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

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.

Chris Harris, Ph.D.

Director of Licensing

Chris Harris joined the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization (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 helped create and manage the AUTM TransACT database for deal comps.  Chris also provides guest lectures for entrepreneurship classes at Vanderbilt. 

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

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.

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.

Corporate Alliances

Development and management of industry partnerships

Margaret Read, Ph.D.,

General Manager - Corporate Alliances
Margaret joined CTTC in June of 2018 and serves as Alliance Manager for Ancora Innovation, the collaboration with Deerfield Management.  Prior to joining CTTC, she was an independent consultant in the oncology sector for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.  Margaret previously served as vice president of Portfolio and Product Development at Infinity Pharmaceuticals.  Prior to Infinity, she was a director at Millennium Pharmaceuticals where she led Cell and Molecular Oncology and was the discovery leader on the VelcadeTM product development team.  She started her career in drug discovery at ProScript as a senior scientist and leader of the Cell Cycle team. Before joining industry, Margaret was an instructor and research fellow at Harvard Medical School. 

 

Margaret brings extensive experience in drug discovery and development to Ancora Innovation, including filing IND's, leading cross-functional project teams through clinical proof-of-concept studies, and bringing a first-in-class drug to market. She holds a bachelor's degree in cell biology from University of Tennessee and a Ph.D. in pathology from Vanderbilt University.  

Corporate Contracts

Management of MTAs, CDAs and other collaboration agreements

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

Manager, Corporate Contracts

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.

Ty Flores, J.D.

Contracts Officer

Ty joined CTTC in September 2020 and is responsible for handling and negotiating Material Transfer Agreements, Confidential Disclosure Agreements, and CTTC related Sponsored Research Agreements. In his previous position, Ty managed the contracts office within The University of Memphis' Office of Sponsored Programs. In addition, he managed licensing, real estate, and collaboration agreements on behalf of the University's FedEx Institute of Technology and its Research Park. Prior to his career in higher education research, he was a litigation attorney in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He also clerked for several litigation firms and a federal judge in Birmingham, Alabama, where he attended law school.

Ty brings extensive transactional legal experience to his position, as well as significant higher education administration experience. He obtained his J.D. from Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, and his B.A. in Political Science from The University of Alabama. He is a member in good standing of the Tennessee State Bar.

Economic and New Venture Development

Facilitating start-up company development, launch and growth

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.

Heather Kachinko

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.

George Wilson, B.A., M.S., M.L.I., P.M.P. Certification

New Ventures Officer

George joined the CTTC in August 2019 and is responsible for developing the new ventures and other business opportunities of Vanderbilt affiliates. Prior to joining CTTC, George managed the operations of the Vanderbilt Ophthalmic Contract Research Organization within VUMC and prior to that for the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science. George has a wide-range of experience in biomedical research and business development, which includes work in PET/CT, MRI, cancer, neuropharmacology, electrophysiology, and ophthalmology. While he has spent his career associated with academic institutions, he has also worked closely with industry sponsors contracting research with VU and VUMC.

George received a B.A. in Psychology and Medicine, Health, & Society from Vanderbilt University, an M.S. from Kaplan University in Financial Analysis, and an M.L.I. in Neuropharmacology & Imaging Methods from the Vanderbilt School of Medicine. George is a member of the Project Management Institute with a PMP certification. 

Licensing

Commercialization via licensing to industry partners

Chris Harris, Ph.D.

Director of Licensing

Chris Harris joined the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization (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 helped create and manage the AUTM TransACT database for deal comps.  Chris also provides guest lectures for entrepreneurship classes at Vanderbilt. 

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

Biotechnology and Health Sciences Licensing

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.

Jody Hankins, Ph.D., MBA

Senior 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.

Clarissa Muere, Ph.D.

Licensing Analyst

Clarissa joined the CTTC in November 2016 as a Licensing Analyst and is responsible for commercializing life science technologies. Prior to joining the CTTC, Clarissa was a postdoctoral fellow at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Physiology. She studied the neural control of breathing and chemosensitivity.

Clarissa completed her Ph.D. in Physiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin and her B.Sc. in Neuroscience at the University of Toronto. She is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers.

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

Manager, Corporate Contracts

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.

Seema Sinha, M.S., Ph.D., Women In Bio (WIB)

Licensing Analyst
Seema joined CTTC in April 2019 and is responsible for evaluating the commercialization potential of various life science technologies. Prior to joining CTTC, Seema was a fellow at the Business Development and Strategy division and a postdoctoral fellow in Human Biology division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Seema received her Bachelor of Science in Zoology with honors from University of Delhi, a Master of Science in Biological Sciences from University at Buffalo (SUNY), and a Ph.D. in Oncology from Vanderbilt University, School of Medicine. Seema is a member of Women in Bio (WIB).

Thomas Utley, Ph.D.

Senior Licensing Officer

Tom joined CTTC in January 2012 as a Licensing Analyst and is now a Senior Licensing Officer for life sciences where he is responsible for managing technologies and has 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 (2002), and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Microbiology and Immunology (2008). In 2013, he became a registered U.S. Patent Agent and in 2016 he became a Certified Licensing Professional. He is also a member of the Association of University Technology Managers and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

Digital Technologies and Content Licensing

Masood Machingal, Ph.D.

Manager, Digital Technologies Licensing

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).

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.

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.

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.

Physical Sciences and Engineering Licensing

Ashok Choudhury, Ph.D.

Manager, Physical Sciences Licensing

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.

Taylor Jordan, J.D.

Senior 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.

Masood Machingal, Ph.D.

Manager, Digital Technologies Licensing

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).

Philip Swaney, Ph.D.

Licensing Officer

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. 

IP Management

Coordinating the protection of IP assets

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.

Medical Product Support Services (MPSS)

Assisting faculty with regulatory and IRB issues

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.

Lu Ellen Davie, MS, RN

Regulatory Assurance Advisor

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.

Communications

Messaging the innovations created by Vanderbilt’s faculty and researchers

Sarah Sommer, B.S.

Communications Coordinator

Sarah Sommer joined CTTC in August of 2015 and is responsible for coordinating communication and outreach efforts for the center.  She earned her B.S. in psychology in 2018 from Lipscomb University and has an associate’s degree in communications from Vol State Community College. 

Sarah has lived in Nashville since 2008 and comes from a background in communications and marketing for online news sites and tech companies. 

Operations

Overseeing daily operations of CTTC

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.

Nadine El Bakri

Administrative Assistant II

Nadine joined CTTC in July 2018 and is responsible for administrative support for a variety of department functions including staff support, scheduling, detailed data collection and entry, procurement, and assisting in government reporting activities.

Prior to joining CTTC, Nadine was a Elementary and Special Needs school teacher for 11 years at the Christian Missionary School and The American Community School in Amman, Jordan.  

Finance

Management of royalties, budgets and all finance issues for tech transfer

Sherrie Williams, M.A.

Assistant Director

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).

Angela Baker, AAS

Accounting Assistant III

Angela joined CTTC in April 2017 and is responsible for assisting with the management of the financial affairs. Prior to joining CTTC, Angela worked at Vanderbilt in Enrollment Management for 14 years. She is currently studying Accounting and has an Associate's degree in Business Management.

Sean Butner, M.S.

Financial Associate
Sean joined CTTC in July 2018 and assists with managing the center's financial affairs. Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Sean was a Financial Analyst at Epic in Verona, Wisconsin. Sean received his Masters of Science in Accounting from Texas A&M University-Commerce, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Office of Vice Provost for Research