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Meet the PIVOT team

Keith Marmer

Chief Innovation & Economic Engagement Officer

Keith Marmer

Chief Innovation & Economic Engagement Officer
Prior to his current role, Keith served as the U’s associate vice president for technology & venture commercialization and corporate partners. Since joining the U, Marmer has helped transform the culture of commercialization and rolled out three accelerators, a business incubator and a venture fund to support startup companies. Marmer provides more than 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive and investor. He has personally launched and scaled four companies as well as helped entrepreneurs raise more than $1 billion in investment capital. During the course of his career, Marmer has overseen the creation of more than 140 companies.

Preceding his time at the U, Marmer was co-founder and managing director of SG3 Ventures, a venture capital firm targeting early life science investments with primary focus on fund creation, raising investment capital, sourcing deals, due diligence and portfolio management. Before SG3, Marmer served as chief business officer at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Center for Innovation and, while at Penn State University, held the roles of director of technology commercialization, associate dean for research innovation and associate professor. Marmer serves and has served on a number of boards and is a past entrepreneur-in-residence at Princeton University. Marmer received an MBA, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Master of Physical Therapy and Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences from University of the Sciences.

Ken Aoki

Senior Director of Business Operations

Paul J. Corson

Deputy Director & Senior Director of Innovation

Paul J. Corson

Deputy Director & Senior Director of Innovation
For nearly three decades, Paul has led entrepreneurial initiatives in the United States, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. His focus on entrepreneurship cuts across the public and private sectors, as well as NGOs and higher education. Paul has held leadership roles in three startup companies, developed and implemented public policy at the federal level for the Secretary of Commerce, NASA, and the White House, and spurred technology commercialization, access to capital, and business formation in higher education.

At PIVOT, Paul has facilitated the launch of dozens of companies aided by three technology accelerators, a business incubator, and a highly successful in-Residence program. Previously, as the founding Chief of Staff, Paul oversaw efforts to launch and build the Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship for the President of the University of California System. Paul was also the founding Executive Director of Innovation Fund America, a national family of pre-seed startup investment funds housed within community colleges that has invested over $13M in more than 200 companies. At the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), Paul served as Deputy and Acting Director and launched and managed the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Also while at DOC, he managed the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship; helped design, launch, and manage a congressionally-authorized national grant program that has subsequently award over $100M for technology-based economic development; and co-managed and co-hosted President Obama’s Global Summit on Entrepreneurship.

Shaleen Watkins

Chief People Officer

Shaleen Watkins

Chief People Officer
Shaleen draws on 20+ years in the tech transfer industry to ensure strong workflow and information management across the PIVOT Center to continually increase overall efficiency. She is responsible for managing and overseeing key projects and operations that streamline daily processes that contribute to the overall success of organizational productivity. Shaleen also leads the compliance and finance teams that are responsible for government and agreement compliance, along with accounts payable/receivable functions. She is a member of the Sr. Team that works in unison with other members to map PIVOT as the best in the world.

Shaleen is a certified paralegal. Prior to her current role in Operations, she was responsible for managing intellectual property matters related to the University of Utah Research Foundations confidential patent portfolio. Her work included creating a financial model and assessment tool for forecasting patent prosecution expenses. She was responsible for developing through partnership with third parties, specifically, but not limited to law firms and outside consultations, creative strategies to generate monies and or sources of revenue to increase value from existing patent portfolio. She was responsible for managing and fostering law firm relationships by maintaining constant communication and enabling creative ways of interacting with law firms using new technologies and external data sources.

Deborah Arnold

Senior Manager of Compliance

Deborah Arnold

Senior Manager of Compliance
Debbie has been a proud member of PIVOT Center for seven years and has been a member of the IP, Operations, and Contracts teams, and is currently a member of the Finance/Compliance team. She is a notary, paralegal and is an expert at maintaining government reporting according to the University & Small Business Patent Procedures Act of 1980, aka the Bayh-Dole Act. This reporting ensures the University maintains title to all technologies partially or fully funded by the U.S. Government. She draws on her legal training when analyzing licensee agreement requirements and is responsible for ensuring licensees are complying with agreement requirements.

Debbie has a B.S. degree with a major in Business, is a Paralegal, and recently passed the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) “IP Awards Compliance Professional Certification” exam.

Amanda Ashley

Interim Director of Communications

Amanda Ashley

Interim Director of Communications
Amanda develops, manages and executes event-based programs as part of the Marketing and Communications Team. Her goal as a programs manager is to improve the communication and collaboration of PIVOT Initiatives. Her interpersonal and communication skills create a sense of community in the programs she manages. Amanda focuses on collaborating and working together with partners to achieve a shared strategic vision. Amanda has a BA in Culinary Arts from the New England Culinary Institute. She is a classically trained French Chef, technical food writer and avid outdoor enthusiast. Previously, Amanda worked as an academic program manager in the Deans Office at the Eccles School for five years. Coming from a culinary background, she has leveraged her kitchen skills, food writing and event management with her experience in higher ed to drive her success in programs management.

Stephanie DeGraff

Contracts Administrator

Aaron Duffy

Strategic Alliance Manager

Aaron Duffy

Strategic Alliance Manager
Aaron received a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, an MS in Biochemistry from Brigham Young University, and a BS in Biology from Brigham Young University-Hawaii. After obtaining his doctorate, he joined a small biotech company as a Research Scientist to advance products in the pharmaceutical bioresearch and bioprocess markets. It is here he was introduced to the intersection of scientific research, intellectual property and business development.

Aaron joined PIVOT Center in 2013 as an Analyst. Shortly after, he transitioned to a Technology Manager and then Strategic Alliance Manager, as which he manages relationships around an extensive portfolio of Life Science technologies including: therapeutics, diagnostics, research tools & reagents, and healthcare IT. He has repeatedly demonstrated earnest faculty engagement as well as establishing strong partnerships with internal and external stakeholders. Aaron leverages his passion for understanding innovation and building relations to help guide commercialization strategy and accelerate Utah intellectual property to licensing and the market. At every turn, Aaron enjoys taking the time to work with new and established faculty as well as industry partners to execute on the mission and vision of PIVOT Center, and that of the University of Utah. And yes, *sigh* you may call him A-A-Ron.

Hattie Ecklund

Market Research Analyst

Hattie Ecklund

Market Research Analyst
Hattie draws on her technical skill and strong communicative nature to breakdown complex models and transform data into actionable information for stakeholders. She has a rich background working with public and private partners to identify regional challenges and devise development solutions that are both robust and scalable. Hattie earned a B.B.A in economics and a minor in communication from the University of Minnesota Duluth. While there, she worked as an Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Bureau of Business and Economic Research and as a Teaching Assistant to the Department of Economics. Passionate about sustainable development and community revitalization, Hattie spent time after college working with a private economic development organization on issues concerning childcare, affordable housing, and workforce development. She has also previously worked as a Writer for an NIH grant aimed at improving the integration of patient reported outcome measures in a rural primary care setting.

Tommy Evershed

Director of Finance & Compliance

Tommy Evershed

Director of Finance & Compliance
Tommy has always been drawn to a career in which he can leverage his natural tendencies to work hard and excel under pressure. At PIVOT Center, he is able to be his true self: a trustworthy finance professional who provides quality work and dedication.

Tommy is a finance and accounting professional with 20 years of experience in finance, business services and office administration. His current position includes coordinating major financial reporting/budgeting activities, managing the correction of account balances, resolving funding issues, and maintaining proper accounting controls/procedures. He is responsible for the intellectual property royalty process, which includes invoicing, deposits, collections, disbursements and revenue sharing. In prior financial positions, Tommy has led efforts to ensure organizational resources were used effectively and efficiently to ensure/achieve long-term growth and value. Tommy has a B.A. in Accounting from Western Governor’s University. Prior to coming to work at PIVOT Center, Tommy worked for Boart Longyear as a Sr. Intercompany Accountant, where he gained insight and experience working with various agencies across the state and multiple different countries. His skills include: budgeting, forecasting, accounts receivable, accounts payable, reconciliations, month/year end close and the ability to adapt and work well within an ever-changing work environment.

Dean Gallagher

Strategic Alliance Manager

Dean Gallagher

Strategic Alliance Manager
At the University, Dean‘s focus is on technologies transfer in the physical sciences including Engineering and Computing. Dean has hands on experience in designing and building electrical power transmission, distribution, and substations, telecommunications, fiber optic networks and central offices, enterprise software, and equipment manufacturing. Dean has a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia and has over 30 years working in industry as a Project Management Professional (PMP), Operations Manager, and Senior Engineer. This experience has provided working engineering knowledge with all infrastructure in the public right-of-way, in commercial and industrial buildings, and residential units and homes.

Prior to joining the University, Dean managed projects at PECO Energy (nuclear, transmission & substations, distribution, telecommunications), Sunesys/Quanta Services, Schneider Electric, AREVA/Alstom Grid/GE, Bentley Systems, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and these positions worked with customers from all industries including education, pharmaceutical, DOT’s, telecoms, and utilities across the nation and internationally. Away from work, Dean has coached youth football, soccer, basketball, and wrestling; and is currently a musician and sound engineer.

Jessie Gallegos

Intellectual Property Manager

Jessie Gallegos

Intellectual Property Manager
Jessie plays an essential role in the innovation management provided by PIVOT - tending to the intellectual property for the technologies disclosed to the center. Jessie is required to utilize her solid understanding of U.S. and foreign patent and trademark rules and exceptional organization skills. With these skills, she runs the prosecution and administration of all PIVOT patent applications. Weekly Jessie manages 100s of correspondence with patent attorneys and meeting all prosecution deadlines. She manages the patent process from cradle to grave for all US and Foreign patents and Trademarks. She is also responsible for managing, maintaining, and updating various documents and internal trackers. Always the professional, Jessie uses her judgement to determine when coordination is needed with several PIVOT teams, as well as with the inventors. Jessie’s extensive background in customer service and handling large amounts of confidential data and timelines make her the perfect fit for her current, challenging role. When not at work, she loves spending time outdoors with her family and volunteering with Job’s Daughters International, an organization that fosters leadership, teamwork, and character-building in girls.

Evelyn Garcia

Contracts Manager

Evelyn Garcia

Contracts Manager
Evelyn loves her work and her career as it allows her to support vital organizations like the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and COVID-19 research. Administrating all aspects of the contract management cycle, Evelyn aids the Associate Director of Contracts and the Contracts Team in drafting, reviewing, editing and negotiating all data transfer and material transfer agreements between University of Utah inventors and/or professors as well as other national and international academic institutions, and private companies. This means Evelyn undertakes a massive amount of incoming material, email requests, and the tracking of signatures. Evelyn brings tremendous value to inventors because of her intense work ethic, diplomacy, dedication to customer service, and hyper-responsiveness via timely, valuable communications. Evelyn has worked in the legal field for 5 plus years as a litigation paralegal for a law firm specializing in business and family law. She holds an MBA from Colorado State University, Fort Collins and obtained her Paralegal Studies Certificate from The Center of Legal Studies.”

Amy W. Graham

Communications Coordinator & Events Manager

Amy W. Graham

Communications Coordinator & Events Manager
As the Communications Coordinator & Events Manager for PIVOT Center, Amy oversees marketing campaigns, plans events and contributes to publications and this website. If you’ve ever read a newsletter, social post or press release on LinkedIn, she was probably behind it. Amy joined PIVOT Center in 2006 and has held several different positions over the years. There are so many interesting things about Amy – she’s a semi-professional sword fighter, has her own YouTube channel, has lost over 250 pounds and is writing her first novel – that you just need to meet her to learn more.

Alex Hart

Business Information Specialist

Alex Hart

Business Information Specialist
In being a Business Information Specialist, Alex supports their team via software and research navigation. Internal pipeline creation is among their foremost projects, shortening the amount of time that team members spend fetching data for their own projects. They also oversee feedback retrieval from inventors and other external parties. By assisting with internally-sourced market research, they aid in educating team members on decisions regarding inventors and their projects. Overall, Alex prioritizes organization and efficiency, believing their team is better off if they know where to access documents – no matter how important or small. Alex has a background in the humanities and linguistics. Their suite of academic skills is strongest in qualitative data retrieval and communication, of which they have had over 5 years to shape and streamline. Their undergraduate and graduate career is punctuated with a strong affinity for language and translation – Alex is an expert in Swedish, and can read in Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic. As a polyglot linguist, they desire to learn many more languages, including Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Arabic, and German. After graduating from Augustana College in 2021, they received a B.A., with majors in anthropology and Scandinavian studies.

Michelle Hernandez

Administrative Coordinator

Michelle Hernandez

Administrative Coordinator
When you don’t know who to call, you contact Michelle. She maintains command central at PIVOT Center - greeting guests, connecting phone calls to appropriate parties and ensuring the office environment is safe and comfortable for everyone. Her proactive approach, pragmatic problem-solving skills, and creative flair (which she honed while receiving a B.A. in Photography from Ithaca College) ensure that both staff and visitors benefit from a professional, well-run work environment. Michelle grew up in the South Bronx and now likes to get lost in the desert: you can find her digging up dirt in her yard, hiking, or camping in Utah’s backcountry nearly every summer weekend.

Cassidy Hoff

Systems Administrator

Cassidy Hoff

Systems Administrator
Cassidy utilizes her analytical skills to match technologies with entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, and corporates who improve the chance for commercialization success. When not engaging with potential licensees, Cassidy utilizes her research experience and eye for detail to aid other teams in projects ranging from data clean-ups to information disclosure statements, helping PIVOT Center run as smoothly as possible. Before joining PIVOT Center, Cassidy earned her B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric Studies at the University of Utah. Cassidy was also an Undergraduate Researcher through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, where she studied the history of the “Utes” nickname associated with the University of Utah Athletics Department. Prior to her work as a Systems Administrator at PIVOT Center, Cassidy was an Investments Associate and managed a team of analysts who wrote market reports analyzing the commercial potential of technologies newly disclosed to the office. She also wrote, edited, and published non-confidential summaries for those technologies to aid in their marketing.

Eric G. Johnson

Director of Business & Data Analytics

Eric G. Johnson

Director of Business & Data Analytics
Eric’s focus at PIVOT Center is to breakdown silos across the organization and create transparency across the organization and its stakeholders through data visualizations. His projects have included working with all teams across the organization to document and understand the cross-sections of our processes and how to streamline those processes. Eric also extracts and visualizes the data being generated across the organization to improve decision making and concentrate efforts on areas of most importance. Eric has a B.S. in Chemistry and a M.S. in Business Analytics both from the University of Utah. A lifelong Utah resident Eric has always had an interest in STEM fields and has taken advanced classes in math, chemistry, biology, coding, data visualization, statistics, and machine learning. His current interests include process modeling, CRM and ERP development, advanced memorization techniques, and summiting peaks in the Wasatch Front.

Daniel Larson

Innovation Management Specialist

Daniel Larson

Innovation Management Specialist
Daniel leverages his background in biotech startup formation and valuation to help manage the vast portfolio of PIVOT Center. He utilizes his diverse experiences from both academic settings and other internships to help quantify current portfolio company performance as well as suggest which companies would most benefit from increased mentorship and PIVOT resources.
Daniel is a transfer student at the University of Utah, coming from Brigham Young University. While at BYU, Daniel studied genetics, genomics, and biotechnology with an emphasis on the business aspect of the life sciences. He was a founding member of the BYU Scientists in Business club which connected life sciences students with non-traditional industry employers that they would not have been recruited by otherwise. Daniel also led teams in the Bio-Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group to complete several projects, including structuring the M&A of oncology therapeutic startups, commercialization plans of a pre-mortem diagnostic device for Alzheimer’s disease, and providing actionable plans for a CRO to increase profits by 500% over the subsequent three to five years. Daniel is currently completing his B.S. of Biology at the University of Utah with plans to receive an MBA in the near future.

Carla MacQueen

Intellectual Property Manager

Carla MacQueen

Intellectual Property Manager
Carla is the information coordinator for the PIVOT Center team. She is responsible for creating new database records, running reports and queries, monitoring, training office staff, troubleshooting and creating and approving new user accounts in the database. And she does it all with her trademarked sparkling personality. When you meet her, be prepared to smile because along with doing an excellent job as information coordinator, Carla was born to make people laugh.

Abby Muse

Finance Manager

Abby Muse

Finance Manager
In part to Abby’s dedication to sound economics, fiscal responsibility and meeting goals, the PIVOT office not only runs smoothly, but can continue to grow as a resource for its stakeholders. As Financial Manager, Abby provides comprehensive financial services to PIVOT’s licensees, inventors and the office’s innovation management team. She efficiently processes invoices, monitors accounts and payments, and works with PIVOT’s intellectual property law firms and IP budget. Abby is also a master at navigating the U’s PO system. Prior to her current role, Abby was a financial analyst and project coordinator at PIVOT, which was then known as TVC. The varied experience Abby gleaned from positions before coming to the U, including a role at the Energy & Geoscience Institute, have helped her build strong organization, attention to detail, and relationship management skills. Abby has a B.A. in Communications from Colorado State University, with a minor of Conflict Management.

Eric S. Paulsen

Associate Director of Contracts

Eric S. Paulsen

Associate Director of Contracts
Eric works to create and update agreement templates, negotiate and finalize all license agreements, research agreements and material transfer and confidentiality agreements, handle all legal matters that affect the office, and liaise with the Conflict of Interest Office and the Office of General Counsel as needed. Eric has worked with Technology and Venture Commercialization for 15 years. Eric began as a Technology Manager, where he worked for over seven years. In this capacity Eric collaborated with faculty inventors to review and assess inventions, and worked to protect and commercialize the intellectual property covering those inventions, both through traditional licensing, and startup companies. Eric then transitioned to Partnership Development, where he worked to forge relationships between university faculty researchers and outside companies who have a need for university expertise or facilities, and then to his current role on the Contracts team. Eric has earned a Juris Doctor degree and MBA.

Ross Randall

Director of Innovation Management

Ross Randall

Director of Innovation Management
Ross draws on his scientific and legal expertise to ensure that technologies developed at the U receive the intellectual property protections necessary to find commercial success. As a patent agent, he understands the legal concepts and administrative process involved in obtaining meaningful patent protection. He also works frequently with inventors and entrepreneurs, and can help them to understand and navigate the patent prosecution process. Ross studied Biology at Colorado College, and Human Genetics at the University of Utah. He then served in the United States Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer, including two deployments at Sea, and a two year posting in Korea. Ross left active duty to pursue a law degree from Emory University, with an emphasis in intellectual property law and transactional law. He currently holds Juris Doctor and M.S. degrees.

Jaimie Rosenthal

Innovations Manager

Jaimie Rosenthal

Innovations Manager
Jaimie specializes in collaborating with inventors, entrepreneurs, and corporate executives to shape and execute on sustainable business strategies, maintain partnerships within the community, and to match teams with promising technologies. She uses her inquisitive skills to match technologies with entrepreneurs, and subject matter experts to help teams reach their goals with the possibilities of commercialization success. Previous to this role, Jaimie has experience in assisting and organizing accelerator programs. Jaimie earned her B.A. in Communications and minoring in Entrepreneurship; allowing specializing in creating relationships with small businesses and startups. Creating lasting relationships with those she works with is a top priority

Stephanie Schaff

Senior Contracts Manager

Stephanie Schaff

Senior Contracts Manager
Stephanie utilizes her legal, corporate and start-up expertise to assist new venture entrepreneurs and inventors in licensing technology created at the University of Utah. She assists in the review of intellectual property terms in research and consulting agreements that allow the University of Utah academic community to partner with other Universities and companies world-wide to collaborate and perform specialized services. Stephanie completed her B.A. in Political Science right here at the U of U. She attended North Carolina Central School of Law to complete her Juris Doctorate. Stephanie utilizes her experience from working in the small private start-ups space where she assisted with a variety of commercial contracts with customers, partners and vendors, coordination of company intellectual property and worked closely with global sales team members to close transactions in a fast-paced tech start-up environment. Stephanie also draws upon her background in large public corporations negotiating commercial enterprise licensing and services by reviewing, negotiating and drafting high value software licenses and services agreements, including enterprise on-premises licenses, managed services, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), cloud consulting, RFP, subcontracts and related agreements.

Huy Tran

Strategic Alliance Manager

Huy Tran

Strategic Alliance Manager
As a Strategic Alliance Manager with an emphasis with medical devices, Huy promotes innovation and commercialization through matching the technology to the commercial need. He does this through faculty engagement, technology evaluation, market evaluation, IP management, and license development. Prior to joining PIVOT Center, Huy has over 12 years of experience inventing and developing products in the medical device industry.
Huy has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a M.S. in Professional Masters of Science and Technology from the University of Utah. Huy has product development experience from: needs identification, concept inception, patent submissions, prototyping, process development, process and product qualification, and launching new products to market ranging in complexity from intra-nasal vaccination devices for developing countries to guide-wire assisted peripheral intra-venous catheters. He has also worked in various work environments ranging from start-ups to large corporations as well as working internationally. Huy has multiple domestic and international patent awards and many patent-filings under review.

Jonathan Tyler

Director of Strategic Alliances

Jonathan Tyler

Director of Strategic Alliances
Jonathan has led large teams of managers, engineers, maintenance, production, quality, accounting, and TPM facilitators at Nestle for over twelve years. His experience motivated him to build his start-ups and eventually move into technology transfer, where he was managing the entire physical science portfolio at the University of Cincinnati. He now uses those experiences and connections to license new technologies to companies while providing real-world guidance to researchers on considerations industry makes when taking on new technology. His team-creating approach to innovation and technology management builds trust with researchers and value along the entire commercialization pathway by creating opportunities at each step. Jonathan’s overarching goal and proven expertise is to build long-lasting relationships of trust with faculty across campus and meet with each personally to have the best understanding of their innovation. Jonathan’s entrepreneurial mindset centers on how to build value at each step for the faculty’s research through each of the levels of commercialization. While not everything will be commercialized, there is always an opportunity to offer additional value. Jonathan holds a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.

Kyrsten Woolstenhulme

Director of Innovation Management

Kyrsten Woolstenhulme

Director of Innovation Management
Kyrsten draws on her combined business and engineering experience to help accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries to commercial products. She collaborates with inventors, entrepreneurs, and corporate executives to shape and execute on sustainable business strategies, foster partnerships within the community, and match potential management teams with promising technologies. Kyrsten also leads or supports option and licensing deals with new startups being spun out of the University. When not engaging with Utah’s innovation ecosystem, she utilizes her process improvement and project coordination experience to improve office efficiency through special projects. Kyrsten received her Bachelor of Science in Management with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership and a minor in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Utah. She also earned an MBA from the David Eccles School of Business. Kyrsten is a Certified Associate in Project Management and holds a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification. Prior to her current role, Kyrsten performed in-depth analyses of unmet market needs and trends in life science industries. Her work included conducting a competitive analysis of University technologies, evaluating market opportunity, developing marketing collateral, and identifying potential licensees. Kyrsten also has a background in life sciences research, having completed an undergraduate Merrill Engineering Scholars Fellowship at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. While there, she focused on improving treatment options for patients with lung cancer by studying the mechanisms of drug response and resistance in order to personalize cancer therapies.

Jason Young

Strategic Alliance Manager

Jason Young

Strategic Alliance Manager
Jason draws on his medical and business expertise to assess the market and clinical potential for life science technologies developed at the University with a particular focus on therapeutics and medical devices. His experience as an entrepreneur and consultant helps him to guide University inventors and start-ups as they develop intellectual property and navigate the technology commercialization process.
Jason has an M.D from the University of Utah School of Medicine (Alpha Omega Alpha) and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame. He also earned a Regulatory Affairs for Life Sciences Graduate Certificate from Utah Valley University. As part of his entrepreneurial experience, he won the Harvard Business School Business Plan Competition and was nominated for the Peak 100 Award (sponsored by Peak Ventures). As a scientist, he has over 10 peer-reviewed publications and has completed courses in advanced diagnostics (McGill University), epidemiology (University of Utah), and health outcomes and pharmacoeconomic research (University of Arizona).

University of Utah Therapeutic Accelerator Hub (U2TAH)

Learn more

David Bearss

Senior Director

David Bearss

Senior Director
David brings to PIVOT 20+ years of academic and industry experience in drug discovery and development. He is a serial entrepreneur with several successful exits and developed products. Some of his previous roles include CEO of Tolero; CSO/Head of R&D of Sumitomo Dainippon Global Oncology; and former Co-Director for the Center for Investigational Therapeutics The Huntsman Cancer Institute. He received both his Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology and Post Doc in Oncology and Cancer Biology from UT Health San Antonio. Locally at Brigham Young University he earned his B.S. in Human Biology.

Lorinda Griffiths

Administrative Manager

Lorinda Griffiths

Administrative Manager
Lorinda joined the Therapeutic Accelerator team in 2021 and brought with her 20+ years of administrative experience. Her commitment to creating an organized and efficient environment helps facilitate the success of the program. Lorinda strongly believes in the importance of getting the research out of the lab and into the hands of those who need it. She is excited to contribute all her knowledge, skill, and experience to help create as many opportunities as possible to do so.

Michael McCullar

Managing Director

Michael McCullar

Managing Director
Mike brings industry-informed expertise to direct the course needed for new drug development. He utilizes his vast experience in the field to recognize promising therapeutics and identify the additional development needed to put them on a trajectory to commercialization.
Michael McCullar has more than 20 years of pharmaceutical experience in strategic planning and development, drug discovery and operation, business development and commercial

Alex W. Stark

Senior Manager, Research

Alex W. Stark

Senior Manager, Research
Alex uses his scientific and business experience to support researchers through the process of commercializing candidate therapeutics, from drug discovery through optimization, validation, and commercialization. He performs complex analyses to identify market demand and clinical impact for prospective therapeutics. Alex has experience working in the fields of oncology, infectious disease, transplant medicine, and genetics/genomics. Alex has a B.S. in Biology from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. He earned his Ph.D. in Oncological Sciences from the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Cecily P. Vaughn

Managing Director

Cecily P. Vaughn

Managing Director
Cecily utilizes her experience in both academia and industry to help university investigators move their drug discoveries towards commercialization. She leverages her experience taking products from conception to market to guide and aid researchers through the necessary steps to optimize and validate their potential drug candidates.
Cecily has a B.S. in Molecular Biology with a Chemistry minor from Brigham Young University and a M.S. in Laboratory Medicine and Biomedical Science from the University of Utah School of Medicine. Cecily was most recently a Product Director at Quest Diagnostics having come from AncestryDNA as Senior Scientist and Program Manager. Previously she managed an R&D group at ARUP Laboratories, taught a course at the U of U, and was a scientist at a start-up diagnostics company. Cecily has over 25 peer-reviewed scientific publications and has presented at national and international scientific conferences. She is a certified Project Management Professional.

PIVOT Center’s in-Residence Program: Executives-in-Residence (XIRs), Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs), and Mentors-in-Residence (MIRs)

Richard Abbott

EIR

Dan Alldridge

EIR

Dan Alldridge

EIR
As a PIVOT Center EIR, Dan brings to the table expertise include new product introduction, scaling, operations and supply chain strategy, and team building.In his current role, Dan is the Vice President of Supply Chain and Program Operations at Argonaut Manufacturing Services. During his tenure, Argonaut continues to go through hyper-growth working with a global client base in life sciences, molecular diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals. Prior to Argonaut, Dan was the Head of Global Operations at Celsee, a developer of single cell technology. Celsee was acquired by Bio-Rad in 2020. Dan also spent time leading hardware and software product lines at Agena Bio.
Dan started his career in life sciences with Ion Torrent, a developer of next generation sequencing technology, which was acquired by Life Technologies, who was then later acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific. Throughout his time with these companies, he held progressive leadership roles in Operations. Dan was a Marine Officer and served combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Dan currently sits on the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Utah. Dan holds a Bachelor of Science from Southern Illinois University and an MBA from Indiana University.

Taylor Bench

MIR

Peter Djokovich

MIR

Peter Djokovich

MIR
Peter has 35+ years’ experience going-to-market with B2B and B2C product, service, and information technology companies. A lifetime entrepreneur, he has a strong operations focus on innovation, rapid commercialization, sales and distribution, process automation, analytics, close customer-collaboration, and sustained competitive advantage. He has started and operated nine venture and/or bootstrapped companies; and developed hundreds of growth plans for his clients. Peter has been in business in Utah since 1994. He earned his MBA from USC’s Entrepreneur Program.

Carl G. Ebeling

MIR

Carl G. Ebeling

MIR
Expertise: High throughput screening, drug discovery, optical microscopy, laboratory automation, optical super-resolution imaging, physics, optics, data analysis, computational imaging, laboratory operations, product management, product development strategy, scientific software development, software management, marketing, project management, microfluidics.
Background: Currently, I am the Director of High Throughput Screening (HTS) Operations at Recursion Pharma in Salt Lake City, where I oversee high-throughput phenotype assay execution for the Recursion high throughput data pipeline; my responsibilities include the HTS lab itself, a working group handling the storage and preparation of Recursion’s drug compounds used in assay screens, and an operations group working on experimental design and process validation. I am responsible for ensuring the capacity bandwidth in the HTS platform to handle Recursion’s company directives related to campaigns and screening objectives. Prior to my time at Recursion, I was a product and applications manager specializing in single molecule localization super-resolution optical microscopy with a focus on spatial genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics at Bruker Nano. At Bruker, I was responsible for the development of new technology platforms and applications development to further scientific research, and production of next-generation microscopy instrumentation and software packages. I also managed product development, application scientists, software developers, engineering, and project management teams to develop and implement a cross-functional microscope platform. I received my PhD in physics from the University of Utah in 2014, and my MBA from UC Berkeley in 2019.

Melissa Floren Filippone

MIR

Melissa Floren Filippone

MIR
Melissa spent over a decade on Wall Street as a healthcare equity research analyst and portfolio manager at RS Funds, Janus Capital, and DCF Capital, respectively. She left the world of investments to help start Navigenics, a Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers company that was a pioneer in the industry now known as consumer or personal genomics. Employee #1 at Navigenics, Melissa led Business Development until they sold the company to Life Technologies, now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific. Melissa moved on to lead Customer Success and Business Development teams at Imagine Health, a company that builds high performance health plans for large self-funded employers. She continued in that role until Imagine Health was sold to Water Street Healthcare Partners. Melissa then served as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Upwell Health, a national pharmacy that focuses on solutions for people living with chronic conditions.
Melissa is currently investing in early stage healthcare companies in addition to serving as a strategic advisor to several healthcare companies and a healthcare focused hedge fund. Melissa is originally from Connecticut and has lived in Park City for eight years with her husband, her three children, two dogs, and a flock of hens. Melissa graduated from Princeton University cum laude and is a CFA Charterholder.

Myles Greenberg

XIR

Myles Greenberg

XIR
Myles has more than 20 years of experience in growing healthcare, medical technology and life sciences firms as an entrepreneur, operating executive, board member, clinician and investor. Myles is currently CEO of Alucent Biomedical, a Salt Lake-based company that is developing a combination drug-device therapy for vascular disease called Natural Vascular Scaffolding™ (NVS). Dr. Greenberg has spent most of his career as an early-stage venture capital investor with life science firms, but started as a physician and hospital administrator.

Carine Henderson

MIR

Carine Henderson

MIR
Carine's broad experience and interests include early-stage commercialization, business development and strategic sales initiatives in the medical device market segment. Her experience encompasses working for Sanarus Technologies, International Biomedical, nView medical, and NeoMed, with the areas of expertise in spine, cryosurgical ablation, anesthesia, and neonatal ICU. Ms. Henderson holds a Master of Business Administration Degree from the Marriott School of Management and a certificate of Entrepreneurship Immersion Program (i-Corps) from the National Institute of Health. Ms. Henderson was also recently the recipient of Valeant Pharmaceutical’s Today's Woman Scholar Award.

Beth Hoburg

EIR

Beth Hoburg

EIR
Beth Hoburg has 20+ years’ experience helping transform, reposition, and strategically grow companies. Specializing in the science, technology, and engineering sectors, she has worked with organizations ranging from private equity-backed firms to Fortune 100 corporations. Beth is a quick study with the ability to learn and manage a large amount of complex information and communicate it in a way that creates alignment. She holds a master of science in physical chemistry and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.

Jim Kelly

EIR

Jim Kelly

EIR
Jim focuses on developing and executing strategies to commercialize medical device and drug/device combination solutions. Recent roles include Vice President of Marketing for Amendia/Spinal Elements, a private equity-backed venture, as well as various sales and marketing roles for several medical device companies including Merit Medical and DePuy Spine. He specializes in bringing together teams of medical and engineering professionals to address unmet and under-met clinical needs. Jim earned a bachelor of arts from the College of the Holy Cross and an MBA from Boston College.

Kevin Maher

EIR

Kevin Maher

EIR
With over 30 years of experience operating and leading start-ups, small businesses and global business units, Kevin has worked in several industries driving improvement and delivering significant value. He is a results oriented, decisive leader with successful track record innovating as well as transforming businesses to drive growth and maximize profits. Kevin loves to bring innovative solutions to market. Kevin is currently the Founder and CEO of Applied Exponential Technologies, LLC, a Utah based startup focused on product development and validation of scalable technologies for sustainability. Prior, he was an SVP at Layne and was responsible for the Water and Minerals global business units. Kevin’s connection to Utah began in the late 1990’s through a strategic partnership and ultimately an acquisition by Boart Longyear Company. Kevin earned his B.S. Geology/Geophysics from Boston College, and his MBA, Entrepreneurship and Economics, from the University of New Hampshire.

Noah Nasser

EIR

Noah Nasser

EIR
With more than 25 years of experience in biotechnology, Noah brings a broad background and experience in the development and commercialization of novel technology to advance human health. Noah current serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Serimmune, an immune intelligence company focused on identifying and exploiting the universe of relationships between antibodies and antigens. He joined Serimmune from San Diego biotechnology company, Human Longevity, Inc., a direct-to-consumer health screening organization combining proprietary imaging and genetic technologies, where he was chief commercial officer.
Prior to Human Longevity, Noah was chief commercial officer at Counsyl, a market leading genetic testing laboratory focused on women’s health applications including non-invasive prenatal screening, expanded carrier testing and hereditary cancer screening. Noah led Counsyl’s commercial team through its acquisition in 2018 by Myriad Genetics, Inc. He previously held senior leadership positions at San Diego-based biotechnology company AltheaDx, and San Carlos-based Verinata Health, a leader in non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS), where he led his team through the company’s acquisition by Illumina in 2013. Noah holds a B.S. in Molecular Biology from University of California, San Diego.

David Nielsen

EIR

David Noteware

XIR

David Noteware

XIR
As a serial entrepreneur, David has a strong history of founding, building and exiting companies. He’s raised over $70 million in venture capital and has a keen understanding what it takes to navigate the choppy waters of entrepreneurship and invention. David was previously COO and General Counsel of the nation’s largest and oldest business incubator, The University City Science Center in Philadelphia. He thrives on the energy surrounding big ideas and knows what it takes to turn them into big successes.

Andy Olson

EIR

Andy Olson

EIR
Andy has more than 15 years’ experience commercializing biotechnologies for both startups and large enterprises. He specializes in molecular diagnostics markets—specifically genetics, infectious diseases, and cancer. Andy holds a bachelor of science in molecular biology from Brigham Young and an MBA from the University of Houston’s C.T. Bauer College of Business. He enjoys skiing, cycling, and competing in the LoToJa, a 200-plus-mile road bike race from Layton, Utah, to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that is completed in one day.

Mark Poritz

EIR

Kirk Ririe

EIR

Kirk Ririe

EIR
Kirk M. Ririe, born into an entrepreneurial family, pursued a broad education in chemistry, engineering, languages, and communication, receiving his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Utah in 2005. In 1991, Kirk partnered with Carl Witter and Randy Rasmussen to found Idaho Technology, Inc., which later changed became BioFire Diagnostics, Inc. Kirk served as the Chief Executive Officer & Chief Nerd at BioFire until they were acquired by BioMérieux. He also served as Corporate Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at BioMérieux for several years. Kirk is a former recipient of the National Tibbetts Award, and the 2004 Utah Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. On May 2, 2014, the University of Utah, College of Science formally inducted Kirk into the Science Hall of Fame. Kirk serves on the Board of Trustees of the Utah Technology Council.

Steve Ritland

MIR

Steve Ritland

MIR
The PIVOT Center is fortunate to provide access to MIR Steve, for those who want to speak to someone with experience developing drugs, and with an emphasis in clinical and commercial stage oncology therapeutics. Steve received his academic training in molecular oncology, pharmacology, and business management, garnering a Ph.D. and MBA. He has 24 years of work experience in pharma, biotech, and with startup companies. Steven has led programs from pre-IND through successful NDA and BLA regulatory approvals and launches; led disease teams and development groups; as well as mentored scientific talent in academic and industry settings. Somehow he finds the time to be an avid outdoor enthusiast and lifelong learner!

Jerry Rudisin

EIR

Jerry Rudisin

EIR
With over 30 years of executive experience in B2B software companies, including positions as CEO of four venture-backed software startups, Jerry brings an extensive wealth of knowledge to his position as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. He’s no stranger to big ideas or big obstacles to overcome, repeatedly leading his companies to multi-million dollar successes and exits.

Bill Rusconi

EIR

Chad Testa

MIR

Chad Testa

MIR
Chad wields a broad scientific background spanning molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, chemistry and drug discovery and development with a record of success securing non-dilutive funding (SBIR, R01, contract) from multiple funding agencies. Chad also has experience in business development activities including license negotiations, evaluation of potential in- and out-licensing opportunities, company acquisitions, establishment of strategic business relationships, developing operating budgets, and considerable experience reviewing technologies, including serving on grant review panels for 10+ years (SBIR, STTR, R01, R21, U01 among others).
Chad is currently Vice President of Research at Cūrza Global, LLC. He has been involved in all aspects of antibacterial discovery and development efforts including microbiology, biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, ADME-Tox, in vivo evaluation of new antibacterial agents as well as managing collaborations and outsourced activities. Chad began his post-graduate career by establishing an antibacterial discovery and development program targeting an isoprenoid biosynthetic pathway unique to bacteria at Echelon Biosciences which led to progression of several antibacterial agents through pre-clinical development. After becoming Vice President of Research & Development at Echelon and Frontier Scientific, he led projects and product development for a variety of therapeutic indications, including infectious diseases, oncology and inflammation.
Chad is an inventor on multiple-issued patents and pending applications with a successful track record securing non-dilutive capital totaling ~$100M from multiple federal agencies, including NIH/NIAID, NCI, NSF and DTRA. While his formal training has been largely scientific, he has also developed skills that he has used for business development, establishing and maintaining partnerships/collaborations and growing businesses. Chad’s degrees include a BA in Biochemistry from Ithaca College, MS in Chemistry from Bucknell University, and PhD in Chemistry from the University of Utah.

Jeff Walker

MIR

Jeff Walker

MIR
As a PIVOT Center MIR, Jeff Walker, MD, provides expertise as a regulatory science consultant for drug and device development with emphasis in developing nonclinical and clinical science programs to support FDA applications for new drugs and devices.
Jeff’s background combines medical device, drug delivery and combination drug/device experience, complex implantable products and technologies that enable controlled, targeted drug delivery from a variety of medical device platforms. He has directed several 510(k) device submissions such as venous catheters, vena cava filters and a variety of novel suture technologies. And he has also led programs in several energy-based, drug-device delivery programs including high voltage electrical fields, photodynamic therapy, and magnetic particle drug delivery. Jeff built and directed core teams responsible for filing IND, NDA and PMA applications in a variety of technical fields including cardiovascular, ophthalmology and oncology indications and have broad experience in controlled release polymer systems such as drug- eluting stent and biodegradable polymer technologies.

Phil Walker

MIR

Phil Walker

MIR
Phil Walker has helped develop technology companies for over 20 years. A trained Mechanical Engineer with an Executive MBA from the University of Utah, he helps business focus on the keys for growth and driving value for customers. He specializes in helping founders grow and transform their businesses into operational success, while identifying and hiring the key talent to balance the team. He has a passion for helping tech businesses and people grow.

Craig Zamary

XIR

Craig Zamary

XIR
Craig Zamary has held leadership positions as a President & CEO, Board Member, Strategic Advisor, and building successful programs and initiatives in his own companies and for organizations such as: IBM Watson A.I. XPRIZE Foundation, Cleveland Clinic, Kauffman Foundation, Kent State University, USAID’s Global Innovation Exchange, Department of State & US Fulbright. Craig was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Nominee. In addition, he has worked with hundreds of startups and small-medium size businesses, and serving organizations which include Veteran Owned, Minority-Owned, and Women-Owned Companies.

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