Mary Khanna smiling

Alumni Spotlight: May Khanna '01

Wayne State chemistry alumna May Khanna, B.S. '95, Ph.D. '01, is now the inaugural assistant dean for entrepreneurship and innovation of the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Her journey from academia to industry includes receiving tenure from the University of Arizona and several years at New York University before making her way to Gainesville, Florida. She's co-founded multiple companies, including Regulonix, LLC, Regenerix, LLC and Eternum Analytics, LLC with former or current lab partners. A former mentor Wayne State's Dr. Christine Chow, Khanna brings expertise in small molecular therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, paired with substantial experience in research startup ecosystems.

I feel that the people who are in my lab are the ones that really drive the technology, and that’s a rare thing. It excites them because they know as they come in, they have true ownership of their discoveries.

In her role as the inaugural assistant dean for entrepreneurship and innovation at the UF College of Medicine, Khanna will move towards bridging the gap between academia and industry for postdoctoral scientists. By aiming to create a culture that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation within the academic setting, she is essentially offering a new career pathway that combines the best of both worlds, allowing researchers to work on cutting-edge projects while also engaging in entrepreneurial activities.

When asked what advice she could give current students, Khanna suggests getting an early start on research in a lab that excites them. "Where you end up in the future is dependent on you," she says. "Work hard, focus and enjoy the journey and you will do well."