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Elizabeth Iorns

Elizabeth Iorns

Completion date: 2008

Elizabeth conducted her PhD at The Institute of Cancer Research under the supervision of Professor Alan Ashworth. Within the Breast Cancer Now Breast Cancer Research Centre, she studied how hormone-sensitive breast cancer can become resistant to therapy and frequently accessed the expertise of various ICR research teams in order to do so.

After completing her PhD in 2008, Elizabeth took a postdoc position at the University of Miami. It was here that she used her experience of working within the highly collaborative environment of the ICR to develop a business that encourages researchers to appropriately share their technical expertise in order to conduct their research more cost effectively, quickly and to a higher standard of quality.

 “My experience at the ICR showed how integration of different teams with various specialties could effectively translate lab discoveries into clinical trials, and ultimately into treatments for patients. If we needed to use a particular technique that we were not expert in, we would work with trained colleagues who were experts in that specific technique. This greatly improved the speed and quality of our research.”

Elizabeth discovered that many researchers often attempt to perform new techniques in-house, because they find it difficult to incentivise technical experts to collaborate with them. She created Science Exchange, an online marketplace where researchers can order experiments from the world’s best labs to solve this problem.

In the summer of 2011, Elizabeth’s company was accepted into the Y Combinator start-up programme and she has raised over $5.5 million in early-stage investment and $1.3 million in grant funding to build Science Exchange into a company that provides access to over 2000 experimental techniques from more than 800 verified research labs.

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