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

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 in his role as the Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, National Laboratories, and Global Initiatives. In that role, he conceives and shapes emerging strategic scientific and technological initiatives and provides oversight of entrepreneurship and innovation activities at the Polsky Center. He also works with faculty, deans, and administrators to build global academic partnerships and international research collaborations while overseeing the University’s international centers.

Juan de Pablo provides leadership for the University’s stewardship of two U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories — Argonne (through UChicago Argonne, LLC) and Fermilab (through Fermi Research Alliance, LLC) — as institutions to advance science and technology in support of the nation’s interest. He collaborates with other leaders in research and innovation to build programs and links between and among the national laboratories and the University, as well as the Marine Biological Laboratory, and he plays a central role in the University’s partnership with the Department of Energy.

A prominent molecular engineer, de Pablo focuses his research on macromolecular materials, including synthetic and biological polymers, proteins and enzymes, glasses, and liquid crystalline systems. He is a leader in developing molecular models and computer simulations of complex molecular processes over wide ranges of length and time scales. He heads a research group that develops advanced algorithms to design and predict the structure and properties of complex fluids and solids at a molecular level and has been a pioneer in the use of data-driven machine learning approaches for materials design. He is the author of well over 700 publications, and is one of the most widely cited authors in the field of computational materials design. He holds more than 30 patents on multiple technologies, many of which are now licensed to industry for a wide range of applications, from semiconductor to pharmaceutical technologies.

As a key leader for the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, de Pablo has been essential to the School’s development and remarkable growth. He joined the University in 2012 as one of the first PME faculty appointments, and established graduate and undergraduate education programs for the School, which now boast more than 500 students. He came from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he served as the Howard Curler Distinguished Professor and Hilldale Professor of Chemical Engineering.

Juan de Pablo earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), and a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of California – Berkeley. He conducted postdoctoral research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. Juan de Pablo received the Polymer Physics Prize from the American Physical Society in 2018, the DuPont Medal for Excellence in Nutrition and Health Sciences in 2016, the Intel Patterning Science Award in 2015, and the Charles Stine Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2011. In 2016, he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering for the “design of macromolecular products and processes via scientific computation.” In 2022, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences for his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and is a foreign correspondent 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

Samir Mayekar

Samir Mayekar

Associate Vice President and Managing Director of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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Samir Mayekar

Associate Vice President and Managing Director of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

1463 E. 53rd Street Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773-702-0404
E: smayekar@uchicago.edu

Samir is an accomplished leader with a track record of driving innovation and impact across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. Most recently, he was deputy mayor for the city of Chicago, where he focused on economic and neighborhood development. He was a driving force behind initiatives such as INVEST South/West, the city’s signature community development initiative that marshaled resources from across city departments, community organizations, and corporate and philanthropic partners to support commercial corridors across several South and West Side neighborhoods. Before that, he served in the U.S. government during the Obama Administration, where he was part of the White House’s national security team and on the executive staff at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation.

Samir also co-founded and served as CEO of NanoGraf Corporation, a global manufacturer of advanced materials for the lithium-ion battery industry that has raised over $100 million in funding and was spun out of Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University. He holds a B.A. and M.B.A. from Northwestern, where he served as a trustee, and he is active in the Chicago civic community, serving on the boards of the Metropolitan Pier and Exhibition Authority, Lyric Opera, and other organizations. He is also a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and is an alumnus of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship and the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.

As head of the Polsky Center, Samir plays a pivotal role in advancing the University’s innovation, technology commercialization, entrepreneurship, and partnership priorities. He fosters connections across the University, our city, region, and world that enable the Polsky Center to accelerate the commercialization of critical technologies to help solve some of society’s most urgent challenges. He also elevates efforts to help drive economic development on the South Side and strengthen partnerships that bolster the university’s and Chicago’s upward trajectory as hubs of world-class innovation.

Steve Kaplan

Steve Kaplan

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

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Steve Kaplan

Neubauer Family 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@chicagobooth.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.”

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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 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.

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.

Abigail Prescott

Abigail Prescott

Executive Director, Marketing and Communications

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Abigail Prescott

Executive Director, Marketing and Communications

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

Abigail Prescott serves as the Executive Director of Marketing & Communications for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role, she leads the Polsky Center’s internal and external messaging strategies to amplify the brand of the center and advance awareness of the broad suite of entrepreneurship programs available to students, alumni, faculty, and research partners, as well as the University of Chicago’s technology commercialization efforts and bolstering community engagement at through the Polsky Exchange.

Abigail holds over a decade of experience in external communications strategies and implementation. She brings experience in creative storytelling, targeted messaging, and brand identity to this role. Most recently, she held the position of Chief Communications Officer at Urban Gateways where she managed and launched an organizational visual identity rebrand; oversaw the development of a multi-platform mobile app technology solution with a heavy focus on end-user experience; and led a special task force to establish, adopt, and implement organizational core values. In her time with Urban Gateways she built a robust communications team focused on creative storytelling in order to demonstrate organizational impact to supporters and constituents. Abigail believes in the power of stories to help people connect more deeply with their passions and interests.

Abigail earned a master’s degree in arts management from Columbia College of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Illinois Wesleyan University. She believes in the power of the arts and all variety of creative practices as catalysts for change and growth – both personally and professionally.

Abigail lives in Oak Park with her husband, Hayden, and their two children, Beatrix and Isaac. In her spare time she is a vinyasa yoga teacher, is a budding gardener, and makes extravagant cakes for her children’s birthdays.

Erika Mercer

Erika Mercer

Executive Director of Booth Entrepreneurship

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Erika Mercer

Executive Director of Booth Entrepreneurship

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

Erika Mercer serves as the executive director of Booth Entrepreneurship at 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.

Steven Gould, MD

Steven Gould, MD

Consulting Director, Ventures

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Steven Gould, MD

Consulting Director, Ventures

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

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

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

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

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

Booth Entrepreneurship Program

Erika Mercer

Erika Mercer

Executive Director of Booth Entrepreneurship

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Erika Mercer

Executive Director of Booth Entrepreneurship

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

Erika Mercer serves as the executive director of Booth Entrepreneurship at 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

Lucas Peralta serves as Director of Entrepreneurship Programs and Data Strategy at the Polsky Center. In this role, he leads the team that oversees all student founder-focused educational initiatives including the New Venture Challenge suite of programs (including the Edward L. Kaplan ’71 New Venture Challenge, a nationally-ranked accelerator program), the BUILD and LAUNCH summer accelerators, the Entrepreneurship Essentials workshop series, the Distinguished Entrepreneur Speaker series, and student mentorship opportunities.

He also oversees new efforts to enable the use of data in the evaluation of Polsky Center initiatives, and in strategic decision making around founder and venture support.

Lucas previously assisted with the revamp of the College New Venture Challenge, the undergraduate track of the New Venture Challenge, which is led by Dean Starr Marcello, Deputy Dean of MBA Programs at Chicago Booth. He also previously managed the operations of the Polsky Center’s NSF-funded I-Corps program.

Prior to joining the Polsky Center, 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), running, and rooting for the University of New Mexico Lobos (particularly basketball). 

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 is the director of the Svider Private Equity Program and in her role manages a portfolio of experiential programs that help students pursuing careers in investing gain access to training and mentorship in private equity, venture capital, and entrepreneurship through acquisition. The Svider Private Equity Program is the umbrella program that includes all of our PE, VC, and ETA initiatives and utilizes the expertise and resources of the Polsky Center to provide innovative programs that are supported by, and help students access, our broad Booth network.

The Svider Private Equity Program suite includes the Private Equity and Venture Capital (PE/VC) Lab, which offers a firsthand look at private equity through an academic-year internship and academic course; the Sterling Partners Investment Thesis Challenge (SPITC), which provides investment thesis training with mentors at private equity firms; the Private Equity Case Challenge (PECC), a global, intercollegiate case competition held in partnership with Oxford University; and the PE Alumni/Student Coaching program, a mentorship program that matches Booth students pursuing careers in private equity with members of the Polsky Center Private Equity Council and Chicago Booth alumni network for one-on-one mentoring and advising sessions. In addition, Megan manages the annual Chicago Booth Private Equity Conference and the UChicago Private Markets Program, an immersive academic and career-oriented program to educate College students in the private markets through theory, cases, and modeling workshops, and position them to pursue professional opportunities in private equity, private credit, family capital and private markets investing, and investment banking.

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 Williams, Ed.D., PPS

Amber Bradley Williams, Ed.D., PPS

Associate Director, New Venture Challenge

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Amber Bradley Williams, 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

Senior Associate Director, Small Business Operations

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Paul Cavalieri

Senior Associate Director, Small Business Operations

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

Paul Cavalieri serves as the senior 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, oversees the Polsky BUILD and LAUNCH Summer Accelerator, 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).

 

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.

Isra Omar

Isra Omar

Senior Assistant Director

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Isra Omar

Senior Assistant Director

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

Isra Omar, serves as the Senior Assistant Director, at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Isra oversees the Small Business Growth & Financial Fundamentals Program, leading to the expansion and advancement of numerous small businesses. Isra manages a portfolio of initiatives, including promoting the program to attract clients and student consultants, leading the recruitment, selection, and onboarding process, and developing program scope and objectives in collaboration with the Faculty Director, student consultants, and small business clients.

Isra has a strong passion for helping small businesses and the local Chicago community. She volunteered for the Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA) where she managed 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. 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.

Sarah Harris

Sarah Harris

Assistant Director, Operations

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Sarah Harris

Assistant Director, Operations

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.795.4323
E: sarah.harris@chicagobooth.edu

 

Sarah Harris is the Assistant Director, Operations at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Part of the Education and Programming team at the Polsky Center, Sarah focuses on the Center’s business operations, specifically bookkeeping related to procurement and vendor relationships, and expense system management.

Sarah comes to the University of Chicago with over a decade of experience in Operations and Administration, much of which has been in Southern California’s nonprofit sector. Having worked in a wide range of positions and leadership, Sarah holds a deep appreciation for the importance of organizational culture. She is committed to creating operational systems and policies that empower people to focus on their most important work and cultivating a healthy, productive working environment that respects, honors and promotes excellence.

A recent transplant to Chicago, Sarah was born and raised in Long Beach, California. She earned a B.A. in Recreation and Leisure Services at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and enjoys camping, reading, thrifing, and looking for ways to get involved and enjoy her local community.

Kylie Gilmore

Kylie Gilmore

Assistant Director, Student Programs

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Kylie Gilmore

Assistant Director, Student Programs

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

Kylie Gilmore serves as the Assistant Director, Student Programs at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Kylie 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, Kylie worked as Director of Campus Engagement at Concordia University Chicago where she managed university wide programs including orientation, student organizations, events and more. She has been serving in the Higher Education sector since she was a student herself, bringing almost a decade of experience.

Kylie graduated with her BA in Marketing from the University of Illinois Springfield where she then accepted a job as Assistant Director of Marketing. During her time in this role, she pursed a MA in Communication and in 2019, graduated and relocated to Chicago.

In her spare time, Kylie enjoys spending time with her family back home in Rockford and attending as many live music and comedy events as possible.

Heyward Harrison

Heyward Harrison

Assistant Director of Entrepreneurship Programs and Outcomes

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Heyward Harrison

Assistant Director of Entrepreneurship Programs and Outcomes

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

Heyward Harrison serves as the Assistant Director of Entrepreneurship Programs and Outcomes. In this role, he assists the entrepreneurship programs team in administering a series of student founder-focused educational programs that are designed to bring inspiration and support to prospective entrepreneurs.

He was a student-athlete at UNC Chapel Hill where he was an Olympic Trials qualifier in the Men’s 200M Backstroke. He then moved abroad to Australia where he was a swim instructor for children and adults. His time as a teacher abroad and his experience as a student-athlete were the foundation for his passion for education and the student experience.

Prior to joining Polsky, Heyward lived in Clark, Colorado where he worked for Vista Verde Guest Ranch. He then moved to Chicago and worked as a Client Service Representative for Northern Trust in their Benefit Payments department before embarking on his career in Higher Education with the University of Chicago.

Heyward is passionate about media and devotes much of his free time to film, literature, video games, and music. He is also a huge fan of basketball and his partner Maddie.

Deep Tech Ventures

Ellen Zatkowski

Ellen Zatkowski

Senior Associate Director, Science Programs and Student Engagement

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Ellen Zatkowski

Senior Associate Director, Science Programs and Student Engagement

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

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

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

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

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

Ezunial “Eze” Burts III

Ezunial “Eze” Burts III

Director, Duality Quantum Accelerator

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Ezunial “Eze” Burts III

Director, Duality Quantum Accelerator

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

Eze Burts serves as the director of Duality, a pioneering quantum startup accelerator. As director, Burts will be responsible for the program’s operational management and long-term financial stability as well as internal and external stakeholder engagement.

Burts joins Duality after a 20-year career with Boeing. Most recently he served as senior manager of future production systems and technology within the airplane manufacturer’s environmental health and safety leadership team, where he was responsible for the adoption of technology and innovative industry methods to drive safety, quality, digital transformation, factory automation, and future production strategy. Formally educated in public policy and building innovation ecosystems, Burts has worked to advance Fortune 500 science and technology programs and strategies from concept to university lab to marketplace.

Burts, a native of Los Angeles, graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy, Management, and Planning. He received an executive certificate in global marketing from Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and completed executive education courses at Harvard Kennedy School, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and MIT Sloan School of Management. He is a graduate of and has served as a Dynamics and Leadership instructor in the Global Logistics Professional Designation Program at California State University Long Beach. Burts also graduated from the Silicon Valley cohort of the Founder Institute, a pre-seed startup accelerator, with his startup EzuNile Industries, created to apply enhanced artificial intelligence and quantum computing technologies to global industrial water treatment and reuse methods, to improve efficiency and sustainability. Additionally, he is a founding board member of Thriving Elements, a nonprofit headquartered in Seattle that provides mentorship for girls in underserved neighborhoods who are pursuing STEM career paths.

Anna Wislocki, PhD

Anna Wislocki, PhD

Associate Director, Compass

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Anna Wislocki, PhD

Associate Director, Compass

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

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

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

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

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

Preeti Chalsani, PhD

Preeti Chalsani, PhD

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

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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, Resurgence Cleantech Accelerator, Polsky Deep Tech Ventures

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Ozge Guney-Altay, PhD

Director, Resurgence Cleantech Accelerator, Polsky Deep Tech 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, Ventures

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Steven Gould, MD

Consulting Director, Ventures

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

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

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

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

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

Ryan Brownlow

Ryan Brownlow

Program Manager, Accelerator and Education Programs

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Ryan Brownlow

Program Manager, Accelerator and Education Programs

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

Ryan Brownlow serves as program manager for accelerator and education programs at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In collaboration with other members of the Deep Tech Ventures team, he supports a range of programs, including a new accelerator program that will launch later this year.

Prior to joining Polsky, Ryan worked at Northwestern University’s Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. At Farley, Ryan served as an academic advisor for hundreds of graduate and undergraduate entrepreneurship students, managed the curriculum for a growing entrepreneurship minor program, and collaborated with faculty on new course design. In his final year at Farley, Ryan worked closely with the center’s director to create and launch a 10 week study away program in San Francisco, designed to expose undergraduate students to Silicon Valley’s tech industry and culture of innovation. Ryan also spent several years teaching undergraduate communication courses at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ryan earned a master’s degree in communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a bachelor’s degree in American studies and theatre at Macalester College. In his free time, Ryan enjoys reading, gardening, and exploring Chicagoland’s natural areas.

Shyama Majumdar, PhD, MBA

Shyama Majumdar, PhD, MBA

Director, Data Science Accelerators

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Shyama Majumdar, PhD, MBA

Director, Data Science Accelerators

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

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

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

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

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

Amelia Salter

Amelia Salter

Director, Corporate Advisory & Sponsorships

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Amelia Salter

Director, Corporate Advisory & Sponsorships

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

Amelia Salter is the Director, Corporate Advisory & Sponsorships for Polsky Deep Tech Ventures. In this role, she is responsible for engaging with corporate and philanthropic partners in support of DTV’s portfolio of accelerators and other programs.

Amelia brings extensive experience building strategic partnerships and programs across both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining Polsky, she worked with a boutique marketing agency to develop comprehensive marketing and communications strategies for Fortune 500 and startup clients in healthcare, life sciences, and MedTech. Previously, she served as Senior Director of Programs at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, where she managed a portfolio of programs and initiatives that provided educational content, resources, and business services to Chicago’s business community. Before joining the Chamber, Amelia spent nearly four years with the University of Illinois System’s Office of Economic Development and Innovation forging new partnerships to connect the university’s R&D assets, faculty, students, and alumni with diverse stakeholders across the state.

Amelia holds a master’s in business administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a bachelor of arts in communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She currently serves on the associate board of Chicago:Blend, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in Chicago’s venture capital and startup community. In her spare time, Amelia enjoys traveling, reading, and trying out new recipes.

 

Lisa Hearon

Lisa Hearon

Associate Director, Duality Quantum Accelerator

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Lisa Hearon

Associate Director, Duality Quantum Accelerator

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

Lisa plays a critical role in supporting the Duality Accelerator program under the leadership of Director Ezunial “Eze” Burts III and working in collaboration with other members of the Deep Tech Ventures team.

Prior to joining Polsky, Lisa served as Project Manager for East Lake Management & Development group; a 100% minority-owned real estate company focused on developing multi-family residential, retail, office, and industrial real estate. Lisa’s primary focus was leading a digital transformation effort, consisting of transitioning outdated, manual paper processes to a more modernized, online format. This included rental applications, waitlists, and market applications for a portfolio of over 10,000 residential units, and 30 commercial retail units. Her dedication to crafting a comprehensive policy and procedure manual laid the groundwork for standardized and efficient operations across all properties, setting a new industry standard for excellence.

In a remarkable entrepreneurial endeavor dear to her heart, Lisa co-founded The Cambridge School of Chicago, a private elementary school that embraced a holistic approach to education while nurturing the development of each child. Her passion for education and innovation was further exemplified as her own children attended and graduated from Cambridge, benefiting from the Museum of Science and Industry’s Fab Lab as part of the school’s STEM curriculum. The school also participated in annual Spring productions hosted on the University of Chicago’s campus for several years garnering attention from local news anchors and radio personalities.

Lisa earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology while studying at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She simultaneously served as a research assistant, spearheaded student project operations, advanced overall research objectives, collaborated with faculty members and principal investigators, and disseminated research finding through presentations, and conference participation. Prior to that, she earned an Associate of Arts degree from Harold Washington Community College where she was offered a full tuition transfer scholarship based on her hard work and scholarly achievements. Lisa’s academic background underscores her unwavering commitment to education, learning, and research, qualities that continue to shape her approach to entrepreneurship and innovation.

In her spare time, Lisa enjoys roller skating, coordinating bi-annual family reunions across the country, and keeping up with Nova, her spirited mini goldendoodle. Lisa is also an avid pool player when she can find a little extra time to hone her skills.

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.

Vince Beachum

Vince Beachum

Senior Program Manager and Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Director, Polsky Exchange

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Vince Beachum

Senior Program Manager and Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Director, Polsky Exchange

1452 E. 53rd St.
Chicago IL 60615
E: beachum@uchicago.edu

Vince Beachum is Senior Program Manager and Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Director at Polsky Exchange.  In this role, Vince is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the Center, day-to-day operations, including one-on-one advising, strategic business & feasibility planning, business development, financial analysis & modeling, accessing capital, market research and education & training to new and existing business owners.  Vince also focuses on community outreach, works closely with community organizations, businesses and industry leaders in effort to align resources, initiatives and training.

Vince is a Desert Storm Veteran and has over 20 years of experience working for Fortune 500 companies such as General Electric and John Deere, where he led multiple business units in operations optimization, cost reduction, profit maximization and strategic growth.  After leaving the corporate world, Vince spent 12 years as owner of several small businesses, including a mechanical engineering company and logistics & distribution franchise.  Prior to joining Polsky Exchange, Vince worked as an Illinois and Indiana SBDC Business Advisor.  He is also an adjunct professor for the City Colleges of Chicago where he teaches in the Business and Supply Chain Management disciplines.

Vince earned his B.S. in Process Management from Franklin University and an M.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.  Vince is a golf enthusiast, comedy buff and audio books fanatic.

Barbara Agyapong

Barbara Agyapong

Program Manager, Polsky Exchange

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Barbara Agyapong

Program Manager, Polsky Exchange

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

 

Barbara Agyapong serves as the Program Manager at Polsky Exchange. She manages community-facing programs and completes research on program effectiveness. She is responsible for planning, directing, coordinating, managing and evaluating daily operations of various Polsky Exchange programs.

Barbara advocates for social justice, inclusivity and development, with a passion for social innovation and a commitment to fostering positive economic and social change. Throughout her career, she has worked across sectors, from academia to the non-profit world and corporate environments, consistently delivering impactful results, developing strategies, fostering partnerships and driving community development. As an ENACTUS alumnus, she has been actively involved in empowering communities and fostering collaboration on a global scale.

Prior to joining Polsky, Barbara worked in Social Impact at Wright-Patt Credit Union, Ohio managing the organizations DE&I programs whilst assisting them in achieving their Corporate Social Responsibilities through policies that promote transformation and drives community development. These experiences have equipped her with a global perspective and a deep understanding of effective policy and program implementation.

Barbara holds an MA in International and Comparative Politics from Wright State University, Ohio and a BA in Political Science from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.

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 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.

Michael Batalia, Ph.D.

Michael Batalia, Ph.D.

Senior Director, Business Development and Licensing

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Michael Batalia, Ph.D.

Senior Director, Business Development and Licensing

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago IL 60637
O: 773.834.4240
E:batalia@uchicago.edu

Michael Batalia has joined the Polsky Center as Senior Director, Business Development and Licensing for the Polsky Science and Technology team. Michael leads our Business Development team that negotiates and manages intellectual property (IP) licenses and options, interinstitutional agreements, confidentiality disclosure agreements, and material transfer agreements (outgoing corporate). Michael joins our team from his role as Director, Apio Innovation Transfer where he was responsible for developing and presenting technology transfer and IP training programs on a global scale. He is also co-founder of Wide-Eyed Technologies which developed and applied 3D printing technologies for custom manufacturing.  Michael has an extensive background in technology transfer operations. Michael is a UChicago alum, where he earned his A.B. in Chemistry. He obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin. After graduate school, Michael was awarded a Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Postdoctoral Fellowship, and he performed research in the department of microbiology and immunology as well as the department of chemistry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Michael’s office is within the Polsky area in the Drexel building.

David Gross

David Gross

Senior Director, Technology Marketing and Innovation Growth

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David Gross

Senior Director, Technology Marketing and Innovation Growth

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

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

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

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

Fei Li, PhD

Fei Li, PhD

Senior Manager, Venture Partnerships

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Fei Li, PhD

Senior Manager, Venture Partnerships

Address : 6054 S Drexel Ave, Suite 405, Chicago, IL 60637l

O: 773.702.8833

Email: fli5@uchicago.edu

Fei Li, Ph.D., serves as a senior manager in venture partnership at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Fei supports science faculty with startup formation and venture capital connections – including managing the Science Commercialization Advisors (SCA) program.  He is a member of the Technology Marketing and Innovation Growth team within PST and work closely with the Deep Tech Ventures team on startup support.

Prior to joining Polsky, Fei worked at ARCH Venture Partners on deal sourcing and due diligence to evaluate investment opportunities in physical and life sciences. Prior to ARCH, Fei was a research engineer at Canon Nanotechnologies, Inc where he developed new materials used in semiconductor lithography applications.

Fei holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of New Mexico, an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and post-doctoral experience from Texas A&M University.

Narayan Subramanian, PHD

Narayan Subramanian, PHD

Senior Manager, Front End of Innovation

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Narayan Subramanian, PHD

Senior Manager, Front End of Innovation

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

Narayan Subramanian currently serves as a Senior Manager at the Front End of Innovation at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago. In this role, he closely collaborates with our Technology Development team to identify faculty members whose research might benefit from advanced inventing sessions. He also assists in identifying opportunities to commercialize their research.

Before joining our team, Narayan worked at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), where he held various positions, most recently as the Technology Head for Satellite Remote Sensing. At TCS, he led a group that provided various intellectual property (IP) services to the organization, including patent analysis, ensuring freedom to operate, providing training, and managing licensing. Prior to TCS, Narayan gained experience in IP management during his eleven-year tenure at General Electric (GE), where he worked in various technology domains. At GE, he managed the IP Portfolio for the GE battery division and was actively involved in risk mitigation strategies. Throughout his two decades of experience, he has played a pivotal role in guiding strategic innovation, nurturing inventions to maturity, and conducting competitive analysis.

Narayan holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. He also holds a postgraduate diploma in design thinking and innovation. Additionally, he is a registered patent agent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Outside of work, Narayan enjoys taking long walks, playing chess, and is a meditation instructor.

Benjamin Cox, PHD

Benjamin Cox, PHD

Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

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Benjamin Cox, PHD

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

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

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

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

Kenneth Gayosa Onishi, PhD

Kenneth Gayosa Onishi, PhD

Manager, Business Development and Licensing - Microbiome

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Kenneth Gayosa Onishi, PhD

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 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.

Anna Dembo, PHD

Anna Dembo, PHD

Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

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Anna Dembo, PHD

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 a 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.

Shane Thomas Peace, PhD

Shane Thomas Peace, PhD

Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

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Shane Thomas Peace, PhD

Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

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

Shane Thomas Peace, PhD, is a 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.

Han Sun, PhD

Han Sun, PhD

Senior Manager, Business Development, The Duckworth Family Cancer Fellow

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Han Sun, PhD

Senior Manager, Business Development, The Duckworth Family Cancer Fellow

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

 

Han Sun, PhD, serves as a senior manager in business development 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. 

Mike Hinton, PhD

Mike Hinton, PhD

Senior Manager, Technology Marketing

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Mike Hinton, PhD

Senior Manager, Technology Marketing

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

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

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

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

Veronica A. Haywood-Ragland, DPT, PT, PhD

Veronica A. Haywood-Ragland, DPT, PT, PhD

Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

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Veronica A. Haywood-Ragland, DPT, PT, PhD

Manager, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.8689
E: vhaywoodragland@uchicago.edu

Veronica Haywood-Ragland, DPT, PT, PhD, serves as a 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 from the Biological Sciences Division and works with faculty to develop intellectual property and commercial strategies to move faculty innovations from the bench to the market.

Prior to joining Polsky, Veronica was an Associate Technology Manager for the University of Illinois Chicago, where she was responsible for evaluating, managing, marketing, and licensing intellectual property assets from several departments in the Colleges of Medicine, Applied Health Sciences, Nursing, Public Health, Social Work, and Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Veronica trained in the Center for Tissue Regeneration and Wound Healing and earned her Ph.D. in Oral Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Veronica’s research focused on the molecular and glyco-biological changes associated with pathological wound healing. In addition to her Ph.D., Veronica also holds a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and a Bachelor of Science degree from Marquette University.

Veronica has over 10 years of clinical experience working in acute and critical care settings with specialty training in Wound Care, which she uses to support clinical and translational science and commercialization initiatives within the university setting. She is a current member of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), Women in Bio, and the Wound Healing Society. In her spare time, Veronica enjoys providing advisory and consultancy services to a diverse array of companies, serving on organizational committees, gardening, and traveling.

Jack Crewse

Jack Crewse

Associate Manager, Technology Development and Intellectual Property

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Jack Crewse

Associate Manager, Technology Development and Intellectual Property

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.8195
E: jcrewse@uchicago.edu

Jack Crewse serves as an Associate Manager of Intellectual Property and Technology Development as part of the Polsky Science and Technology team. In this role, he collaborates with a diverse group of faculty members, focusing on the protection of intellectual property in the fields of computer science and physics.

Before his tenure at Polsky, Jack was engaged as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Argonne National Laboratory’s Center for Nanoscale Materials. His research there centered on exploring new nanomaterials through analytical techniques and high-performance computing simulations. As a graduate student at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, he delved into the impact of disorder on quantum phase transitions, employing high-performance Monte Carlo simulations. Additionally, Jack spent time as a Visiting Researcher at the University of Regensburg, where he pioneered simulations for terahertz laser interactions with topological insulator materials, providing vital insights for groundbreaking experiments in ultra-fast electron dynamics. He earned his B.S. in Physics from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in 2015.

Beyond his professional pursuits, Jack is passionate about music and art, enjoys PC gaming, and is a dedicated father.

Harrison Paul, PhD

Harrison Paul, PhD

Associate Manager, Technology Marketing

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Harrison Paul, PhD

Associate Manager, Technology Marketing

6054 S. Drexel Ave., Suite 405
Chicago, IL 60637
M: 770-375-9274
E: hrpaul@uchicago.edu

Harrison Paul, PhD, serves as an associate manager, technology marketing, at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Harrison’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.

Prior to joining Polsky, Harrison earned his PhD in molecular engineering from University of Chicago and conducted research on sustainable materials with enhanced transport properties for applications in water purification and biomedical devices. While pursuing his doctoral degree, Harrison performed due diligence as a George Schultz Innovation Fund Associate and screened novel University technologies for scientific merit, market size, and consumer adoption. He also co-founded Oleo Sponge, Inc. to commercialize an oil spill remediation technology from Argonne National Lab.

In his spare time, Harrison enjoys hiking, climbing, and playing tabletop RPGs.

Charlie Shaw

Charlie Shaw

Associate Director, Business Development and Licensing

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Charlie Shaw

Associate Director, Business Development and Licensing

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

E: shaw1911@uchicago.edu

Dr. Charlie Shaw assumes the role of Associate Director of Business Development and Licensing with a rich tapestry of experience and expertise. Driven by his passion for bridging the gap between academia and industry, Dr. Shaw held roles focused on technology commercialization. He previously worked as a technology licensing manager at prominent institutions such as the Moffitt Cancer Center, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest Innovation.  Notably, he played a pivotal role in promoting commercial opportunities for innovations spanning oncology, medical devices, engineering, and nanotechnology, while also aiding multiple university start-ups and consulting for angel investment funds such as Resilient Ventures.

Following his tenure in commercialization licensing, Dr. Shaw worked with the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, where he managed partnerships and contracts, further broadening his expertise in the intersection of science, business, and law.

In addition to his professional pursuits, Dr. Shaw is deeply committed to community activism. He worked tirelessly to raise awareness of prostate cancer risk in Southside Chicago and promote STEM education in primary schools in NC. His involvement in various community organizations and initiatives, including National Urban League, MudPies Child Development Centers, Kappa League for young males and the Bethesda Center for the Homeless, reflects his dedication to social impact and diversity advocacy.

Dr. Shaw earned his BS from Davidson College, PhD from Duke University and gained post-doctoral experience within the University of Chicago.

Operations

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.

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.

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.  

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.

Rob Reardon

Rob Reardon

Director of Finance and Accounting

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Rob Reardon

Director of Finance and Accounting

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

 

Rob Reardon oversees the financial and accounting activities at the Polsky Center.  These activities include the development and analysis of monthly, quarterly, and annual financial planning cycles including budget, forecast, and long-range strategic plans.  Rob’s position also develops financial analysis, key performance indicators, and dashboards that highlight Polsky’s financial performance.  Rob’s group is responsible for tracking university’s license agreements for financial obligations required of the licensee and distributing income to inventors.  Rob also oversees unit-wide compliance and adherence to University and unit policies related to procurement, fund and gift management, program execution and budget stewardship.

Before joining the Polsky Center, Rob spent 8 years working as the Director of Operations for the technology transfer department at Washington University in St. Louis.  In this role, Rob was responsible for the financial activities of the office as well as the compliance, analysis, patent administration, human resources and IT.  Rob worked in the commercial real estate section prior to his time in academia.

Rob received his bachelors of science with an emphasis in finance and information systems from Boston College.  He later received his MBA from the University of Missouri in St. Louis.

Teana Stocco

Teana Stocco

Director, IP Compliance and Operations

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Teana Stocco

Director, IP Compliance and Operations

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.

Jan Lach

Jan Lach

Data Manager, Innovation Intelligence

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Jan Lach

Data Manager, Innovation Intelligence

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

 

Jan Lach serves as a Data Manager for the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role, Jan leads data governance, systems optimization and special projects to support technology commercialization.

Prior to joining Polsky, Jan served as senior assistant director, data management at UChicago Alumni Relations and Development office, where she engineered data-driven databases to improve alumni and donor engagement activities and transformed the Harper Lecture Series reporting and analytics.

Jan earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Irvine and a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Northwestern University. In her free time, Jan enjoys learning new skills and trekking the world to find the best street food.

 

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.

Marketing and Communications

Abigail Prescott

Abigail Prescott

Executive Director, Marketing and Communications

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Abigail Prescott

Executive Director, Marketing and Communications

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

Abigail Prescott serves as the Executive Director of Marketing & Communications for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role, she leads the Polsky Center’s internal and external messaging strategies to amplify the brand of the center and advance awareness of the broad suite of entrepreneurship programs available to students, alumni, faculty, and research partners, as well as the University of Chicago’s technology commercialization efforts and bolstering community engagement at through the Polsky Exchange.

Abigail holds over a decade of experience in external communications strategies and implementation. She brings experience in creative storytelling, targeted messaging, and brand identity to this role. Most recently, she held the position of Chief Communications Officer at Urban Gateways where she managed and launched an organizational visual identity rebrand; oversaw the development of a multi-platform mobile app technology solution with a heavy focus on end-user experience; and led a special task force to establish, adopt, and implement organizational core values. In her time with Urban Gateways she built a robust communications team focused on creative storytelling in order to demonstrate organizational impact to supporters and constituents. Abigail believes in the power of stories to help people connect more deeply with their passions and interests.

Abigail earned a master’s degree in arts management from Columbia College of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Illinois Wesleyan University. She believes in the power of the arts and all variety of creative practices as catalysts for change and growth – both personally and professionally.

Abigail lives in Oak Park with her husband, Hayden, and their two children, Beatrix and Isaac. In her spare time she is a vinyasa yoga teacher, is a budding gardener, and makes extravagant cakes for her children’s birthdays.

Devin Wideman

Devin Wideman

Senior Associate Director, Marketing and Communications

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Devin Wideman

Senior 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 senior 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

Senior Associate Director, External Relations and Science Communications

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Melissa Fassbender

Senior 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 senior 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.

Darwin Minnis

Darwin Minnis

Associate Director, Media Relations and External Communications

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Darwin Minnis

Associate Director, Media Relations and External Communications

E: Darwin.minnis@chicagobooth.edu

O: 773-834-3026

M: 630-923-2038

Darwin Minnis serves as the associate director of media relations and external communications at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role he is responsible for leading, developing, and implementing comprehensive public relations programs and content strategies focused on generating media coverage for the Polsky Center.

Before joining Polsky, Darwin worked at Fortune Brands Innovations, a home and security products company, where he led external communication strategies and media relations for the company. Prior to this, he spent six years at Navistar, a commercial truck and bus manufacturer, where he was responsible for vocational product and bus communications.

Darwin earned his bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University, where he majored in Journalism and minored in Marketing.

Darwin is passionate about storytelling, video production and creating music.

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. 

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