Lassonde New Venture Development Center
During a year long process, students receive weekly mentoring and teaching from both the executive director and local professionals. Students are trained in the various disciplines involved with early stage business development, from intellectual property to market analysis and strategy to writing a business plan. While receiving this training, students work in teams to evaluate and develop business opportunities based on real technologies coming out of the labs at The University of Utah. The result is an unparalleled real world education in technology entrepreneurship that will create future leaders in the high tech industry.
The Lassonde Center is made up of a diverse mix of students from all backgrounds. Below are names and bios for the current associates.
Chris Lewis, MBA (Student Director)
Christian graduated from the University of Utah in 2002 with a BA in Mass Communication and a minor in German. He has eight years professional experience working with D. R. Horne & Company as a real estate and land-planning consultant on projects of natural, cultural or historical significance.
In 2011 Christian left Virginia to pursue an MBA at the University of Utah. This past year, Christian was a student associate at the Lassonde New Venture Development Center, where he led a small team of students seeking to commercialize a new quantum dot nanomaterial manufacturing process. In April 2012, his team won first place at the CU Clean-tech Competition in Boulder, Colo., and secured a $100,000 prize for the company, Navillum Nanotechnologies. In June 2012, the team competed in the Department of Energy sponsored National Clean Energy business plan competition in Washington, DC, where they won the People's Choice award.
Christian is excited to serve as the Student Director of the Lassonde Center and use his experience to help advise incoming students on commercialization projects. Following graduation, Christian looks forward to applying this experience to the development of new start-up technology businesses. He and his wife, Jessie, are the parents of four children and currently live in Park City, Utah.
Ryan Tucker, MBA (Associate Student Director)
In 2004, Ryan graduated Magna Cum Laude from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Afterwards, Ryan worked six years for the Utah State Tax Commission as a corporate auditor.
Ryan left the Tax Commission to pursue an MBA at the University of Utah. One of the primary reasons he selected the U of U's Full-Time MBA program is the opportunity to participate in The Pierre Lassonde Entrepreneur Center, supporting his passion for entrepreneurship, business planning and financial analysis.
Ryan participated as a Lassonde associate during the 2011/2012 academic year, preparing a business plan for a university technology that uses a patent-pending process to make nano-crystals. Ryan, Chris Lewis and Ameya Chaudhari won the CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge, securing $100,000 for the new business – Navillum. They also won the Peoples' Choice Award in the Department of Energy's National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition hosted in Washington, DC.
Following graduation in the spring of 2013, Ryan will pursue a career as a financial analyst.
Brett Burton, Bioengineering (Associate Student Director)
Brett is a 5th year Ph.D student of bioengineering at the University of Utah. He has been awarded an honors BS degree in bioengineering from the University of Utah and three associate degrees in electrical, mechanical and computer engineering from the College of Southern Idaho. During his undergraduate studies, he became interested in cardiac electrophysiology and biophysics. Following his interests to the U, he found himself researching partial-thickness, cardiac ischemia at the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute under Dr. Rob Macleod. His research aims to provide a highly parameterized source representation of ischemia during the early stages of ischemic development. Understanding the development of ischemia and its bioelectric effects on the torso surface will allow clinicians to more accurately diagnose and localize the condition.
Brett and his wife, Jennifer, relocated from Idaho to Utah in 2005. They are the proud parents of three boys. Brett enjoys various outdoor activities such as water skiing, cycling, swimming, running, racquetball, disc golf and just about anything that allows him to get away from his computer for a few hours to spend time with his family.
Spencer Bacon, MBA
Spencer graduated from Westminster College in Salt Lake City in 2008 with a B.S. in Economics, Honors Cum Laude. While attending Westminster, Spencer was first exposed to the investment community through an internship at the University Venture Fund. After graduating, Spencer moved to San Francisco to participate in an internship at Keefe Bruyette & Woods. While in SF, he was offered a position at UBS Investment Bank on the Institutional Equity Sales Desk. After working for four years and various promotions, he became personally responsible for client relationships with assets under management valued at over $10 billion.
After exploring the sell-side of an investment bank and getting a taste of the Venture Capital Industry, Spencer is excited for the opportunity to join the Lassonde Center as a first year MBA student and pursue his dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Chinmayee Bhimarao, Genetic Counseling
Chinmayee received her B.S. in Biotechnology (2009) from the University of Mumbai and her M.S. in Biomedical Genetics (2011) from Vellore Institute of Technology (India). She carried out her master's thesis at the National University of Singapore on combined inhibition of telomerase and ataxia telangiectasia mutated in human brain cancer cells. Her interest in clinical genetics and affinity for personal interaction led her to MS in Genetic Counseling, which she is pursuing at the University of Utah currently.
She wants to work towards making genetic testing and counseling services available in developing countries. To supplement her experience in this area, she underwent public health training through her summer internship at the Michigan Department of Community Health, Mich. She feels that her experience at the Lassonde New Venture Development Center is going to provide her with a foundation in business development and market analysis.
Aside from her academic career, Chinmayee is a professional carnatic classical singer and also plays violin. In her free time, she enjoys reading, painting, playing basket ball and traveling.
Jay Blankenship, Medicine
Jay graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Virginia in 2005. Following graduation, he attended the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. After graduating, Jay moved to Salt Lake City to complete his residency training in Emergency Medicine. Currently Jay works as an emergency physician in the Emergency Department at the University of Utah while pursuing a fellowship in emergency medical services with a focus in cardiac arrest research. He also currently serves as the associate medical director for Salt Lake City Fire Department.
Jay has a long-standing interest in life sciences, viewing it as an opportunity to impact patient care on a larger scale. When not working, Jay enjoys skiing, mountain biking, cooking, and traveling.
Spencer Buchanan, Film and Media Arts, Game Production Track
Spencer Buchanan is a video game producer and game designer. He is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Utah studying in the EAE: Master's Game Studio. Spencer is developing new hardware controls and innovative games for consoles and mobile alike.
Spencer's undergraduate in sculpture/intermedia has helped him explore experiences within both physical and virtual worlds. He is trying to find new ways to shape the development of the ever more casual game and utilize new technologies to make the interaction with video games more worthwhile.
Among these goals he understands the limitation of imagination without the ability to commercialize on the technologies. He is seeking to better understand the relationship between creativity and financial side of a business with assistance from the Lassonde Center.
John Carpenter, Law
John is a third year law student at the S.J. Quinney School of Law focusing on patent prosecution and litigation. John completed an internship this summer with an intellectual property law firm and is excited to enter his second year with the Lassonde Center after enjoying his initial exposure to the entrepreneurial community last year.
John graduated from Bowdoin College in 2005 with a BS in geology and physics. After graduation, he worked for EDAX-TSL as an applications engineer where he traveled the continent consulting and training customers on the best use of material analysis equipment for their Research and Development groups. Working with these R&D groups in both academic and industrial settings led to an interest in intellectual property and venture capital law.
John originally came to Utah to continue a life-long passion for skiing and experience the "greatest snow on earth" for himself.
D. Joshua Christensen, JD/MBA
Josh graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor of arts in spanish and business. After graduating Josh entered the JD/MBA program at the University of Utah. He is currently a third year JD/MBA student. Josh has worked for in-house counsel at The Layton Companies and Summit Financial Resources. Josh views the JD/MBA degree as a unique opportunity to combine both business and law, which is especially relevant in the formation of new businesses.
Jonathan Deesing, History/International Studies
Jonathan graduated from the University of Utah in 2009 with a degree in both history and international studies. After graduation, he tried his hand in a number of different fields--including politics and the law--before arriving at journalism. He worked as a well recognized video game journalist for two years before applying to the David Eccles School of Business. As such, his main focus during his MBA will be on technology, a subject he looks forward to pursuing with the Pierre Lassonde Entrepreneur Center during his first year of study.
Alex Drew, PhD Bioengineering
Alex graduated in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Portland. Following graduation, Alex accepted a position with Precision Castparts Corporation (PCC) as a part and dimensional engineer. In this position, Alex was responsible for identification and mitigation of both metallurgical and dimensional non-conformances in the investment casting of large structural jet engine components.
In 2010, Alex chose to leave his position with PCC to pursue a PhD in bioengineering at the University of Utah. This shift in industry focus was inspired by his younger sister, who faces several skeletal hardships, as well as the orthopedic implant development project he completed as his senior design project at the University of Portland. Alex is now starting his third year with the University of Utah where he works as a graduate research assistant in the Harold K. Dunn Orthopaedic Research Lab under the guidance of Dr. Kent Bachus. Current research is focused on the development of new percutaneous orthopedic implants for the direct skeletal attachment of prosthetic limbs.
When not engaged in research, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife, Noel, hiking Utah's scenic terrain, snowboarding, and taking in local music.
Josh Dunford, MBA
Josh Dunford graduated from Utah State University with a double major in international business and economics and a minor in Portuguese. Upon graduation from Utah State, he worked for ITT Educational Services in a corporate rotational management training program, gaining experience in a variety of functional areas.
Josh is currently a second year MBA student at the University of Utah. He has spent time during the last year working as a startup analyst for the University's Technology Commercialization Office and interning with a venture-backed startup based in Salt Lake City as a business analyst. He is excited about the opportunity to work with the projects at the Lassonde New Venture Development Center.
In his free time he enjoys spending time in the outdoors. He is an avid skier and cyclist.
Tam Guy, MBA
Tam graduated summa cum laude from Portland State University's School of Business Administration Honors with a bachelor of science in business administration-leadership and management in 2010. She worked as an analyst in securities litigation throughout her undergraduate program. In addition, her experience in small manufacturing purchasing allowed for a deeper understanding during her studies. Tam currently attends the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah in pursuit of her MBA with a focus in strategic marketing.
Tam wants to make it easier for people to make sustainable choices. The University of Utah's reputation for innovation and her passion for taking big ideas and putting them into action attracted her to the David Eccles School of Business. She is delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the Lassonde New Venture Development Center.
Originally from Portland, Ore., the abundant sun-filled days and dry hikes of Utah are a pleasant change of scenery. In addition to hiking, Tam and her partner, Jeanna, enjoy travelling, rafting, theater, and new experiences. After graduating in May 2013, Tam plans to apply her business knowledge to provide consumers and businesses with more sustainable services and products.
Dylan Harnsberger, MBA
I am a graduate of the University of Washington's Foster School of Business where my concentration was in entrepreneurship.
Shortly after graduation I spent 2.5 years working as a sales and marketing representative for Amirsys Inc., based in Salt Lake City. Our team assisted in market research and sales of new products used by physicians and residents to improve education and patient care. The position required regular attendance at trade shows and ongoing sales, support, and maintenance of customer accounts.
I am currently a first year MBA student at the University of Utah concentrating in finance and entrepreneurship.
Gregory Johns, MBA/MHA
A native of Bountiful, Utah, Greg graduated, Cum Laude, from the University of Utah with a BS in economics. Currently a second-year MBA/MHA student, his areas of emphasis are healthcare administration, operations, and information systems. He has also been involved in various clubs and competitions. One of which was the Bench to Bedside competition, which has inspired him to become involved at Lassonde.
This last summer, Greg completed an internship at Lakeview hospital. While he was there he completed many different projects. Some of which include: designing a database to record and automate the physician review process and doing analysis for a expansionary capital proposition. After graduating, Greg hopes to continue to work in the exciting and diverse field of healthcare.
Greg's other interests include rock climbing, camping, doing service, and spending time with his wife and young daughter.
Michelle Kennedy, J.D.
Michelle Kennedy is a third year law student at the University of Utah's S.J. Quinney College of Law. She graduated from Brigham Young University in 2010 with a BA in Philosophy.
Michelle has been performing and working in the entertainment industry since a young age. In March 2011, she released her first album as Calm Paradox and received national college radio airplay. MTV used various tracks on its network shows in Summer 2012. She is currently working on her next release with a reputable indie rock producer.
Michelle's legal research centers on reproductive justice issues in health law. She is particularly interested in medical technologies that enhance reproductive health and treatment.
Sourav Kole, Bioengineering PhD
Sourav is a third year PhD student in the Department of Bioengineering, at the University of Utah. As part of his work as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Alzheimer's Image Analysis Lab, he is applying cerebral cortical complexity as a novel, objective neuroimaging biomarker to quantify and characterize changes in the shape of the cerebral cortex to markedly improve the diagnosis for neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease.
He has a BS in bioengineering from the Pennsylvania State University, with a specialization in electrical engineering. At Penn State, he has been involved with the Center for Design and Entrepreneurship to design sustainable agricultural devices for Kenya, as well as the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Program for a telemedicine project in eastern Africa; both of which were successful and award-winning ventures.
As a graduate student at Utah, he was a fellow in the inaugural class of the Utah BioInnovate program, where his team developed a novel, cost-effective, and sustainable laparoscope to improve integration and communication techniques for surgeons during minimally invasive surgery. This led to a Technology Commercialization & Innovation Program (TCIP) grant from the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development to develop this medical device and a subsequent award for placing second in the Idea Category of the Grow America Springboard Competition 2012, state of Utah's largest business competition. The intellectual satisfaction coupled with the social impact of biomedical entrepreneurship has always drawn him to this field and he is pleased to continue to learn, develop, and hone his technology entrepreneurship skills at the Lassonde New Venture Development Center.
David McNeill, MBA
David graduated with a BS in Biology in 2004 from Walla Walla University. He then pursued a PhD in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University, which he finished in 2010. David's thesis research focused on the mechanisms that mediate the effects of light on behaviors such as daily rhythms, as well as how programmed cell death shapes cell spacing during eye development. To learn more about entrepreneurship and socially responsible investing, David worked in the West African country of Sierra Leone as a Fellow for Kiva.org, a leading microlending organization that connects hundreds of thousands of lenders and borrowers worldwide via the Internet. David is now pursuing an MBA at the David Eccles School of Business, and he is looking forward to combining his interests in science and business as an associate at the Lassonde New Venture Development Center.
Mikhael Mikhalev, Law
I am currently a third year student at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. Before law school I obtained my BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Utah where I specialized in chemical polymer extrusion and semiconductor manufacturing. I decided to attend law school because I want to help people protect their innovative ideas with patents, copyrights and trademarks and I want to bring the products of those good ideas to consumers by helping people start new businesses.
My interest in intellectual property led me to intern at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, DC, where I helped formulate domestic and international policy for protecting IP rights. At the USPTO, I learned about the important role universities play in driving innovation, and how university patents are vital because they provide incentives to commercialize university-developed technologies that would otherwise never reach the public. I was inspired to join the Lassonde Center because I realized that the products of start-up enterprises can directly improve people's lives and jump-start the economy in a time of great need.
I am always listening to music and I have attended over 20 major concert festivals throughout the world including Coachella, Lollapalooza and Sensation Amsterdam. During my time as an undergraduate student I worked in Utah's student government coordinating on-campus concerts with over 20,000 attendees and managed 200 staff members and a $95,000 budget. Whenever I have time off of school or work I am travelling, whitewater rafting, wakeboarding or snowboarding.
Abhijit Mondal, Bioengineering
Abhijit holds a Bachelor of Technology and a master of sciences in mechanical engineering. After finishing his bachelor's from SASTRA University, India, he worked as development and applications engineer in an advanced manufacturing and robotics firm based in Chennai, India. Before joining the doctoral program in bioengineering, he finished his masters at the U.
Abhijit possesses a broad academic background in control systems, instrumentation, robotics, automation, MEMS, microfabrication techniques, nanotechnology, tissue engineering and cardiac electrophysiology. He believes that the next technological revolution will come from the merging of such interdisciplinary fields and a broad knowledge base would be a principal tool required for developing cutting edge products.
His current doctoral research involves the development of two and three dimensional microelectrode array embedded tissues for cardiac electrophysiology, under the supervision of Dr. Alonso Moreno at the Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute. His professional goal is to build a career around developing new commercializable biomedical technologies for research and clinical applications utilizing interdisciplinary fields.
Outside research, Abhijit is fond of nature, wildlife and photography. During his time at the U, he has explored many nearby National and State parks. In his free time at the U, he enjoys biking, hiking, swimming, badminton and basketball.
Trent Mortensen, MBA/MS Mechanical Engineering
Trent is a second-year candidate in the MBA/MS mechanical engineering dual-degree program. He completed a BS and MS in biological engineering from Utah State University (USU), where he also served as student president and advisor of the first ever USU iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) team. He presented the project at the worldwide competition at MIT in Boston; the team received a third-tier prize that year and went on to win a first-tier prize the next year. Upon completing his masters thesis, Trent published his research in Phytotherapy Research. After graduating, he worked as an applications engineer for a year at WesTech Engineering in Salt Lake City.
Trent has three years of experience in sales. During one of those years, he recruited for, trained, and managed a sales team of 16 representatives in Chicago to be the second most profitable team company-wide in the country (out of nine teams).
Ultimate frisbee is Trent's favorite sport, and he played for a time for the USU Ultimate Club Team. He also enjoys hiking, fishing, racquetball, and basketball.
One of the main reasons Trent entered the MBA Program at the University of Utah was to learn principles of successful entrepreneurship and to interact with those who have overcome obstacles to do well in this arena. He is very excited about the opportunity to be involved with the Lassonde Center and feels that this will be a great stepping stone to future opportunities and his ability to contribute meaningfully.
Naziol Nazarinia, J.D.
Naziol is a marketing guru turned law student. Currently in her third year of law school at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. She successfully completed her first year at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, in San Diego transferring to the University of Utah after ending it near the top of her class. Naziol has quickly acquired a range of legal experiences including firm practice, state and local regulatory legal research, drafting contracts, drafting licensing, permission and representation agreements, and examining the preemption of contracts by federal copyright law.
Known to many simply as Naz, her interest in the law began through her professional experience in the marketing, broadcast and events industries. Her career began at KXRK X-96, one of the most recognized alternative rock stations in the country. She then moved into the role of the promotions director for "Movin" KYMV and KJQN "Jack FM." Naz applied her broadcast experience to live events as the director of marketing and special events at Park City's Historic Egyptian Theatre—the crown-jewel of Park City—and the most recognized venue at the annual Sundance Film Festival. Naz later became a Media Buyer at The Summit Group, one of the largest Utah based Advertising Agencies, where she used her analytical and reasoning skills to make strategic marketing recommendations to clients such as Subway Restaurants and T-Mobile.
Naz's broad base of work experience has allowed her to approach her work on projects from varied perspectives with clients, listeners, media, sponsors, cast, crew, and designers. All of these experiences give her the skills to recognize various stakeholders and how to address their different interests. Naziol looks forward to the future opportunities that await her and working with the Pierre Lassonde Entrepreneur Center.
Robert "Smitty" Oakes, Bioengineering, PhD
Robert "Smitty" Oakes is originally from Hickory, North Carolina. He attended Lenoir-Rhyne University for his undergraduate education and attained a B.S. in Physics and a B.A. in Theology. He relocated to Utah in 2010 to pursue a PhD in Bioengineering and currently works for Patrick Tresco, PhD, at the Keck Center for Tissue Engineering as a Graduate Research Assistant. His research is centered on the regenerative properties of extracellular matrix (ECM), novel methods to harvest ECM in vitro, and the application of ECM for a variety of tissue engineering approaches including standalone cell scaffolds, device coatings, in situ sol/gel for cavity filling and cell delivery. Upon the development of Smitty's research in biomaterials, wound healing, and neuroscience, he plans to link current scientific concepts to develop innovative clinical interventions.
In his free time, Smitty enjoys exploring the outdoors while hiking, mountain biking, or riding a snowboard. He enjoys all forms of athletics, especially golf, football, and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan. He is also easily consumed with anything hands-on, from mechanical to electronic.
Anetta Pietrzak, Law
Anetta is currently a third-year law student at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. As a previous associate at the University Venture Fund, Anetta worked on several investment deals in a variety of industries including life sciences, technology, and internet consumer products. She has also worked on value-add projects for the medical device industry.
Anetta graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in history and american studies. While at Cornell, Anetta also served as treasurer of 93.5 WVBR-FM where she not only managed station funds, but also assisted in liability, insurance, branding, human resources, and public relations issues.
Neda Sadeghi, Biomedical Engineering
Neda is a Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering conducting research in early brain development. She has a B.S. in computer science, an MS in computational engineering and science, and an MBA. Prior to starting her PhD, Neda worked as an analyst, sr. software engineer and project coordinator in the healthcare and financial industries.
Neda is excited to be part of the Lassonde Center and to combine her technology and business background into the successful commercialization of research technologies.
Neda is an avid snowboarder and enjoys outdoor activities.
Rohit Sharma, P-MBA
Rohit is currently a first year Professional MBA student at the University of Utah. Rohit graduated with a masters degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Utah in 2009 and since then he is working as a research engineer with the Microsytems group at the University of Utah and also for the Blackrock Microsytems, a startup biomedical company at the Research Park, University of Utah. His key work responsibilities are focused on designing, fabricating and improving long-time reliability of integrated neural devices based on the Utah Electrode Array, used in the central or peripheral nervous system for neural signal recording and/or stimulation to help people with motor or sensory impairments.
Rohit has over four years of experience in product development (biomedical devices), semiconductor material processing specifically in the areas of reactive ion etching, thin-film deposition, photolithography, wafer-scale packaging and mask designing. Rohit has also served as the president (2007-08) for the Indian Students Association and also as the users representative (2009-10) for the nanofabrication facility at the University of Utah.
Following his MBA in the areas of entrepreneurship and managing/leading and with all the practical experience earned through the Lassonde platform, Rohit wants to focus entirely on building/developing start-up companies and providing new business development solutions to the local community and to the whole world.
Dane, Timmons, MBA
Dane graduated from the University of California, Davis with a B.S. in economics. While attending UC Davis Dane interned with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Office and a discount investment brokerage. After graduating in June 2011 Dane came to the University of Utah to pursue an MBA and is concentrating on finance and entrepreneurship.
Since coming the the University of Utah Dane has served as the MBA Chair for Bench to Bedside which is a medical device competition. He has also interned at a real estate private equity firm and the investment arm of Beneficial Financial.
In his free time Dane enjoys cooking, traveling, fishing and other outdoor activities.
Sathya Vijayakumar, MBA
Sathya originally comes from Bangalore, India. She graduated with a bachelors in telecommunication engineering, worked for a year as a software engineer at an ERP company and came to SLC in 2002 to pursue her masters. Having graduated with a masters in electrical engineering in 2004, she moved out to Florida to work as a research engineer for the R&D of Philips Healthcare. Marrying her fellow MRI scientist, brought her back to SLC in October 2007 to work in the same lab that she graduated from.
Sathya currently works as a research associate at the Utah Center for Advanced Imaging Research (UCAIR) and is one of the core team members of the new Cardiac Arrhythmia Research and MAnagement Center (CARMA Center). She brings to the table over 8 years of medical imaging experience in the field of cardiac MRI. She has a strong algorithms and programming background and is very efficient at getting together multi-disciplinary teams to produce results. She is currently pursuing her MBA at the University of Utah (Professional MBA program), to take her career to the next level. With the Lassonde Center experience, she hopes to get hands on experience in the field of business and gain more working knowledge of business management in technology.
In her spare time (if she has any, considering she has a full time job, goes to school and has a beautiful 3-year old boy), Sathya loves to read books, run (has finished one half marathon, and is training for the next one this October), play sudoku, grow vegetables and do crosswords.
Brandon Welch, Biomedical Informatics
Originally from upstate New York, Brandon received his BS in biology from the University of Utah. Following graduation he became a Hinckley Fellow with the Personalized Health Care Initiative at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC. Following this experience, Brandon obtained a MS in human genetics from Tulane University in New Orleans. While there he envisioned a website that could help individuals track their family health history and receive a personalized risk assessment and health recommendations.
To realize this vision, Brandon created a business plan, secured seed funding, and started a business to develop his idea into a prototype website called ItRunsInMyFamily.com. He was recruited by a national genetic counseling company based in Florida to serve as their VP of innovation to integrate his product into their service offerings. Unfortunately, the goal was never realized due to technical limitations and business priorities, Brandon moved into a business development and marketing leadership role within the company. Still desiring to develop his idea further, Brandon began PhD work in biomedical informatics at the University of Utah and became the inaugural predoctoral fellow in the program in personalized health care where he is researching and developing clinical decision support (CDS) tools that support genetics and personalized medicine in the clinical setting. Brandon hopes to leverage his experience with the Lassonde Center to turn his ideas into marketable products.
Brandon enjoys spending time with his wife and newborn son. He also enjoys watching soccer and Utah Football where he previously performed as the school mascot 'Swoop' as an undergrad.
Nathan Whitaker, JD/MBA
I am currently pursuing a joint JD/MBA degree from the University of Utah. I am a second year MBA as well as a third year Law student. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Utah State University with a bachelor of arts in law and constitutional studies.
While in law school, I have worked for the 1st and 2nd District Courts of Utah, the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, as well as the Office of the Attorney General of Utah. In addition, I spent a year working at the Technology Commercialization Office at the University of Utah working on trademark, copyright, and licensing work for newly developed technologies.
My areas of interest are in new business development, intellectual property, and corporate finance. I enjoy camping, hiking, mountain biking, and shooting sports.
Stuart Woolley, MBA
Stuart graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. He worked for two years as a mechanical engineer at a Salt Lake City based geomechanics testing laboratory where he designed, built and tested laboratory testing equipment.
He is currently a second year MBA student at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah with emphases in management and finance. During his first year in the MBA program he worked as an intern for MDB Captial Group, an investment bank from Santa Monica, Calif. The internship was a partnership with the Technology Commercialization Office at the University of Utah with the goal of finding and investing in disruptive technology based on research done at the University of Utah.
Stuart is very excited to be a part of the Lassonde New Venture Development Center and to be a part of the process of bringing new truly disruptive technologies to the market.