Office of Research & Development
Office of Research & Development
Davis Becker joined the Technology Transfer Program in November 2021 as a Field Technology Transfer Specialist to serve VA Medical Centers in Southern California.
Davis began his 17-year career in public service as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician in the United States Air Force. Upon separating, he continued to work with the Air Force as a civilian program manager and liaison in the United Kingdom. He then joined the VA San Diego Healthcare System in June 2018 as a Health System Specialist within Systems Redesign and Innovation, where he was responsible for leading process improvement initiatives and implementing VHA Innovation Ecosystem program objectives, which sought to instill a methodical approach to, and capacity for, the development, adoption, and scaling of intrapreneurial ventures.
Throughout his career, Davis became revered by colleagues and external partners as a “navigator of bureaucracy” for his tenacity in identifying opportunities, bridging siloed groups and resources, and facilitation of others to move more confidently toward their ideal states. Creative, motivated by challenges and a genuine interest in the growth and positive experiences of others, he looks to continue providing value as an advocate for the VA and its dedicated researchers and employee-inventors.
Davis is a Montana native and lives in San Diego with his wife and three children, where they enjoy doing as much as the community and climate have to offer.
Nicholas Cilz, PhD
Dr. Nicholas Cilz is the new Field Technology Transfer Specialist in Minneapolis. Dr. Cilz completed his PhD in Pharmacology, Physiology, and Therapeutics at the University of North Dakota. His research background is in neurophysiological mechanisms underlying learning, memory, and neuropsychiatric disorders. As a postdoctoral scientist at the National Institute of Mental Health in Maryland, Dr. Cilz researched roles of the neuropeptides vasopressin and oxytocin in social memory. In 2020, he transitioned to the United States Patent and Trademark Office and became an examiner working in a biotechnology arts unit where he examined many patent applications related to gene therapies. After leaving the USPTO, he returned to the NIH to work as a fellow in technology transfer at the National Cancer Institute. At the NCI, he facilitated execution of numerous transactional agreements and assisted other dockets involving cell therapy technologies. Dr. Cilz enjoys evaluating new technologies to understand where the inventive concept exists and determining whether there is market potential for commercialization. He is excited to apply and build upon his diverse experience in research and technology transfer in his new role as a Field Technology Transfer Specialist at the Minneapolis VAMC.
Outside of work, Nick enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, traveling, and catching a new movie or live musical performance.
Pattie Cullum, M.Ed
Pattie Cullum joined the VA Technology Transfer Program (TTP) as a Regional Technology Transfer Specialist in 2019. Pattie is part of an outstanding team who works with remarkable VA researchers and employees, handling all aspects of technology transfer across eight states and more than 14 VA medical centers in the pacific northwest down to the southwest US. The Federal Lab Consortium chose Pattie as Technology Transfer Rookie of the Year in 2022.
Before joining TTP, Pattie was a Chief Data Scientist at the Department of Commerce, National Technical Information Service (NTIS), providing innovative data services to federal agencies. While at NTIS, she received a Gears of Government Award in 2020 that recognizes individuals and teams across the Federal workforce whose dedication supports exceptional delivery of crucial outcomes for the American people.
Pattie came to the federal government with over twenty years in the private sector in clinical biotechnology and pharmaceutical research. She was senior leadership in global clinical trials, regulatory compliance, data science, data visualization and analytics, training and organizational development, and performance management. Pattie earned a Master of Education degree from Cambridge College in Cambridge, MA, researching "The Quality of Life of HIV and AIDS patients on Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy." Pattie also earned a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Technology Transfer from the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES) at the National Institute of Health.
Christopher Drabik, JD, MS
Christopher has been with the VA Technology Transfer Program for more than ten years. During this period, he has been responsible for negotiating technology and research-related agreements with private sector companies, Universities and other public and private entities and has directed the prosecution of patent portfolios arising from the efforts of VA inventors. He has significantly contributed to re-drafting current VA regulations and policies concerning the treatment of intellectual property created by VA employees and was responsible for initiating efforts to re-negotiate VA -University agreements concerning the treatment of jointly owned intellectual property. He is currently responsible for managing VA-University relations related to technology transfer occurring at all VA research centers in the Northeast.
Prior to arriving at the VA Christopher was an attorney at a Boston law firm (Furman Gregory Deptula) focused on providing legal services to start-up companies in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine His practice areas included intellectual property, counseling, licensing transactions and patent prosecution with experience in technology evaluation and freedom to operate analyses; providing legal guidance related to in and out-licensing of therapeutic agents; and drafting and negotiating collaboration, licensing, material transfer and other pharma/biotech-related agreements.
Christopher attended law school at Suffolk University Law School while employed full-time as a patent agent at a boutique patent law firm in Boston (Lahive and Cockfield, LLC). He completed his degree while working at a biotech company (now, Forum Pharmaceuticals) in their business development group. Later, he became the company’s in-house counsel. While at Forum Pharmaceuticals he was responsible for external and internal intellectual property due diligence related to potential business partners, negotiated and drafted numerous R&D and clinical trial related agreements with biopharma companies, contract research organizations, universities, non-profit organizations and agencies of the US government. An important aspect of his position included providing intellectual property evaluations in support of business development efforts and managed in-house legal efforts with respect to several complex licensing and collaboration agreements.
Christopher is a member of the Massachusetts Bar, is a registered patent attorney and former USPTO patent examiner. He completed a Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology (Wayne State University) and worked for more than ten years as a bench scientist in academic and industry labs. His graduate work involved the study of virology, chromatin structure, DNA topology and eukaryotic transcription. While in industry he worked at understanding the biology of HBV (Scriptgen Pharmaceuticals) HCV (Eli Lilly) and also spent several years developing small molecule drug screening platforms for CNS indications (Psychiatric Genomics).
Bhoomija Hariprasad, MS
Bhoomija Hariprasad joined the VA's Technology Transfer Program (TTP) in January 2023 as a Technology Transfer Specialist based in Houston and serving VA medical centers located in Texas. Bhoomija has a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from Louisiana State University and a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering from University of Houston where her research was focused on nanobiomaterials for drug delivery. She then worked in UT Health Houston studying inflammatory diseases and completed additional graduate coursework at Wake Forest School of Medicine where she accumulated extensive research experience in organ-on-chip technology and glioblastoma studies.
While at Wake Forest, she took courses on intellectual property protection where she learned market analysis and technology commercialization. She looks forward to combining her scientific background with technology transfer strategies in her translational role. Outside of work, Bhoomija enjoys reading, hiking, songwriting, and playing guitar.
Rebecca Holmes, PhD
Rebecca joins the TTP team from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) Office of Technology Management. As a Technology Commercialization Fellow at UIC, she worked closely with faculty and the Technology Manager team to support the commercialization of UIC’s intellectual property assets to address unmet needs.
Rebecca completed her B.Sc. and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow in Scotland and completed her postdoctoral training at Queen Mary, University of London, and Northwestern University. Her research focused on understanding and harnessing the regenerative properties of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells for medical applications.
In 2018 she worked part time as a Marketing Specialist in the Innovation and New Ventures Office at Northwestern University, to develop descriptive marketing materials for innovative technologies and to create and implement marketing strategies that identify and attract potential licensees.
She is a current member of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and Women in Bio.
Terri Hunter, PhD
Terri Hunter is a Regional Technology Transfer Specialist handling Technology Transfer for the VA Medical Centers in the upper Midwest of the United States. Prior to joining the VA, Dr. Hunter was a Senior Licensing Manager in the Office of Technology Transfer for the University of South Florida for 10 years. She has significant expertise and experience in the technology transfer space. Prior to tech transfer, Dr. Hunter worked as a Research Scientist at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida where she performed translational research focused on cancer vaccines/immunotherapy and combination therapies for cancer. Dr. Hunter has also served as a DNA Expert Witness for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. She received a B.S. in Biology from Palm Beach Atlantic University in 1994, a M.S. in Medical Sciences from the University of South Florida, College of Medicine in 1997, and a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from the University of South Florida, College of Medicine (1998, Medical Microbiology and Immunology Program). Her post-doctoral training was conducted at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
David Marks, JD
David Marks has been a biotech patent attorney for over twenty-five years. He has worked for a university technology transfer office, an international pharmaceutical company, an international device manufacturer, and a non-profit healthcare entity devoted to improving the health of people in developing countries. More recently, Mr. Marks was a Senior Patent Attorney for the United States Department of Agriculture preparing and prosecuting patent applications for various biotechnologies and devices.
Currently, Mr. Marks is a Regional Technology Transfer Specialist for the Department of Veterans Affairs. He handles the VA's technology transfer for Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. Mr. Marks negotiates CRADAs, license agreements, and other agreements for the VA.
In his spare time, Mr. Marks likes to garden, take long walks in nature, and visiting naturally beautiful places in the U.S. and abroad.
Kristine Moes, JD
Kristine Moes joined the Technology Transfer Program (TTP) of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Research and Development in August of 2022 as a Technology Transfer Specialist to serve VA medical Centers located in Florida.
Kristine has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Central Florida, and a Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law. It was during her final year of law school where her love for technology transfer became apparent, she interned with the University of South Florida (USF) Technology Transfer Office.
Prior to joining the VA, Kristine was a Licensing Associate at USF for five years. At USF Kristine started as part of the Physical Sciences team but quickly showed that she had knowledge useful in medical device technologies. Her docket became a combination of physical and life sciences. She was responsible for managing her portfolio of technologies from initial disclosure through licensing and the maintenance of the licenses. She has expertise in the areas of patent prosecution, license negotiations, start-up business development, and marketing.
Outside of work, Kristine enjoys deep sea fishing, white water rafting, participating in marathons, and other outdoor activities.
Jenish Patel, PhD
Dr. Jenish Patel joined the Technology Transfer Program (TTP) of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Research and Development in Washington DC, in May 2020, as a Regional Lead Technology Transfer Specialist.
Jenish received his Bachelors of Science degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he also conducted undergraduate laboratory research in immunology. Then, Jenish was a post-baccalaureate research fellow for the Association of Public Health Laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for two years conducting laboratory research on pandemic influenza viruses. Jenish has a PhD from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York in Microbiology with a research focus on immunology and infectious diseases, where he also conducted his post-doctoral research in innate immunity to pathogens. Jenish has authored over 25 publications throughout his academic research career.
Prior to joining the VA, Jenish was a Senior Technology Transfer and Patent Specialist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), for more than five years. Jenish managed collaboration agreement, intellectual property and licensing portfolios of infectious diseases related research and development involving NIAID intramural researchers, NIAID extramural programs, US and international academic and biopharmaceutical company partners for the development of medical countermeasures against a number of different viral diseases impacting public health, including influenza, Zika, and COVID-19. Jenish has also demonstrated strong leadership skills by successfully leading NIAID and NIH level teams to support and improve technology transfer functions. Jenish was also selected to participate in the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative fellowship by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, further enhancing his technical expertise and leadership skills.
Jenish hopes to continue to contribute to the great work the VA does for our Veterans and the public and hopes that the diversity, expertise, knowledge and skills he brings serves the mission of the TTP and VA well.
Emily Rosenthal, PhD
Dr. Emily Rosenthal is the Technology Transfer Specialist dedicated to the Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC. This is her first official role in technology transfer, but has years of experience in technology commercialization, market analysis and strategy development. After earning a Ph.D. in Polymer Science from the University of Akron, she completed post-doctoral training in Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. She went on to become the Program Director of the Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (TEC) Institute, and later transitioned to Program Director at the Center for Innovation Strategies.
Before joining the Technology Transfer Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs in August of 2021, she worked on the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Innovation Team, which advanced transformative projects in scientific information management. At the ACS, Dr. Rosenthal also lead research, development and commercialization projects focused on natural language processing and the development of machine learning algorithms.
Dr. Rosenthal is an advocate for the inclusion of non-technical professional skills in graduate and post-graduate curricula and for increased participation in entrepreneurial activities by women in STEMM fields. Dr. Rosenthal volunteers to mentor graduate students and their academic advisors through the I-Corps Sites program at the University of Akron.
As a military spouse, Dr. Rosenthal feels privileged to support the clinicians and researchers at the Veterans Affairs Hospital who are advancing science and medicine to improve care for our Nation’s veterans and the whole of society.
Renee N. Shaw, JM
Ms. Renee N. Shaw joins the VA's Technology Transfer Program (TTP) as a Field Technology Transfer Specialist in Atlanta, Georgia.
Renee N. Shaw, JM, is a 2020 graduate of Emory University School of Law with a specialty in Health Care Regulation and Patent Law. She has an extensive service history in Emory's School of Medicine, Spelman College Dept. of Chemistry, and Emory's Office of Technology Transfer. Renee also possesses a BS in Zoology from Iowa State University, a BS in Information Technology from DeVry University, and is currently completing an MPH from Emory's School of Public Health. Her research interests include intellectual property, technology transfer, cancer biology, and health policy. When the opportunity arises, Renee enjoys dancing Argentine Tango and indoor sky diving.
Stefan Susta, MBA
Stefan Susta currently serves as one of VA’s regional technology transfer specialists, supporting VA’s research activities in a seven-state region. In this role, he leads a small team of field technology transfer specialist and works closely with VA researchers, innovation specialists, prototyping teams, and university affiliates to protect, license, and transition VA’s IP.
Before joining VA’s tech transfer program in 2020, Stefan served as a technology transfer specialist and small business liaison at the Air Force Research Laboratory, where he supported the marketing and commercialization of the directorate’s patent portfolio, and technology transfer activities to support synergistic collaborations between the Air Force, academia, and industry. He has worked for and successfully teamed with partnership intermediaries and regional economic development groups to connect government labs with the private and non-for-profit sector. Besides technology transfer, over the last 25+ years, Stefan has worked in various technology-based industries and has served as a corporate officer in industry. Stefan is a graduate of Virginia Tech and Wright State University and resides in Virginia.
Lee Sylvers, PhD
Dr. Sylvers has over 30 years of experience in biotechnology R&D, business development and intellectual property management. He is currently a Technology Transfer Specialist with the Department of Veterans Affairs' Technology Transfer Program. Before working at the VA, Dr. Sylvers was a partner at TreMonti Consulting LLC–a firm which he and two of his colleagues spun out from Deloitte's Intellectual Asset Management practice. Prior to that, his activities at Deloitte focused on assessing technology portfolios for commercialization potential and value, providing marketing assistance to academic and government technology transfer offices, and assisting clients in negotiating license and other intellectual property-related deals. Before coming to Deloitte & Touche, Dr. Sylvers was President & CSO at Clairus Technologies, a life science commercialization company. Prior to that, he held senior management positions at several life science reagent companies, including Pierce Chemical and Ambion. He has also worked as a scientific advisor for the IP law firm Klauber & Jackson prosecuting patents and advising on business development issues. He holds a B.A. in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz; a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and, completed post-doctoral training at Yale University in the department of molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Dr. Sylvers has 19 publications in peer-reviewed journals, two pending patent applications, and has been awarded four SBIR grants from the NIH.
Richard Vermillion, BS
Mr. Richard Vermillion joins TTP from the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina. He joined the VA in 2015 and began working in the Radiology Department as the TeleRadiology Program Manager. Since 2018 he has been the Administrative Officer for Research at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. Mr. Vermillion is always looking to collaborate with colleagues to provide innovate technical solutions to solve some of his medical center's complicated clinical and non-clinical issues. He has sat on Technology Operations Optimization Boards and has actively collaborated locally and nationally with VACO on developing and enhancing technological tools to advance the agency. Mr. Vermillion has been serving in the United States Air Force for more than 20 years and is the Senior Enlisted Leader for the 944th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix AZ. He was a F16 Fighter jet crew chief for 9 and a half years, and he has been a heavy vehicle mechanic for almost 12 years. Mr. Vermillion graduated from The Citadel with a BS in Business Administration. Mr. Vermillion just returned from his 9th deployment and is married to his wife of 12 years, Jessica Vermillion. They have one daughter, Emerson, and three boys, Hudson, Easton and Hayden.
Trina Voss, RTTP, CLP
Ms. Trina Voss joins the VA’s Technology Transfer Program (TTP) as a Technology Transfer Specialist at the Portland VA Medical Center to work with medical centers in the Pacific Northwest. Trina has bachelor's degrees in zoology and biology with computer information systems and German language minors from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. She received an Associate’s degree in Arabic language from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. She completed graduate coursework at Moss Landing Marine Labs through California State University, Monterey Bay.
Ms. Voss likes to refer to her "checkered past" and feels the diversity of her experience has contributed directly to her success in technology transfer. She comes to TTP from 11 years at Oregon Health & Science University, where she negotiated agreements in support of research and evaluated and licensed OHSU inventions. Her experience includes copyright materials licensed to non-profit organizations, biological materials licensed to pharma companies, high technology patents licensed to Fortune 500 companies, and biomedical devices licensed to early-stage startups. She is a Registered Technology Transfer Professional and a Certified Licensing Professional. Before OHSU, she was a licensing specialist at the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation at the University of Southern California. Before finding a career in technology transfer, Ms. Voss worked in commercial real estate leasing, was an interrogator in the US Army, and managed a scuba diving shop next to North America's number one shore dive.
In her spare time, Ms. Voss runs a small family dairy goat farm located outside of Portland, Oregon. She shares a multigenerational home with five humans, over 100 Nubian dairy goats, a small herd of hair sheep, dogs, cats, honey bees, chickens, and Muscovy ducks. She makes goat milk soap and chevre chocolate chip cookies. She feels blessed to live in such a beautiful area and spends as much time as possible in the local state parks and forests.
Brandy Wade, PhD
Brandy Wade, PhD (she, her, hers) is located at the Atlanta VA Medical Center (VAMC). She earned her PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology from Emory University and has over a decade of biomedical research experience with a focus on molecular and immunological pathways leading to human diseases. Her research focused on the role of changes in protein ubiquitination as a disease driver in neurodegeneration and lung disease.
Dr. Wade trained in the Emory University Office of Technology Transfer and the Emory Biotech consulting club where she gained experience in invention evaluation, obtaining intellectual property protection, marketing inventions, and developing FDA 510(k) clearance strategies. She enjoys reading, painting, and baking in her spare time.
Rowan Wagner, MPH
Mr. Wagner brings vast and rich experience in healthcare/system development to the position, which began shortly after graduating in 1999 from the University of Central Arkansas with a BS in Health Science as a Public Health Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan (KAZ 7). After completing Peace Corps Service, Mr. Wagner remained in Central Asia until 2005, working on USAID, DFID, CIDA, and World Bank local health system projects.
In 2005, Mr. Wagner participated in a Bill and Linda Gates Foundation funded South to South MPH program with BRAC University. After receiving his MPH from BRAC University in 2006, Mr. Wagner returned to Uzbekistan. He joined the faculty at Westminster International in Tashkent (WIUT) and extension university of the University of Westminster London (UOW) as a senior lecturer, teaching business strategy, program management, human resources management, and entrepreneurship, and developed in consultation with the (UOW) and lead a Master of Arts in International Business. In addition to teaching, Mr. Wagner worked with AmCham, USAID, and the British Embassy to help local business improve their capacity and enter international markets. Mr. Wagner also completed a Master’s in Management from the University of Phoenix.
After eight years with WIUT, Mr. Wagner left to pursue a Cambridge CELTA and then a Post Graduate Diploma in the Application of Nanotechnology in Medicine at the University of Oxford - Worchester College.
Returning to the US, Rowan reentered government service, joining DoD DeCA in 2018 and later transferring to the SLC VHA in 2019 to the Clinical Support Unit as an MSA and then to the Research Department as a PSA/Records Liaison in 2020.
As a Navy Veteran, Rowan is an active volunteer in his community, working with the Veterans Homeless Outreach Program and local veterans NGOs for the betterment of post-service veteran opportunities.
Grace Yeh, MPH
Grace Yeh joined the Technology Transfer Program (TTP) in 2021 as a Field Technology Transfer Specialist to serve VA medical centers located in Northern California, and the Pacific Islands (Hawaii). She received a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology/Biostatistics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Previously, Grace worked at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare Health Care System. She began her career as a clinical research coordinator. Later, she transitioned into the facility’s Research Compliance Program. While facilitating conflict of interest reviews, she managed disclosures with inventions, intellectual property, and outside interests. She also worked closely with the Office of General Counsel to maintain compliance with federal regulations.
Grace has an interest in music therapy. She loves to sing and plays several instruments including the piano, ukulele, and Irish flute. She is currently training her 2-year golden retriever to be an autism assistance dog.
Paige Zimerman, MS
Paige Zimerman joins the VA’s Technology Transfer Program (TTP) as a Technology Transfer Specialist to serve VA medical centers located in Missouri and Kansas.
Paige has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Lindenwood University, and a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration from Lindenwood University.
Paige comes from a strong military background and knew working for VA would be a natural fit. She has been with VA for 6 years and has held positions with Whole Health, Pharmacy, and Research. Her previous position portfolios bring a wealth of knowledge to this new role.