Meet the Team

Meet the Team

We are a 60-person professional staff dedicated to supporting all University of Chicago students, faculty, staff, alumni, and outside small business owners in navigating the complex process of creating and growing a startup or bringing their idea to market. We also serve as an important gateway for industry partners, helping them access new research and technologies from the University of Chicago.

Deep Tech Ventures

Deep Tech Ventures

Dan Sachs

Dan Sachs

Executive Director, Deep Tech Ventures

View Bio

Dan Sachs

Executive Director, Deep Tech Ventures

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
E: dan.sachs@chicagobooth.edu 

Dan Sachs is the executive director of Polsky Deep Tech Ventures. In this role, he oversees all aspects of the University’s effort to apply Chicago Booth’s 25-year history of accelerating companies to innovation in the rapidly-growing Deep Tech space. He is responsible for science programming and accelerators, including the development a full spectrum suite of services, offerings, and investment funds to position these startup for success.

As a seasoned business executive and entrepreneur in the hospitality industry, Dan has strong ties to Chicago. He recently served as president of Meerkat Advisory, an A-list hospitality and leadership development advisory group, and was a professor of management and entrepreneurship at DePaul University. Before that, he was the founder and owner of BIN 36 Restaurant Group and grew the company’s wine brand domestically as well as to international acclaim. With 25 years of operating experience in the restaurant and service industry, Dan has become a trusted expert for private equity firms, large hotel corporations, and owners of live entertainment venues. He published the book The Million Dollar Greeting, which provides insights on how to apply hospitality industry best practices to strengthen company profit, customer retention, and employee morale.

Dan earned a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University, a doctorate in business administration specializing in organizational behavior from DePaul University, and a grand diplôme from École de Cuisine La Varenne.

Kim Kieras

Kim Kieras

Senior Associate Director, Compass

View Bio

Kim Kieras

Senior Associate Director, Compass

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
E: Kim.Kieras@chicagobooth.edu

Kim Kieras serves as the associate director for the Compass accelerator and science programs. In this role, Kim oversees the programming, education, and operations of the Compass deep tech accelerator. Kim’s work focuses on connecting the Chicago Booth community to research-based science and technology ventures launching out of the University of Chicago. In addition to her role with the Compass accelerator, Kim supports educational and experiential programs for faculty, students, and alumni interested in science and technology entrepreneurship.

Prior to joining Polsky, Kim worked at Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering where she supervised a portfolio of six professional STEM master’s programs overseeing all operations and logistics. Kim’s oversight included program policies and procedures, budget maintenance, staffing, ensuring student satisfaction, and collectively creating and implementing best practices. In her previous role at McCormick, she assisted in the launch of a new program, the Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence, where she served as lead administrator. Kim worked on the design and implementation of the program, oversaw admission and student recruitment, advising, and worked closely with faculty and other university constituents. Through corporate outreach and engagement efforts, Kim managed the program’s professional speaker series where she sourced industry partners and solicited real-world AI use cases for practicum and Capstone projects where she facilitated student and team matches. Kim also organized and facilitated events that included training, demonstrations, and hackathons.

Kim earned a master of science in learning and organizational change from Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy, and a bachelor of science in business administration from Argosy University.

Ellen Zatkowski

Ellen Zatkowski

Associate Director, Science Programs and Student Engagement

View Bio

Ellen Zatkowski

Associate Director, Science Programs and Student Engagement

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
E: Ellen.Zatkowski@chicagobooth.edu

Ellen Zatkowski serves as assistant director at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She manages the operations for the NSF-funded I-Corps program and the Collaboratorium. Ellen also focuses on developing other programs to support the scientific community.

Prior to joining Polsky, Ellen managed the college success program for a Chicago non-profit serving low-income students. In this capacity, she supervised a team of AmeriCorps members and full-time staff who advised students as they navigated colleges and universities. Ellen got her start in higher education at Babson College where she worked in the undergraduate admissions office.

Ellen earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in history from Boston College.

Ellen is energized to share the power of entrepreneurial thinking with audiences who have not traditionally had access to entrepreneurship and innovation programs. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, exercising, and exploring Chicago’s neighborhood bookstores and restaurants.

Anna Wislocki, PhD

Anna Wislocki, PhD

Assistant Director, Sciences

View Bio

Anna Wislocki, PhD

Assistant Director, Sciences

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
E: Anna.Wislocki@chicagobooth.edu

Anna Wislocki, PhD, serves as the senior program manager, sciences at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She supports the Duality quantum accelerator program where she is responsible for managing a portfolio of new and existing programs, events, and scientific initiatives. Anna joins the team of individuals working on programs and partnerships at the intersection of deep tech and entrepreneurship.

Prior to joining Polsky, Anna was a lead researcher for a number of STEM projects focused on education, diversity, equity, and inclusion. She collaborated with both the University of Illinois at Chicago and Chicago Public Schools to build chemistry curriculum that helps students learn chemistry through building connections between the subject matter and their daily lives. Anna has experience working closely with faculty, researchers, graduate students, college students and high school students through her professional and academic work.

Anna holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She holds a master of science in chemistry from University of Illinois at Chicago and a bachelor of science in biology from University of St. Francis.

Anna is dedicated to fostering and engaging the community in science while facilitating a path of learning which generates and proves opportunity that will lead to the successful fulfilment of one’s professional goals in life. In her spare time, she enjoys camping, exercising and spending time with family and friends.

Preeti Chalsani, PhD

Preeti Chalsani, PhD

Deputy Director, Duality and Director, Industry Partnerships for Quantum Information Science

View Bio

Preeti Chalsani, PhD

Deputy Director, Duality and Director, Industry Partnerships for Quantum Information Science

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.702.0911
E: pchalsani@uchicago.edu

Preeti Chalsani, PhD, serves as the deputy director of Duality where she helps set the accelerator’s strategic vision while providing the technology context to the accelerator and build relationships with corporate partners, mentors, quantum startups, partners, and stakeholders. She also serves as the director of industry partnerships for quantum information science in a joint position with the Polsky Center and the Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE).

In this role, Preeti seeks to build connections between industry and CQE member research institutions with the goal of advancing development of quantum information science and enabling technologies. She interfaces with CQE researchers and manages a portfolio of industry partners ranging from Fortune 500 companies to startups to build strategic partnerships for research, knowledge and technology transfer, and workforce and ecosystem development. She engages the Polsky Center’s resources and network and the CQE’s technical expertise and talent to spur the creation and growth of new quantum information science ventures.

Prior to taking on this role, Preeti served in the Polsky Center team as Assistant Director, Technology Commercialization and Associate Director, Innovation Project Program Design. She worked with UChicago faculty in physical sciences and engineering to support commercialization of their research, including through the formation of new ventures. She also worked on collaborative initiatives with institutions such as Argonne National Lab and University of Illinois to help grow the innovation ecosystem around UChicago.

Preeti earned a bachelor’s of science in applied physics from Yale University and a PhD in applied physics from Cornell University where her doctoral research was in the area of spintronics. After finishing her graduate studies, Preeti worked as a nanotechnology consultant and postdoctoral researcher at the National Research Council in Canada and then transitioned to a career outside the lab by teaching physics at Dawson College in Montreal, Canada before eventually moving into the field of intellectual property. Preeti worked as a scientific advisor and Patent Agent at several law firms in Canada for almost a decade developing patent portfolios for clients including from multinational corporations with mature commercial products as well as universities and startups with emerging early-stage technologies. She has experience working on diverse technologies from automotive and consumer products to software and quantum technologies.

In her spare time, she enjoys binge watching TV shows and taking in the architectural and culinary delights of Chicago.

Ozge Guney-Altay, PhD

Ozge Guney-Altay, PhD

Director, Investment Strategy

View Bio

Ozge Guney-Altay, PhD

Director, Investment Strategy

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405, Chicago, IL 60637

O: 773.834.2893

E: ozge@uchicago.edu

Ozge Guney-Altay, PhD, is the director of Polsky Science Ventures. In this role, she is responsible for leading and managing the startup initiatives for science and technology at the University of Chicago.

Ozge is an entrepreneur specializing in strategic and fiscal development of tech businesses. She is also an operations executive specializing in R&D operations, translational research, technology and innovation, IP protection, and commercialization. She has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

After almost a decade as an academic, she was recruited as the Director of Operations and Outreach of NERC, a $20 million research center at Northwestern University. During this time, she also completed the executive leadership program at the Kellogg School of Management and started her pursuit as an entrepreneur.

Ozge cofounded was and was former CEO of GSI, a startup company providing chemistry decision-making and synthetic planning software product, Chematica, which was acquired by Merck KGaA in May 2017. Since the successful exit of GSI, she has been working with the acquiring company in addition to her consulting activities and enterprises as an investor. She currently serves as an innovation mentor for various incubators and accelerators that specialize in tech businesses and medicine in the US, Europe, and Africa. She also serves on various industry advisory boards in academia and startups.

Steven Gould, MD

Steven Gould, MD

Consulting Director, Ventures

View Bio

Steven Gould, MD

Consulting Director, Ventures

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
M: 847.902.0304
E: sgould2@uchicago.edu

Steven Gould, MD, serves as the Consulting Director for Polsky Science Ventures and is responsible for leading the formation and launch of new science based ventures from University of Chicago faculty research. In this role, he advises faculty founders, engages the investor community, and works closely with leadership to develop future strategies for Polsky Science Ventures.

Steve is the Founder and Principal of The Gould Consulting Group, which provides advisory services to companies, universities and venture investors seeking to develop and capitalize on healthcare innovations in biotechnology and life sciences, devices, diagnostics, and healthcare IT. He is deeply engaged in the Chicago healthcare and entrepreneurial ecosystem. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors for MATTER; chair of the Advisory Board for Point B, a mentoring program formerly called Chicago Innovation Mentors (CIM); and a member of the Bioscience committee of WBC’s ChicagoNEXT. He has also previously served as a judge in the New Venture Challenge and has been an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Polsky Center.

He has in-depth experience raising capital for and investing in early stage companies in both clinical and scientific research in an academic environment, and as an executive for a publicly traded biotechnology company. As the scientific founder and former CEO of Northfield Laboratories, he led the company’s IPO and raised nearly $300 million in both public and private financings. Prior to Northfield, Steve was Chief of Surgery at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center and a professor of surgery at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Steve received his BA from Williams College and his MD degree from Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his residency training in surgery at Yale and the University of Vermont, and a research fellowship at Michael Reese and the University of Chicago.

Shyama Majumdar, PhD, MBA

Shyama Majumdar, PhD, MBA

Director, Data Science Accelerators

View Bio

Shyama Majumdar, PhD, MBA

Director, Data Science Accelerators

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.8696
E: shyama@uchicago.edu

Shyama Majumdar, PhD, MBA, is associate director of science ventures at the Polsky Center. In this role, Shyama works with faculty, staff and students to facilitate the creation of science and technology-based ventures developed by innovators at the University. While she has a focus on life sciences due to her scientific background, she is passionate about technology startups in general.

Prior to joining the Polsky Center, Shyama was a research assistant professor at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where she conducted Prostate cancer research. While at UIC she also worked as program coordinator at IllinoisVENTURES where she oversaw the running of the proof-of-concept fund that funds early stage technologies developed at the university. Prior to this Shyama worked as a consulting program manager at EnterpriseWorks where she helped develop and manage their accelerator program. 

Shyama earned a PhD and an MBA from the University of Delaware and conducted her postdoctoral research cancer biology at Harvard Medical School and University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Originally from New Delhi, India, Shyama now lives in the West Loop with her husband (MBA ’18) and two daughters. In her free time she enjoys cooking, reading, and binge watching TV series on Netflix. 

This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyze your use of products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts.

Accept