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Announcing Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship

Published January 30, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the selection of two individuals to fill the role of Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship:

  • Dr. Jennifer Silva will serve in this role for the School of Medicine. Jennifer founded a successful start-up company, SentiAR, Inc., whose aim is to commercialize a novel augmented reality platform to improve minimally invasive transcatheter ablation procedures. Jennifer and her team are previous Bear Cub (now LEAP) awardees, and recently have received an SBIR Fast track award, collaborating with numerous industry partners, including Abbott and Microsoft. Jennifer has also served on SBIR/STTR review panels for the NIH since 2017.
  • Dr. Vijay Ramani will serve in this role for the Danforth campus. Vijay has considerable experience with the SBIR/STTR program, having participated on programs ranging all the way from a Phase 1 to a Phase 2.5 (by invitation only). He has experience with NSF, DOE, and DOD SBIR platforms, having served on multiple review panels for NSF, participated in the DOE SBIR/STTR program as a PI, and served as an external evaluator for the DOD SBIR program awardees’ deliverables. Vijay is a recent LEAP challenge winner and currently leads a large APRA-E program that is focused on technology development and transfer in the domain of grid-scale electric energy storage.

The Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship will advise WashU faculty and small companies founded by WashU personnel on university policies and administrative requirements as the startup is being envisioned and/or collaborations between WU and the start-up company are being considered. These collaborations may occur through the SBIR/STTR mechanism, through unfunded research collaborations, or through research that is funded directly by the small business. These collaborations can present a variety of challenging issues including conflicts of interest, conflicts of commitment, protection of human subjects, appropriate use of university resources, appropriate stewardship of funds, and others. Additionally, the Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship will identify the university offices that should be involved and engage those offices in discussions with the start-up company and faculty to facilitate the collaboration.

I am thrilled that Drs. Silva and Ramani are our inaugural entrepreneurial faculty fellows. They will provide much needed support and advice to our faculty who want to be entrepreneurial, but are stymied by the complexity of navigating the landscape of starting a business that will interact with WU. This process can seem confusing and daunting even to someone who has experience in creating startups, and Jennifer and Vijay will help our faculty think through the best options to approach these relationships.

Please contact Melanie Roewe with any questions.

Jennifer K. Lodge, PhD
Vice Chancellor for Research