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Meet the Team

Meet the Team

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation team is paving the way for Chicago’s entrepreneurial spirit. Housed on a collaborative campus, we are a group of committed professionals dedicated to promoting and supporting students, faculty, staff, alumni, researchers and local entrepreneurs as they navigate the complex process of creating and growing a startup. To see a full list of Polsky Council members, click here. For general inquiries, questions, and feedback about the Polsky Center, please contact us at polsky@uchicago.edu.

Polsky Center Staff Members

Starr MarcelloStarr Marcello
Starr Marcello

Starr Marcello

Executive Director; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-834-2838

Starr Marcello, MA, MBA, ’17 , oversees the strategic development of the Polsky Center and works with University of Chicago students, faculty, and staff to launch the next generation of high-impact ventures as the Polsky Center’s executive director. She has been with the Center since 2005.

She runs the Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge (NVC), which awards over $500K in funding and services to top entrepreneurial companies each year. This year the NVC is celebrating 21 years and is ranked the #1 university accelerator program in the nation. Since 1996, the NVC has fostered more than 800 start-ups, with 160+ that are still in operation and growing strong, has created thousands of jobs, and has produced exits of over $4 billion, including Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB) and Braintree (acquired by eBay’s PayPal for $800 million). In 2017, Starr testified before the U.S. Congress’ Committee on Small Business on the merits of accelerator programs for job creation and economic development.

With funding from the National Science Foundation, Starr launched the Polsky Center I-Corps Program and helped designate the University of Chicago as an official I-Corps site in 2014. Through this interdisciplinary program, Starr teaches elements of the customer development process and human-centered design to researchers and technologists on campus with the goal of helping teams test the commercial viability of their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) projects.

Starr spends her free time teaching entrepreneurship to high school students. She sits on the Executive Advisory Board of TechWeek and is a board member for United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USABE).

Starr holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and both an MA and MBA from the University of Chicago.

Nancy HarveyNancy Harvey
Nancy Harvey

Nancy Harvey

Managing Director; Director, Technology Commercialization; Director, Venture Growth

5113 South Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615

Nancy Harvey, PhD, guided entrepreneurial new ventures to bring innovative products and services to market and provided experienced Fortune 500 business vision, strategy, and execution to refresh and grow existing enterprises. She served as an Executive-in-Residence at the University of Chicago before joining as Director of Venture Support. Currently, she serves as Managing Director of the Polsky Center.

In recent years, she conceived and established Wolfram Solutions, directed the innovative social media marketing campaign that launched Wolfram|Alpha, and negotiated the largest strategic business relationship in the history of Wolfram companies. She architected and executed the restructuring and refinancing of TenFold (TENF), an enterprise software company.

In the health care sector, her experience ranged from serving as Executive VP of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) Healthcare Group, a multi-faceted $400 million global business vertical, to advising a global developer of specialty hospitals, to providing strategic counsel to the executive leadership of renowned academic medical centers and regional delivery systems.

As an Executive-in-Residence at the University of Chicago, she helped conceive of the business that, as Agile Diagnosis, won the 2011 New Venture Challenge at Chicago Booth, and advised UChicago Impact, a university affiliated startup dedicated to improving urban public education in America by disseminating tools developed through the Urban Education Institute.

Nancy is a graduate of the College of Creative Studies of the University of California at Santa Barbara. She earned a PhD in Chemical Physics from the University of Minnesota as a National Science Foundation Fellow, held a post-doctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology, and subsequently earned an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Nancy is an avid skier, hiker, and global adventurer.

Steve KuemmerleSteve Kuemmerle
Steve Kuemmerle

Steve Kuemmerle

Senior Director, Industry Relations

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-3211

Steve Kuemmerle, Ph.D., serves at the lead of Industry Relations for the Polsky Center, where he is responsible for developing and maintaining collaborative relationships with Industry Partner in the research sector.

Kristin BarrettKristin Barrett
Kristin Barrett

Kristin Barrett

Senior Director

1452 East 53rd Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-5641

As Senior Director at University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Kristin leads the University’s 34,000 square foot coworking space and educational content for entrepreneurs looking to scale their businesses.

Prior to the Polsky Center, Kristin was vice president of 1871, one of the nation’s largest startup hubs, and led educational content for the organization. Kristin was the COO of Excelerate Labs (now Techstars Chicago), a top-ranked technology startup accelerator, and worked with startups and early-stage investments through Hyde Park Angels.

Kristin started in entrepreneurship while working on new ventures and corporate strategy for Redbox, participating in the company’s growth from 6,000 locations to more than 30,000. She has also worked in management consulting with A.T. Kearney, touching a variety of industries including pharmacy, logistics, and agricultural goods.

Kristin earned an MBA with Honors at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and her BS in journalism and economics from Northwestern University.

Timothy HonakerTimothy Honaker
Timothy Honaker

Timothy Honaker

Director, Finance and Operations

5454 South Shore Drive, 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-3203

As Director of Finance and Operations for the Polsky Center, Tim Honaker is responsible for the Center’s financial and administrative support infrastructure.

Tim Honaker joined the UChicagoTech as Chief Operating Officer in September 2003. His responsibilities include managing all aspects of the office’s financial and administrative support infrastructure. In addition he provides support and guidance to the office’s efforts in education technology commercialization.

Tim has spent most of his career as an entrepreneur focused on the use of information technology to streamline business processes. He was the Vice-President and General Manager of a Menasha Corporation start-up division that revolutionized the use of logistics technologies to improve supply chain productivity. The business operates today as National Consolidated Services and is a major supply chain partner to Walgreens Corporation. Earlier he was Senior Vice-President of Operations for a management team that purchased and took private a U.S.-based financial publishing and training subsidiary of Pearson. The business was later sold to the Washington Post for a 30-fold return to the original investors and operates today as Kaplan Professional Schools.

Tim received his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and MBA in Finance from Indiana University and is a Registered Certified Public Accountant in the State of Illinois. He has been an active member of the Association of University Technology Managers, Counsel of Logistics Management, American Association of Publishers, Direct Marketing Association, and Illinois CPA Society.

Micheline PergandeMicheline Pergande
Micheline Pergande

Micheline Pergande

Director, Marketing and Communications

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-7732

As director of marketing and communications, Micheline Pergande oversees the marketing strategy for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She focuses on defining the brand identity and delivering a consistent experience across all marketing touchpoints.

Prior to joining the Polsky Center, Micheline worked in brand management at Unilever Food Solutions supporting category performance in North America for Hellmann’s, Best Foods, Country Crock, Promise, Becel, and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Before that, Micheline was the senior manager of e-commerce strategy and digital marketing for Chicago-based Argo Tea where she initiated the company’s first-ever gift box packaging concept, facilitated industry-wide recognition as Nation’s Restaurant News Top 50 “2013 Breakout Brands”, managed the company’s social media engagement strategy across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Yelp, and completely overhauled the company’s e-commerce website in time for the 2012 holiday shopping season. Before her rewarding stint at Argo Tea, Micheline was named director of product marketing for Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi Nerve Center, the R&D hub responsible for developing next generation advertising solutions during the time when the advertising world embarked upon its digital transformation as social media, programmatic media buying, and audience targeting solutions emerged as new core competencies for agencies. Before becoming a seasoned marketer, Micheline gained technical skills as a web developer in the Bay Area, where she was born and raised. She developed database-driven web applications in PHP and MySQL for her alma mater, Saint Mary’s College of California, before moving out to Chicago in 2006 to attend graduate school.

Micheline earned a B.A. with honors in Communication from Saint Mary’s College of California, an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications with a specialization in Direct, Database and E-Commerce marketing from Northwestern University’s Medill School, and an MBA with concentrations in Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and International Business from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She was awarded the Walter Dill Scott Award from Medill faculty. She also earned a Professional Certificate in Web Design from the University of California at Berkeley in 2001.

As a proud daughter of an entrepreneurial family, Micheline is passionate about the Polsky Center’s role in supporting students, faculty, alumni and community entrepreneurs with their entrepreneurial ambitions.  Micheline and her husband, Shaun, a Chicago Booth ’13 graduate, reside in Chicago with their daughter Madeleine.

Jason ParisoJason Pariso
Jason Pariso

Jason Pariso

Director, Innovation Fund

1452 East 53rd Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-8112

Jason Pariso is the Director of the University of Chicago Innovation Fund, an early stage fund dedicated to the commercialization of research and technology generated at the University. He also develops strategic initiatives and programming for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He previously served as the Vice President of product management for Pinpoint MD, a healthcare startup building the first patient-physician engagement platform. Jason built a diverse set of skills while working as a Media & Telecommunications Investment Banker, founding an educational nonprofit, restructuring a textile manufacturer, developing corporate strategy for Dell Financial Services, and launching a SaaS call center telephony startup. Jason earned an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, holds a BA in Economics from Princeton University and is a Kauffman Fellow.

Waverly DeutschWaverly Deutsch
Waverly Deutsch

Waverly Deutsch

Academic Director for University-Wide Entrepreneurship Content

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
1-773-834-0484

Waverly Deutsch is responsible for cataloguing and coordinating how entrepreneurship is taught across campus. She looks at for-credit classes, workshops, programs, events and online materials to understand how information and tools are delivered to all University constituents across our entire Innovation Path journey. Additionally, Waverly teaches Building the New Venture. The class won her the 2005 Innovative Pedagogy for Entrepreneurship Education award from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. She also teaches a course on Elements of Entrepreneurship to CPS students over the summer as part of the Collegiate Scholars Program. Deutsch’s advisory board experience includes Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and Chicago Community Ventures.

Meghan KinneyMeghan Kinney
Meghan Kinney

Meghan Kinney

Senior Associate Director

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-9108

Meghan Kinney focuses on cross-campus and innovation programming. She is deeply involved with the Polsky Center’s I-Corps program, and oversees the center’s annual Collaboratorium and Big Problems, Big Ideas events. Meghan is passionate about helping teams understand users and collaborate between University disciplines.

Gorana KolarGorana Kolar
Gorana Kolar

Gorana Kolar

Associate Director

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-4073

Gorana Kolar focuses on building relationships and programming across campus as well as with regional and global partners. She oversees the Polsky Center’s alumni and global initiatives, including the Alumni Growth Forums and the Global New Venture Challenge. Gorana also supports the NSF-funded Polsky Center I-Corps program, and other innovation and venture creation programs.

Annie LeAnnie Le
Annie Le

Annie Le

Research Professional

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637

annie.le@chicagobooth.edu

Annie manages the Alternative Finance benchmarking study and publishes and promotes the study results. In addition, Annie supports Chicago Booth faculty members Randy Kroszner and Luigi Zingales on their FinTech research projects.

Mary Kay LoncarMary Kay Loncar
Mary Kay Loncar

Mary Kay Loncar

Associate Director, Operations

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-834-4526

Mary Kay Loncar organizes and supervises the administrative duties of the Polsky Center, working closely with leadership and staff across the university.

Nora Mansfield
Nora Mansfield

Nora Mansfield

Office Manager

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., 207
Chicago, IL 60637

773-834-9767

nora.mansfield@ChicagoBooth.edu

Nora Mansfield is the first-point of contact for visitors at the Polsky Center at Chicago Booth space. In her role, she assists with operations, which covers a wide range of responsibilities related to managing the student, faculty, and staff activity of the office.

Erika MercerErika Mercer
Erika Mercer

Erika Mercer

Director, Private Equity and Entrepreneurship Programs

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-834-1521

Erika Mercer oversees private equity and venture capital programming at Chicago Booth, including the Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab, the Sterling Partners Investment Thesis Challenge, and the Oxford Chicago Global Private Equity Challenge. In addition to advising students on career-related questions, she helps organize the annual student-run private equity and entrepreneurship/venture capital conferences.

Cerise MillerCerise Miller
Cerise Miller

Cerise Miller

Senior Program Manager

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-3998

cerise.miller@chicagobooth.edu

Cerise Miller primarily supports programs in Polsky’s private equity, venture capital, and Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition portfolio, including the Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab, the Oxford Chicago Global Private Equity Challenge, and the Venture Capital Investment Competition. Additionally, Cerise works on annual conferences such as SeedCon and the Private Equity Conference.

Lucas PeraltaLucas Peralta
Lucas Peralta

Lucas Peralta

Senior Program Manager

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-8310

lucas.peralta@chicagobooth.edu

Lucas Peralta focuses on  innovation programming including the Polsky I-Corps program, the Collaboratorium,  the Polsky Founders’ Fund Fellowship (PF3), and the New Venture Challenge among others. Lucas has valuable experience coordinating volunteer boards, implementing mentoring programs, managing digital marketing, and recruiting volunteers for key programs.

Crissy Ritter
Crissy Ritter

Crissy Ritter

Program Coordinator

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637

crissy.ritter@chicagobooth.edu

Crissy Ritter supports the Polsky Accelerator, the Global New Venture Challenge, and additional programs for the Polsky Center. She is a contact and resource for teams, speakers, attendees, and more while managing these events.

E.J. ReedyE.J. Reedy
E.J. Reedy

E.J. Reedy

Director, Strategic Initiatives

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.0812
M: 512-294-9547

E.J. Reedy oversees strategic initiatives at the Polsky Center, including research, global and alumni programming. He is a global thought leader in entrepreneurship, having spent the last decade working for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest philanthropy devoted to promoting entrepreneurship. E.J.’s research and commentary has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and a host of other global outlets.

Hannah Williams
Hannah Williams

Hannah Williams

Senior Assistant Director

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-4047

Hannah Williams oversees the event and alumni engagement function for the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC). She is also responsible for the annual Venture Capital Investment Competition, co-organizes the student-run Private Equity and SeedCon conferences, and works closely with many of the student groups.

Steph Avalos-BockSteph Avalos-Bock
Steph Avalos-Bock

Steph Avalos-Bock

Assistant Director, Educational Programming

1452 East 53rd Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-5168

Steph Avalos-Bock is a UChicago alumna and hardware entrepreneur. At the Polsky Exchange, she is responsible for the educational workshops and events and the mentorship program. She also runs the Polsky Incubator, a program for ambitious startups working full-time out of the Polsky Exchange. Steph offers weekly office hours to advise entrepreneurs on all aspects of starting a startup, from ideas to testing and building products.

Lucila CardonaLucila Cardona
Lucila Cardona

Lucila Cardona

Program Manager, Events & Membership

University of Chicago
1452 E. 53rd St., 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773-795-0209

Lucila oversees events and membership at the Polsky Exchange. She has previous experience managing a Canadian football team and working in finance at PepsiCo in Mexico.

Cindy DomeckiCindy Domecki
Cindy Domecki

Cindy Domecki

Receptionist

1452 East 53rd Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60615
773-795-0075

Cindy Domecki is responsible for all visitors’ first impressions of the Polsky Exchange both in person and through telephone. Additionally she assists with various administrative tasks.

Elizabeth KopruckiElizabeth Koprucki
Elizabeth Koprucki

Elizabeth Koprucki

Assistant Director, Fab Lab and Design

1452 E. 53rd St.
Chicago, IL 60615
773-795-0558

Elizabeth Koprucki manages the Polsky Center’s Fab Lab where she works with entrepreneurs and researchers to create prototypes. She oversees the Fab Lab’s programming and connects Polsky Exchange members with the hardware and software resources and expertise they need.

Danielle MooreDanielle Moore
Danielle Moore

Danielle Moore

Receptionist

1452 East 53rd Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-5168

Danielle Moore is responsible for all visitors’ first impressions of the Polsky Exchange both in person and through telephone inquiries regarding membership. Additionally she assists with various administrative task.

Nick NeuNick Neu
Nick Neu

Nick Neu

Operations Manager

1452 East 53rd St
Chicago, IL 60615
773-702-2470

nneu@uchicago.edu

 

Nick joined the University in March 2014 as a member of Facilities Services, quickly establishing himself as a reliable point of contact and willing collaborator within the Inventory Team. He oversees all physical aspects of the Polsky Exchange and manages the building’s reception team, security officers, and porters.
Christopher SchneiderChristopher Schneider
Christopher Schneider

Christopher Schneider

IT Support Specialist

1452 E. 53rd St., 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60615

cschneider1@uchicago.edu

Christopher Schneider is the IT Support Specialist for the Polsky TechBar, which is run in partnership with UChicago ITServices to offer technical support to Polsky members, guests, and staff. His responsibilities include assisting with common hardware and software problems, basic audio/visual support, and providing equipment for loan.

Cathy Taylor
Cathy Taylor

Cathy Taylor

Receptionist

1452 East 53rd Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-5168

Cathy Taylor brings 8 years of hospitality experience to the Polsky Exchange. Her primary duties include ensuring members and guest feel welcomed, managing the front desk, assisting colleagues with various administrative tasks, and processing membership applications.

Carla L. Bradshaw-MurryCarla L. Bradshaw-Murry
Carla L. Bradshaw-Murry

Carla L. Bradshaw-Murry

Project Coordinator, Technology Commercialization

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-3210

As Project Coordinator for the Polsky Center’s Technology Commercialization team, Carla supports several Project Managers in the management of their patent portfolios. Specifically, she handles patent docketing and event monitoring, license maintenance, financial review, government and private foundation compliance reporting, grant closeouts, as well as other intellectual property administrative matters. Carla plays a key role in organizing TCL events and has been a member of several teams assembled to implement office-wide initiatives.

Prior to joining the Technology Commercialization team, Carla spent several years in the banking industry and has also worked with the International Association of Assessing Officers (IIAO) in its Property Appraisal and Assessment Administration department, handling high volume inquiries, tracking progress and serving as liaison for different committees.

Carla has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She is currently pursuing her Paralegal Certificate. She is a Chicagoan, born and raised in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the South Side of the city.

George Chellapa, PhD
George Chellapa, PhD

George Chellapa, PhD

Associate Manager, Technology Commercialization

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-2893

George D. Chellapa, PhD, is an Associate Manager on the Technology Commercialization team at the University of Chicago. He enjoys working directly with University researchers on their diverse and cutting edge technologies. He works with faculty to analyze various intellectual property (IP) protection strategies, develop methods to market the technology and identify companies to bring nascent technologies to market. He is also involved in negotiating and drafting agreements between the University and commercial partners.

Prior to joining the University of Chicago, George was a Technology Transfer Trainee at the Office of Technology Management at Washington University in St. Louis. George is a chemist by training.  He was awarded bachelor’s degrees with First Class Honours in Chemistry (College of Chemical Sciences, Sri Lanka) and Computing and Information Systems (London Metropolitan University, England). In 2005, he received an Overseas Research Scholarship from the British Government to read for his PhD in Computational Chemistry at the University of Southampton, England.  He was a post-doctoral research fellow at Johns Hopkins University prior to his transition into technology commercialization in 2015.

George enjoys playing squash and is an avid traveler.

Margaret Fleetwood, PhDMargaret Fleetwood, PhD
Margaret Fleetwood, PhD

Margaret Fleetwood, PhD

Manager, Technology Commercialization

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-4619

As a Manager, Margaret works directly with researchers to commercialize their discoveries. She evaluates inventions and manages the procurement of intellectual property protection, and she markets and licenses these assets to industry partners or startups. Additionally, she co-manages the TechStart internship program, which provides students and other trainees experience in positioning technologies for commercialization. Margaret also participates in the University’s Conflict of Interest committee to help manage potential conflicts arising from innovation activities.

Prior to joining the Technology Commercialization team, she did contract work for both Northwestern’s INVO and University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Technology Transfer (now part of the Penn Center for Innovation). She also led two teams in conducting freedom-to-operate research for biotechnology startup companies through a program in the Wharton School.

Margaret holds a BA in Biology from Knox College and a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from University of Pennsylvania. She is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a patent agent, and she is currently pursuing her JD at Chicago-Kent College of Law.

In her spare time, Margaret enjoys worldwide travelling, running, and the pursuit of vegetarian umami. She loves bugs and spicy food, but prefers to keep these two interests separate.

Cristiane Frazier, PhDCristiane Frazier, PhD
Cristiane Frazier, PhD

Cristiane Frazier, PhD

Assistant Director, Technology Commercialization

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-8752

As Assistant Director, Cristi works directly with researchers to identify, evaluate, market, and license technologies arising from research at the University of Chicago. She manages a broad invention portfolio from diverse scientific disciplines including neuroscience, biochemistry, molecular biology, and oncology. Cristi also launched and curates the UChicago Tech Transfer Newsletter.

Before joining the Technology Commercialization team, Cristi served as a scientific editor for the journal Cell Metabolism. In addition to her scientific pursuits, Cristi was promotions director for WHPK 88.5 FM, a local community radio station.

Cristi holds a BS in zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a PhD in neurobiology from the University of Chicago.

Eric Ginsburg, PhDEric Ginsburg, PhD
Eric Ginsburg, PhD

Eric Ginsburg, PhD

Associate Director, Technology Commercialization

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-0746

As Associate Director, Eric Ginsburg provides guidance to the Tech Commercialization team and manages the recruitment and retention of talent within the Tech Commercialization team. As an active member of the team, he also directly works with researchers at the University to identify, evaluate, protect, and commercialize their inventions. Eric manages a large portfolio of technologies from diverse scientific disciplines including various aspects of chemistry, molecular engineering, and medical imaging.

Before joining the office, Eric worked in research and development at Eastman Kodak and Abbott Laboratories. Prior to working in industry, Eric was a postdoctoral researcher at the IBM Almaden Research Center.

Eric holds an SB degree from MIT and a PhD from Caltech, both in Chemistry. His graduate work focused on the synthesis and characterization of soluble electrically conducting polymers. Eric is a registered Patent Agent and a  Certified Licensing Professional.

He enjoys being somewhere like this or this as often as possible.

Cole Johnson, PhD, CLPCole Johnson, PhD, CLP
Cole Johnson, PhD, CLP

Cole Johnson, PhD, CLP

Manager, Technology Commercialization

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-3205

As a Manager, Cole works directly with researchers to evaluate, protect, market, and license technologies arising from research at the University of Chicago. He manages a diverse portfolio of technologies ranging from healthcare imaging to material science to therapeutics.

He co-manages the TechStart internship program, which provides students and other trainees experience in positioning technologies for commercialization. Cole is also a mentor to University startups through the Polsky Summer Accelerator and I-Corps Programs.

Cole holds a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University, a MS in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, and a MS in Bioinformatics and PhD in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is currently pursuing his MBA at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Cole enjoys running and sampling hot dogs around Chicago.

Matt Martin, PhDMatt Martin, PhD
Matt Martin, PhD

Matt Martin, PhD

Microbiome Lead, Technology Commercialization

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-266-1929

Matt Martin, PhD, is the Microbiome Lead for the Technology Commercialization team. In this role, he works with researchers and leads commercial development of discoveries from microbiome research at the University of Chicago and the Marine Biological Laboratory. Matt provides access to the broad set of Polsky Center resources including intellectual property development, venture creation and support, team building, and fund raising. He also identifies and develops partnerships with existing companies to take the next step in commercializing the breakthrough microbiome research here at UChicago.

Matt began his microbiome commercialization experience leading both business and technology development for Electrochaea, a renewable fuel company. Electrochaea developed a proprietary microbe as an efficient catalyst for producing renewable natural gas and is building its first commercial scale facility in Europe today. Matt was also an entrepreneur-in-residence for Nidus Partners and has worked in several technology commercialization roles for both the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.

Matt was trained as a physicist with postdoctoral research experience at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He earned a PhD in physics from Carnegie Mellon University and a BA degree from Goshen College studying math and physics. Matt is currently pursuing his MBA at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Matt enjoys skiing, hiking, and any other excuse to spend time in the mountains

Anne McLeanAnne McLean
Anne McLean

Anne McLean

Project Verticals Coordinator, Technology Commercialization

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-9151

As Project Coordinator, Anne supports Matt Martin and Thelma Tennant with patent portfolio management. Specifically, she handles patent docketing and event monitoring, license maintenance, financial review, government and private foundation compliance reporting, grant closeouts, and other intellectual property administrative matters.

Prior to joining the Tech Commercialization team, Anne completed her JD at Northern Illinois University. While there, she focused her study around intellectual property law; namely, novel issues arising out of the digital landscape. Anne earned her undergraduate degree from Miami University in Philosophy and Art and Architectural History. Between degrees, Anne was a full-time equestrian—training and competing hunter/jumpers. Her horses, Lucera and Cessna, live in the area.

Anne is licensed to practice in Illinois.

Sao-Mai Nguyen-Mau, PhDSao-Mai Nguyen-Mau, PhD
Sao-Mai Nguyen-Mau, PhD

Sao-Mai Nguyen-Mau, PhD

Invention Strategist, Technology Commercialization

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-1270

As Invention Strategist, Sao-Mai works with University researchers to evaluate discoveries arising from oncology and microbiome-related research. She provides field-specific, strategic insights to faculty and staff to help build and secure appropriate IP protection. Once an IP strategy is in place, she continues to guide researchers on experimental design to accomplish IP and developmental goals.

Prior to joining the Tech Commercialization team, Sao-Mai completed a doctoral program in microbiology while participating as a fellow working with Tech Commercialization team on market assessments and patent prosecutions. Sao-Mai holds a BS from the University of Maryland and a PhD from the University of Chicago, both in Microbiology.

Sao-Mai is a world traveler and donut enthusiast.

Bob Okabe
Bob Okabe

Bob Okabe

Venture Development Principal and Education Lead, Technology Commercialization

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-5420

rmokabe@uchicago.edu

 

As Venture Development Principal and Education Lead Bob Okabe is responsible for leading the Polsky Center Tech Commercialization team’s efforts to develop and grow startup companies based on UChicago research technologies. He also leads commercialization practice in the education industry, most notably as leader of UChicago Solutions, the University’s effort to bring innovative STEM instructional materials to K-12 schools.

Previously, Bob has been engaged with startup companies as an angel investor, board director, and interim CEO and CFO for sixteen companies. He has applied this experience to commercialization projects for UChicago, other universities, and corporations as a consultant and advisor for more than 15 years.

Teana StoccoTeana Stocco
Teana Stocco

Teana Stocco

Manager of Project Coordinators, Technology Commercialization and Licensing

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-0272

As Project Coordinator, Teana Stocco supports the Project Management team with managing their patent and licensing portfolio and supports office initiatives. She also serves as a liaison between the administrative, operations and finance and project management teams.

In addition to her responsibilities, Teana also helps to manage the team’s relationships with several University and non-University organizations including University Research Administration, the University of Chicago Investment Office, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the National Institutes of Health.

Prior to joining the Tech Commercialization team, Teana worked for several law firms in the areas of litigation, personal injury, and employment law.

Teana received her BS in Legal Studies from Grand Valley State University in 1992, and a law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2002. Teana resides in the near west suburbs with her husband and three daughters.

Thelma Tennant, PhDThelma Tennant, PhD
Thelma Tennant, PhD

Thelma Tennant, PhD

Oncology Lead, Technology Commercialization

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-4020

Thelma leads commercial development of oncology-related discoveries arising from research at the University of Chicago. She works with faculty to develop and protect their inventions, and facilitates stakeholder access to the broad set of Polsky Center resources, including intellectual property development, venture creation and support, team building, and fundraising.  Thelma also works with commercial partners to license and develop University oncology technologies, and identifies and develops partnerships with existing companies to help researchers accelerate breakthrough oncology research here at UChicago. Her efforts led to the creation and implementation the UChicago-Abbvie relationship, which has fostered significant research collaborations.

Thelma holds a PhD in Cancer Biology from the University of Chicago, and received her BA in Biology and English from the University of Virginia. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Thelma enjoys off-shore sailboat racing in her spare time.

Wolfgang ConnellWolfgang Connell
Wolfgang Connell

Wolfgang Connell

Assistant Director, Partnerships and Programming

1452 East 53rd Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60615
773-702-8136

Wolfgang Connell works on programmatic partnership opportunities both within and outside the University of Chicago community. This includes the University’s partnership with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Laboratory Corps Program in partnership with Argonne and Fermilab and other programs created to benefit entrepreneurs at the Polsky Center.

Wendy JonesWendy Jones
Wendy Jones

Wendy Jones

HR and Financial Coordinator

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-702-1966

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Doreen Mitchell
Doreen Mitchell

Doreen Mitchell

Controller

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-702-0304

Doreen manages the organization’s assets through the development, input, analysis, and continuous improvement of financial systems and reports required to provide accurate financial information to the Polsky Center’s stakeholders, and she ensures adequate controls are maintained to safeguard assets and that financial and human resource-related business processes comply with University of Chicago policies.

Doreen Mitchell joined UChicagoTech as Director of Finance in January 2007. In addition to managing all of the office’s accounting and financial reporting functions and providing financial support to the Polsky Center team, Doreen works closely with the Director of Finance and Operations, as well as with the University’s Comptroller’s and Budget Offices, to ensure seamless integration between the University’s and UChicagoTech’s operations. Further, she oversees the Polsky Center’s Human Resource functions.

Before joining the University, Doreen spent her career working for both for-profit and not-for-profit entities. She was the Controller for The American Dietetic Association and The American Dietetic Association Foundation, a Professional Association of over 70,000 members. She went on to become the Controller for Casa Central, the largest Hispanic social services agency in the Midwest. At Casa, Doreen worked with many different Federal, State and Local Agencies and was responsible for accurate reporting and recording of grant monies. Most recently, she was the Vice-President Controller and Chief Compliance Officer for Ibbotson Associates (now a wholly owned subsidy of Morningstar, Inc.), a leading authority on asset allocation and registered investment advisor with the SEC. In addition to her accounting and financial management responsibilities, she was instrumental in creating and implementing Ibbotson’s SEC mandated compliance policies and procedures.

Doreen received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Eastern Illinois University and an MBA in Finance from DePaul University. She is an active member of the Association of University Technology Managers.

Michael WilsonMichael Wilson
Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson

Assistant Director, Information Technology

5454 South Shore Drive, 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-3202

Michael Wilson manages the implementation of the processes and technologies that maintain corporate information at the highest levels of accuracy and relevance. This requires migrating related, but disconnected, information from multiple sources into a single, Web-accessible data warehouse. He also develops and maintains the interfaces that allow users to easily access relevant financial, document imaging, and patent prosecution information via a private intranet.

Michael Wilson joined UChicagoTech as the Manager of Data Quality in August 2005. His initial mandate included data migration from legacy applications, as well as coordinating the cleaning of thirty years worth of technology transfer data. This evolved into a responsibility for the quality, retention, and reuse of all of the organization’s operational information, utilizing the latest industry best practices and business process optimization techniques.

Prior to joining the University, Michael cultivated a long history of creating web services to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of business organizations, dating back to the dawn of the public Internet in 1995. He has done HTML coding, graphic design, database design, UNIX and Windows server administration, application programming, E-commerce development and project management for numerous companies.

Most recently, Michael was the Manager of Web Development at Infinity Resources. There, he was responsible for operations and development of several E-commerce web sites, the largest being DeepDiscountDVD.com, and expanded online operations to precipitate a 33% growth rate in sales. Prior to that, Michael served as the Manager of Web Development at NeuStar, Inc. There, he established the Web Services Department during the spin-off from parent company Lockheed Martin, including staffing, technology architecture, and capacity planning.

Michael received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Indiana University in 1997. In 2002, he earned an MBA with concentration in IT management from Indiana University. He then became an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University in 2003, and continues to teach E-commerce at the undergraduate level. Michael is an active board member of LakeNet, a not-for-profit web community firm in Lake County, Indiana.

Rose Jones Boyd
Rose Jones Boyd

Rose Jones Boyd

Executive Assistant to John Flavin, Associate Vice President

Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
University of Chicago
5454 South Shore Dr., 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.702.1692 or 773-834.3209

rjones2819@uchicago.edu

Rose Jones Boyd supports John Flavin, Associate Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Her responsibilities include managing John’s calendar, scheduling meetings, and organizing travel arrangements.

Rose has approximately 15 years of administrative support experience, with responsibilities progressing from general office work to management of large corporate offices. She joined UChicagoTech in 2008 as Office Coordinator, where she directly supported senior leaders and offered administrated support to the entire UChicagoTech staff. Her role at UChicagoTech also included preparing invention disclosures for review by entering disclosure information into internal databases, completing initial government compliance reporting, and confirming disclosure submission to inventors as requested.

Prior to joining the University, Rose worked with REGUS Worldwide as a Senior Customer Service Representative and AMWINS/StewartSmith Mid America Insurance Agency as an Assistant Manager.

Rose received her B.A. in Sociology from University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 1991. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog and is an avid reader.

Steve LehmannSteve Lehmann
Steve Lehmann

Steve Lehmann

Assistant Director, Innovation Fund

1452 East 53rd Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-5168

Steve Lehmann is the Assistant Director of the University of Chicago Innovation Fund, an early stage fund dedicated to the commercialization of research and technology generated at the University.  He is also active in a variety of strategic initiatives across the Polsky Center.

Steve previously served as an Associate for Ocean Tomo’s Innovation Management practice, where he advised companies on how to invest in, develop, and commercialize technologies and intellectual property.  Prior to Ocean Tomo, he worked on a variety of new ventures in the technology, social enterprise, and international development sectors. His experiences range from leading product development for a Silicon Valley FinTech startup, to launching his own social venture, Threadies, that helps refugee children cope with the trauma of displacement.

Steve holds an MBA from Notre Dame and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Valparaiso University, where he was also a Scholar in the Humanities.

Alan KoncarevicAlan Koncarevic
Alan Koncarevic

Alan Koncarevic

Head, Strategic Alliances

5454 South Shore Drive, 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-3208

Alan Koncarevic serves as head of strategic alliances for the Polsky Center, where he is responsible for developing and maintaining mutually-beneficial research collaboration relationships with industry partners, including the recently established master collaboration with AbbVie.

Alan has a rich background in innovation management and technology development, with more than 10 years of interdisciplinary experience in basic and translational research, commercial development, partnering, and licensing in corporate, venture creation, and academic settings. Most recently, Alan helped to lead corporate alliances for the University, focusing on initiating, building, and managing long-term relationships with the University’s corporate partners, to catalyze joint research initiatives and collaborative projects. Previously, Alan held an innovation management and commercial development role at UChicagoTech, where he was responsible for managing a diverse portfolio of faculty technologies and startups.

Before he joined the University of Chicago, Koncarevic worked at Enlight Biosciences, an entrepreneurial venture creation and investment firm founded by PureTech Ventures (now PureTech Health) in Boston, Mass. While at Enlight/PureTech, he led and supported initiatives to identify and develop various biotechnology R&D opportunities for Enlight’s pharma partners and investors leading to creation of several new companies.

Prior to Enlight, Koncarevic worked as a Senior Scientist at Acceleron Pharma in Cambridge, Mass. where he was responsible for preclinical development of multiple compounds across several therapeutic indications. Koncarevic has also provided consulting services for organizations, including Enlight/PureTech, and for The European Union and The World Bank Innovation Fund Project.

Koncarevic has authored multiple peer-reviewed manuscripts, presented his work at international scientific conferences, and contributed to inventions leading to several patent applications. He holds a Ph.D. in Physiology from Boston University and an undergraduate degree in Health Sciences from Lock Haven University.

Mariah MontenegroMariah Montenegro
Mariah Montenegro

Mariah Montenegro

Marketing and Communications Manager

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-834-3026

Mariah Montenegro oversees the management of the Polsky Center website. She works closely with program managers to support event and program marketing initiatives, and creates content for digital and print channels at the Polsky Center.

Mary NasetMary Naset
Mary Naset

Mary Naset

Assistant Director, External Relations and Communications

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-834-4695

Mary Naset serves as the primary point of contact for all press inquiries and external opportunities for the Polsky Center. She is responsible for overseeing all media relations, engaging key stakeholders and managing the Center’s presence across social media channels, and managing the Polsky Center’s high profile events. Members of the press are encouraged to reach out to Mary for a press kit on how the University of Chicago is a leader in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Jessy TapperJessy Tapper
Jessy Tapper

Jessy Tapper

Senior Assistant Director, Marketing and Communications

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-0842

Jessy Tapper supports the marketing and communications efforts for the Polsky Center. She is responsible for overseeing all event marketing, driving student and alumni engagement for Polsky Center programs, and managing large-scale communication projects such as the annual report and the Polsky Weekly 10. Students and alumni are encouraged to share updates about their new ventures, life milestones, awards, etc. with Jessy.

Ellen A. RudnickEllen A. Rudnick
Ellen A. Rudnick

Ellen A. Rudnick

Sr. Advisor for Entrepreneurship, Adjunct Professor

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
1-773-834-3781

Ellen Rudnick teaches the Entrepreneurial Internship Seminar and Developing a New Venture (New Venture Challenge). She is a successful start-up executive, having served as chairman of Pacific Biometrics and CEO of Health Care Knowledge Resources. She has held positions as corporate vice president at Baxter Healthcare and president of Baxter Management Services Division, which she founded. Her current board experience includes: Liberty Mutual Insurance, Patterson Companies (NASDAQ: PDCO), Health Management Systems (NASDAQ: HMSY), and First Midwest Bancorp (NASDAQ: FMBI). She was previously a venture partner for Inroads Capital.

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