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Our Team

  • The Belfer Office for Dana-Farber Innovations is staffed by a skilled and experienced team of business development / licensing professionals and interns drawn from Dana-Farber’s post-doctoral community. Please contact any one of us to begin a conversation.

    Gary M. Sclar, JD
    Vice President, Dana-Farber Innovations or 617-632-5807

    Before joining BODFI, Gary held the position of Chief Strategy Officer and Legal Counsel for MedMetrics Health Partners and Public Sector Partners. Gary has over 12 years of technology licensing experience, having worked in the technology licensing offices of Northeastern University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

    Prior to BODFI, Gary directed laboratories at Washington University School of Medicine and The Jackson Laboratory, specializing in nuclear transplantation and the generation of transgenic and embryonic stem cell knock-out animals. Gary has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts, a Masters degree from Webster University School of Business, and a JD degree from Massachusetts School of Law. He is admitted to the Massachusetts Bar and Federal District Court.

  • Jane Amara, PhD 
    Associate Director or 617-632-2041

    Jane Amara

    From 2012 to shortly before joining BODFI in 2016, Jane was Associate Director of the Technology and Innovation Development Office (TIDO) at Boston Children's Hospital. Prior to that, Jane worked in a Boston-based venture capital firm, overseeing investments in early-stage companies spun out of universities in the UK. Jane’s experience in biotech business development includes five years identifying, evaluating, and executing transactions at Biogen, as well as working on a regulated gene therapy technology for cancer and other applications. Her industry experience started with ten years of research responsibilities at start-up and established companies, including Genzyme and ARIAD.

    Jane earned a BA in Biology from the University of California, San Diego, and a PhD in Pharmacology from Yale University, where she studied the effects of estrogen and antiestrogens on breast cancer and pituitary tumors. She studied protein processing and degradation as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Harvey F. Lodish, PhD, at the Whitehead Institute.

    Elena Vaillancourt, MAppSci 
    Manager, Sponsored Programs and Licensing or 617-632-4018

    Elena joined BODFI as a Licensing Associate in 2005. She is an entrepreneurial and strategic academic technology transfer and licensing professional with over 18 years of deal-making experience. She works with many Dana-Farber departments and strategic centers, including investigators from Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, and the Cell Manipulation Core Facility (CMCF). 

    Elena has a strong interest in public health; she spent the earlier part of her career managing the Health Promotion Center at Curtin University in Western Australia, and then lecturing in the Public Health undergraduate course at Deakin University in Melbourne. Upon moving to Boston in 1995, she became involved with managing epidemiological studies at the Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) and the Harvard School of Public Health. She began her career in technology transfer in 1997 in the Office of Technology Licensing at Massachusetts General Hospital, and also worked for U-Mass Medical School's Technology Licensing Office. She has a BS in Biology and Psychology from Curtin University and a MAppSci in Public Health from Deakin University. Elena has been the founder of several entrepreneurial ventures and in 2011 founded White Lion Baking Company, a paleo, grain-free bakery serving the US market, which she started, grew, and then successfully sold in May 2012.

    She currently coordinates BODFI's Internship Program, manages and mentors a team of Licensing Associates, and serves as Alliance Manager for Dana-Farber's Novartis Drug Development Program.

    Rudy Slovacek, PhD 
    Senior Licensing Associate or 617-632-5621

    Rudy Slovacek joined the staff of BODFI as a Licensing Associate to service the Intellectual Property needs and contractual matters for investigators and physicians. He brings to BODFI an extensive background in industrial biomedical research and academic technology transfer. He received MS and PhD degrees in Biology from the University of Rochester, and conducted postdoctoral work at both the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington and Brookhaven National Laboratory.

    Rudy worked for Corning Glass Works, where he helped to establish a satellite biomedical research facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As part of the Diagnostics Division of Corning, Ciba Corning and later Chiron, he worked on projects targeting inexpensive and easily manufactured sensors for a disposable bedside market. He is the holder of 16 US patents related to optical sensing technologies. Before joining Dana-Farber, he began his career change as a licensing professional in the Technology Transfer office at Boston Children’s Hospital.

    Peter Hodges, PhD 
    Senior Licensing Associate or 617-632-4818

    Peter joined Dana-Farber’s BODFI in 2012 and manages IP from multiple departments.

    After teaching at several Boston-area colleges, Peter joined Proteome, Inc., a start-up bioinformatics company. Following the acquisition of Proteome by Incyte Corporation, Peter moved to business development, and was involved in outlicensing Incyte’s vast patent portfolio. Peter transitioned to technology transfer at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2004 and handled a wide range of technologies, including research tools, bioinformatics and software, genetics, genomics and proteomics, cardiology, oncology, and stem cell technologies.

    Peter received his PhD in Human Genetics from Yale University School of Medicine and did post-doctoral work in RNA biology in the UK at the Clinical Research Centre, Harrow, and at the University of Edinburgh.

    Janet Ralbovsky, PhD 
    Manager, Chemistry Innovations or 617-632-6058

    Janet is currently a Senior Licensing Associate in BODFI and manages chemistry-related Dana-Farber technologies. Previously, she was a Licensing Associate at the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF), where she was responsible for the commercialization of a broad portfolio of intellectual property developed at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Prior to joining UTRF, Janet worked in drug discovery as a medicinal chemist and project leader at Johnson & Johnson and Cara Therapeutics, Inc. Janet holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University, a MS from the University of Rochester, and a BA from Smith College. She is a registered patent agent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

    Anita Ballesteros, PhD 
    Senior Licensing Associate or 617-582-7715

    Anita joined BODFI as a Licensing Associate in 2015. She comes to Dana-Farber from the Office of Technology Management at UMass Medical School, with primary responsibility for the RNA Therapeutics Institute and the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology and Molecular, Cell, and Cancer Biology. While at UMass, she was part of the team involved in the launch of two start-ups, Reflectance Medical and Voyager Therapeutics, and volunteered as staff advisor to the UMMS Entrepreneurship Club. Prior to beginning her tech transfer career in late 2006, Anita was Senior Scientific Editor at Cancer Cell at Cell Press, joining Cancer Cell during its launch year in 2002. She has personal interests in mentoring young scientists in alternative careers, and scientific/healthcare policy and health disparities, among others.

    Anita was a postdoctoral fellow at UMass Medical School in Immunology/Virology. She holds a PhD in Molecular Oncology from the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at NYU Medical School and a BS in Chemistry from SUNY Purchase College. Prior to her graduate training, Anita worked in both academic and industry research.    

    Jing Zhang, PhD 
    Licensing Associate or 617-582-8553

    Jing joined BODFI as a Technology Transfer Specialist in 2014. She is responsible for negotiating agreements, as well as monitoring financial post-agreement compliance.

    Prior to joining BODFI, Jing worked in the Fellows Program at Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development to conduct early commercialization assessment of inventions. Jing received her BS in Biological Science from the University of Science and Technology of China, and earned her PhD in Chemical Biology from Harvard University. She conducted her graduate and postdoctoral research on oncogenic kinase signaling at Dana-Farber. 

    Robert Distel, PhD 
    Special Advisor for Technology Development or 617-632-5258

    Robert Distel, PhD

    Robert Distel joined BODFI in 2015 as a Special Advisor for Technology Development. Robert acts as a point person in the ongoing program to bring novel and innovative early stage-technologies and products, as well as collaborative opportunities, to Dana-Farber’s scientists and physicians. He also works with investigators interested in developing research tools. Prior to joining BODFI, Robert was a member of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Dana-Farber and director of its Translational Research Laboratory. He was also the the associate director of the Laboratory for Innovative Translational Technology at Harvard Catalyst. Robert earned his PhD in biology from Tufts University and completed post-doctoral training with Bruce Spiegelman and Dana-Farber. He maintains close ties to the research community as an active visiting member of the Novina Laboratory in the Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology.

    Yinka Green, PhD 
    Technology Transfer Specialist or 617-632-2118

    Yinka Green

    Yinka Green joined BODFI in 2016. Her current role and responsibilities include assisting in: agreement negotiation, licensing and management of inventions and technologies originating from Dana-Farber laboratories. Prior to entering the technology transfer field, Yinka worked as a chemistry consultant in IP protection in the legal team at Concert Pharmaceuticals, and as a synthesis and medicinal chemistry consultant at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Before consulting, she worked as a medicinal chemist at two start-ups: Ariad Pharmaceuticals and Astra Research Center Boston, and, following the Astra and Zeneca merger, at AstraZeneca R&D Boston.

    Yinka earned a Bsc in Chemistry from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and an MSc and PhD in Chemistry from the University of Manchester, UK. She completed post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.


    Yavuz Alparslan, MBA 
    Database Manager or 617-632-2323

    Yavuz Alparslan

    Yavuz joined BODFI in 2015 as a Database Manager. He is responsible for day-to-day data management, supporting the BODFI Team and planning future development of BODFI’s intellectual property database in InfoEd Global’s Technology Transfer module. Yavuz works closely with Dana-Farber’s Information Services for technical support, maintenance, and database upgrades. He has extensive experience in information technology and database management systems.

    Yavuz has a BA from De Montfort University in the UK, and an MBA from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. He is currently working on his MS in Database Management, Design and Business Intelligence at Boston University.

    Brendan Mahoney 
    Compliance Specialist or 617-632-6658

    Brendan Mahoney

    Brendan Mahoney joined BODFI in 2014. Brendan handles intellectual property compliance reporting to federal and foundation sponsors for Dana-Farber’s inventions and patents. Brendan received a BA in Psychology and Political Science from George Washington University in 2013.

    Sandra Ramirez 
    Sponsored Research and Budget Manager or 617-632-5695

    Sandra joined BODFI in 1998. She served as Business Manager for seven years, and prior to that as our Fiscal Manager. She is in charge of BODFI’s budget and all accounting functions, including the financial aspects of Industry-Sponsored Research.

    Prior to working at Dana-Farber, Sandra worked at the Corporate Office of Filene’s for 13 years in the Shortage Control Office, working with buyers, managers, and the advertising team.

    Kathleen Copson 
    Senior Financial Systems and Revenue Analyst or 617-582-7996

    Kathy joined BODFI in 2015 as the Financial Systems Specialist. She has extensive experience as a revenue manager in the facilities services, software and media licensing industries, with a focus on financial business process improvement and enhanced systems utilization. Her roles have included being a core member of an Enterprise Resource Planning system upgrade team and subsequently, a trainer for ERP Financials. Kathy has a BA from Boston University.

    Liza Summa 
    Administrative Specialist or 617-632-2594

    Liza joined BODFI in 2008. Her duties include assisting the BODFI Business Manager with the tracking of legal expenses and the maintenance of monthly royalty sales reports. Liza also provides office management and administrative assistance to the Chief Business Development Officer.

    Before joining Dana-Farber, Liza worked as a Personal Care Attendant and also has considerable work experience in the accounting field.

    Stephanie Brown 
    Administrative Support Specialist or 617-582-7645

    Stephanie Brown

    Stephanie joined BODFI in 2014 as an Administrative Support Specialist. She assists with tracking invoices and royalty distributions in our intellectual property database. Stephanie has previous experience working as a financial counselor at Geiger Gibson Community Health Center and as an administrative assistant at Athena Health.