THE CENTER FOR RESEARCH INNOVATION
The CRI team is agile and responsive – focused on the translation of University innovations into tangible solutions through licenses, spinouts and collaborations. Our dedication to establishing ongoing dialogue with industry informs Northeastern’s progressive research, enabling a productive balance between exploration and implementation.
MARKETING AND PROGRAMS
Wes is a PhD student in theoretical physics, with a focus on quantum materials and quantum information. He received his BS in Physics and Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017, after which he completed a Master of Studies degree in Philosophy of Physics at Oxford University.
Wes’s research broadly rests in the study of open quantum systems – systems that are exposed to some form of environmental disturbance. This area is uniquely placed at the intersection of what is theoretically interesting and practically important. On the one hand, the study of open systems is vital to resolving longstanding problems in the foundations of quantum theory. On the other, all quantum systems that serve as the basis for emerging technologies are subject to some degree of environmental interference, which must be well-understood if these technologies are to become practicable.
Justin graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2020 with a BS in Chemical Engineering and BA in Spanish. Today, Justin is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in the Chemical Engineering Department at Northeastern University. He is a member of the Woolston and Koppes Labs where he investigates how the gut microbiome impacts human disease.
Jane is a PhD Candidate in Bioengineering, blending academic research with practical experience in entrepreneurship and management. She is actively engaged in cutting-edge research at Northeastern University, developing a novel wearable optical device in the Niedre Lab to investigate the dynamics of circulating tumor cells and gain insights into cancer metastasis. She has performed research at the Harvard School of Public Health and was advised by leading experts in the fields of lipid biology and nutrition. Alongside academic research experience, she co-founded a start-up in STEM education, was awarded for innovation and business competitions, and managed a research laboratory. At CRI, she is dedicated to leveraging her diverse skill set to drive the successful transition of research innovations into practical application in the marketplace, fostering growth and societal impact.
She completed a BS at Wake Forest University majoring in Biology and minoring in Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise.
She completed a Masters Degree in Biotechnology at Harvard University.
Swathi assists the marketing team with content strategy, creation, and digital marketing to increase the brand awareness and reach of CRI.
In the past, Swathi worked in the Advertising Industry for multiple clients including UNICEF. Her experience ranges across content & brand strategy and creating high-performing marketing campaigns. She is pursuing her Masters’s in Digital Media Communications at Northeastern University and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Technology from Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Technology.
Akshaya graduated from SASTRA Deemed University in India in 2021 with a Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology. She is pursuing a Master of Science in Biotechnology degree, with a minor in Enterprise at Northeastern University. In the past, she has worked in the Biofilms laboratory in her alma mater and also with CRI’s commercialization team as a Commercialization Associate.
At CRI, Akshaya manages and analyzes data, processes, and programs for spinouts while supporting various commercialization initiatives and offerings to drive successful technology ventures and partnerships.
As a Spinout Program Consultant, Sal provides his program management, data collection, and data analytics expertise to accelerate startup formation. He works closely with Founders, Entrepreneurial Consultants, and External Stakeholders to launch and scale spinouts.
Sal brings his years of experience working at and advising a variety of Boston-area startup companies across Edtech, InsureTech, and FinTech industries. Prior to joining CRI, Sal worked as a Product Management Leader at several companies, including Pearson Education and General Assembly. Sal is an investor and limited partner in several funds. He is a mentor at Hack.diversity and a core member at Underscore.vc
Sal holds a MBA from Northeastern University and a BS in Finance from the University of Maryland.
Monika’s role is essential in ensuring the protection of Northeastern University’s Intellectual Property assets. She manages the patent docket and ensures compliance with intellectual property regulations. By working closely with inventors, co-application, and outside counselors, Monika helps to foster innovation and facilitate the growth of the university’s Intellectual Property portfolio. Her expertise and dedication are instrumental in guiding inventors thought the invention disclosures process and navigate the complexities of grants and licensing.
Monika has gained valuable knowledge and insights into the lifecycles of patents and trademarks while working in law firms and in-house corporations. This experience has equipped her with a deep understanding of protecting and managing intellectual property assets. Monika holds dual Bachelor’s from Michigan State University, and her Paralegal Certificate further enhanced her skills supporting the legal aspect of intellectual property management.
As Contracts Manager, Elmira Zenger plays a key role in the technology transfer process at Northeastern University by drafting, negotiating, and analyzing a broad suite of agreements for the University’s intellectual property portfolio and by offering new perspectives and executing creative solutions through contract and compliance frameworks.
Before joining CRI, Elmira managed a wide array of agreements for public media, later transitioning to a project manager role in which she led content operations, drafted acquisition and distribution
deals, handled rights clearances, and oversaw compliance matters for domestic and international distribution partners, including Public Broadcasting Service.
She holds two LL.M. degrees from Stockholm University and Suffolk University, with concentrations in European and American intellectual property law, respectively. She is admitted to practice law in
Veronique is responsible for the fiscal management, compliance, operations, and HR management of CRI. She will work to ensure smooth and efficient processes and operations for all of CRI, with responsibility for overseeing the IP, Finance, and Administrative teams.
Prior to joining CRI, Veronique was a consultant with over a decade of experience in higher ed administration. She served in leadership roles at Harvard University, most recently as Associate Director of Research Administration & Finance at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). She holds an MBA from Simmons University and a BA from San Diego State University.
Jennifer is the Executive Director of Northeastern’s CRI where she is responsible for formulating the vision and executing the mission of the CRI. By merging her extensive experience in business and academia with a passion for generating real-world solutions, Jennifer facilitates the movement of Northeastern’s use-inspired research from lab to living room. Overseeing CRI programs that educate faculty, accelerate technological development, and spur venture creation, Jennifer stresses operational excellence and the cultivation of enduring relationships between industry leaders and the Northeastern community that catalyze local and global impact.
Prior to becoming Executive Director, Jennifer served as the CRI’s Director of Finance and Operations. Before joining Northeastern in 2010, she worked in the field of Sponsored Research as the International Project Coordinator at Harvard School of Public Health. Her entrepreneurial spirit found expression in Nu-Print, the company she founded and presided over for 14 years before venturing into higher education.
In 2017, Jennifer was the recipient of Northeastern’s prestigious “Outstanding Service Award,” in recognition of her compelling leadership and dedication to innovation.
Andy has over 13 years of intellectual property and litigation experience, covering technologies such as automatic speech recognition, natural language processing, networking and telecommunications, computer vision, and machine learning. Prior to joining Northeastern, Andy served as Senior IP Counsel for the Enterprise and Imaging divisions of Nuance Communications, where he managed the patent procurement process for each division from invention harvesting to end-of-life, performed M&A due diligence for both corporate and IP portfolio acquisitions, and negotiated 3rd party technology in-licenses and joint research agreements with both academic and industrial partners. He held positions as Senior Patent Counsel at 3Com Corporation, as well as Patent Counsel at Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs.
Andy earned his B.S. in Marine Engineering from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1990 and his JD from Suffolk University Law School in 1997. Between 1990 and 1999 when not attending law school, Andy served as an engineering officer aboard US flagged merchant ships engaged in worldwide trade.
Manager, IP and Compliance
Rhonda facilitates the protection of Northeastern’s intellectual property assets through invention disclosure to patent prosecution and licensing. She manages the patent docket, working closely with inventors and outside counsel to ensure that all deadlines are met, and oversees the University’s compliance with government reporting in regards to federally funded inventions.
Prior to joining CRI, Rhonda held positions at Babson College and Lasell College, as well as ran her own business as a manufacturer’s sales representative. She is pursuing a Masters in Legal Studies here at Northeastern, and holds a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Southern Indiana.
Nina is a Consultant for CRI. In this role, Nina guides Northeastern inventors through a broad range of issues and compliance requirements related to research and the protection, acceleration, and commercialization of Northeastern intellectual property (IP). Nina further supports the mission of the CRI by representing the university during negotiation of agreements connected to Northeastern technologies, overseeing the management of IP assets, protecting and enforcing the rights of inventors and the university, and implementing educational programs and policies across Northeastern.
Prior to joining the CRI, Nina worked at Harvard Medical School as part of a contracts group helping faculty and administrators resolve issues in sponsored research and research compliance. Following Harvard, she focused on corporate collaborations and agreements working with senior leadership, business leads, and technical experts within the commercial programs area of Draper. Her most recent role as the Senior Negotiator and Industry Portfolio Manager was within Northeastern’s own Research Enterprise Services. Nina earned a B.A. from Georgetown University and a J.D. from the Syracuse University College of Law.
Shivani is a Northeastern alum and joins the CRI as a Contracts Specialist. She earned her master’s degree in Project Management from the College of Professional Studies in 2020. In her role at the CRI, Shivani focuses on effective execution of the contracts and compliance functions. She manages the administration, drafting, and execution of a complex portfolio of agreements for the development and acceleration of the University’s IP assets including licenses, inter-institutional agreements, material transfer agreements, memorandums of understanding, and various other formal agreements. She also supports CRI in crafting and implementing project management and process initiatives including contract processes, creating resource tools and templates, and training modules.
Prior to rejoining the CRI as a Contract Specialist, Shivani worked as Project Consultant focusing on the CRI’s IP portfolio which included management of the patent and copyright docket, reporting of subject inventions, reviewing compliance with U.S. government sponsor regulations and other cross-functional operations. Before joining the Northeastern community, Shivani practiced as an attorney with experience in IP litigation and dispute resolution including trademark and copyright prosecutions, and civil law.
Shivani earned her B.A. LL. B (Hons.) from Amity Law School, India.
Associate Director, Commercialization
Mark Saulich has spent the past 15 years focused on open innovation and technology commercialization. He has assisted entities ranging from Fortune 1000 companies to startups, in sourcing external innovations, as well as in out-licensing their own intellectual property. At CRI, Mark is focused on helping take Northeastern research from lab to market. In moving beyond traditional one-off license models and forging long term, collaborative partnerships with industry, he seeks to create greater value for both sides. Prior to joining the CRI, Mark spent several years at yet2.com, a technology transfer intermediary, assisting companies with technology scouting and licensing.
Colin is a Northeastern alum, spin-out founder and CRI commercialization consultant. He earned his degree in Computer Engineering from the College of Engineering in 2014 and has over 5 years of technology transfer experience. In his role at the CRI, Colin works with faculty to determine the commercialization strategy for on-campus inventions and generates interest from industry in sponsored research and intellectual property licensing. Colin also contributes to strategic initiatives such as Pathways to Partnership, GapFund360, and RISE.
Director, Gap Funding and Special Projects
Joel Bresler is an accomplished executive and entrepreneur with exceptional experience leading corporations and new ventures in business development and general management. Key past accomplishments include business development for best-selling electronic media and software products. Joel co-founded two firms sold to public companies, including one to Microsoft.
He is currently the Director, Gap Funding and Special Projects. Joel manages the CRI’s Spark Fund, a grant program designed to help Northeastern researchers bridge the gap between promising lab results and demonstrating a commercially viable prototype.
Joel received a B.A. from Tufts University and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.
Director of Technology Ventures and Talent Network
As Director of Technology Ventures and Talent Network, Katie leads the development of a pipeline that encourages the discovery, formation, launch and growth of new ventures. In addition to managing the various venture programs at CRI, she continues to cultivate a team of executive talent who mentor and support spinouts as they launch and scale. Katie plays a pivotal role in enhancing Northeastern’s thriving entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem by partnering with existing internal and external stakeholders.
Prior to joining CRI, Katie served as Associate Director of the McCarthy(s) Venture Mentoring Network (VMN) at Northeastern’s Center for Entrepreneurship Education at D’Amore-McKim School of Business. The VMN is a global network of volunteer mentors who give time and talent to early-stage startups based on timely business challenges. The program grew in community size, offerings, and opportunities under Katie’s leadership. Prior to joining Northeastern in 2016, Katie executed project implementation of a software service from start to finish for a digital healthcare company, consulting with senior leaders to ensure that product offerings provided tangible solutions for healthcare institutions.
Katie holds a B.A. in Communications and Arts Administration from Stonehill College, a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration and a M.S. in Project Management from Northeastern University.
Marketing and Program Manager
As the CRI’s Marketing and Program Manager, Brice is responsible for communicating the value of Northeastern’s use-inspired technologies and operationalizing programs that connect R&D executives with Northeastern innovators in order to stimulate collaborative research and licensing opportunities.
Prior to joining the CRI team, Brice was the founder and CEO of International English Group, a boutique firm catering to the educational needs of international professionals. Brice holds two advanced degrees in philosophy and history from Boston University and George Fox University.
Marketing Communications Manager
As Marketing Communications Manager, Elizabeth works to increase the CRI’s brand awareness by creating and managing all communications and marketing strategies. Prior to her work at CRI, she worked in the food & beverage industry where she built and directed comprehensive marketing strategies that increased brand awareness and boosted lead generation.
Elizabeth holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Spanish from Merrimack College and a Master of Science degree in Global Marketing Management at Boston University.
Finance & Technical Specialist
Jacqui Mitchell proficiently supports the overall management, operational integrity, and recording accuracy of Northeastern’s intellectual property licenses. She maintains the daily financial transactions of CRI ensuring accurate account records and reconciliation of the budget. In addition, she manages the CRI’s technical infrastructure, including the Intellectual Property database and CRI’s proprietary software.
Prior to joining the CRI, Jacqui was a charismatic environmental science educator for a number of New England nonprofit organizations. She received a B.A in Environmental Science and M.A. in Biology from Clark University.
Kim is a Northeastern Alumna, having earned her business degree with a focus in Marketing. Kim brings a diverse set of critical administrative and organizational skills to the tech transfer processes and coordination, ensuring smooth and efficient operation of day to day management, event planning and marketing initiatives. Her communication and influence, both campus-wide and externally, make her a valued liaison and contribute to the mission of the CRI.
Kim’s previous experience includes work in marketing, advertising and sponsorship within the publishing industry, as well as Executive and HR Coordination here at Northeastern.
Director of Commercialization
Myron Kassaraba is the Director of Commercialization. Myron has extensive experience in the translation of technologies into commercial use. He most recently served as a Technology Licensing Officer at MIT’s TLO. Previously, he held leadership positions at transaction advisory firms Pluritas and MJK Partners, led licensing at Mitsubishi Electric’s Research Labs and Kodak and a number of Boston area startups. Myron also serves on AUTM’s Public Policy Committee and Co-Chairs the Boston Patent Law Association’s Legislative Committee. Also a graduate of Northeastern University, Myron brings a unique combination of skills to help grow Northeastern’s efforts to move technologies from the lab to market.
Senior Commercialization Manager
Vaibhav Saini, PhD, is the Senior Commercialization Manager at CRI. Vaibhav enjoys technology transfer and business development activities to support early-stage research commercialization, for example, new research tools, small molecules, biologics, data/AI in healthcare, diagnostics, and therapeutics.
Previously, he performed business and technology development at MilliporeSigma, Merck KGaA, a 352-year-old global science and technology company. As Licensing Director for Life Sciences at the University of Connecticut, he encouraged academic-industry interactions and increased licensing and startup formation activities for technologies in chemistry, biomedical engineering, medical devices, drug development, animal health, and agriculture. As an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, he researched hormonal regulation of osteoporosis, alopecia, and hepatic steatosis. Most recently, as Sr. Business Development and Licensing Manager at Dartmouth College, he performed marketing and licensing activities for early-stage technologies and startups in life sciences.
Assistant Director of Marketing and Programs
PJ is the Assistant Director of Marketing and Programs for Northeastern’s CRI. She promotes the visibility and enhances the reputation of Northeastern’s technology transfer of researchers and entrepreneurs via cross-platform marketing and events. Marketing efforts educate and inspire the research community engaging CRI’s suite of patent, commercialization and venture services.
PJ has an extensive background in marketing and program management supporting higher education, health and wealth benefits, and the financial industry. She holds a Masters in Education from American International College and a Bachelor of Science from Northeastern University.
Senior Commercialization Specialist
Ryan graduated from Northeastern in 2014 with a BS/MS in Biochemistry/Biotechnology and a minor in Business Administration. Currently, Ryan is a PhD candidate in Northeastern University’s Industry PhD program working towards an advanced degree in Cell & Molecular Biology. In his role at Beam Therapeutics, Ryan researches gene editing technologies for immuno-oncology therapies targeting pediatric leukemia and lymphoma. He has over 7 years’ experience working in various R&D discovery groups throughout the biotech industry giving him a unique combination of technical and industry knowledge.
Nicole graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2019 with a BS in Biotechnology and Molecular Bioscience with a minor in archeological science. Today, Nicole is a second year PhD student in the molecular microbiology department at Northeastern University. She is also a member of the Chai Lab where she investigates the innerworkings of biofilms.
Fausto Capelluto is an accelerated Biology Ph.D. student in the Lab of Aging and Infertility Research at Northeastern University. Here, Fausto is learning the complex internal dynamics mitochondria displays when communicating with the rest of the cell. During the bachelor’s portion of his degree program, Fausto had the opportunity to interact with multiple professors and learn about their cutting-edge research. These interactions led Fausto to seek out opportunities that would allow him to build upon and commercialize Northeastern technologies. As a Commercialization Specialist, he is doing just that.