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Colleen CutcliffeColleen T. Cutcliffe, PhD '04

Distinguished Alumna Award

CEO, Director and Founder, Whole Biome

Colleen Cutcliffe (formerly Colleen Tsui) is a rising star in the biotechnology sector with over 15 years of experience leading and managing biology teams in academia, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Cutcliffe was a graduate student in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in from 1998-2003. Her PhD thesis focused on the molecular mechanisms of ubiquitin signaling and was completed with the late Cecile Pickart. She subsequently completed postdoctoral studies in cancer biology with Elizabeth Perlman at the Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Following postdoctoral studies, Cutcliffe worked as a Scientist in the Parkinson's Disease Discovery Group at Elan Pharmaceuticals before serving as Senior Manager of Biology at Pacific Biosciences. 

Cutcliffe is currently CEO and Director of Whole Biome, a biotech startup located in San Francisco that has received funding from the Mayo Clinic, Sequoia, Khosla Ventures and others. Whole Biome, which she co-founded, is focused on developing novel classes of interventions, therapeutics and diagnostics that target the human microbiome to treat disease and improve lives. Whole Biome has been listed in the “Top 20 Companies to Watch” in Biotech SF and in the “Top 10 AI companies in Biology” in the Bloomberg Report. In addition to her position at Whole Biome, she is the Chair of the Jeanie Ritchie Grant Foundation and serves on the Board of Directors of the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation. Lastly, Cutcliffe is an advocate for women in scientific careers. She participated at a Women in Bio alumni meetup event sponsored by Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures and can be seen speaking on the topic on the Career Girls YouTube channel.