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.

Science and Technology

Science and Technology

Bill Payne, PhD

Bill Payne, PhD

Executive Director, Science and Technology

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Bill Payne, PhD

Executive Director, Science and Technology

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.834.7846
E: billpayne@uchicago.edu

Executive Assistant:
Beatriz Gonzalez
O: 773.834.3209
E: gonzalezb@uchicago.edu

Bill Payne is the executive director of science and technology at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago. In this role, he leads the technology commercialization, Polsky Science Ventures, and industry relations teams working to bring groundbreaking faculty research to the market.

As a seasoned business and technology executive from the telecommunications industry, Bill most recently served as vice president and chief operating officer of Roberson and Associates’ consulting. The firm’s clients are from various technology industries, and its services include intellectual property assessment and expert witness testimony.

Bill has held leadership roles in product and technology development at Nokia, Motorola, and AT&T. He had business unit chief technology officer (CTO) responsibilities at both Nokia and Motorola, driving innovations into commercial products and services. He led Nokia’s Small Cell Business Line, as well as the development of Motorola’s first commercial 4G/LTE cellular infrastructure products. As CTO of Motorola’s infrastructure business, he incentivized the development of idea disclosures and introduced an innovation gate process to track, promote, and move concepts toward patent filings and/or commercialization. Bill has 9 issued patents.

Bill is also a startup veteran—having founded and built a company that developed a mobile advertising and sponsorship service that was integrated into AT&T’s and Verizon’s networks and approved for use.

Bill received his BSEE from Purdue University, his MSEE from Georgia Tech, and his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a lifelong Chicagoan who enjoys boating and sports.

Eric Ginsburg, PhD

Eric Ginsburg, PhD

Senior Director, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

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Eric Ginsburg, PhD

Senior Director, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.834.0746
E: ginsburg@uchicago.edu

Eric Ginsburg, PhD, serves as the senior director, intellectual property and technology development at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Eric’s team works with faculty and other researchers to move their discoveries and inventions towards the marketplace.

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

Eric earned a 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.  

In his spare time, Eric enjoys being somewhere like this or this as often as possible.

David Gross

David Gross

Director, Technology Marketing and Innovation Growth

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David Gross

Director, Technology Marketing and Innovation Growth

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.702.8443
E: davidgross@uchicago.edu

David Gross is the director of technology marketing and innovation growth for the Polsky Center. He focuses on building relationships with industry partners on behalf of the Polsky Center and manages a portfolio of strategic projects in the areas of innovation and science.

Prior to moving to Chicago, Dave was the COO of a commercial construction company in Des Moines, Iowa. He has also worked in real estate strategy for Walgreens, and as a business analyst for Target in Minneapolis.

Dave holds an MBA from Duke University and a BA from Northwestern University in economics and geography. 

Thelma Tennant, PhD

Thelma Tennant, PhD

Director, Business Development and Licensing

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Thelma Tennant, PhD

Director, Business Development and Licensing

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.834.4020
E: trtennant@uchicago.edu

Thelma serves as the director, business development and licensing, at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.   She is responsible for licensing new university technologies to commercial partners, and works with faculty and her Polsky colleagues to find companies or build new companies that will transform scientific discoveries into products.   

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, she enjoys off-shore sailboat racing and paddleboarding in her spare time. 

Omkar Bhave

Omkar Bhave

Senior Manager, Industry Relations

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Omkar Bhave

Senior Manager, Industry Relations

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.702.6365
E: obhave@uchicago.edu

Omkar Bhave serves as Senior Manager of Industry Relations for the Polsky Center, where he works to develop, enable, and grow strategic partnerships with the private sector. He is also a trusted advisor on strategic projects for the Polsky Center and UChicago leadership.

Omkar has a strong background in business development, technology commercialization, and corporate engagement. Prior to joining the University of Chicago, Omkar managed a significant portion of chemicals revenue for FutureFuel Chemical Company and guided the company to several new business development opportunities. He has worked as a process engineer at Pryor Chemical Company. He has also held research positions at the University of Arkansas where he authored papers in the biotechnology and chemicals space and presented at scientific conferences.

Omkar earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from The University of Arkansas and currently enrolled in the MBA program at Chicago Booth. His hobbies include skiing, hiking, and travelling.

Benjamin Cox, PHD

Benjamin Cox, PHD

Manager, Technology Development and Intellectual Property

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Benjamin Cox, PHD

Manager, Technology Development and Intellectual Property

6054 S Drexel Ave, Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773-834-3211
M: 608-469-4846
E: blcox@uchicago.edu

Ben Cox, PhD, serves as manager of intellectual property and technology development at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He manages a diverse intellectual property portfolio consisting of inventions related to physics, medical imaging, and devices. He has become a key leader for the ongoing development of our quantum sciences technology portfolio and has also made great progress on soliciting and developing medical device inventions from clinical researchers.

Ben has assisted with entrepreneurial programs across the Polsky Center, acting as a coach to early-stage startup companies through the completion of the programs. He also serves as a mentor through the Polsky Exchange, where he advises people from UChicago and the surrounding community on engineering design, fabrication techniques, and intellectual property.

Prior to joining Polsky, Ben was a postdoctoral fellow in the Medical Engineering Group at the Morgridge Institute for Research in Madison, WI, working on novel medical device development with campus area clinicians. During his postdoctoral fellowship, he also served as an associate lecturer in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, teaching undergraduate design courses. He also volunteered on the board of directors for WiSolve Consulting Group, a non-profit business consulting group that trains STEM grad students in business consulting and entrepreneurship, serving a term as their director of operations.

Ben earned his PhD in medical physics from the University of Wisconsin, leveraging his engineering background to design and fabricate hardware for a variety of medical imaging applications. Before graduate school, he helped found a fabrication facility at the Morgridge Institute in Madison as a staff engineer. Additionally, he is an inventor of a novel nuclear medicine imaging phantom and co-founded a startup company to commercialize it. In his spare time, he enjoys learning how to cook new things and spending time with family and friends.

Anna Dembo, PHD

Anna Dembo, PHD

Associate Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

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Anna Dembo, PHD

Associate Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

6055 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773-834-8752
E: adembo@uchicago.edu

Anna Dembo, PhD, serves as an associate manager, intellectual property and technology development, at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She manages patent filings and prosecution for a diverse portfolio, including cancer diagnostics and therapeutics. Anna also participates in faculty outreach efforts and in assessing new technologies from intellectual property and commercial potential perspectives.

Prior to joining Polsky, Anna was a postdoctoral scholar in the laboratory of Dr. Geoffrey L. Greene, chair of the Ben May Department for Cancer Research at the University of Chicago. She also received her doctorate degree at the University of Chicago from the Committee on Cancer Biology. Anna’s research focused on preventing outgrowth of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

In her spare time, Anna enjoys traveling, cooking, and listening to podcasts.

Mike Hinton, PhD

Mike Hinton, PhD

Manager, Technology Marketing

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Mike Hinton, PhD

Manager, Technology Marketing

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773-834-9151
M: 815-757-0651
E: mhinton@uchicago.edu

Mike Hinton, PhD, serves as a manager, technology marketing, at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Mike’s responsibilities include sourcing industry partners for the commercialization of a diverse portfolio of University intellectual property. He also identifies and monitors market trends and supports optimization of strategies for introducing technologies into the competitive environment.

Mike holds a PhD in microbiology and immunology from Virginia Commonwealth University and conducted research on the hepatotoxic effects of anti-HIV therapeutics under a National Institute of Health fellowship. Prior to joining Polsky, Mike served on the board of directors of Colonial Scientific, a laboratory and medical supplier primarily serving the northeast region.  He also worked as a chemist for Chemtool Incorporated providing technically oriented project management and sales support.  He also volunteered as a technical consultant with the Chicago Inventors Organization working with early stage medical device companies addressing patentability and marketability of inventions.

In his spare time, Mike enjoys spending time with family, live music shows, and outdoor recreational activities.

Luke Hwang, PHD

Luke Hwang, PHD

Associate Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

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Luke Hwang, PHD

Associate Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.834.1270
M: 201.787.9912
E: hhwang04@uchicago.edu

Luke Hwang, PhD, is an associate manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development, at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He manages a diverse intellectual property portfolio of chemistry related inventions, mostly arising from the Physical Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. He also assists the faculty and researchers to bring their innovative work to the market via invention disclosures and patents.

Prior to joining Polsky, Luke was a postdoctoral researcher and graduate student in experimental physical chemistry working on fundamental protein-lipid interactions under Provost and Professor Ka Yee C. Lee in the chemistry department at the University of Chicago. He elucidated the biophysical workings of a key protein implicated in Parkinson’s disease, using synchrotron X-ray scattering as a primary tool. While completing his Ph.D., he served on the advisory board of Center for Identity + Inclusion where he helped first-generation, low-income, and immigrant students to better succeed at the University.

He volunteers as an active advocate for vulnerable immigrant communities across Chicago and is currently on the board of directors of Hana Center, a Korean American community organization dedicated to advancing immigrant rights and providing social services to those in need. In his spare time, he enjoys outdoor running and spending time with his wife.

Anne Juggernauth, PhD

Anne Juggernauth, PhD

Assistant Director, Business Development and Licensing

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Anne Juggernauth, PhD

Assistant Director, Business Development and Licensing

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

Anne Juggernauth, PhD serves as a senior manager of business development and licensing at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Anne works with faculty in quantum engineering, molecular engineering, and materials sciences to help transform their ideas and discoveries into patents, licenses, products, services, and startup ventures. She helps lead intellectual portfolio patenting, licensing, strategic partner development, and technology commercialization activities.

Prior to joining Polsky, Anne spent several years in the research in the materials industry where she worked with open innovation, technology scouting, and global platform technologies. She also spent time at the University of Michigan managing a diverse portfolio and leading the tech transfer fellows program to train graduate students and postdocs in conducting market and commercialization assessment reports on new inventions.

Anne earned a PhD and MS  in macromolecular materials science and engineering from University of Michigan and BS from Michigan Tech University. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, visiting family all over the world, trying new cuisines, and yoga.

Kenneth Gayosa Onishi, PhD

Kenneth Gayosa Onishi, PhD

Associate Manager, Business Development and Licensing - Microbiome

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Kenneth Gayosa Onishi, PhD

Associate Manager, Business Development and Licensing - Microbiome

6054 South Drexel Avenue, Suite 405
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834-8154
E: kgonishi@uchicago.edu

Kenneth Gayosa Onishi, PhD, serves as associate manager for business development and licensing at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Ken works with faculty in the Duchossois Family Institute to build partnerships with companies working in the microbiome and helps researchers transform their ideas and discoveries into licenses, products, services, and startups.

Prior to joining Polsky, Ken managed the chronobiology and neuroimmunology laboratory at the Institute for Mind and Biology. He earned his PhD in integrative neuroscience from the University of Chicago and his research focused on circadian rhythms and sex differences in biomedical research. While pursuing his doctoral degree, Ken performed due diligence as a George Schultz Innovation Fund Associate and screened novel University technologies for scientific merit, market size, and consumer adoption.

Ken is dedicated to commercializing microbiome-related technologies to improve health outcomes via therapeutics and diagnostics. In his spare time, Ken enjoys climbing, running outdoors, and experimenting in the kitchen.

Shane Thomas Peace, PhD

Shane Thomas Peace, PhD

Associate Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

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Shane Thomas Peace, PhD

Associate Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
E: stpeace11@uchicago.edu

Shane Thomas Peace, PhD, is an associate manager, intellectual property and technology development, at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He manages patent filings and prosecution for a diverse set of faculty from the Biological Sciences Division and Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. In addition, Shane participates in faculty outreach efforts and in assessing new technologies from intellectual property and commercial potential perspectives.

Prior to joining Polsky, Shane was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago’s Institute for Mind and Biology, where he researched the role of cortical feedback in the olfactory system during odor discrimination tasks using electrophysiological and optogenetic tools. Shane earned a PhD in neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University where he used a microelectrode array and optogenetics to study neural synchronization mechanisms that coordinate coherent oscillations in the olfactory bulb. Shane earned a BA in psychology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

In his free time, Shane enjoys low and slow barbeque, listening to the Mississippi delta blues, and spending time in the great outdoors.

Mario Riojas, PhD, JD

Mario Riojas, PhD, JD

Associate Director, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

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Mario Riojas, PhD, JD

Associate Director, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

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

Mario Riojas, Ph.D., J.D., serves as an associate director of intellectual property and technology development at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He works with faculty to develop intellectual property strategies and commercialization plans, as well as negotiating agreements between the University and commercial partners. He is committed to assisting University researchers with advancing cutting-edge innovations into commercial products in the marketplace

Prior to joining Polsky, Mario was a patent attorney for a major law firm in New York City. Mario also worked as a patent examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office specializing in the examination of artificial intelligence patent applications.

Mario earned his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, and his Ph.D. and M.S. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Arizona.

Mario is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Dane Smith

Dane Smith

Senior Associate Director, Business Development and Licensing for Computer Science Technologies

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Dane Smith

Senior Associate Director, Business Development and Licensing for Computer Science Technologies

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.3208
M: 858.997.8716
E: danesmith@uchicago.edu

Dane Smith serves as the senior director of business development and licensing for computer science technologies at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Dane works with faculty in computer science and AI to help transform their ideas and discoveries into patents, licenses, products, services, and startup ventures. He helps lead intellectual portfolio patenting, licensing, strategic partner development, and technology commercialization activities.

Prior to joining Polsky, Dane spent over thirty years managing global field operations for early stage companies and Fortune 100 enterprises, penetrating new markets, commercializing research, implementing technologies, helping to start new companies, and fundraising. Most recently he served as a strategic advisor to the CEO and   chief academic officer for the Winward Academy, a research-based, student-centered learning platform for high school students to build English, math, and reading skills. Dane’s nonprofit experiences include fundraising, creation, production, marketing, and global distribution for Arbella Studios, a Los Angeles-based documentary film studio.

Dane earned a bachelor’s degree from the Scripps College of Communications at Ohio University and is presently pursuing his doctoral degree from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, where he is a Doctor of Business Administration Nonprofit Management Fellow. In his spare time, Dane enjoys his board and fundraising advisory roles with BoomCloud 360, VRx Medical, Copernicus Microbeam Radiation Therapy, Teens Rise Foundation, and the Emanuel Trust. He and his wife, Nicole, always look forward to global travel, yoga, skiing, tennis, pickleball, and periodically, golf.

Han Sun, PhD

Han Sun, PhD

Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development, The Duckworth Family Cancer Fellow

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Han Sun, PhD

Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development, The Duckworth Family Cancer Fellow

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

 

Han Sun, PhD, serves as the associate oncology manager at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Han works closely with University of Chicago researchers and cancer research community to evaluate, develop, and market oncology-related discoveries and match new discoveries to unmet needs.

Han earned a PhD in cellular and molecular medicine from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. While at JHU, she started her cancer research career and contributed to the successful development of a therapeutic antibody that was licensed to a company. Han completed her post-doctoral training at City of Hope National Medical Center, gaining more experience in cancer immunotherapy research. 

In her spare time, Han enjoys reading and cooking – really spicy food. 

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