Marissa Kuzirian, PhD

Commercial Translation Architect

Collaborates with academic teams to create commercial translation opportunities from basic scientific and translational research

Investment Manager

Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse
Provides business and commercialization support to early stage life science companies in southwestern PA

Education and Experience

Marissa’s passion is to advance healthcare by bringing disruptive and innovative technologies to the market. Currently, she is an investment manager at Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse (PLSG), where she provides strategic support to pharmaceutical and healthcare IT companies in commercialization and business development strategy as well as evaluates their potential for seed and early-stage investments. Marissa brings a strong background in neuroscience and entrepreneurship to her work at PLSG and sciVelo. Prior to her current positions, Marissa was Vice President of Business Development at Fourth River Solutions, a non-profit consulting group run by STEM professionals, using academic acumen to solve real-world business problems. Marissa completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh with the Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research and her PhD in Neuroscience at Brandeis University. Her research focused on molecular and cellular mechanisms of synapse development, with a special interest in the perturbations of synaptic function in diseases, such as epilepsy and autism spectrum disorder.


Postdoctoral Training, Department of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh
PhD, Neuroscience, Brandeis University
BA, Neuroscience, Kenyon College

Research Experience

  • 14 years of neuroscience research, focused primarily on molecular and cellular neurobiology
  • 8 publications in top-tier journals, such as Cell and Journal of Neuroscience
  • Contributed to 8 grants from the National Institutes of Health and other sources, including 4 NIH Fellowships
  • 3 invited talks and 17 poster presentations at international conferences such as the Society for Neuroscience
  • Postdoctoral research focused on understanding the projection of neural signals of pain and itch from the spinal cord to the brain
  • Doctoral research elucidated the molecular and cellular process of synapse formation in primary neuron culture
  • Research Technician at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Undergraduate research investigated the inter-individual relationships between metabolic rate and body weight in the moth, Manduca sexta
  • Undergraduate research examined cross-sensitization to amphetamines in juvenile and adolescent rats after exposure to ritalin

Commercial Translation Experience

  • 2 pending patent applications for an epilepsy therapeutic and biotech tool for RNA interference
  • Sprout Innovator Award to translate basic scientific research into a commercially relevant epilepsy therapeutic
  • 3rd place finish in Pitt’s Blast Furnace Cohort 4
  • VP of Business Development for Fourth River Solutions
  • Worked with 9 early stage life science companies to optimize commercialization strategy
  • Evaluated 32 seed and early stage life science companies for potential investment opportunities
Below are the three areas you need to edit in order to place a new staff profile on the homepage, in the staff profile landing page, and the full staff bio page. These instructions are hidden and will not show up on the public profile page. You can, however, delete this box when you no longer need these instructions. I - Create a new Staff Profile page 1. Go to Posts and click "Add New" 2. Enter the person’s full name and degrees in the “Enter Title Here” field 3. Scroll down to the Muffin Builder section 4. Click on "Templates" 5. Select: "New Staff Profile Template" 6. Select: "REPLACE current builder content" 7. Click: "Use Template" 8. Update content within each Item accordingly. Anything within (parenthesizes) should be updated. 9. Scroll to the LAYOUT section and choose the following options to maintain the appearance of the page and navigation: a. Switch "Hide The Content" button to ON b. For Layout, choose "Right Sidebar" c. For Sidebar, select "Meet Our Translators" 10. Under Categories, choose the appropriate staff role. 11. Click Publish when finished. II - Add new Offer to appear on "Meet the Team" on homepage 1. Under "Offer", click "Add New" 2. Enter the person’s full name in the “Enter Title Here” field. 3. Copy/paste the content from the Body Copy area of another offer into this offer and update accordingly. This will guarantee you get the same look and feel. 4. Choose the appropriate category based on job title. 5. Add the person’s headshot under “Featured Image” and make sure the background is transparent (.png) 6. Update the Post Attribute Order field to keep with the alphabetical order. You will need to view the list of offers to determine the appropriate Order attribute to assign. You will then need to update all the subsequent offers so they continue with the appropriate order. 7. Hit Publish. III - Add new profile to Meet the Team landing page This content will need to be added manually and does not pull from other areas on the site, like the homepage or staff profile pages. You'll need to copy/paste the following code into the appropriate area and update it with the new staff member's information. Stage location: Production location:

Megan Breski, MS

Clinical and Translational Science Institute Program Manager