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Johns Hopkins Researcher Shares First Place In Merck’s Innovation Cup

The winning team
The 2014 Innovation Cup winning team: From left to right, Sorin Fedeles of the Yale School
of Medicine, Steve Marquis Fernandes of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine,
Marie Spitzner of the Karlsruher Institute of Technology, Michael Becker of Deutsches
Krebsforschungszentrum, coach Arne Sutter and Hildegard Mack of the University of
California, San Francisco.

June 2014—Laboratory manager Steve Marquis Fernandes, M.S., M.B.A., a recent graduate of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, was part of the five-person international team that placed first in Merck’s annual Innovation Cup, a business plan competition. The team shares a 10,000 euro prize.

Fernandes was one of 30 students selected from 700 applicants to travel to Merck KGaA headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, for a weeklong Innovation Summer Camp. Over the week, teams worked with a coach to learn about research and development in the pharmaceutical industry and were tasked with creating a convincing business plan. Fernandes’ team developed a plan to bring a drug-antibody combination to market for cancer treatment.  

Working in Ronald Schnaar’s laboratory in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Fernandes is a manager of the multi-institutional Lung Inflammatory Disease Program of Excellence in Glycosciences, working to develop new ways to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.