Desert Horse-Grant is the Senior Director of Research and Innovation at UCLA Health and co-Executive Director of UCLA Biodesign. She facilitates the translation of discoveries from the lab to the clinical environment. Desert launched the UCLA Health Innovation Challenge, a seed funding program that recognizes and scales innovative therapeutic, digital and device solutions as well as patient experience and performance excellence efforts. A champion of the UCLA Innovation fund, she also connects UCLA Health researchers to resources and opportunities for funding on campus or commercialization opportunities in partnership with the UCLA Technology Development Group. In 2019, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce announced Desert and colleagues recipients of a national i6 Challenge grant to support Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS). The RIS portfolio represents a catalytic, nationwide program designed to fuel high-growth entrepreneurship and increase access to capital for communities across America. Prior to UCLA, she formerly was an administrator at Fred Hutch and MSKCC, and of multiple NIH-funded efforts, including the creation of a Physical Sciences-Oncology Center and a T32 training program for researchers at the intersection of computational medicine and cancer biology. She was named the 2015 Life Science Innovation Northwest Women to Watch by the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association and 15 Women to Watch by Disruptive Women in Health Care. She and her team’s pioneering work to develop Oncoscope, a novel biotool on the analysis and visualization of linked molecular and clinical cancer data, was recognized with a social impact award by GitHub and published in Nature Genetics in 2018. Within the Southern California ecosystem, Desert is a steering committee member for the FDA SoCal Consortium for Technology and Innovation in Pediatrics, is an active member of ScaleLA’s steering committee and is a member of the UCLA Data Governance Committee.
In 2020, she was recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the year's Top 25 Innovators.