People

I-Corps @ UMass Team

Kenneth Carter

Kenneth Carter

Principal Investigator, Professor of Polymer Science & Engineering

Professor Carter is a member of the UMass Amherst Polymer Science and Engineering Department. His research involves the synthesis and characterization of polymeric materials with specially designed properties. Carter’s research focuses on the development of organic and hybrid materials for future use in advanced electronics and storage technologies. He also has projects studying advanced nanocellulose materials and applications that utilize it. Dr. Carter has numerous publications, over 30 patents, and a successful startup, Treaty LLC. He is the Director of the UMASS NRT Traineeship program (www.smls-nrt.org) as well as the PI of the UMass i-Corps Site training program.

Nilanjana Dasgupta

Nilanjana Dasgupta

Co-Principal Investigator, Professor, Psychological & Brain Sciencess

Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta is a Professor of Psychology, Director of Faculty Equity and Inclusion, and Director of the Institute of Diversity Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research is on unconscious or implicit bias with emphasis on the ways in which changes in social contexts correspondingly change implicit attitudes, beliefs, and behavior.

Dasgupta’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Among these was an NSF CAREER award. She received the Application of Personality and Social Psychology Award from the Society for Personality & Social Psychology (2016), the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity (2016), and the Distinguished Academic Outreach Award in Research from UMass Amherst (2014). Level Playing Field Institute, a private foundation based in Silicon Valley, awarded her and her students the Hidden Bias Research Prize in 2012. She was invited to give a distinguished faculty lecture at the National Science Foundation in 2016. In 2012 Dasgupta gave an invited presentation at an event organized by the Obama White House on the ways in which implicit stereotypes prevent the inclusion of underrepresented youth in science and technology and evidence-driven remedies targeting this problem.

A good bit of Dasgupta’s time is spent translating scientific research to inform social problems such as employment discrimination, educational disparities in science, engineering, and mathematics, and the under-representation of women and ethnic minorities in professional leadership roles. Dasgupta has held leadership positions in several international societies including service on the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (NSF SBE, 2015-2020), which provides recommendations and oversight to all research, education, and human resource initiatives of the SBE Directorate.

Burnley Jaklevic

Burnley Jaklevic

Co-Principal Investigator, Interim Director, Technology Transfer Office (TTO)

Burnley Jaklevic is a Senior Licensing Officer in the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She joined the TTO in December 2012, where she is part of a team that works closely with UMass Amherst faculty, staff and students as they develop inventions and software that may have commercial applications.

Prior to joining the TTO, Burnley was a Licensing Associate in the technology licensing office at Texas A&M University. She earned her B.A. degree in genetics from UC Davis and worked for three years on the Human and Drosophila Genome Projects at Berkeley National Laboratory. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado Boulder where she carried out her thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Tin Tin Su on cell cycle checkpoints, DNA repair and apoptosis.

Following her graduate studies, Dr. Jaklevic was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Kristin Scott at UC Berkeley, studying neural circuits underlying taste and feeding behavior. Burnley enjoys working with UMA inventors and exploring the commercial potential of their inventions.

Karen Utgoff

Karen Utgoff

I-Corps @ UMass Amherst Site Director, Lead Instructor

Karen Utgoff is a market-oriented business strategist with extensive experience in innovation and entrepreneurship programs, small business growth, and technology-driven startup development. In addition to serving as site director for I-Corps @ UMass Amherst she directs venture development efforts in the Institute for Applied Life Sciences, including the IALS & Isenberg Business Innovation Fellows Program. She participates in the broader innovation ecosystem as a volunteer for the Cleantech Open Northeast, MassChallenge, and Valley Venture Mentors accelerator programs. Ms. Utgoff served as the industry mentor for the campus’ first national team. She hold an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ina Ganguli

Ina Ganguli

Associate Professor of Economics, Director, UMass Computational Social Science Institute

Ina Ganguli is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Associate Director of the UMass Computational Social Science Institute (CSSI). Her primary research areas are labor economics and the economics of science and innovation. Her recent research has focused on the migration of high-skill workers, gender disparities in the labor market, and the formation of scientific collaborations.

Ina holds a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University, a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University. She is a Research Affiliate of the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard University (LISH) and a Research Fellow at the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE) at the Stockholm School of Economics.

She is a recipient of the 2018 Russian National Prize in Applied Economics, awarded biennially to the best published research on the Russian economy, and received honorable mention for the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research Dissertation Award, awarded annually to the best dissertations on employment-related issues.

Allison Koss

Allison Koss

Communications Manager, Office of Research & Engagement

Allison Koss is the Communications Manager for the Office of Research and Engagement where she is responsible for supporting internal and external communications through a variety of media. She previously worked for UMass Amherst IT for five years as a Communications Coordinator.

Allison graduated from Western New England College (now University) in 2007 with a B.S.B.A. in Marketing Communications and Advertising. While there, she played field hockey and was selected NFHCA Academic Team and All-NAC First Team. She was a Western New England University Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee in 2013. Allison also received a Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communication from Emerson College in 2009.

Maryanne Laukaitis

Administrative Assistant, Technology Transfer Office (TTO)

Maryanne Laukaitis is an administrative assistant in the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) where she is responsible for processing Material Transfer Agreements and Confidential Disclosure Agreements, among other administrative duties.

A graduate of Smith College, Maryanne worked for 9 years at Kollmorgen Corporation Electro-Optical Division as a mechanical designer for periscope subassemblies and training equipment. At UMass she was mechanical designer for the Five College Radio Astronomy program for 8 years, working on components for the radio telescope located at Quabbin Reservoir.

Subsequently, she was administrative assistant for the Director of the Massachusetts Rural Development Council, which was hosted by the UMass Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning department. There she ran the office as well as writing/editing the newsletter and actively participating in planning two national conferences on rural development.

Instructors

Burnley Jaklevic

Burnley Jaklevic

Co-Principal Investigator, Interim Director, Technology Transfer Office (TTO)

Burnley Jaklevic is a Senior Licensing Officer in the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She joined the TTO in December 2012, where she is part of a team that works closely with UMass Amherst faculty, staff and students as they develop inventions and software that may have commercial applications.

Prior to joining the TTO, Burnley was a Licensing Associate in the technology licensing office at Texas A&M University. She earned her B.A. degree in genetics from UC Davis and worked for three years on the Human and Drosophila Genome Projects at Berkeley National Laboratory. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado Boulder where she carried out her thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Tin Tin Su on cell cycle checkpoints, DNA repair and apoptosis.

Following her graduate studies, Dr. Jaklevic was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Kristin Scott at UC Berkeley, studying neural circuits underlying taste and feeding behavior. Burnley enjoys working with UMA inventors and exploring the commercial potential of their inventions.

Karen Utgoff

Karen Utgoff

I-Corps @ UMass Amherst Site Director, Lead Instructor

Karen Utgoff is a market-oriented business strategist with extensive experience in innovation and entrepreneurship programs, small business growth, and technology-driven startup development. In addition to serving as site director for I-Corps @ UMass Amherst she directs venture development efforts in the Institute for Applied Life Sciences, including the IALS & Isenberg Business Innovation Fellows Program. She participates in the broader innovation ecosystem as a volunteer for the Cleantech Open Northeast, MassChallenge, and Valley Venture Mentors accelerator programs. Ms. Utgoff served as the industry mentor for the campus’ first national team. She hold an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Tom Ferguson

Tom Ferguson

Licensing Associate, Technology Transfer Office (TTO)

Tom Ferguson is a Licensing Associate in the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is primarily responsible for commercializing inventions in engineering and computer science. Prior to joining the TTO in 2017, Tom was Chief Technology Officer for Third Power Inc., a NY start-up company developing large-scale energy storage technologies. At Third Power Tom led both technology and business development efforts, and worked with major utility companies including Con Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Previously, Tom was a Postdoctoral TechBridge Fellow at the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems. At TechBridge he led programs sponsored by ExxonMobil, DSM and Shell to identify and accelerate promising clean energy startups. He also serves as a mentor for several startup accelerator programs in the Northeast.

Tom received his Bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Astronomy from Vassar College, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Earth & Environmental Engineering from Columbia University. His graduate research focused on a novel alkali thermal treatment method to convert biomass into high-purity hydrogen for distributed energy generation. At Columbia Tom also gained experience in university technology transfer by serving as a fellow with Columbia Technology Ventures. His responsibilities included evaluating Columbia inventions in the physical sciences and developing marketing strategies to attract licensees and corporate research sponsors.

Ling Shen

Ling X. Shen

Senior Licensing Officer, Technology Transfer Office (TTO)

Dr. Ling X. Shen is a Senior Licensing Officer in the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has worked as a technology transfer professional since 2007. Prior to joining the TTO, she spent eight years in the biotech industry in Cambridge, MA where she served in scientific and managerial positions with increasing levels of responsibility. In 2002, Ling joined Hybridon, Inc. as Director of Scientific Affairs, where she marketed the company’s technologies to universities and research institutes worldwide, and built multiple research collaborations in North America, Europe and Asia.

Ling earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Fudan University, M.S. in Chemistry from San Francisco State University, M.B.A. from the UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Management, and Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley. She pursued postdoctoral research in structural biology, biochemistry and molecular biology at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz.

Gregory Thomas

Gregory Thomas

Executive Director and Lecturer, Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship

For the last 20 years, Gregory Thomas ’91 has held various senior level global manufacturing, finance/control and strategy roles with Corning. During his last five years at Corning, he was a strategist for Emerging Innovations, focused on bringing new products, processes, and businesses to market. He’s also the immediate past president of the UMass Amherst Alumni Association Board of Directors and is known as a prolific volunteer and proven fundraiser. He earned an MBA in finance and operations management at Clark Atlanta University.

As executive director and lecturer, Thomas has responsibility for the Berthiaume Center, and works with external constituents on campus, in the Pioneer Valley and throughout the Commonwealth to develop and execute value-adding partnerships in service of the Center’s mission. He also teaches entrepreneurship and innovation in UMass’ Isenberg School of Management.