Please join the Office of Technology Management (OTM) for the 2023 Women in Innovation & Technology (WIT) Symposium.
WIT was created in 2014 to address the underrepresentation of women engaging in technology commercialization by empowering them through education, resources and networking opportunities. The symposium was last held in 2019, pre-pandemic, and we are excited to convene in-person again on February 15.
Keynotes, panelists and breakout sessions will offer practical guidance for women academics at various stages of their journeys. Participants will enjoy networking opportunities throughout the day and during a reception that concludes the symposium. See the agenda and guest speakers below.
The event is in-person only and open to all. Registration will close on February 7.
Questions? Contact Sarah Goode, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hosted by the Office of Technology Management and sponsored by Polsinelli.
|8:30-9:00||Registration and Breakfast||Great Rooms A & B|
Nichole Mercier, PhD
Assistant Vice Chancellor and Managing Director, Office of Technology Management, Washington University in St. Louis
|Great Rooms A & B|
“Today’s Climate: Obstacles & Opportunities for Underrepresented Innovators”
Phyllis Ellison, MBA – Associate Vice Chancellor – Workforce Solutions Group, St. Louis Community College
|Great Rooms A & B|
“Insights from Women Innovators and Entrepreneurs”
Teresa Lever, PhD – Founder of Lever Scientific, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Missouri School of Medicine
Kelsey Mayo, PhD– Co-founder and CEO, Armor Medical Inc.
Christine O’Brien, PhD – Co-founder of Armor Medical Inc., Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, McKelvey School of Engineering
Daniela Salvemini, PhD – William Beaumont Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, Director, Institute for Translational Neuroscience, Saint Louis University, Co-Founder, BioIntervene Inc.
Crystal Winkeler, PhD – Managing Director of BioGenerator Ventures
Moderator: Jennifer Richards, PhD, Business Development Associate, Office of Technology Management, Washington University in St. Louis
|Great Rooms A & B|
“Building Value in Your Technology”
Jaya Ghosh, PhD – Director, Coulter Biomedical Accelerator; Lead Program Manager, MBArC-NIH Research Evaluation & Commercialization Hub, University of Missouri-Columbia
Tom Krenning – Business Coach & Freelance Analyst, Krenning Consulting
Leena Prabhu, PhD, MBA – Director of Licensing, Office of Technology Management, Washington University in St. Louis
Moderator: Greg Markiewicz, MBA – Business Development Director, Office of Technology Management, Washington University in St. Louis
|Great Rooms A & B|
|11:45-1:15||Lunch – Keynote “The Value of a Good Mentor” |
Elise Miller Hoffman, MBA – Chief Operating Officer at ImageMover, General Partner at Cultivation Capital
|Great Rooms A & B|
Breakout #1: “Company Formation: Best Practices and Pitfalls to Avoid”
Jennifer R. Byrne, JD – Partner, Corporate Services Practice Group Leader, Armstrong Teasdale LLP
II Luscri, MPA – Assistant Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship, Washington University in St. Louis
Qian Zhang Miller, PhD, MBA – Business Development Director, Office of Technology Management, Washington University in St. Louis
Moderator: Liz Peek, PhD – New Ventures Sr. Associate, Office of Technology Management, Washington University in St. Louis
Breakout #2: “Intellectual Property 101 and Tech Transfer Resources”
Allison N. Krepel, JD – Patent Attorney, Polsinelli
Lisa L. Lorenzen, PhD – Assistant Vice Chancellor, Technology Advancement Office, University of Missouri
Mike McCay, PhD – Director of Patent Management, Office of Technology Management, Washington University in St. Louis
Moderator: Catherine VanEngelen, PhD – Patent Agent, Office of Technology Management, Washington University in St. Louis
– Great Rooms
Breakout #2 – Seminar B
|2:45-3:00||Closing||Great Rooms A & B, Seminar B|
|3:00-4:00||Reception and Networking||Lobby|
Jennifer Byrne is a partner at Armstrong Teasdale and leader of the firm’s Corporate Services practice group. She concentrates her law practice in mergers and acquisitions, securities and corporate finance, general corporate issues, emerging companies and corporate governance. She has extensive experience representing domestic and international companies, and as outside corporate counsel to businesses, Jennifer advises on day-to-day transactions as well as high-stakes disputes and transformative relationships, including navigating formation, ownership, financing, employment and intellectual property issues, as well as negotiating with venture capital and private equity funds. She also serves as co-leader of the firm’s Emerging Companies practice area.
Phyllis Ellison, MBA, leads the Workforce Solutions Group of St. Louis Community College. This team delivers short-term training to build industry skills and to provide professional development and personal enrichment to the St. Louis region. The short-term workforce training is devoted to teaching skills in high-demand industries, including healthcare, tech, manufacturing and transportation, with job placement into living-wage jobs.
Through her career, Phyllis has focused on creating programs and partnerships with a focus on the entrepreneurship, workforce development and economic development needs of the St. Louis community. Through understanding the needs and goals of entrepreneurs, academic institutions, support organizations, investors, and corporations, she has developed effective programming and opportunities to connect people, most recently within the entrepreneurship community. Phyllis worked at the Cortex Innovation Community as Vice President of Partnerships and Program Development from 2014-2022. Cortex is a 200-acre urban innovation district that supports technology and innovation companies across a range of industries. She previously worked in Washington University’s entrepreneurship center, before launching the Innovate Venture Mentoring Service in 2007. Phyllis introduced and managed several key entrepreneur events in St. Louis. She was director of Startup Connection and the InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum and spearheaded STL Startup Week. Phyllis was also a partner in introducing House of Genius and the Kauffman Foundation’s 1 Million Cups events to the region.
Phyllis has a broad range of experience in private sector industries, including consumer finance, commercial real estate, and corporate consulting. In Ernst & Young’s (EY’s) consulting practice, she managed the staffing and industry education for over 1,200 U.S. consultants in the telecommunications sector, and shared technology solutions with international divisions.
Phyllis holds a Master in Business Administration from Saint Louis University and Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration (Finance) and Economics from Truman State University.
Jaya Ghosh, PhD
Jaya Ghosh, PhD, has considerable experience in translational research training, funding, and project management, having served in leadership roles for the University of Missouri Coulter and NIH REACH – MBArC programs since 2015. Both programs bridge the gap between academic research and industry by accelerating the translation of biomedical innovations into products that improve patient and health care. Dr. Ghosh is responsible for managing all processes associated with early-stage de-risking, reviewing, funding, and management of projects associated with both programs. She teaches the Coulter Business Boot Camp which is offered annually to faculty, students, and postdocs at the University of Missouri and 15 other institutions within the MBArC network. Dr. Ghosh is also a Program Manager for the NIH Concept to Clinic: Commercializing Innovation (C3i) Program, a training program offered by NIH to its innovative R01/SBIR/STTR grantees to help them validate their unmet medical need, assess their business opportunity, and build compelling pitch presentations to secure support from potential investors and other business partners.
As a business and personal coach, Thomas Krenning cares about the holistic success of early stage and academic start-up founders. Krenning has helped to start multiple companies and coached hundreds of faculty at Washington University as Assistant Director of the LEAP Gap Fund and as a consultant for BioGenerator. Today, Krenning runs the Bio Track at the SQ1 Bootcamp and owns a full-time coaching business focused not only on developing business concepts, but teaching clients how to find the right leverage points to move any idea forward whether it’s in the lab, at home, or in a start-up. You can schedule a free Deep Dive with Tom at: bit.ly/businessdeepdive
Allison Krepel, MBA, is a patent attorney with the law firm Polsinelli PC. Allison works on
behalf of the firm’s clients in the preparation and prosecution of patent applications in
the medical device, biomaterials, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, environmental, and mechanical disciplines. She also focuses on non-infringement, invalidity, and freedom-to-operate (FTO) opinions, patentability analysis, and due diligence for intellectual property transactions. Prior to becoming an attorney, she was a Licensing Associate at Washington University’s Office of Technology Management. Allison received her BS and MS in biomedical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and her JD from Saint Louis University with a concentration in intellectual property.
Teresa Lever , PhD
Teresa Lever, PhD, is the founder of Lever Scientific, a University of Missouri – Columbia spin-off focused on solving aerodigestive health problems in humans and animals. Lever is a clinician-scientist who spent the first half of her career as a medical speech-language pathologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the aerodigestive tract — the shared “space” within the respiratory and digestive systems essential for swallowing, breathing, and speaking. This tract is particularly vulnerable to neurological diseases (e.g., stroke, ALS, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, etc.), genetic syndromes (e.g., Prader-Willi, Batten, etc.), and head and neck cancers and associated treatment interventions (e.g.,surgical resection, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy). Frustrated by the numerous knowledge gaps in her field, Lever left clinical practice in 2002 to obtain a research doctoral degree and subsequent post- doctoral fellowship training in neuroscience. In 2010, she joined the University of Missouri (MU) faculty and is currently an Associate Professor in the Departments of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (School of Medicine) and Biomedical Science (College of Veterinary Medicine). Over the past decade, her translational research agenda has led to several patented technologies to improve aerodigestive health for humans and animals, which Lever Scientific is working to commercialize.
Lisa L. Lorenzen, PhD
Lisa L. Lorenzen, PhD, is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Technology Advancement at the University of Missouri – Columbia. Her office oversees the assessment of MU inventions for marketability; the process for securing intellectual property protection, such as patents and copyrights; and the negotiation and execution of license agreements that allow companies to access university-owned innovations. Prior to joining MU in 2019, Lorenzen started her career at Pioneer Hi-Bred in the Bioinformatics group and then worked at Iowa State University for 20 years in various roles related to economic development, industry relations, and technology transfer. She served as President of the ISU Research Foundation and Director of the Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer for nine years. She has served on a variety of boards including the Technology Association of Iowa, Ames Economic Development Commission (past chair), UIDP (past board member), Iowa Biotechnology Association, ISU Research Park and Ames Seed Capital (past Vice President).
II (pronounced “two”) Luscri, MPA, is Washington University’s Assistant Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Managing Director of the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In these roles, he cultivates a creative and startup-oriented culture across all eight academic schools at WashU and leads the nationally recognized new venture, teaching, translational, and research activities generated through the Skandalaris Center. The Center supports all WashU students, faculty, and alumni and fosters and empowers an inclusive community that finds opportunities in problems and transforms ideas into action.
II is a Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship and has taught courses on innovation and entrepreneurship in five academic schools at two different institutions, including currently teaching at the Olin Business School (CELect – Entrepreneurial Consulting for Startups) and in the Beyond Boundaries Program (The Endgame of Entrepreneurship – Leveraging Capitalism for Good). Prior to WashU, Luscri launched and built the university-wide Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship Institute at Villanova University and served as the institution’s Assistant Vice Provost for Centers and Institutes.
Kelsey Mayo, PhD
Kelsey Mayo, PhD, is the co-founder and CEO of Armor Medical Inc., a biomedical device company focused on protecting moms through early hemorrhage detection. Dr. Mayo is a multidisciplinary scientist with over 15 yrs of precision medicine experience, including developing one of the world’s largest and most diverse datasets for precision medicine research. She specializes in building teams that bridge the worlds of science and product to translate and launch precision health solutions. Dr. Mayo is also a mother and a survivor of obstetric hemorrhage and believes there is an urgent unmet need for engineering innovation to improve maternal health outcomes. As CEO of Armor Medical Inc., Dr. Mayo is leveraging her expertise in precision medicine and product development to help address the unacceptable state of women’s health.
Greg Markiewicz, MBA, is a Business Development Director in the Office of Technology Management (OTM) at Washington University in St. Louis. Having joined OTM from UCLA, he leads development of patent and copyright assets across a range of engineering technology platforms from Washington University School of Medicine and McKelvey School of Engineering. Prior to his university tech transfer roles, Greg led global businesses in the electronics and specialty materials sectors. He has a BS and MS in engineering, and a MBA.
Mike McCay, PhD
Mike McCay, PhD, is the Director of Patent Management at Washington University’s Office of Technology Management (OTM) and is a USPTO-licensed patent agent. OTM’s Patent Management group prepares and prosecutes patent applications directed to a variety of technologies developed by Washington University creators. Mike has worked as a patent practitioner for over fifteen years at the intellectual property practices of two St. Louis law firms as well as at OTM. Previously, Mike worked as a biosimulation engineer at Entelos, a biotech start-up in the San Francisco Bay area, where he helped develop predictive computational models of diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and exercise-induced fatigue used by pharmaceutical industry clients for the identification of potential drug targets as well as the design of clinical trials. In addition, Mike worked as an aeronautical engineer at McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft Company (now Boeing), where he developed computer simulations of the flight dynamics of various fighter aircraft and assessed aircraft stability and control characteristics based on wind tunnel testing of scaled models, manned flight simulator evaluations, and flight testing of prototype fighter aircraft.
Elise Miller Hoffman, MBA
Elise Miller Hoffman is a venture capital investor and startup executive with expertise leading digital health companies as an operator, board member, and investor. Elise has advised dozens of healthcare companies at all stages of the startup life cycle including idea generation, scale up, and exit. As a General Partner at Cultivation Capital, she invests in Seed – Series A stage healthcare IT startups. After investing in ImageMover on behalf of Cultivation Capital in 2018, she joined the company as COO in 2022.
Elise is active in the St. Louis and Midwestern entrepreneurial ecosystems, and can often be found on the campus of her alma mater, Washington University, where she serves as an Investor in Residence at the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a Director of the Holekamp Seed Fund, and a member of the Olin Alumni Board. In the St. Louis community, Elise serves as Co-Chair of the Board at Forward Through Ferguson, an Advisory Board Member for the Center for Civic Research and Innovation, and a member of St. Louis Forum.
Elise holds a BA in Spanish Literature and Latin American Studies, and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.
Qian Miller, PhD, MBA
Qian Miller is a business development director at Washington University in St. Louis in the Office of Technology Management (OTM). In her current role, Qian works closely with WashU inventors, manages a vast and diverse IP portfolio, and is responsible for technology assessment, IP protection, patent prosecution strategy, licensing, and post-deal partnership management. She and her colleagues also lead on IP-related matters from collaborations and industry-sponsored research. Qian is passionate about technology development through partnership, new venture creation, and connecting inventors to entrepreneurs, investors, experts, and other resources. Qian has a PhD in Cancer Biology, an MBA and she is also a registered patent agent.
Christine O’Brien, PhD
Christine O’Brien, PhD, recently joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis as an assistant professor. She received her PhD from Vanderbilt University and completed postdoctoral training in the Biophotonics Research Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. O’Brien received a K99/R00 award from the National Institutes of Health to develop novel wearable sensors for the detection of postpartum hemorrhage. She has established a research lab focused on developing and translating non-invasive optical spectroscopy and imaging tools to solve global problems in women’s health and recently co-founded a start-up company to help translate this technology to patients.
Liz Peek, PhD
Liz Peek, PhD, is the New Ventures Senior Associate at Washington University in St. Louis in the Office of Technology Management (OTM). She is responsible for supporting WashU startups, particularly in the medtech space. Before her current position, Dr. Peek served as the Technical Marketing Manager for OTM. She was previously the Program Director of MedTech Innovator, the largest accelerator of medtech startups in the world. She also served as the Technology Transfer Associate for Marketing at UCLA’s Technology Development Group. Dr. Peek received her PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA in the lab of Arnold Chin and received a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Archaeology from the University of Virginia.
Leena Prabhu, PhD, MBA
Leena Prabhu, PhD, MBA, is the Director of Licensing at Washington University’s Office of Technology Management (OTM). Leena and her team are responsible for evaluating invention disclosures, managing patent portfolios, negotiating licenses and developing commercialization strategies to maximize the translational impact of university technologies. Prior to joining the OTM, Leena worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as a research scientist and as a technology transfer professional. Leena has also worked at Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals (Merck) as part of the international & domestic product management team. She holds a PhD in Molecular Biology from I.I.Sc. (Indian Institute of Science) and a MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Jennifer Richards, PhD
Jennifer Richards, PhD, is a Business Development Associate at Washington University in St. Louis in the Office of Technology Management (OTM). Jennifer manages a life science portfolio, including technology review, IP protection, outreach, and licensing agreements. Jennifer earned her PhD in Pharmacological and Physiological Science from Saint Louis University (SLU), where she studied red blood cell physiology. She joined the office immediately after completing her scientific training. However, Jennifer returned to her scientific roots to Lead Product Development at KaloCyte, a Washington University spin-off developing ErythroMer, a dried, bio-inspired artificial red blood cell. She then worked as a Venture Capital Fellow at BioGenerator before returning to OTM with an additional perspective on startups and Venture Capital engagement.
Daniela Salvemini, PhD
Daniela Salvemini, PhD, is the William Beaumont Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at Saint Louis University (SLU) School of Medicine, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience and Director of SLU’s Institute for Translational Neuroscience. Dr. Salvemini received her BSc in Pharmacology from Kings College in London and her PhD in Pharmacology from the University of London under the mentorship of the late Nobel Prize winner Professor Sir John Vane. She pursued postdoctoral studies at the William Harvey Research Institute in London and in the Department of Discovery Pharmacology at Monsanto in Saint Louis. Before joining SLU in 2005, Dr. Salvemini spent 15 years in the private sector where she led drug discovery efforts on novel anti-inflammatory agents and analgesics. Dr. Salvemini’s research interests are to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms underpinning neuropathic pain and developing therapeutics to target these mechanisms. Her highly translational approaches combine behavioral pharmacology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, toxicology, and drug discovery. Her work led to several seminal discoveries that resulted in the development of novel therapies that entered clinical trials. She has published over 270 peer-reviewed articles and holds many U.S. patents. Dr. Salvemini is founder of BioIntervene Inc, which is developing first-in-class selective A3AR agonists for the treatment of chronic pain and neuroinflammatory diseases and founding Director of the Henry and Amelia Nasrallah Center for Neuroscience at SLU. She is a Board member of the United States Association for the Study of Pain. Dr. Salvemini has been honored with several awards for her basic science and translational research in pain and inflammation, including the Novartis Award in Pharmacology, the Outstanding Scientist Award from the Saint Louis Academy of Science and the Pharmacia-ASPET Award in Experimental Therapeutics. Dr. Salvemini is a Fellow of the Saint Louis Academy of Science, a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and a Fellow of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Her research has been funded consistently by the NIH, foundations and the private sector.
Catherine VanEngelen, PhD
Catherine VanEngelen, PhD, is a Patent Agent in the Patent Management group at Washington University’s Office of Technology Management (OTM). Catherine has ten years of experience as a USPTO-licensed patent agent, and prior to joining OTM was part of the intellectual property practice at Armstrong Teasdale in St. Louis. She earned her BS in Chemistry from Xavier University, MS in Chemical Engineering from Washington State University, and PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Montana State University. Her research has included alkaline hydrolysis of explosives as well as characterization of extremophilic bacteria from Yellowstone alkaline hot springs in conjunction with the Thermal Biology Institute and the Center for Biofilm Engineering. As part of OTM’s Patent Management group, Catherine prepares and prosecutes patent applications directed to a variety of technologies developed by Washington University creators.
Crystal Winkeler, PhD
Crystal Winkeler, PhD, joined the BioGenerator team as Managing Director of BioGenerator Ventures in 2022. She focuses on building and investing in biopharma companies. Prior to this role, Crystal was COO and Vice President of R&D of Canopy Biosciences, a Bruker Company (Nasdaq: BRKR). Crystal co-founded Canopy Biosciences and was instrumental in the growth of the company, including PE-backed acquisitions of both Zellkraftwerk, GmbH and Core Diagnostics, LLC. She led efforts in fundraising, technology sourcing and licensing, commercialization, operations, and business development. At the time that she joined BioGenerator, Crystal led a large international team across four sites. Crystal also brings experience in life science investing from her time as a VC Fellow and Senior Analyst with BioGenerator Ventures. During her initial tenure with the team, she participated in multiple investments, including Arch Oncology, Confluence Life Sciences (trading as Nasdaq: ACRS), Immunophotonics, Benson Hill (NYSE: BHIL), CoverCress (Bayer AG), and Medibeacon. Additionally, Crystal has spent time speaking to various student groups about entrepreneurship and judging pitch competitions. Crystal holds a PhD in Molecular Cell Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, where her research focused on analyzing the genetics of a mouse model for studying osteoclasts and the role of the ARF tumor suppressor in post-mitotic cells. Outside of the office, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, playing board games, euchre, traveling, and cooking.