Lauren Cornell, Ph.D., is the CEO of Novothelium, the Biofest Invest 2022 Best Pitch winner. She co-founded the company in 2015 to develop an acellular tissue-based product for nipple reconstruction, post mastectomy. Under her leadership, Novothelium has received other innovation and start-up awards, including: MassChallenge Platinum Award, TX A&M New Ventures 3rd Place Elevator Pitch, Texas Business Hall of Fame Best of Texas Prize, SBA InnovateHER National Finalist, among others. She is also a Principal Investigator in a corneal graft replacement research project at the US Army Institute of Surgical Research in San Antonio in the Department of Ocular Trauma. For the past decade her research has focused on tissue engineering, including stem cells, decellularization and sterilization methods of multiple tissue types, animal models and surgical techniques.
In 2021, Cornell was selected to participate in a 45 day simulation of Mars mission in NASA’s Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA). She lived and worked in the HERA facility to evaluate the impact of the delayed communication to Earth to be experienced in space travel to Mars on the ability to accomplish mission tasks.
Cornell holds a Ph.D. from the joint Translational Science Doctoral program at UT Health San Antonio, UTSA and the UT Austin. She also holds a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from UT Health San Antonio and a B.S. in Genetics from TX A&M University. As a student, she has completed an FDA Fellowship and received a Military Health Young Investigator Award. As part of a fellowship at the Association for Research in Vision Ophthalmology, she lobbied for scientific funding to the Texas delegation at the US House and Senate.