Nucleate Announces First Planned co-President Leadership Transition

4 min readFeb 15, 2023


Nucleate, the nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering tomorrow’s biotech leaders by educating today’s academic trainees, announced today the planned co-President transition of Soufiane Aboulhouda to Samantha Sison at the end of June 2023. This transition marks a significant milestone for Nucleate as a student-led organization, and represents the first transition of the co-Presidency role.

Soufiane co-founded Nucleate (formerly Activate Bio) in 2018 at the GSAS Harvard Biotech Club to provide aspiring entrepreneurs the knowledge, skills, and network to explore the company formation potential of innovative academic research, while also promoting collaboration between scientists, business students, and resident physicians across the various Harvard schools and affiliated hospitals. After 3 years, Nucleate spun out and incorporated as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization headquartered in Massachusetts. As the founding President, Soufiane led Nucleate’s establishment and expansion and today, Nucleate operates 20 Core Chapters (here) and 6 associate chapters (here, here), through an international leadership team of over 900 academic trainees and an Activator alumni cohort that has raised over $197M in venture funding.

“What started off as a simple question to challenge the status quo has quickly evolved into a global movement. By building what we wanted to learn, unbound by cultural and institutional barriers, we’ve created an open-access platform to democratize access to biotech education that will define an entire generation of impact-driven individuals entering the life sciences industry. It’s been a privilege and a humbling experience to serve as the founding President of Nucleate’’ said Soufiane Aboulhouda, PhD Candidate at Harvard and co-founder and co-President of Nucleate. “Samantha joined Nucleate with an amazing scientific background and during her time as an executive has demonstrated an incredible capacity for leadership. The board unanimously and enthusiastically supported her presidential candidacy, and I look forward to supporting her success in the role.”

Soufiane will support the leadership transition through June 2023 and will continue to contribute to Nucleate’s long-term success as Chairman of the Board of Directors. As part of the planned succession, Samantha has been appointed to the Nucleate Board of Directors.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we want to thank Soufiane for his incredible leadership of the organization over the last 5 years. As a founding member, Soufiane had the vision to create Nucleate and has led it from inception to now an international organization serving students across the globe,” said Peter Barrett, Nucleate board member and Partner at Atlas Venture. “As Soufiane transitions out of his role, we are very excited to work with Samantha as the next co-President.”

“I want to thank Soufiane for his remarkable leadership of Nucleate and his confidence and trust in me as the next co-President. In addition to bringing life science education globally and sparking an explosion of interest in biotech entrepreneurship among graduate students and scientific trainees, Soufiane has built an incredible culture and leadership team that continues to bring success to Nucleate,” said Samantha Sison, EVP of Research at Nucleate. “I am honored to be the next co-President of Nucleate and excited to lead the exceptional leadership team into Nucleate’s next chapter. I look forward to working closely with the Executive Vice Presidents and Board of Directors to continue providing open-access life science education for the community and building the next generation of biotech leaders.”

About Soufiane Aboulhouda

Soufiane received his BS from the University of California, Santa Cruz and subsequently worked at the University of California, San Francisco before starting his PhD. Currently, he is a PhD Candidate at Harvard in the lab of George Church and his research at the Wyss Institute is focused on developing pooled in vivo functional genomics tools to interrogate the biology of cell trafficking, where in partnership with Northpond Labs aims to enhance solid tumor homing of immune cells. Prior to Nucleate, Soufiane previously served as the President of the GSAS Harvard Biotech Club and was the first RA Capital TechAtlas Intern. Since its inception in 2018, Soufiane Aboulhouda has served as co-President of Nucleate.

About Samantha Sison

Samantha received her BS from the University of Wisconsin Madison and worked at the Medical College of Wisconsin before starting her PhD at the University of California San Diego. Currently, she is a PhD candidate working on her dissertation in the lab of Dr. Gene Yeo where she has been developing a platform to study mRNA translation at single molecule and single cell resolution in the brain. She is an NSF GRFP Fellow, an ARCS Scholar, and a SfN Neuroscience Scholars Program Fellow. Samantha co-founded Nucleate San Diego and was the founding Executive Vice President of the Research Initiative.

About Nucleate

Nucleate is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the next generation of biotech leaders, with chapters spanning 20 regions and participation from over 120 academic institutions. Nucleate identifies future biotech entrepreneurs, removes barriers, and helps founders concentrate on building transformational technologies.

Nucleate’s programs are made possible thanks to our generous HQ sponsors: (platinum) Alnylam, Genentech, Eli Lilly, Pillar, BlueYard; (gold) Alexandria LaunchLabs, Chromatic, Emerald Cloud Labs; (silver) Qiagen, Schrodinger; and philanthropic support from Schmidt Futures. Visit for our regional sponsors and more information.