GRADUCon 2020 - Careers in Technology Commercialization



Are you interested in using your degree in innovation and entrepreneurship, but you’re not sure that being at a startup is for you? A career in technology commercialization can provide an exciting way to work with a wide variety of new innovations in an academic and industry context simultaneously. Opportunities in tech commercialization exist both at universities: evaluating innovations, filing patents, and licensing them to corporations; and in industry: searching for innovations, licensing them in, and integrating them into the company’s work. Join us to hear from a diverse group of tech commercialization professionals about their career journeys.


George Chellapa, Manager, Technology Commercialization, University of Chicago (Postdoc, Computational Biophysics, Johns Hopkins University; PhD, Computational Chemistry, University of South Hampton)

George D. Chellapa, PhD, is a technology commercialization manager at the University of Chicago. George evaluates and implements various IP strategies for diverse and emerging computer science technologies, ranging from data science, security, AI and human-computer interaction. He also negotiates software agreements and assists faculty with startup initiatives, with the aim of bringing nascent software technologies to market. Prior to joining the University of Chicago, he was at Washington University’s technology transfer office and at Johns Hopkins University as a post-doctoral fellow. George holds bachelor’s degrees in computer science and chemistry and completed his PhD in computational chemistry at the University of Southampton (United Kingdom). George is active in the technology transfer community and regularly speaks on topics related to the protection and commercialization of software and digital innovations.

Margaret Fleetwood, Associate, McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff (PhD, Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 2012; J.D., Chicago-Kent College of Law with Certificate in Intellectual Property, 2018)

Margaret R. Fleetwood is an associate attorney at McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff, where she practices in the areas of patent and trademark prosecution, licensing, intellectual property management agreements, and litigation. She has a particular interest in both the life sciences and intellectual property practice surrounding early stage technologies. While she has maintained a focus on representing research institutions and biotechnology startups, she has also worked on behalf of large pharmaceutical and mid-sized medical device companies. Before beginning her legal practice, she spent five years in technology transfer at University of Chicago, managing patent portfolios for more than 30 faculty members and completing licensing transactions with domestic and international development partners. She has also performed part-time technology transfer work at Northwestern University and University of Pennsylvania.

Cristianne Frazier, Assistant Director, Technology Commercialization, University of Chicago (PhD, Neurobiology, University of Chicago, 2011)

Cristianne Frazier, PhD is an assistant director for technology commercialization at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Cristi works with faculty to identify, evaluate, market, and license technologies arising from research at the University of Chicago. She manages a broad portfolio in the life sciences disciplines, including molecular biology, biochemistry, and neuroscience. Prior to joining the Polsky Center in 2011, Cristi was a doctoral researcher in the committee on neurobiology at the University of Chicago. She published three first author papers and received a Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual Predoctoral National Research Service Award from the NIH and a Pritzker Fellowship for Academic Achievement from the University. Cristi also served as scientific editor for the journal Cell Metabolism and promotions director for WHPK 88.5 FM, a community radio station. Cristi holds a bachelor of science in zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a PhD in neurobiology from the University of Chicago.

Cole Johnson, Senior Manager Innovation, Baxter (MS, Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, 2009; MS, Bioinformatics, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, 2013; PhD, Molecular Biology, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, 2013; MBA, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, expected 2021)

Cole Johnson is a Senior Manager of Innovation at Baxter, where he focuses on strategy development for and early-stage product evaluation of digital and device solutions that can address unmet needs in the area of clinical nutrition. In his previous role in Technology Assessments and Scouting, he split his time between identifying innovative technologies that are aligned with Baxter’s strategic interests and leading technical assessment teams performing due diligence on such opportunities for mergers and acquisitions or venture investment. He joined Baxter from the University of Chicago, where he was a Manager of Technology Commercialization at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. At the Polsky Center, he spent four years managing a diverse portfolio of University-owned intellectual property. He also co-managed their office’s internship program, which provides students and other trainees experience in positioning technologies for commercialization, and served as a mentor to University startups through the Summer Accelerator and I-Corps Programs.


Steph Avalos-Bock, Assistant Director, Educational Programming, University of Chicago


Please register for the event. Zoom details will be shared with registrants a day prior to the event.