Diversity Woman Magazine

FAL 2017

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/876458

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Page 17 of 79

16 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N Fa l l 2 0 1 7 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m protection of human rights," Zhang says. "My work in human rights built the foundation of my life's mission: to improve the lives of as many people as possible by using scientific innovation." Today Zhang is the founder of Verge Genomics, a 12-person start-up in San Francisco. e company combines genetic-sequencing techniques and software algorithms to seek new drugs for neurode- generative disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Zhang made the unconventional choice to leave a UCLA MD/PhD pro- gram to start Verge. "I found a drug that helped mice recover function of their legs after injury, showing that software could accelerate the drug discovery process," she says. "I realized that if I wasn't the person pushing this work to commercialization, few other people in the world would." Zhang says that two things, in par- ticular, have surprised her about being an entrepreneur. "Being a founder is 100 percent a grind," she says. "Everyone thinks starting a company is about being your own boss, but in reality, it's about being your own employee—doing the tasks that no one else wants to do." e other discovery has been more freeing. "I've been surprised by what one can accomplish," she says, "if they're not bound by the expectations of others." Next A t age 28, Alice Zhang has deep experience as both an activist and an entrepreneur. For her, the two roles are inextricably linked. Zhang's father had been a prodemo- cracy activist in China before settling in the United States, where Zhang was born. When Zhang traveled to China with her parents when she was 12, she got a firsthand look at what her father had been up against: the family was put under house arrest and expelled. Later, Zhang returned to China and worked with AIDS orphans whose parents had died as the result of a government blood-selling scheme. "I saw firsthand how the delivery of health care is inextricably tied to the Young Entrepreneur: Alice Zhang Human Rights Entrepreneur Upfront >

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