UCHastings Instagram

          The McAllister streetscape project concludes with a great day of tree planting! Nearly 100 volunteers gathered to plant 50 trees and two small urban gardens in over 30 locations throughout the #Tenderloin earlier this month.
          Instagram Photo Likes wxhx, ayosh27, its_yayasworld and 19 others like this.
          Friday, November 16, 2012

          2L Uses Science Background, Patent Knowledge to Help UC Scientist

          For Natasha Iyer, a 2L, some of her happiest days are when she is back in the science lab.

          Iyer got her chance to return to her scientific roots when she met up with UC Berkeley Bioengineering Professor David Schaffer, as part of UC Hastings College of the Law’s Innovation Law Clinics.

          Schaffer is getting assistance from the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), a University of California incubator, and UC Hastings’ Innovation Law Clinics to help speed his ability to bring novel therapeutics to market.

          UC Hastings operates two Innovation Law Clinics. The Startup Technology Clinic helps small technology entities get off the ground, and the BioEntrepreneurship Clinic helps biotech startups.

          The BioEntrepreneurship clinic pairs students interested in intellectual property with inventors and early-stage companies who need help transforming their ideas into patentable and marketable products. The student work is supervised pro bono by experienced lawyers at Bay Area law firms, in this case, Michael Shuster of Fenwick & West.

          Iyer is one of several students participating in the Innovation Law Clinics, led by Professor Robin Feldman. For Iyer, it’s a natural progression of a scientific career that began in the lab. She did her undergraduate studies in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics and focused a large part of her time studying infectious diseases and health policy.

          UC Hastings was her top choice for law school because of its focus on IP and health law. She is concurrently getting a master’s in infectious diseases at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, commuting daily between the two campuses. Iyer credits UC Hastings, and its emphasis on interdisciplinary study, with having the flexibility that allowed her to pursue both degrees together. 

          Through the Innovation Law Clinics, she is working with Schaffer to help the startup move from idea to therapeutic. Schaeffer leads a research lab at UC Berkeley that applies molecular and cellular engineering approaches to biomedical problems, with a focus on engineering of stem cell and other gene therapeutics. He is also director of the Berkeley Stem Cell Center.  The start-up he co-founded focuses on bringing one such molecular therapeutic to market.

          “Launching a successful biotech is hard,” said Doug Crawford of QB3. “You have to have rock solid IP and freedom-to-operate, but fledgling startups are in no position to evaluate these complex issues.  Happily, UC Hastings’ Innovation Law Clinics have come to the rescue.  These energetic students and generous law firms have already put several companies on a more solid footing.”

          And the program has worked out personally for Iyer. “I lucked out. My experience has been right on point,” Iyer said. “It was quite a coincidence being matched with Dr. Schaffer’s company. He has been trying to get his invention patented since 2004. This summer I worked at the U.S. Patent Office, in the exact department he has been receiving push back from. I feel I have a firm grasp on the thought process of both sides involved and can really help foster understanding between the two.”

          Iyer sees her role as helping scientists translate the intricacies of a discovery or invention into a marketable product. “While I loved laboratory science, I think my strengths lie more in speaking than researching.  I can help scientists articulate their inventions and make them accessible to others by bringing my knowledge of both subjects to the table,” Iyer said. “It’s why I wanted to be an attorney in the first place: to take the ideas I saw so passionately pursued in the lab and convert them into something we share with the public..”

          Iyer is one of 20 students working with the Innovation Law Clinics, helping budding technology and biotechnology innovators develop their ideas and trouble-shoot legal issues

          “The most valuable experience comes from solving real problems for real clients, “said Feldman. “Our students learn what it is like in the trenches, and they gain that experience with both senior attorneys and clinical faculty guiding them along the way.”

          It’s shown Iyer a way to blend her passions. “The Innovation Law Clinic is giving me real hands-on experience and a chance to work with people who are doing groundbreaking research,” Iyer said. “I couldn’t be happier with the direction things are going."

          Go to News Archive

          Share this Story

          Share via Facebook
          Share via TwitterShare via EmailPrint Friendly Version

          Other Recent Stories/ RSS

          Monday, July 06, 2015

          Q & A with Rosailda Perez '14, Deputy Attorney General, California Department of Justice, San Francisco

          “I was frustrated by the level of advocacy that I was able to do as a social worker, so I went to law school to learn how laws are made and changed.”
          Wednesday, July 01, 2015

          Thinkers & Doers: July 1, 2015

          UC Hastings community members in the news and making moves, June 20, 2015 - July 1, 2015.
          Tuesday, June 30, 2015

          Angela Bruno '07 Wins Landmark Case Against TGI Friday’s

          She and her husband formed a personal injury firm for trial cases that is proving successful.
          Tuesday, June 30, 2015

          Alumni Win Big in NBA’s 40 under 40 Awards

          Andrew Houston ’07, Bari Williams ’08, and Kasheica McKinney ’08 selected for the award.
          Wednesday, June 24, 2015

          State Budget Keeps Fees Flat, Funds Long-Range Campus Plan

          Enacted budget provides sufficient funding to allow UC Hastings to maintain student fees unchanged for the 4th consecutive year; Appropriates $36.8 million to construct a new academic building at 333 Golden Gate Ave; Authorizes use of private donations to supplement the state’s appropriation for building enhancements so as to fully leverage the opportunity to create a “top of class” facility commensurate with the college’s stature and prominence.
          Go to News Archive