Staff Directory

Vanderbilt University

Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization
1207 17th Avenue South, Suite 105
Nashville, Tennessee  37212-2838
Campus Mailing Address: Box 320 GPC
Phone: 615.343.2430
Fax: 615.343.4419

Personnel Org Chart Functional Org Chart

Commercial Operations

Janis Elsner, B.S., C.L.P.

Director of Commercial Operations

Janis Elsner joined CTTC in July 1994 and is responsible for assisting the Assistant Vice Chancellor in setting and implementing goals and objectives for the department, providing leadership and guidance for a team of licensing associates, financial administrators, and administrative support staff, as well as managing commercialization activities for a portfolio of inventions in the life science area.

Janis has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and has received Certified Licensing Professional certification. She is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and the Licensing Executive Society (LES).

Brad Baird

Database Administrator

Brad joined CTTC in December 2001 and is responsible for funding sponsor reporting and compliance as well as managing daily operations and improvement projects for the department's database. Prior to joining CTTC, Brad worked as a Data Analyst in Vanderbilt's Utilization Management Department following his work in various positions in the Medical Information Services Department.

Kara Bandy, B.A.

Communications Coordinator

Kara joined CTTC in July of 2015 and is responsible for coordinating communication and outreach efforts for the center. Prior to joining CTTC, Kara worked as a Creative Services Writer/Producer for television stations in Tennessee and Mississippi. She comes from a background in marketing and outreach for news and television stations.

She is a native of West Tennessee and has called Nashville home since 2010. Kara recieved a B.A. in Broadcasting and Public Relations from Mississippi State University.

 

Joseph Beard, B.S.

IT Project Manager

Joseph joined CTTC in July 2013 and is responsible for daily support, maintenance, and administration of department PCs and servers in accordance with best practices. Joseph also creates and manages a number of projects in support of the systems lifecycle, with responsibilities ranging from equipment and service procurement to advisory and training. Prior to joining CTTC, Joseph was the Systems Administrator for the Freedom Forum & First Amendment Center located at the Seigenthaler Center on Vanderbilt's Peabody campus. Joseph received his BS in MIS from Lipscomb University and holds an AS in Communications Technologies from Nashville State Technical College. He additionally holds MCSE and MOS certifications from Microsoft and multiple computing certifications from CompTIA.

Sherri Costes, A.A.S.

Agreements Coordinator

Sherri joined CTTC in April 2012 and is primarily responsible for intake, tracking, maintaining and reporting on data of transactional documents related to the commercialization activities of the department. Prior to joining CTTC, Sherri was a member of Kelly Services with an assignment in the Office of Patient Affairs. Before working at Vanderbilt, Sherri held the role of administrative assistant for over 15 years at a variety of organizations. She earned an Associates in Applied Science from Nashville State Community College.

Jason Hinson, MBA

Senior Financial Analyst

Jason joined CTTC in February 2006 and is responsible for managing the financial affairs of the department. Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Jason was an Accounting Manager at Trinity Industries. He has also served in various financial roles at SunTrust Equitable Securities and TransCor America. Jason received his MBA from Belmont University and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Tennessee.

Denise Martin

Accounting Assistant III

Denise joined CTTC in April of 2014 and assists with accounting and database management functions. She is a native of New York City and has lived in Tennessee since November 2011. Prior to her joining CTTC, Denise worked in the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Unit and Perioperative Care Unit at Vanderbilt’s Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital. Prior to that, she spent five years as a Legal Assistant and Spanish Interpreter at a law firm in Cincinnati, OH.

Becky Mullen

Administrative Manager

Becky Mullen joined CTTC in September 2011 and is primarily responsible for supporting Assistant Vice Chancellor Alan Bentley and Medical Director Ken Holroyd. She has served Vanderbilt University in a variety of capacities for more than 25 years, and her vast knowledge and experience allow her to efficiently manage various functions of the CTTC team.

Gianny Müller, B.S.

Sr. Applications Developer

Gianny joined CTTC in July 2015 and is responsible for daily support, maintenance, design, and administration of the CTTC site.  Prior to joining CTTC, Gianny worked as a Project Coordinator and Drupal Web developer for Information International Associates contracted out to the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Scientific and Technical Information in addition to Freelance work for Leon Russell and other local Bands and companies.

Gianny has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from University of South Carolina, Upstate.

Sarah Sommer

Administrative Assistant

Sarah Sommer joined CTTC in August of 2015 and provides administrative and secretarial support to the center. Before joining CTTC, Sarah worked at Vanderbilt in the Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy as a Data Coordinator. She is currently studying Psychology at Lipscomb University and has an Associate’s Degree in Communications.

Tom Trofino, B.A.

Intellectual Property Coordinator
Tom joined CTTC in June of 2016 and is responsible for patent docketing. Tom attended college at Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Literature. For several years after college he was the Director of Music at St. Joseph Church in Strongsville, Ohio. He moved back to Columbus and worked as a legal assistant with Dreitler True, LLC, an intellectual property boutique firm focusing in trademark law, from 2012 to 2015. During that time, he assisted with both prosecution and litigation matters and acted as a primary liaison with clients and foreign attorneys. In the summer of 2015, Tom moved to Nashville where he worked as a paralegal in Baker Donelson’s intellectual property group.

Sherrie Williams, M.A.

Accountant

Sherrie joined CTTC in August of 2013 and is responsible for assisting with the management of the financial affairs of the department. Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Sherrie was a Tax Accountant for Osborne and Co. in Brentwood as well as a part time accounting specialist for OI, Inc. in Franklin. She also spent seven years with Nissan North America in various financial and systems analyst roles. Sherrie received both her Masters of Accountancy and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Tennessee and is a CPA (Inactive).

Licensing

Chris Harris, Ph.D.

Director of Licensing

Chris joined CTTC in October 2011 and is responsible for leading all licensing activities. Prior to joining CTTC, Chris was the Associate Director for Licensing at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado where he managed a team of licensing executives. He was also previously the Senior Licensing Manager at the University of Virginia Patent Foundation.

Chris received his doctorate in nuclear physics from the University of Virginia in 2001. In 2003, he became a registered U.S. Patent Agent and in 2008 he became a Certified Licensing Professional. He is also an active member of the Association of University Technology Managers and currently serves as an Assistant Vice President for Survey and Metrics.

Prior to his graduate school career, Chris worked as a software design engineer for Martin Marietta in King of Prussia, Pa. There he helped design command and control type software for a classified contract.

Ashok Choudhury, Ph.D.

Senior Licensing Officer, Physical Sciences

Ashok joined CTTC in January 2007 and is responsible for engineering and physical sciences technologies. Prior to joining CTTC, Ashok managed all aspects of intellectual property and licensing at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for over fifteen years. He was the recipient of numerous technology transfer awards including a R&D 100 Award. Ashok is a metallurgist by training and stays involved in the technical community through teaching and advising activities. He received a Bachelor of Technology degree in Metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, and subsequently received MS and Ph.D. degrees in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Tennessee. Ashok is the co-author of two books on failure analysis. He is also a member of AUTM, LES, ASM International, Sigma Xi and Tau Beta Pi.

Jody Hankins, Ph.D., MBA

Licensing Officer

Jody joined CTTC in October of 2012 and is responsible for evaluating the patentability and market potential of life science technologies.   Prior to joining CTTC, Jody was an intern at the Office of Technology Development at the Penn State College of Medicine.  Jody has experience across the spectrum of translational medicine, which includes work in an academic research laboratory, a contract research organization, a pharmacy, and direct patient care.

Jody received a B.S. in Biochemistry from West Chester University, an MBA from Penn State University, and a Ph.D. from the Department of Pharmacology at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA.  Jody is a member of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS), and served on the executive board of the Capital Area Beekeepers’ Association in Harrisburg, PA.

Taylor Jordan, J.D.

Licensing Officer, Biomedical Engineering

Taylor joined CTTC in June 2011 and is responsible for a diverse portfolio of cases, including both physical and life sciences. Before joining CTTC, Taylor handled the commercialization of engineering and life science technologies at The Johns Hopkins University. Prior to that, Taylor was an Associate at the law firm of Dickstein Shapiro in Washington, D.C., where he focused primarily on patent prosecution and litigation.

Taylor received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from the University of Missouri and his J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Maryland and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers.

Yiorgos Kostoulas, Ph.D., MBA

Licensing Analyst

Yiorgos joined CTTC in May 2014 and is responsible for physical sciences and engineering technologies. Prior to joining CTTC, Yiorgos was a Technology Licensing Officer at MIT’s Technology Licensing Office where he was responsible for engineering, physical sciences and software disclosures. He also held senior positions in the semiconductor industry and led product marketing/management efforts in the following companies: ADE Corporation (now part of KLA-Tencor), Accent Optical Technologies (now part of Nanometrix), and Brooks Automation. He has over ten years of experience with product marketing and management on a global scale and with products in all stages of their lifecycle, from inception and realization to end-of-life.

Yiorgos received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Rochester in 1996 and his MBA from Boston College in 2001. He is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers.

Masood Machingal, Ph.D.

Licensing Officer

Masood joined CTTC in February 2012 and is responsible for identifying, protecting and marketing technologies in both physical and life sciences, as well as managing the licensing activities for VU e-Innovations. Prior to joining CTTC, Masood was a technology transfer intern and a post-doctoral research fellow at Wake Forest University. Masood received his Ph.D. in 2010 from the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering, working at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine where he worked on developing tissue engineered skeletal muscle constructs for functional repair in a rodent injury model. He also worked on cardiovascular bioengineering, specifically evaluating the impact of smooth muscle seeding on structural, biomechanical, and physiological characteristics of tissue engineered blood vessels, using a sheep carotid-jugular fistula model. He received a Bachelor of Technology degree in Dairy Science and Technology, and subsequently received M.Tech and MS degrees in Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, respectively. Masood is a member of Association of University Technology Managers, where he serves on the Membership Committee, and the Licensing Executives Society. Masood is a winner of  2014 Howard Bremer Scholarship awarded by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM).

Karen Rufus, Ph.D., M.H.A.

Senior Licensing Officer, Biotech

Karen joined CTTC in November 1999 and is responsible for commercializing life science technologies. Prior to joining CTTC, Karen held research positions at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center where she conducted research in infectious diseases and reproductive endocrinology.

Karen received a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Tennessee State University, a master’s degree in Health Administration from the University of Memphis, and a doctorate degree in Health Administration from Central Michigan University. Karen is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers, the Licensing Executive Society, and the National Association of Health Services Executives.

Philip Swaney, Ph.D.

Licensing Analyst

Philip joined CTTC in August 2016 and is responsible for licensing and market analysis of physical science and engineering technologies. Prior to joining CTTC, Phil was a graduate student at Vanderbilt University in the Medical Engineering and Discovery Lab led by Dr. Robert Webster III. He also spent time as a technology transfer intern at CTTC. In his graduate work, Phil developed a number of needle-sized surgical robots and tools in collaboration with expert surgeons for the treatment of diseases in the lung and brain.

Philip received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. 

Thomas Utley, Ph.D.

Licensing Officer

Tom joined CTTC in January 2012 as a licensing analyst and was responsible for licensing and market analysis of life science technologies. In October 2013, Tom was promoted to Licensing Officer for life sciences where he will take an active role in managing technologies and have front-line responsibility for drafting and negotiating license agreements.  Prior to joining CTTC, Tom was a post-doctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University in Jeff Conn’s Laboratory within the Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery where he performed in vitro compound characterization as well as high-throughput screens for GPCRs.

Tom has a diverse background in life sciences, which include a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Microbiology and Immunology. He is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers.

Michael Villalobos, Ph.D.

Manager, Biotech Licensing

Michael joined CTTC in September 2011 and is responsible for commercializing life science technologies. Prior to joining CTTC, Mike managed the commercialization of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostic assay and medical device technologies for The Cleveland Clinic and prior to that for Purdue University. Prior to his career in licensing, he was a Senior Process Scientist at Abbott Laboratories where he oversaw the manufacturing of diagnostic assays for human blood borne pathogens.

Michael brings an extensive background in the life sciences to his position, which includes a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Illinois - Urbana and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Loyola University Chicago. He is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers and the Licensing Executives Society.

Economic and New Venture Development

Peter Rousos, J.D.

Director, Economic and New Venture Development

Peter joined CTTC in May 2003 and works with Vanderbilt faculty who develop software, educational products, content and medical devices. Peter also works with startup companies who commercialize Vanderbilt intellectual property, and he is also responsible for the office’s e-commerce website, VUeInnovations.com. Prior to joining CTTC, Peter worked with the Vanderbilt University Technology Company starting companies that commercialized Vanderbilt technology and helped those companies draft business plans, find management and secure funding. Prior to that, he worked in several business and legal positions. He has served and currently serves on a number of nonprofit and for-profit boards. Peter received his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Pittsburgh and is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers.

Kelley Dantoulis, CVA

Manager, New Ventures

Kelley Dantoulis joined CTTC on March 1 as the Manager, New Ventures. In that capacity, she will support entrepreneurship and new venture activity with respect to Vanderbilt technologies. Prior to joining CTTC, Kelley worked with Silicon Valley Bank’s Venture Lending Group in Atlanta providing growth capital to early stage companies funded by top-tier VC’s. She has been active in the innovation eco-system mentoring startup companies on investor readiness, business plans and operational efficiency. Kelley is a senior banker and a certified valuation analyst.

Heather McMillan

Coordinator, New Ventures

Heather McMillan joined CTTC in July of 2013 and is the New Ventures Coordinator.  Prior to joining CTTC, Heather was responsible for supporting the Chief of Staff for VUH. She is currently attending Belmont University.

Leadership

Alan Bentley, M.S.

Assistant vice chancellor

Alan joined CTTC in June 2011 and is responsible for directing all aspects of the office, focusing on faculty service and transactional efficiency. Prior to Vanderbilt, Alan served for five years as the Director of Commercialization for Cleveland Clinic Innovations, that health care center’s technology commercialization function. Before the Cleveland Clinic, he served as the Associate Director of the University of Virginia’s Patent Foundation.

Alan received his masters degree in physics from the University of Virginia, and separate bachelors degrees in electrical engineering and in physics from Carnegie Mellon University. Alan is a registered patent agent and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of University Technology Managers.

Kenneth Holroyd, M.D., MBA

Medical Director

Kenneth J. Holroyd, M.D., MBA is Medical Director for the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization, and also holds appointments as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research, and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Medicine. Joining Vanderbilt University in 2005, Ken is on the Board of Directors of Cumberland Emerging Technologies, the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation, Informatics Corporation of America (ICA), Acuitec, digiChart, and Friends in Global Health. He is past Co-Chair of the Public-Private Partnership Committee of the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program. At Vanderbilt his clinical practice of medicine is in Anesthesiology. Ken was in the biopharmaceutical industry for seven years, at Magainin Pharmaceuticals and Genaera Corporation, where he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Previously he was a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania and at Johns Hopkins University, where his research interests included the genetics and molecular biology of asthma. Ken received his residency training in internal medicine and in anesthesiology at Johns Hopkins Hospital and University, and in pulmonary medicine at the National Institutes of Health. Johns Hopkins University awarded him the M.D. degree in 1984.

Medical Device and Regulatory Affairs Program (MDRAP)

Lu Ellen Davie, MS, RN

Quality Assurance Manager

Lu Ellen began working at CTTC in March of 2014 and provides FDA regulatory guidance to Vanderbilt researchers developing and investigating medical devices. Lu Ellen has been employed at Vanderbilt for a number of years, initially as an RN in the SICU. She has 14 years of human subjects protections experience under the VHRPP and VICTR. She holds a Master’s degree in Regulatory Affairs for Drugs, Devices and Biologics from Northeastern University in Boston, and a BSN degree from Austin Peay University.

Axel Strombergsson, M.Sc.

Regulatory Affairs Officer

Axel joined the CTTC in December of 2014 and is responsible for providing regulatory affairs support to research teams that are developing medical devices at Vanderbilt University. 

Prior to joining CTTC,  spent about 12 years of his career within the medical device industry, primarily for Plasma Surgical, a medical device manufacturer developing and distributing an energy based surgical system.

During his time at Plasma Surgical, Axel held various engineering positions, starting off as a development engineer and project manager, and later transitioning into managerial positions. These positions consisted of initially being the manager for process development at the Swedish manufacturing site, and later as a senior manager for product development, within the R&D department located in Atlanta, USA.

Axel earned his Master in mechanical engineering at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, and has after graduation built on his expertise through programs and classes at various institutions including Emory University and Georgia Tech.