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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.

    Leadership

    Lesley Solomon, MBA
    Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer

    Lesley Solomon

    Lesley Solomon, MBA, became Dana-Farber's Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer in 2017. She has served as the founding Executive Director of Brigham and Women's Hospital's Innovation Hub, and as Director of Strategy and Innovation at the Brigham Research Institute.

    Lesley has more than 20 years of experience as an executive working in business development, strategy, and marketing at startups, early-stage, and large companies such as the Food Network, Barnes & Noble.com, and Yoga Works. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and has a BA in English from Cornell University. She is a co-founder of the Food Allergy Science Initiative at The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, which brings together experts across disciplines to unlock the biology of food allergy and change the field to develop new treatments and more.

  • Emy Chen, PhD
    Senior Director of Licensing

    Emy Chen, PhD

    Emy Chen, PhD, is the new Senior Director of Licensing at the Robert and Renée Belfer Office for Dana-Farber Innovations (BODFI). In this role, she has oversight over the Innovations Licensing team as a whole. A primary focus for her will be to further refine and optimize the team's ability to provide excellent partnership and collaboration both with clinicians and research scientists at Dana-Farber and with external stakeholders in industry. Prior to joining BODFI, Emy was most recently a Director of Licensing at Partners HealthCare Innovation, where she spent 13 years supporting investigators and building relationships with biotech and pharma companies, primarily for innovators in the disciplines of Medicine, Neuroscience and Dermatology. Emy holds a PhD from Harvard University in Molecular and Cellular Biology, a BA from University of California, Berkeley in Molecular and Cell Biology, and is a registered patent agent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).


    Nichole Straub
    Administrative Director

    Nichole Straub

    Nichole Straub is the Administrative Director at BODFI. Nichole oversees finance and compliance in the Innovations office, while taking a stance on operational efficiencies for all of the teams. Nichole comes to the Innovations team with a wide breadth of experience within Dana-Farber. She has supported grants management, strategic centers, and research administration, and interfaces within clinical and research programs. She has a strong interest in data management when it comes to patient derived samples and the ever-changing regulatory front. Nichole holds a BS in Economics from Purdue University.


    Kate Strayer-Benton, MBA
    Senior Director of Business Development

    Kate Strayer-Benton, MBA

    As Senior Director of Business Development, Kate Strayer-Benton's goal is to accelerate the time it takes for breakthrough science to get to patients – working with investigators and companies to identify new opportunities for collaboration; building a robust BD pipeline; and developing and driving the BD process. Kate was formerly Director of Strategy and Corporate Development at Momenta Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Momenta, she spent a decade at Health Advances as a strategy consultant, working with health care leaders to bridge technical and business objectives and advance medical innovations with the greatest impact on patient lives. Kate received her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, where she focused on healthcare, strategy, and innovation; she has a BA in Psychology/Neuroscience from Dartmouth College.


    Licensing Team 1

    Raymond Walsh, JD
    Associate Director, Licensing, Team 1

    Raymond Walsh, JD

    Ray Walsh, JD, is the Team 1 Lead at BODFI. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Wesleyan University in Middletown CT, both his Master of Science and Master of Business Administration at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, RI and his Juris Doctor degree from New England School of Law in Boston, MA. He is a member of the Massachusetts and Connecticut State bar associations and is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, with a scientific specialization in biotechnology. Prior to his position at BODFI, Ray spent 14 years as a research scientist working in government, academic, and industry laboratories. After finishing law school, he worked in the Greater Boston area managing the intellectual property portfolios for a variety of for-profit and non-profit organizations, including start-ups, large and small companies, and advising a non-profit sponsor of academic research. Ray also worked in technology transfer at the University of Rhode Island, the National Cancer Institute (NIH), and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. He is a member of many professional organizations, including the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and the Licensing Executive Society, USA and Canada (LES).


    Micah Belew, PhD
    Licensing Specialist

    Micah Belew, PhD

    Micah Belew, PhD, assists BODFI's Team 3 by analyzing invention disclosures for IP strategy and IP portfolio for the marketing of commercially valuable assets. Additionally, Micah reviews collaborative research agreements and manages multiple licensing agreements. Micah received his PhD from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, studying the genetics of axon regeneration, aging, and metabolism; he received his MS from the University of California, Davis, studying the molecular muscle physiology of exercise adaptation.


    Jodi Hecht, PhD
    Senior Licensing Manager and Market Strategist

    Jodi Hecht

    Jodi Hecht, PhD, joined BODFI in 2017. She negotiates transactions between industry and Dana-Farber to support research activities, and she manages the intellectual property portfolio for multiple principal investigators at Dana-Farber. She is also an alliance manager for several alliances between Dana-Farber and industry.

    Prior to joining BODFI, Jodi worked as a Licensing Associate in the Technology Ventures office at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Jodi received a PhD in Molecular Biology from Boston University, and an MSc in Biology and Vision Science and a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Waterloo.


    Lisa Lin, PhD
    Licensing Manager and Market Strategist

    Lisa Lin, PhD

    Lisa Lin, PhD, is currently a licensing manager and market strategist for Team 1. She joined BODFI in February 2020. She is responsible for negotiating agreements for, and managing inventions from, researchers in the departments supported by Team 1. Before joining BODFI, Lisa worked as the licensing manager for the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona for four years. Her technology transfer career started as an intern at Emory University technology transfer office. Lisa gained her PhD in immunology from Duke University in North Carolina.


    Jing Zhang, PhD
    Senior Licensing Manager and Market Strategist

    Jing Zhang

    Jing Zhang, PhD, 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.


    Licensing Team 2

    Janet Ralbovsky, PhD
    Associate Director, Licensing, Team 2

    Janet Ralbovsky, PhD

    Janet Ralbovsky, PhD, is currently the Innovation and Licensing Lead, Team 2 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 (USPTO).


    Aida Herrera, PhD
    Senior Licensing Manager and Market Strategist

    Aida Herrera, PhD

    Aida Herrera, PhD, joined BODFI in 2019 and is a member of Team 2, which is responsible for managing and commercializing inventions arising from chemistry-related Dana-Farber technologies. Prior to joining BODFI, Aida worked for both Boston Children’s Hospital and The Schepens Eye Research Institute/Massachusetts Eye and Ear, where she spent nine years supporting investigators across various departments, including Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology, Cardiac Surgery, Gastroenterology, and Endocrinology, and was responsible for the commercialization of a broad range of technologies. Earlier in her career, Aida worked as a technology specialist focused on patent prosecution in the biotechnological, chemical, and mechanical arts. She holds a BS in chemistry from the University of Chicago, a PhD in chemistry from Tufts University, and completed postdoctoral research work in both the Biological Engineering Division at MIT and the Chemistry Department at Northeastern University.


    Zachary Rothman, JD
    Senior Research Contracts Associate

    Zachary Rothman

    Zack joined BODFI as a Research Contracts Associate in 2018. He is responsible for drafting, reviewing, and negotiating a variety of research agreements with corporate sponsors and collaborating institutions.

    Prior to joining BODFI, Zack worked in the Clinical Trials Business Office at Boston Children's Hospital, preparing written agreements with both for-profit and non-profit organizations for the purposes of conducting and furthering clinical research. Zack earned a JD with a concentration in Health Law from the Boston University School of Law, and a BS from Florida State University.


    Renatus Sinkeldam, PhD
    Licensing Associate

    Renatus Sinkeldam, PhD

    Renatus Sinkeldam, PhD, conducted his undergraduate research (BSc and MSc) in inorganic and organic chemistry labs at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where he worked on small molecule synthesis and their characterization. He obtained his PhD from Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, completing his doctoral thesis in the areas of macro- and supra-molecular chemistry. As a postdoctoral fellow and later a project scientist at the University of California, San Diego, Renatus designed and synthesized non-perturbing fluorescent nucleosides for the study of nucleic acid structure, stability, lesions, and interactions with small molecules. After his move to St. Louis, he joined the Biotechnology and Life Science Advising Group (BALSA) for exposure to the possibilities of a career away from the bench. While at BALSA, he obtained consultancy experience working on short projects in small diverse teams. This led to a marketing internship, and later, a tech transfer trainee position at the Office for Technology Management at Washington University in St. Louis. The latter was quickly followed by a position as Licensing Associate, where he managed a diverse technology portfolio. In 2018, Renatus joined BODFI as a Licensing Associate. He enjoys the exposure to new and exciting Dana-Farber technologies and assisting Dana-Farber investigators with all facets of technology commercialization.


    Research Contracts

    Nicole Kousmanidis, JD
    Assistant Director, Research Contracts

    Nicole Kousmanidis, JD

    Nicole Kousmanidis joined BODFI in 2018. She is responsible for drafting, reviewing, and negotiating a variety of research agreements among industry sponsors, universities, and other collaborating institutions. Prior to joining BODFI, Nicole worked as an Associate at a law firm, drafting and negotiating a number of agreements. Nicole earned a JD from the University at Buffalo Law School, and was an Associate of the Buffalo Intellectual Property Law Journal. She also received a BS in Health Services Community Health Assessment from the University of Pittsburgh.


    Eric Mason, JD
    Research Contracts Specialist

    Eric Mason, JD

    Eric Mason, JD, joined BODFI as a Research Contracts Specialist in August 2019. He is responsible for the drafting, reviewing, and negotiation of a variety of academic and corporate research agreements among industry sponsors, universities, and other collaborating institutions.

    Prior to joining BODFI, Eric interned in the Licensing Office and Transactional Affairs Group of Partners Healthcare, where he drafted, reviewed, and negotiated a variety of academic and corporate-sponsored research agreements. Eric earned his JD from Boston University School of Law, where he was both a research assistant for the BU School of Law Library and an editor of the BU Law Journal of Science and Technology.


    Quintin Schwab
    Contracts Associate

    Quintin Schwab

    Quintin Schwab joined BODFI as a Research Contracts Specialist in June 2020. He is responsible for the drafting, reviewing, and negotiation of a variety of academic and corporate research agreements among industry sponsors, universities, and other collaborating institutions.

    Prior to joining BODFI, Quintin served for over five years as the Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) Coordinator at the Center for Technology Licensing at Cornell University, where he was responsible for processing and negotiating several hundred outbound MTAs annually for Cornell campuses across the world. He also worked on Inter-Institutional Agreements (IIAs), bailment licenses, and a variety of compliance and due diligence projects.

    Quintin graduated with a BA in psychology from Cornell, where he studied Mandarin Chinese and worked as an assistant editor of the Cornell Daily Sun newspaper.


    Yihua (Elly) Xu
    Contracts Associate

    Yihua (Elly) Xu

    Elly Xu joined BODFI as a Research Contracts Specialist in June 2020. She is responsible for the drafting, reviewing, and negotiation of a variety of academic research agreements among industry companies, institutions, and universities.

    Prior to joining BODFI, Elly had been working in the legal industry for over six years, especially focusing on contract affairs. She worked as a Legal Specialist in Prysmian Group, where she drafted, reviewed, and negotiated a variety of commercial agreements and confidentiality agreements for all five subsidiary companies. Elly received her degree in law from Soochow University.


    Finance and Operations

    Kathleen Copson
    Senior Finance and Operations Manager

    Kathleen Copson

    Kathy Copson 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.


    Christopher Almada
    Senior Technology Transfer Accountant

    Christopher Almada

    Christopher Almada joined Dana-Farber in 2019 as a Senior Technology Transfer Accountant. He is responsible for the processing of transactions relating to licensing, patents, and royalty distributions. Prior to joining Dana-Farber, Chris worked at UMass Medical School and BNY Mellon Asset Servicing, where he handled financial statement preparation relating to assets, liabilities, revenue, and expenses, along with applicable footnotes and other disclosures. In addition, he prepared reconciliations while noting any exceptions and providing necessary support; assisted with the month-end close process; and executed tax reporting per 501(c)(3) requirements. Chris has participated in multiple system conversions in which he spearheaded the automation of monthly, semi-annual, and annual reporting, building the process from the ground up, including testing, feedback, and implementation.


    Linda Baldwin, JD, MBA
    Compliance Specialist

    Linda Baldwin, JD, MBA

    Linda Baldwin joined BODFI in 2018. Assisting Brendan Mahoney, Linda performs intellectual property compliance reporting to federal and foundation sponsors for Dana-Farber's inventions and patents. Linda received an MBA from Northeastern University and a JD degree from New England Law-Boston.

    Previously, Linda worked as a litigation support specialist on various legal cases, including an IP non-joinder action to correct inventorship, and as a staff attorney for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


    Peter Hodges, PhD
    Senior Agreement Associate

    Peter Hodges, PhD

    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 out-licensing 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; he did post-doctoral work in RNA biology at the Clinical Research Centre, Harrow, UK, and at the University of Edinburgh.


    Ashley Lezama
    Program Administrator

    Ashley Lezama

    Ashley Lezama, joined the team in 2020 as the Program Administrator for the Dana-Farber Innovations office. She is responsible for providing administrative support and calendar management to the Administrative, Licensing and Business Development Directors. In her role, Ashley also provides a variety of general office supports for the Innovations team.

    Prior to joining BODFI, Ashley worked at Boston Children's Hospital as an Administrative Assistant to the Director of Nursing Diversity Initiatives, and more recently as an Assistant Property Manager providing parallel administrative support. Ashley received her BA from Northeastern University.


    Brendan Mahoney
    Business and Compliance Analyst

    Brendan Mahoney

    Brendan Mahoney joined BODFI in June 2014, maintaining Dana-Farber's invention and intellectual property reporting obligations to federal research sponsors in accordance with the Bayh-Dole Act. Brendan creates initial Dana-Farber invention disclosure records and completes invention and intellectual property statements for National Institutes of Health awards' Research Performance Progress Reports. Brendan also assists BODFI in data management, maintenance, and reporting for intellectual property matters.


    Ali Mbaye, MS
    Senior Technology Transfer Accountant

    Ali Mbaye, MS

    Ali Mbaye joined Dana-Farber in 2018 as a Senior Technology Transfer Accountant. He is responsible for the review and approval of all Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA) budgets; maintenance of the financial records in the database; and submittal of the awards to Dana-Farber Research Accounting. He works closely with the Institute's departmental grant managers and licensing staff to monitor SRA financial obligations.

    Prior to joining BODFI, Ali worked at Youthbuild USA as a Financial Grants Manager, providing monthly financial reports and forecasting, reviewing and approving budgets, preparing and completing drawdowns, and closing both federal and private awards. Ali earned a Masters degree in Economics from Suffolk University and a Masters degree in Industrial Organization from Cheith Anta Diop University in Senegal.


    Business Development and Innovation Strategy

    Robert Distel, PhD
    Technology and Business Development Manager

    Robert Distel, PhD

    Robert Distel, PhD, 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 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, PhD, at 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.


    Steven Neier, PhD
    Business Development Associate and Scientific Program Manager

    Steven Neier, PhD

    Steven Neier, PhD, is a Business Development Associate and Scientific Program Manager. Steven works closely with investigators, pharmaceutical companies, and venture capital groups to assist investigators in identifying new collaborations and commercializing their technologies. Prior to joining BODFI, Steven was a Scientist I in Dr. Carl Novina's laboratory at Dana-Farber, where he influenced the scientific direction and led efforts relating to the commercialization of technologies being developed in the lab. Steven's research focused on T cell signaling and next-generation autologous cell therapies. Steven received his BS in Mathematics from Union College and earned his PhD in Immunology from the Mayo Clinic.


    Lily Tan
    Marketing and Business Development Analyst

    Lily Tan

    Lily Tan joined the Dana-Farber Innovations office as the Marketing and Business Development Analyst in May 2020. Her role includes developing and executing on the marketing strategy for the internal and external Innovations audience, with the goal of reaching out to more investigators, pharmaceutical companies, and venture capital groups in the effort to form strong alliances that will bring science from bench to clinic. Prior to joining BODFI, Lily worked at a marketing agency that strategized for clients of various sectors, from CPG to B2B companies. Lily received her BA in Biology from Boston University.