Unleashing Innovation to Solve Global Health Challenges

Challenge Lab

INDENG 185 (4 Units)

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Students
  4. /
  5. Courses
  6. /
  7. Challenge Labs
  8. /
  9. Health Tech Challenge Lab

Class Description

Healthcare is indisputably one of the world’s largest, and yet, most impacted business segments, ripe for opportunities to reimagine and redesign how we care for the health and wellbeing of all people. Despite marvelous advances in science and technology, administrative overhead and costs have grown to the point where care remains inaccessible to millions of Americans and billions internationally as economic disparity reaches historic levels. Access to family planning, diagnostics, specialist or premium care, elective surgeries, brand name pharmaceuticals and even nutritional foods are accessible only to the wealthy. Mental health care remains stigmatized and unaffordable to a majority of Americans. Bio-security has, for the first time, reached national awareness in a pandemic. The latest diagnostic tools and treatments are available only to wealthy urbanites, and even then, care remains, for the most part, reactive to crises instead of preventive.

This class will challenge you to build multi-disciplinary teams of co-founders and unleash your business, technical, marketing and entrepreneurial creativity to develop a new business from the ground-up that addresses one of these key problems in modern healthcare. All majors are welcome. The goal is to build a course full of passionate students willing to push their boundaries and learn to create an amazing startup. Newly emerging tools in informatics, genomics, diagnostics, and even entire engineering and communication disciplines offer new paradigms to address what used to be intractable problems. Experienced business leaders, entrepreneurs and technologists will mentor by introducing you to several methodologies, processes and tools that will guide you through company ideation and creation process; help you refine and test your business ideas, plans, and models; help you design and build first prototypes and collateral; and help you to analyze markets and competitive landscapes --essentially run through the health-tech startup process. Maybe your new company really will change the world.

Challenge Lab

Challenge Labs (INDENG 185) are classes for students of all academic backgrounds who seek a rigorous, interactive, team-based, and hands-on learning experience in entrepreneurship and technology. This course uses a unique pedagogy, The Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship that involves the use of games, industry guest speakers, team exercises, videos and labs to cover the early part of the startup lifecycle. Each Challenge Lab has a different theme. In this highly experiential course, students form start-up teams to create technology solutions or services to address a broadly-defined problem posed by an industry partner or social challenge.


Phillip is an Emmy award winning scientist & teacher turned serial entrepreneur, with leadership stints at NASA, MicroDisplay, MobiTV, the Westminster Institute for Science Education, a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and DARPA's Biological Technologies Office that invested to create the pandemic prediction and warning systems, Moderna, and BioNTech as well as revolutionary Brain-Machine Interfaces.

Gail Gannon is CEO at Ensanté, Managing Director of WaveEdge Capital, and General Partner at Socorro Ventures. She is a premier business coach for healthtech and a staunch advocate for ethical tech around the globe. She is a serial entrepreneur in the B2B and B2C space. Gail worked with NGOs e.g. PATH for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gail routinely speaks at international congresses and investor forums (BIO International and Health 2.0/HIMSS), often sought after by Venture Capitalists and Angels, who seek Gail’s advice on promising startups. Gail earned her master’s degree from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a Patricia Roberts Harris fellow, a Certificate of Honor in Biotech, UC Santa Cruz, and an AB from UC Berkeley. 

View current and previous class offerings of Challenge Lab.

Refer to our Courses page for a full list of SCET courses and current class offerings

and our Certificate page for more information on our Certificate in Entrepreneurship & Technology.


See the Enrollment FAQs on our courses page and certificate page and contact scet-academics@berkeley.edu for additional questions.