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.

University Leadership

Juan de Pablo

Juan de Pablo

Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, National Laboratories, and Global Initiatives; Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago; Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory

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Juan de Pablo

Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, National Laboratories, and Global Initiatives; Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago; Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory

Edward H. Levi Hall, Suite 601
5801 S. Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.1383
E: depablo@uchicago.edu 

Executive Assistant:
Cynthia Sullivan
O: 773.702.9476
E: sullcind@uchicago.edu

As the Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, National Laboratories, and Global Initiatives, Juan de Pablo helps drive and support the expanding reach of the University’s science, technology, and innovation efforts, along with their connection to policy and industry. He identifies and shapes emerging strategic scientific and technological initiatives and provides oversight of entrepreneurship and innovation activities at the University’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He also works with faculty, deans, and administrators to build global academic partnerships and international research collaborations while overseeing the University’s international centers.

He also provides leadership for the University’s stewardship of two U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories — Argonne and Fermilab— as institutions to advance science and technology in support of the nation’s interest. De Pablo collaborates with other leaders in research and innovation to build programs and links between and among the national laboratories and the University. Working with University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer, he plays an essential role in the University’s partnership with the Department of Energy.

Juan de Pablo’s research focuses on polymers, biological macromolecules, and liquid crystals, a diverse class of materials widely used in many fields of engineering. He is a leader in developing molecular models, computer simulations of complex processes over wide ranges of length and time scales, and artificial-intelligence enhanced methods to design advanced materials systems. He has co-authored over 600 papers, a textbook, and over 20 patents.

Juan de Pablo has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He conducted postdoctoral research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. de Pablo was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2016 for “design of macromolecular products and processes via scientific computation.” He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Physical Society, and is a foreign corresponding member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences.

Madhav Rajan

Madhav Rajan

Dean, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting

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Madhav Rajan

Dean, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.1680
E: madhav.rajan@chicagobooth.edu

Executive Assistant:
Holly Stauffer
O: 773.702.6680
E: holly.stauffer@chicagobooth.edu

Madhav Rajan is Dean of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting. His primary area of research interest is the economics-based analysis of management accounting issues, especially as they relate to the choice of internal control and performance systems in firms. He has carried out analytical, empirical, and field-based research on the role of information in incentive contracting, the value of nonfinancial and subjective performance measures, and the structural properties and usefulness of common financial ratios.

Before joining Booth, Rajan spent 16 years on the faculty of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business where he was the Robert K. Jaedicke Professor of Accounting, with a courtesy appointment in the Law School. He served as senior associate dean for academic affairs from 2010-2016, overseeing the school’s MBA program. From 2002-2010, he was area coordinator for the accounting faculty group. Previously, he served on the faculty at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, from 1990-2001.

While at Stanford, Rajan received the Robert T. Davis Award for Lifetime Achievement and Service (2017), and the Notable Contribution to Management Accounting Literature Award (2004). He also was the recipient of the David W. Hauck Award for Outstanding Teaching at Wharton (2000) and the Alexander Henderson Award for Excellence in Economic Theory (1990).

Rajan has served as editor of The Accounting Review, as well as Associate Editor for both the Accounting and Operations areas for Management Science. He has twice been a plenary speaker at the AAA Management Accounting Conference. He is coauthor of Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis, whose 16th edition was published by Pearson Prentice Hall in January 2017. He is also coauthor of Managerial Accounting, whose first edition was published by Pearson in January 2013.

He is a Director of Cavium, Inc. and iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of the iShares Trust.

Rajan received his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Madras, India, and an MS in Accounting, an MS in Industrial Administration, and a PhD in Accounting from Carnegie Mellon University.

Polsky Executive Leadership

Jay Schrankler

Jay Schrankler

Associate Vice President and Head of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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Jay Schrankler

Associate Vice President and Head of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.0404
E: jay3@uchicago.edu

Executive Assistant:
Camille Andres
O: 773.702.0926
E: candres@uchicago.edu

Jay Schrankler is the associate vice president and head of the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role, he leads all operations of the Polsky Center and works closely with both University leadership and external partners to advance the University’s innovation and partnership strategy related to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization.

Prior to joining Polsky, Jay was the associate vice president for the Office for Technology Commercialization at the University of Minnesota, where he transformed the organization into a top-rated university technology transfer office. Under his leadership, the office generated more than $560 million in revenue over 10 years, drove steady increases in licensing activity and industry-sponsored research, and supported the creation of 140 research-based spinouts resulting in 9 exits. He also served as the special assistant to the vice president for research where he worked on a variety of projects that drew upon his expertise in moving ideas and technologies to the market.

Before that, Jay served in various senior executive and global leadership positions at Honeywell International Inc., spanning the company’s space systems, aerospace, and environmental controls divisions. During his tenure at the Fortune 100 company, he was named a Honeywell Top 33 Executive, and served as a key member on the corporate strategy team.

Jay earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota, and a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Wisconsin. He has also attended the Harvard Executive Development Program.

With his deep expertise in technology development, electrical engineering, computer science, aerospace, and semiconductors, Jay has been a featured speaker at a variety of industry conferences and events held across the globe. He has also delivered commercialization training to the US Air Force Research Laboratory, the US State Department, the government in Poland, the government of Saudi Arabia, and several universities in Japan, Spain, US, and Norway.

Jay is an active angel investor and serves as a board member and advisor to several startups in the US. He is an aviation enthusiast, has built his own aircraft, and enjoys flying in his spare time.

Steve Kaplan

Steve Kaplan

Neubauer Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance; Kessenich E.P. Faculty Director, Polsky Center

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Steve Kaplan

Neubauer Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance; Kessenich E.P. Faculty Director, Polsky Center

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.4513
E: steven.kaplan@uchicago.edu

Steven Neil Kaplan is the Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Kessenich E.P. Faculty Director of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Steve cofounded the Polsky Center and the entrepreneurship program at Chicago Booth. He also started the New Venture Challenge (NVC), which is recognized as one of the top accelerator programs in the nation.

He teaches advanced MBA and executive courses in entrepreneurial finance and private equity, corporate finance, corporate governance, and wealth management. BusinessWeek named him one of the top 12 business school teachers in the country. Steve conducts research on issues in private equity, venture capital, entrepreneurial finance, corporate governance and corporate finance. He has published papers in a number of academic and business journals. Kaplan is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an associate editor of the Journal of Financial Economics.

He is the co-creator of the Kaplan-Schoar PME (Public Market Equivalent) private equity benchmarking approach. A Fortune Magazine article referred to him as “probably the foremost private equity scholar in the galaxy.”

Full Bio

Dan Sachs

Dan Sachs

Executive Director, Deep Tech Ventures

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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.

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.

James Licklider

James Licklider

Executive Director of Operations and Chief of Staff

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James Licklider

Executive Director of Operations and Chief of Staff

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.834.5641
E: jlicklider@uchicago.edu

Executive Assistant:
Camille Andres
O: 773.702.0926
E: candres@uchicago.edu

James Licklider serves as the executive director of operations and chief of staff for the Polsky Center. In this role, he oversees finance, human resources, IT, facilities and space needs, and strategic planning.

Prior to Polsky, James spent over seven years at UChicago’s Institute for Mind and Biology as its administrative director. He managed the post-award operation for the Florida State University College of Medicine and guided its faculty practice plan as chief financial officer. James also held roles in central post-award administration at FSU, pre-award and department administration at DePaul University, and executive management in several Chicago nonprofits.

James earned an MS in accountancy, MS in public services management, and a BA in political science at DePaul University. He is a Certified Research Administrator and a former participant in the Executive Program for Emerging Leaders (EPEL) at Chicago Booth.

Abigail Ingram

Abigail Ingram

Executive Director, Polsky Exchange

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Abigail Ingram

Executive Director, Polsky Exchange

1452 E. 53rd St.
Chicago IL 60615
O: 773.834.0812
E: aingram@uchicago.edu

Abigail Ingram is executive director of the Polsky Exchange, a 34,000-square-foot incubator space that leads the Polsky Center’s engagement with the South Side community through programs and initiatives that support local business owners and entrepreneurs. Abigail is passionate about the role of entrepreneurship as a pathway to opportunity and the importance of measuring impact.

Prior to joining the Polsky Center, Abigail launched the Women in Entrepreneurship Institute (WEI) at DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business, and served as its inaugural director for three years. While at WEI, the nation’s first comprehensive institute for women founders, Abigail designed and proved a model that measurably increases economic empowerment for entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur herself, Abigail also taught courses at Driehaus in Entrepreneurship Law, Entrepreneurship Strategy, and Women Entrepreneurs.

She launched her first venture, a music studio in Denver, Colorado, in 2009, and spent four years exploring sustainable business models for creative entrepreneurs. Abigail is a practicing attorney who founded and runs a boutique law firm that provides legal counsel to entrepreneurs.

Abigail  earned her J.D. and an M.A. in English from DePaul University. She went to undergrad at Eastern Illinois University, where she also studied English.

Erika Mercer

Erika Mercer

Executive Program Director

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Erika Mercer

Executive Program Director

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.1521
E: emercer@uchicago.edu

Erika Mercer serves as the executive program director of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role, she oversees all entrepreneurship programming within Chicago Booth, leading a team of staff in developing co-curricular programs and experiential learning opportunities for MBA students, alumni, and other related constituents. This includes managing the startup, private equity, venture capital, entrepreneurship through acquisition, and small business programs that serve the professional interests students and alumni. She has been with the Polsky Center since 2010 and, over that time, has led the development and growth of numerous Polsky Center offerings.

Erika brings close to 20 years of experience in higher education, having previously held roles in the international programming offices at the University of Chicago, Harvard University, and Brown University, where she managed, developed, and promoted study abroad programs worldwide, acted as the primary contact for students, faculty, and staff on site, and provided international training and advising to undergraduates. She served as a member of several international education organizations, including The Forum on Education Abroad and NAFSA: Association of International Educators; was published in Abroad View Magazine and the Bulletin of the American Research Center in Egypt; and presented at national conferences on the topic of cultural and citizen diplomacy. She also interned in the Academic Editorial Department at Oxford University Press, where she assisted editors with the review and preparation of manuscripts for production.

Erika earned a BA, magna cum laude, from Middlebury College and an EdM from Harvard University. She has studied in Spain, Germany, and Egypt.

Camille Andres

Camille Andres

Executive Assistant to the Associate Vice President and Head of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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Camille Andres

Executive Assistant to the Associate Vice President and Head of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.0926
E: candres@uchicago.edu

Camille Andres serves as the executive assistant to the associate vice president and head of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is responsible for support functions as well as special projects for the AVP and director of operations and chief of staff.

Prior to joining Polsky, Camille served as senior assistant to the associate dean, Psychology Department at Pepperdine University for 11 years. She supported the associate dean and also handled significant graduate program responsibilities, such as adjunct faculty hires, course schedules, payroll, and new student orientations. Before working at Pepperdine, Camille also served as administrative coordinator at another graduate school and has worked in various forms of healthcare. She began her career at Crain’s Communications in Chicago.

Camille earned a bachelor of arts in communications from Loyola University of Chicago.

Camille loves to travel both domestically and internationally, and in her spare time she enjoys working out, watching sports, and spending time with her family.

Steven Gould, MD

Steven Gould, MD

Consulting Director, Polsky Science Ventures

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Steven Gould, MD

Consulting Director, Polsky Science 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.

Education and Programs

Dan Sachs

Dan Sachs

Executive Director, Deep Tech Ventures

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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.

Erika Mercer

Erika Mercer

Executive Program Director

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Erika Mercer

Executive Program Director

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.1521
E: emercer@uchicago.edu

Erika Mercer serves as the executive program director of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role, she oversees all entrepreneurship programming within Chicago Booth, leading a team of staff in developing co-curricular programs and experiential learning opportunities for MBA students, alumni, and other related constituents. This includes managing the startup, private equity, venture capital, entrepreneurship through acquisition, and small business programs that serve the professional interests students and alumni. She has been with the Polsky Center since 2010 and, over that time, has led the development and growth of numerous Polsky Center offerings.

Erika brings close to 20 years of experience in higher education, having previously held roles in the international programming offices at the University of Chicago, Harvard University, and Brown University, where she managed, developed, and promoted study abroad programs worldwide, acted as the primary contact for students, faculty, and staff on site, and provided international training and advising to undergraduates. She served as a member of several international education organizations, including The Forum on Education Abroad and NAFSA: Association of International Educators; was published in Abroad View Magazine and the Bulletin of the American Research Center in Egypt; and presented at national conferences on the topic of cultural and citizen diplomacy. She also interned in the Academic Editorial Department at Oxford University Press, where she assisted editors with the review and preparation of manuscripts for production.

Erika earned a BA, magna cum laude, from Middlebury College and an EdM from Harvard University. She has studied in Spain, Germany, and Egypt.

Lucas Peralta

Lucas Peralta

Director, Entrepreneurship Programs and Data Strategy

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Lucas Peralta

Director, Entrepreneurship Programs and Data Strategy

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.8310
E: lucas.peralta@chicagobooth.edu
Student office hours

Lucas Peralta serves as associate director for college and cross-campus programs at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Lucas manages the College New Venture Challenge, the undergraduate track of the Edward L. Kaplan ’71 New Venture Challenge, a nationally-ranked accelerator program. He also manages the operations of the Polsky Center’s NSF-funded I-Corps site program. In addition, he runs the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program, Polsky Center Quick Pitches, and various speaker and pitch events. 

Prior to joining Polsky, while earning his master’s degree, Lucas worked as a program assistant for Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research Strategic Data Project, an initiative that helps connect schools and education agencies to emerging leaders in data science, to improve student outcomes. 

Lucas earned a master’s degree in education from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of New Mexico. 

Lucas is interested in the intersection of economic opportunity and education. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, eating (obviously), and running. 

Megan Fox

Megan Fox

Director, Svider Private Equity Program

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Megan Fox

Director, Svider Private Equity Program

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.5926
E: megan.fox@chicagobooth.edu

Megan manages a suite of programming and events within our Svider Private Equity Program, including innovative experiential programs such as the Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab, which offers a firsthand look at private equity through an internship and academic course; the Sterling Partners Investment Thesis Challenge, which provides investment thesis training with mentors at private equity firms; the Private Equity Case Challenge, a global, intercollegiate case competition held in partnership with Oxford University; and networking opportunities with industry professionals at our annual Private Equity Conference. In addition, Megan supports the management of the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, a premier startup launch program, recognized as a top-ranked accelerator program in the nation.

Gorana Kolar

Gorana Kolar

Senior Associate Director

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Gorana Kolar

Senior Associate Director

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.4073
E: gkolar@uchicago.edu

Gorana Kolar serves as the senior associate director at University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She oversees alumni initiatives – including the Alumni New Venture Challenge, the Alumni Entrepreneurs Growth Forum, Polsky Founders’ Fund Fellowship, and Startup Summer. Gorana also works with students to support and enable their venture creation and growth efforts. Gorana is a mentor to teams in the Polsky Accelerator program, as well as the Polsky Center I-Corps Site program. She has served as a business mentor for one national NSF I-Corps team from the University of Chicago.  

Prior to joining Polsky, Gorana was a manager, business development of licensing, at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC). There she worked with faculty and graduate students on intellectual property protection, license negotiation, and startup creation. 

Gorana holds a BA, MS, and MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. 

In addition to spending time with her family, Gorana enjoys traveling, running, hiking, yoga, and book club. 

Mary Kay Loncar

Mary Kay Loncar

Senior Associate Director, Operations

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Mary Kay Loncar

Senior Associate Director, Operations

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.4526
E: mloncar@uchicago.edu

Mary Kay Loncar serves as the associate director at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Mary Kay manages the day-to-day operations of the Polsky Center from budget reporting, gift, sponsorship and investment processing, contracts, and logistics. She maintains internal relationships with University of Chicago departments and external partners and considers herself a generalist committed to making sure the students the Center serves and her colleagues have the information and resources they need to do their job. 

Prior to joining Polsky, Mary Kay was an assistant director of marketing at UChicago Medicine, where she did similar work. Having spent time on the other side of the University, she was able to transfer her institutional knowledge to her current role and maintains relationships with former colleagues and contacts across campus. Prior to working the University of Chicago, she worked in advertising, marketing, and corporate communications/production. 

Mary Kay earned a B.S. in journalism from the University of Kansas.  

Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, in her spare time Mary Kay is interested in travel and spending time with family and friends. She is also working on becoming a much better cook with the support of her ‘foodie’ colleagues. 

Amber Bradley, Ed.D., PPS

Amber Bradley, Ed.D., PPS

Associate Director, New Venture Challenge

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Amber Bradley, Ed.D., PPS

Associate Director, New Venture Challenge

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

Amber Bradley, Ed.D., PPS, serves as the associate director, New Venture Challenge (NVC) at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She oversees and grows the NVC and its tracks, expanding the nationally recognized program and the resources available to University of Chicago entrepreneurs.

Amber has come to Chicago from Los Angeles, where she spent the past nine years working at the University of Southern California. Most recently, she held two positions: as assistant director of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) initiatives and as senior academic advisor at USC’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for the Arts, Technology and Business of Innovation. In this role, she supported the recruitment and admission initiatives of the Academy, including communication, outreach, interviews, and group presentations, and advised on the school’s recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups at the student, faculty, and staff levels.

Amber is a native of Southern California. She holds a doctorate in education with an emphasis in higher education administration, as well as a master of education in educational counseling and a Pupil Personnel Services Credential in school counseling from the USC Rossier School of Education. She also earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) and an associate of arts in liberal arts from Santa Monica College.

Outside of work, Amber loves the beach, dancing, all things Disney, and is a huge foodie. She is looking forward to exploring the food scene in Chicago and welcomes any recommendations!

Paul Cavalieri

Paul Cavalieri

Associate Director, Small Business Operations

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Paul Cavalieri

Associate Director, Small Business Operations

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

Paul Cavalieri serves as the associate director, small business operations at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Paul manages and builds the educational and experiential offerings in Polsky’s small business portfolio, supports students interested in closely held and family business, and serves as a resource to local businesses on a variety of operations topics.

Prior to joining Polsky, Paul gained expertise managing a medium-size enterprise at Race Pace Bicycles, a chain of seven bicycle shops in Maryland. Along with running the day to day operations, Paul focused on developing the company’s human resources system and bringing customer relationship management approaches to the marketing communications strategy. Before Race Pace, Paul worked as a third grade teacher at a public elementary school in Brooklyn, NY.

Paul earned an MBA from the University of Colorado, a master of science in education from Long Island University, and a bachelor of arts in journalism and government from American University. In his spare time, Paul enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and son and riding mountain bikes (slowly), playing drums (loudly), and learning Italian (parla un poco).

 

Kim Kieras

Kim Kieras

Associate Director, Compass

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Kim Kieras

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.

Nora Mansfield

Nora Mansfield

Associate Director, VC Programs and Startup Engagement

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Nora Mansfield

Associate Director, VC Programs and Startup Engagement

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.9767
E: nora.mansfield@chicagobooth.edu

Nora Mansfield serves as the associate director of VC programs and startup engagement at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She manages the Polsky Center’s portfolio of venture capital programing—including the VCIC, PE/VC Lab, San Francisco Initiative, and SeedCon. In addition, she is responsible for initiatives to engage and track startups as they move between and graduate from Polsky Center programs. In this “startup engagement” role, she provides support to startups, helping them identify needs, connecting them with Polsky Center resources, and serving as a consistent point of contact for them as they transition between and out of programs.

Prior to joining Polsky, Nora was on the marketing team of a buy-one, give-one brand based out of Los Angeles that provided school supplies to classrooms in need in the U.S.

Nora earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and studio art from Loyola Marymount University (LMU). While at LMU, Nora was actively involved in service and social justice organizations and worked for various social enterprises in the Los Angeles area.

Nora is driven by fostering connections to help both students and startups succeed. Nora enjoys all things related to food – exploring new restaurants, testing recipes, and striving to find the perfect balance of salt, fat, acid, and heat. When she’s not thinking about food, you can find her practicing yoga or creating art.

Kate Turvy

Kate Turvy

Associate Director, Entrepreneurship Programs and Engagement

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Kate Turvy

Associate Director, Entrepreneurship Programs and Engagement

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

Kate Turvy serves as the associate director, entrepreneurship programs and engagement at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She manages a portfolio of entrepreneurship programs and events, including the Entrepreneur- and Investor-in-Residence programs, and works together with the education and programming team to drive student, alumni, and external engagement in Polsky’s programming.

Prior to joining Polsky, Kate worked at the Chicago Public Education Fund (The Fund), where she served on the Data & Policy team. In that role, she analyzed program and system wide school performance data, as well as broader education research that helped inform The Fund’s program and policy strategy to retain and support school leaders in all of Chicago’s 650 public schools. She helped facilitate several citywide working groups and committees, including the Education Transition Committee for Mayor Lori Lightfoot in 2019. Before joining The Fund, she served as a data manager at Akili Academy of New Orleans, where she supported overall school operations and analyzed student data to support teachers and school leaders. Earlier in her career, Kate played professional tennis and competed against players in tournaments across the globe.

Kate earned a BS in education and social policy from Northwestern University. In her spare time, Kate enjoys doing anything active outdoors, baking, and reading.

Ellen Zatkowski

Ellen Zatkowski

Associate Director

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Ellen Zatkowski

Associate Director

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.

Isra Omar

Isra Omar

Assistant Director

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Isra Omar

Assistant Director

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
E: iomar@uchicago.edu

Isra Omar manages the Polsky Small Business Growth program, which supports small business owners on the south and west side of Chicago to help them grow and scale their businesses through consulting work completed by top student talent.

Isra has a strong passion for helping small businesses and the local Chicago community. She is a volunteer for the Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA) where she manage the oral recording sessions of its storytellers in partnership with StoryCorps. In recognition of her hard work, Isra was named the first recipient of the Emerging Young Leader Award presented during the 2018 Annual MALA Gala. She previously worked for Studio Gang Architects. Isra is a graduate of DePaul University with a degree in accountancy and a minor in Arabic studies. 

 

Makaia Smith

Makaia Smith

Assistant Director, Events

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Makaia Smith

Assistant Director, Events

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.9108
E: makaia.smith@chicagobooth.edu

 

Makaia Smith serves as the Assistant Director of Events at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She will be supporting the Education and Programs team with the planning and execution of a broad range of in-person and virtual events. Makaia will play a critical role in streamlining the events process as we continue to improve our operational efficiency.

Prior to joining the Polsky Center, Makaia was the Events Coordinator for the Kankakee Public Library and Spotlight Meetings and Events, Inc. In this role, she coordinated in-person and virtual community programs and events with 3,500+ attendees.

Makaia’s education background includes a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising and Design with a minor in Event Management from Central Michigan University.

Anna Wislocki, PhD

Anna Wislocki, PhD

Assistant Director, Sciences

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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.

Isabelle Schellenger

Isabelle Schellenger

Assistant Director, Student Programs

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Isabelle Schellenger

Assistant Director, Student Programs

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

Isabelle Schellenger serves as the Assistant Director, Student Programs at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Isabelle manages a portfolio of programs under the Svider Private Equity Program suite, with a specific focus on Polsky’s Entrepreneurship through Acquisition and Venture Capital programming.

Prior to joining Polsky, Isabelle worked at the Aspen Institute, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, DC, where she managed and supported an innovative portfolio of projects relating to global development, public health, and leadership. Her work at Aspen included the development of the Aspen Institute’s first all-women fellowship and training program on leadership as well as a microloan program for female artisan entrepreneurs around the globe.

Isabelle recently graduated from the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS) at the University of Chicago and, for her thesis, designed and conducted an independent qualitative research project on alternative models of public, single-sex schooling for girls. In addition to her MA from UChicago, Isabelle holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Spanish, magna cum laude, from Franklin & Marshall College.

In her spare time, Isabelle enjoys painting, taking care of her plants, and keeping up with all things Marvel.

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.

Preeti Chalsani, PhD

Preeti Chalsani, PhD

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

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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, Polsky Science Ventures

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Ozge Guney-Altay, PhD

Director, Polsky Science Ventures

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, Polsky Science Ventures

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Steven Gould, MD

Consulting Director, Polsky Science 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.

David Gross

David Gross

Director, Industry Relations and Strategy

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David Gross

Director, Industry Relations and Strategy

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

David Gross is the director of industry relations and strategy 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

Manager, Industry Relations

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Omkar Bhave

Manager, Industry Relations

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

Omkar Bhave serves as manager of industry relations for the Polsky Center, where he works to develop, enable, and grow strategic partnerships with the private sector.

Omkar has a strong background in business development, product commercialization, corporate engagement, and project management. Omkar works with UChicago faculty, students, staff, and entrepreneurs to identify the highest value industry partners and structure mutually-beneficial collaboration models and research partnerships.

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 experience with negotiating new business agreements and patent licensing agreements, building business cases for new product portfolios, and developing cost estimates. 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 international scientific conferences.

Omkar holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from The University of Arkansas. His hobbies include fishing, playing guitar, and scuba diving.

Benjamin Cox, PHD

Benjamin Cox, PHD

Associate Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

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Benjamin Cox, PHD

Associate Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

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

Ben Cox, PhD, is associate 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 also serves as a resource to faculty, assisting them with invention disclosures and the patenting process.

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, Market Intelligence

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Mike Hinton, PhD

Manager, Market Intelligence

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, market intelligence, 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

Senior Manager, Business Development and Licensing

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Anne Juggernauth, PhD

Senior Manager, 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.

Shyama Majumdar, PhD, MBA

Shyama Majumdar, PhD, MBA

Associate Director, Science Ventures

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Shyama Majumdar, PhD, MBA

Associate Director, Science Ventures

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. 

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. 

Polsky Exchange

Abigail Ingram

Abigail Ingram

Executive Director, Polsky Exchange

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Abigail Ingram

Executive Director, Polsky Exchange

1452 E. 53rd St.
Chicago IL 60615
O: 773.834.0812
E: aingram@uchicago.edu

Abigail Ingram is executive director of the Polsky Exchange, a 34,000-square-foot incubator space that leads the Polsky Center’s engagement with the South Side community through programs and initiatives that support local business owners and entrepreneurs. Abigail is passionate about the role of entrepreneurship as a pathway to opportunity and the importance of measuring impact.

Prior to joining the Polsky Center, Abigail launched the Women in Entrepreneurship Institute (WEI) at DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business, and served as its inaugural director for three years. While at WEI, the nation’s first comprehensive institute for women founders, Abigail designed and proved a model that measurably increases economic empowerment for entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur herself, Abigail also taught courses at Driehaus in Entrepreneurship Law, Entrepreneurship Strategy, and Women Entrepreneurs.

She launched her first venture, a music studio in Denver, Colorado, in 2009, and spent four years exploring sustainable business models for creative entrepreneurs. Abigail is a practicing attorney who founded and runs a boutique law firm that provides legal counsel to entrepreneurs.

Abigail  earned her J.D. and an M.A. in English from DePaul University. She went to undergrad at Eastern Illinois University, where she also studied English.

Cindy Domecki

Cindy Domecki

Receptionist

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Cindy Domecki

Receptionist

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.795.0075
E: cdomecki@uchicago.edu

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.

Jane Johnson

Jane Johnson

3D and Fabrication Fellow

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Jane Johnson

3D and Fabrication Fellow

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.702.2952
E: janej@uchicago.edu

Jane Johnson serves as the 3D and Fabrication Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She assists members with prototyping and ensures lab equipment is properly functioning. Prior to joining Polsky, she was in the Metal Fabrication industry as a CNC Machinist where she worked on projects for aerospace and other projects related to the Department of Defense. Jane recently completed the robotics training program at Building Self Determination, and is also certified by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills.

Jane joined Technology Manufacturing Aligned in 2013 and the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council in 2017. In her spare time, she serves the homeless in her community and is part of a motorcycle club. She also practices yoga.  

Elizabeth Koprucki

Elizabeth Koprucki

Assistant Director, Fab Lab and Design

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Elizabeth Koprucki

Assistant Director, Fab Lab and Design

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.795.0558
E: ekoprucki@uchicago.edu

Elizabeth Koprucki serves as the assistant director, Fab Lab and design at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She manages the Polsky Center’s Fab Lab where she mentors entrepreneurs and researchers through the prototyping process. She oversees the Fab Lab’s programming and staffing and connects Polsky Exchange members with resources on campus and across Chicago. 

Prior to joining Polsky, Elizabeth designed and co-taught a maker program at the Ancona School, as well as working as a maker educator at the Art Institute and the Chicago Public Library. She served as CNC area host at Pumping Station:One and has done graphic design for a number of South Side businesses and nonprofits. 

Elizabeth earned a BA in graphic design from Bradley University. 

Elizabeth is passionate about getting people involved in prototyping and making. In her spare time, she continues to be active in the Chicago maker community. She volunteers as a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador and enjoys making jewelry and traveling. 

Danielle Moore

Danielle Moore

Receptionist

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Danielle Moore

Receptionist

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.834.5168
E: daniellem@uchicago.edu

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.

Marketing and Communications

Devin Wideman

Devin Wideman

Associate Director, Marketing and Communications

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Devin Wideman

Associate Director, Marketing and Communications

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.3695
E: devin.wideman@chicagobooth.edu

Devin Wideman serves as the associate director of digital marketing and communications at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role he creates and implements strategies to foster external awareness to Polsky’s programs, startups, and mission among a wide variety of audiences, including University of Chicago alumni, students, faculty, staff, community-based entrepreneurs, and external partners.

Prior to joining Polsky, Devin worked in communications at both the University of Chicago’s Laboratory Schools and Alumni Relations and Development. In these roles, he used his expertise in marketing communications, videography, and photography to expand their digital presence through interactive social media campaigns and on-going original video content. By developing creative social media engagement strategies, he was able to successfully increase the audience size and engagement of both the Laboratory Schools’ and Alumni Relations and Development’s social media channels across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Devin earned a B.A. in Marketing Communications at Columbia College Chicago, and an MAT in Education at National Louis University.

Devin is passionate about photography and videography, and is always looking for new and innovative ways to expand his skillset and tell stories through his art.

Melissa Fassbender

Melissa Fassbender

Associate Director, External Relations and Science Communications

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Melissa Fassbender

Associate Director, External Relations and Science Communications

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.1134
E: melissa.fassbender@chicagobooth.edu

Melissa Fassbender serves as the associate director, external relations and science communications at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role, she works closely with the Science and Technology team to highlight translational research, IP-based startups, among other groundbreaking innovation and new technologies from across the University. She also is responsible for planning and managing all logistics for external brand-building opportunities and events, engaging with campus partners, media outlets, and external organizations in the entrepreneurial, science, technology, and business community.

Prior to joining Polsky, Melissa was an editor at Xconomy where she wrote about innovation in the biotech space. Before this, she held the same title at Outsourcing-Pharma, a global publication focused on drug development and clinical trials. She also was the editor of an online and print magazine dedicated to design engineering.

Melissa earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas, where she majored in literary studies and minored in communications and journalism.

Melissa is interested in old books, modern art, and coffee in any form.

Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz

Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz

Associate Director, Media Relations and External Communications

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Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz

Associate Director, Media Relations and External Communications

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
P: 312.286.0060
E: Alexia.Elejalde-Ruiz@chicagobooth.edu

Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz is associate director of media relations and external communications at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago. She leads all media relations for the Polsky Center and develops successful external communication strategies to generate local, national, and global coverage of the Polsky Center and its leadership in venture creation, science innovation, technology commercialization, partnership development, and supporting South Side small businesses.

Alexia came to Polsky after a 20-year career as a journalist. Most recently she was a business reporter at the Chicago Tribune covering the food industry and employment issues, beats that found her traversing peach farms in downstate Illinois and automated manufacturing plants in the northwest suburbs to tell the human stories behind the data and trends. Prior to joining the business desk, Alexia was a features reporter for the Tribune’s lifestyle section and for RedEye. Alexia got her start in journalism covering crime for the City News Service and suburban news for the Daily Herald, plus had early stints at WGN Radio and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

A native of Washington, D.C., Alexia received her bachelor of art’s degree in international relations from Brown University. She currently lives in Logan Square with her husband and their dog, Kaya, whose walks take up an inordinate amount of her free time.

For media inquiries, please contact Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz at 312.286.0060 or alexia.elejalde-ruiz@chicagobooth.edu.

Jessy Tapper, AM ’15

Jessy Tapper, AM ’15

Senior Writer and Content Manager, Marketing and Communications

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Jessy Tapper, AM ’15

Senior Writer and Content Manager, Marketing and Communications

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
E: jtapper@uchicago.edu

Jessy Tapper Derleth, AM ’15, serves as the senior writer and content manager at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is primarily responsible for writing the Polsky Weekly 10, a weekly email newsletter that shares the most relevant and exciting news in Polsky’s ecosystem to upwards of 25,000 subscribers from around the world every Friday. 

Prior to joining Polsky, Jessy worked as a copywriter for a comprehensive marketing agency, helping to shape the voice and experiential language for a variety of household brand names, from Sour Patch Kids and Wheat Thins to United Airlines and the U.S. Army.  

Jessy earned her master’s degree in humanities from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University where she graduated cum laude with highest honors in English. 

Outside of her work with the Polsky Center, Jessy spends most of her time writing for other mediums, currently trying her hand at fiction. In her spare time, she loves reading a good (and sometimes bad) book, yoga, learning to cook, NFL RedZone, and her adorable French bulldog pup named Hank. 

Operations

James Licklider

James Licklider

Executive Director of Operations and Chief of Staff

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James Licklider

Executive Director of Operations and Chief of Staff

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.834.5641
E: jlicklider@uchicago.edu

Executive Assistant:
Camille Andres
O: 773.702.0926
E: candres@uchicago.edu

James Licklider serves as the executive director of operations and chief of staff for the Polsky Center. In this role, he oversees finance, human resources, IT, facilities and space needs, and strategic planning.

Prior to Polsky, James spent over seven years at UChicago’s Institute for Mind and Biology as its administrative director. He managed the post-award operation for the Florida State University College of Medicine and guided its faculty practice plan as chief financial officer. James also held roles in central post-award administration at FSU, pre-award and department administration at DePaul University, and executive management in several Chicago nonprofits.

James earned an MS in accountancy, MS in public services management, and a BA in political science at DePaul University. He is a Certified Research Administrator and a former participant in the Executive Program for Emerging Leaders (EPEL) at Chicago Booth.

Camille Andres

Camille Andres

Executive Assistant to the Associate Vice President and Head of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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Camille Andres

Executive Assistant to the Associate Vice President and Head of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.0926
E: candres@uchicago.edu

Camille Andres serves as the executive assistant to the associate vice president and head of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is responsible for support functions as well as special projects for the AVP and director of operations and chief of staff.

Prior to joining Polsky, Camille served as senior assistant to the associate dean, Psychology Department at Pepperdine University for 11 years. She supported the associate dean and also handled significant graduate program responsibilities, such as adjunct faculty hires, course schedules, payroll, and new student orientations. Before working at Pepperdine, Camille also served as administrative coordinator at another graduate school and has worked in various forms of healthcare. She began her career at Crain’s Communications in Chicago.

Camille earned a bachelor of arts in communications from Loyola University of Chicago.

Camille loves to travel both domestically and internationally, and in her spare time she enjoys working out, watching sports, and spending time with her family.

Badar Al Lawati

Badar Al Lawati

Systems Administrator, Innovation Intelligence

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Badar Al Lawati

Systems Administrator, Innovation Intelligence

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.834.6453
E: allawati@uchicago.edu

Badar Al Lawati serves as the systems administrator at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Badar leads systems optimization for different technical tools across the Polsky Center. Badar also leads IT strategy and strategic systems integration for the Innovation Intelligence unit.

Prior to joining Polsky, Badar worked in product management, systems implementation, and digital transformation. Badar first joined the Polsky team in October 2021 as a consulting project manager for the Polsky Booth team. Prior to joining Polsky, Badar was an Adjunct lecturer teaching undergraduate classes in Information Systems, Information Technology, and E-commerce. Prior to academia, Badar worked across different industries, including banking, telecommunications, and technology consulting.

Badar is currently a PhD candidate, wrapping up his doctoral dissertation in computer & Information systems at DePaul University. He received his master’s in e-Commerce Technologies also from DePaul University (2011). Badar Received his bachelor’s degree with Honors in e-Commerce & Digital business from the University of Nottingham in the UK (2007).

Badar is a former Fulbright Scholar. He is also a Certified Scrum Product Owner from Scrum Alliance, and a Microsoft Technology Associate in Cloud Technologies from Microsoft. Badar is a member of the Scrum Alliance, the Project Management Institute, and the Association of Information Systems.

Kim Chin

Kim Chin

Patent Docketing Administrator

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Kim Chin

Patent Docketing Administrator

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.702.2948
E: kimberlyc@uchicago.edu

As a Patent Docketing Administrator, Kim supports administrative processes related to technology commercialization, including coordinating and overseeing the activities, reports, and filings associated with the patent prosecution journey.

Prior to joining Polsky, they managed operations for a curatorial department at the Art Institute of Chicago, with a focus on interdepartmental relationship-building within the institution. Kim has a background in classical languages and literature with undergraduate and graduate degrees both from the University of Chicago.

In their spare time, they enjoy knitting and training regularly on aerial rope, straps, and handbalancing.

Beatriz Gonzalez

Beatriz Gonzalez

Executive Assistant

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Beatriz Gonzalez

Executive Assistant

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.834.3209
E: gonzalezb@uchicago.edu

Beatriz Gonzalez is the executive assistant for Bill Payne, executive director for science and technology at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She support executive administrative functions and special projects for the technology commercialization and operations teams.

Prior to working at the Polsky Center, Beatriz spent a dozen years as an assistant at a law firm in the West Loop. She enjoys working on projects at home, revamping spaces and creating new ideas.

YaQuavia Gooden

YaQuavia Gooden

Compliance Manager

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YaQuavia Gooden

Compliance Manager

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

YaQuavia (Yaya) Gooden is the Compliance Manager at the Polsky Center. Yaya will support Polsky’s compliance strategy, by optimizing invention reporting for technologies spawned from federal grants and sponsored research agreements, in partnership with the Polsky Technology Development and Data Management teams. Yaya will also manage a strategic grant compliance initiative with the Office of University Research Administration (URA) ahead of introducing a PI compliance education program. 

Prior to joining the Polsky Center, Yaya held several roles in compliance and contracts management at the Chicago Housing Authority and CVR Associates. She is well known in Chicago compliance for thorough asset audits that align internal procedures with federal and state regulatory policies. Yaya earned a master’s in public administration from the Keller School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting from Columbia College of Chicago. 

Yaya is driven by being able to utilize her knowledge of compliance to help departments grow and understand how what they process effects other departments. In her spare time she is a basketball mom, enjoys to cook and spend time with her family.

Kyle Hanna

Kyle Hanna

Applied Data Scientist, Innovation Intelligence

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Kyle Hanna

Applied Data Scientist, Innovation Intelligence

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.834.3205
E: kylehanna@uchicago.edu

Kyle Hanna serves as the applied data scientist at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He works closely with colleagues from the tech commercialization and operations teams to manage data, complete reports, and monitor compliance related to invention disclosures, patents, and contracts. He will also be responsible for business process development of the aforementioned data, reporting, and compliance activities.

Prior to joining Polsky, Kyle served as the assistant director, data management at UChicago’s Alumni Relations and Development office, developing engagement data strategy for Harper Lectures and other special events. Before coming to UChicago, he worked in Washington DC in various levels of government, including the DC Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and the Obama White House. While working for the White House, he became interested in science and technology policy and the application of data science in public institutions.

Kyle is interested in how technology, innovation, and design thinking can support sustainable development and social impact in international communities. In his spare time, Kyle enjoys video editing, international travel, and reading about how technology, politics, and entrepreneurship influence society and culture.

Kyle earned a BA in international economics from the George Washington University and a certificate in data analytics from the University of Chicago.

Shakira Jones

Shakira Jones

Disclosure Administrator

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Shakira Jones

Disclosure Administrator

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.834.3048
E: sjones18@uchicago.edu

Shakira Jones is the disclosure administrator at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She manages invention disclosure, patenting, and license agreement data and processes. Shakira brings to the team a strong background in customer relations and administration. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with her church’s food pantry, and has worked with Habitat for Humanity in Louisiana to rehabilitate homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Wendy Jones

Wendy Jones

HR and Financial Coordinator

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Wendy Jones

HR and Financial Coordinator

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.702.1966
E: jonesw@uchicago.edu

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Renee Lowers

Renee Lowers

Financial Analyst

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Renee Lowers

Financial Analyst

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

Renee Lowers serves as a financial analyst at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Renee supports the finance team with a particular focus on financial maintenance of license agreements and related royalty reporting, accounts receivable, and revenue distribution.

Prior to joining Polsky, Renee worked at Fidelity Investments in Westlake Texas. During her time at Fidelity, Renee worked on the Transfer of Assets and International Settlements team as a senior representative where she assisted clients in transferring numerous assets from their brokerage accounts at competitive firms to their accounts with Fidelity. In addition to her transactional responsibilities, Renee created training materials and onboarded new associates.

Renee earned a bachelor’s degree in finance at Howard University located in Washington, D.C.

Outside of work, Renee enjoys music, video games, cooking, and traveling. She is looking forward to exploring the food scene in Chicago and seeing all the activities the city has to offer.

Nick Neu

Nick Neu

Financial Analyst

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Nick Neu

Financial Analyst

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.702.2470
E: nneu@uchicago.edu

Nick Neu serves as a financial analyst for the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role, Nick performs comprehensive reviews and analysis of financial statements and financial data. He has previously served as operations manager at the Polsky Exchange where he played an integral role in maintaining the most community facing component of the Polsky Center footprint, overseeing all physical aspects of the Polsky Exchange and managing logistical support for events, programming, and Polsky staff working within the facility. 

Prior to joining Polsky, Nick managed the inventory team as a member of the Facilities Services department at the University of Chicago. In addition to providing sourcing, procurement, and planning support, while also assisting with various department wide analytics projects.

Nick earned a BA in chemistry from Michigan State University. Since graduating from MSU, he has continued to explore additional educational opportunities, earning a certificate in supply chain management from MIT and becoming increasingly involved with APPA, the leading industry group for educational facilities management professionals.  

Teana Stocco

Teana Stocco

Licensing Administrator

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Teana Stocco

Licensing Administrator

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.834.0272
E: tstocco@uchicago.edu

Teana Stocco supports the patent and licensing portfolio as licensing administrator. She 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 (NIH).

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

Teana received her bachelor’s in science degree in legal studies from Grand Valley State University, and a law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School. Teana resides in the near west suburbs with her husband and three daughters.

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