Nucleate Announces Planned co-President Leadership Transition

4 min readMar 1, 2023
Oliver Dodd and Michael Retchin

Nucleate, the nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the next generation of biotech leaders, announced today the planned co-President transition of Oliver Dodd to Michael Retchin in June 2023. This transition marks a significant milestone for Nucleate as a student-led organization, concluding the first period of co-Presidency transition.

Oliver joined Nucleate (formerly Activate Bio) in 2019 as a lead at the GSAS Harvard Biotech Club, serving the community and enabling company formation. As co-Managing Director, Oliver expanded the program across Boston and adapted it to a virtual format, key to Nucleate’s expansion. In 2021, Oliver co-founded Nucleate as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, bringing its open-access model to an international community. During this period, Oliver served as founding Executive Vice President of Operations and led the flagship Activator. As co-President, Oliver has worked to improve the Activator, produce Nucleate’s inaugural Summit, and manage the organization. Nucleate’s international leadership now comprises more than 900 academic trainees and operates 20 core chapters and 6 associate chapters.

“Working with the Nucleate community has been the single most impactful experience of my life. An initial focus on democratizing company formation has blossomed into a global grassroots movement, one that celebrates and empowers the individuals around the globe who use biology to improve the human condition. I am extremely honored to have been a founding co-President in this organization,” said Oliver Dodd, PhD candidate at Harvard and Nucleate co-founder and co-President.

“Since the day I first met Michael, I was stunned by his passion and dedication to supporting Nucleate’s mission. As our founding Executive Vice President of Strategy, Michael’s contributions to our expansion, brand, and programming have been foundational. With the board’s unanimous and enthusiastic support for Michael’s presidency, I am delighted to move forward with this transition.”

Oliver will facilitate the leadership transition and continue to contribute to Nucleate’s long-term vision through his work as Treasurer of Nucleate’s Board of Directors. As part of the planned succession, Michael has also been appointed to the Board.

“The Board of Directors thanks Oliver for his tireless leadership of the organization. Oliver and the founding team have ably developed Nucleate into an indispensable resource for aspiring biotech leaders,” said Mira Chaurushiya, Nucleate board member and Senior Partner at Westlake BioPartners. “Following Oliver’s transition, we are eager to work with Michael as the next co-President.”

“I am grateful to Oliver Dodd and Soufiane Aboulhouda, both for their exemplary leadership and for personally mentoring me,” said Michael Retchin, PhD candidate at MSKCC and EVP of Strategy at Nucleate. “There was no protocol we could reference to create Nucleate. Yet we experimented; we forged a new path for academic entrepreneurship. Like the research that undergirds our mission, Oliver and Soufiane have instilled in Nucleate the values of scientific collaboration. Ours is a community that celebrates intrepid experiments and prizes its people.

“The opportunity to serve this extraordinary community of biotech leaders simply awes me. I count myself lucky to be doing so alongside a stellar team. Together with Nucleate’s Executive Team, Board, and our co-President Samantha Sison, we are committed to building the premier organization for life sciences education.”

About Oliver Dodd

Oliver received his BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and subsequently co-founded a biotechnology startup before beginning his PhD. Currently, he is a PhD candidate at Harvard in the lab of George Church. His research at the Wyss Institute is aimed at developing pooled in vivo functional genomics tools to interrogate the biology of cell trafficking. With Northpond Labs, this work is being directed toward enhanced solid tumor homing of immune cells. Prior to serving as a co-President of Nucleate, Oliver served as Executive Vice President of Operations on the founding team of the organization. Oliver also serves as Nucleate’s Treasurer.

About Michael Retchin

Michael received his BA from Columbia University before starting his PhD at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Currently, he is a PhD candidate in the lab of John Chodera, developing machine learning tools for small molecule drug discovery. He is also a senior associate with Pillar VC. Prior to his graduate training, Michael worked at Flagship Pioneering, where he co-founded Cellarity. Michael co-founded Nucleate’s New York chapter and was the founding Executive Vice President of Strategy. He has overseen Nucleate’s global expansion, brand, alliances, career and venture initiatives.

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, Cromatic, Emerald Cloud Labs; (silver) Qiagen, Schrodinger; and philanthropic support from Schmidt Futures. Visit for our regional sponsors and more information.