July 14, 2017 | last updated July 14, 2017 3:28 pm
40 Under Forty 2017

Will McLean

Photo | J. Fiereck Photography
Photo | J. Fiereck Photography
Photo | J. Fiereck Photography
(From left to right) Brian Paganini, Christian Sager, Evan Honeyman and Will McLean.

Age: 30

Company: Frequency Therapeutics

Title: Co-founder, VP of Biology & Regenerative Medicine

Town where I live: North Haven

Town where I work: Farmington

College: Tufts University, MIT, Harvard Medical School

Fun Fact

I grow and eat the hottest peppers in the world (Carolina Reaper, 300 times hotter than a jalapeņo).

Q&A:

What do you do in your current job? In my current job, I lead research to discover regenerative medicines that can be applied to many ailments throughout the body. Our lead indication is a drug treatment to treat hearing loss by regenerating lost cells in the ear that sense sound.

What are your goals in your current job? My goal is to have a major impact on the lives of patients by creating new regenerative therapies. Essentially, these therapies are designed to activate your body's stem cells to restore and repair damaged tissue. This work is creating a new mode of treatment for diseases caused by cellular insufficiencies.

What's your biggest passion? My biggest passion is making scientific discoveries that can help patients. In particular, I am passionate about regenerative medicine and researching what allows some species and organs to regenerate while others cannot. These insights are important for determining how to repair tissues for medical indications. I enjoy discovering drugs that unlock this regenerative ability in cells and tissues throughout the body because it has the potential to help millions of people around the world.

What are your future professional aspirations? My near-term future professional aspirations are to have a drug we are developing succeed in the clinic and improve the lives of people with hearing loss. In the future, I hope to use insights from my research to develop a regenerative therapy for Type 1 diabetes.

How are you involved in the community? I have participated in events for scientific outreach to young people. This has included serving as a judge for school science fairs and presenting at ManyMentor events, which aim to encourage and support underrepresented students' pursuit of scientific careers.

If you had one wish to brighten Greater Hartford's economic future what would it be? I would like to see growth of vibrant entrepreneurial communities that leverage science and innovation. The value of such a community can be seen at UConn's Technology Incubation Program, where startups can advance their innovative ideas through connections to UConn, investors and mentors. Such a community allows entrepreneurs to collaborate and learn from each other to avoid pitfalls and improve their progress. It also provides an opportunity for Connecticut college graduates to find jobs in the state. While we often hear about the successful inventor in a garage, my experience at TIP underscores the value of community and connectivity.

List four reasons why you deserve to be a 40 Under Forty: Co-founded a company that currently employs six Connecticut scientists, and recently closed on a $32 million series A funding round. Made key scientific discoveries in regenerating cells to treat hearing loss and other ailments, which have led to 12 filed patents. Scientific research has been published in high-impact journals and has received notable public attention. The work has been reported on by several news outlets, including NPR, STAT and the New Yorker. Participates in scientific outreach and the promotion of science and math careers for students.

Click here to see all 40 Under Forty winners

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