is dedicated to bridging the gap between groundbreaking innovations and real-world applications. Before joining Innovation Ventures, she held the position of founding product manager at The Production Board, a...

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