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The Center for Technology Licensing (CTL) at Cornell University is delighted to announce the commencement of its Practicum program for the 2023 cohort. The CTL Practicum is a valuable opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in STEM and MBA disciplines at Cornell to immerse themselves in the practical aspects of commercializing university-based research and explore alternative paths for careers around innovation. The program aims to provide hands-on experience in innovation assessment, commercialization strategy, patenting, and licensing agreements. Successful participants will contribute meaningfully to CTL’s mission, gaining valuable skills and broadening their career options while supporting Cornell’s innovation and venture initiatives. 

“From the online application to the interview process, new practicants were selected based on their strong interest in technology transfer, innovation, and entrepreneurship,” expresses Kris Valentine Behnke, the Innovation Outreach Manager at CTL. “Taking on projects aligned with their scientific expertise but also expanding their bank of technical knowledge, the practicants collaborate closely with business development and licensing teams, promoting and marketing cutting-edge Cornell technologies to potential licensees.” 

Meet the new cohort who recently embarked on a journey exposing them to Cornell innovation, learning of intellectual property and the basics of licensing, and meaningful contributions. 

Jiaqi Zou, a Ph.D. student under Dr. Aydemir Lab at the Division of Nutritional Sciences. Jiaqi is a food enthusiast who enjoys cooking, reading, traveling with friends, and exploring new places to eat outside of work. “Jiaqi’s experience in chemistry and chemical biology gives her a good foundation to work with many of the technologies that come through our office. She’s working with me to market a new diagnostic for tuberculosis,” expresses Marie Donnelly, a Business Development and Licensing Associate at CTL.  



Katerina Roth, a Ph.D. Candidate in Dr. Abby Snyder’s Lab at the Department of Food Science. Katerina finds joy in horseback riding, mushroom foraging, and spending time with her two dogs. She also dedicates her time to outreach within her department, field, and community. “Food Science is a very applied field, and CTL gets a lot of inventions from that department. We’ve been fortunate to work with some really talented Practicants from Food Science in the past, and Katerina is no different,” Marie says as she works closely with Katerina. “She already has experience in science communication, which is a key skill we are all working to develop in this program.” 



Eric Wang, an MBA student at Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and the president of the Johnson Running Club, enjoys long-distance running, reading, and playing musical instruments such as the violin and piano. “Eric already has entrepreneurial experience in the healthcare industry, so he brings a great perspective to inventions in that field,” Marie notes. “He’s also willing to stretch himself and is currently working with me to develop materials for a biomining technology.” 



Mark Yde, a Master’s student in Systems Engineering. This winter, you can find Mark taking a cold-plunge in Seneca Lake, flying a single-propeller Cessna out of Ithaca Airport, or tending to his baby Mulberry trees as they battle the cold. Iris Bica, a Business Development & Licensing Associate at CTL  @ WCM who worked with Mark in the past, expresses, “Mark is able to leverage his experience in investing and systems engineering to work on projects from a variety of subject areas. He has a keen eye for identifying the key aspects of new technologies and has worked with me to develop marketing materials for a complex computational method for improving biomedical imaging.” 


Jeremiah James, a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Rong Yang’s lab in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department. Outside of the lab, Jeremiah likes to study Mandarin and Hanzi; it enables him to connect with others, and, in his words, “it’s just cool.” He also enjoys learning about real estate and is working on building a portfolio of properties in Ithaca to develop his company, Adaptive Rentals. Lastly, He loves entrepreneurship, mentoring, chess, exploring, and chatting with friends.  “Jeremiah’s background in biomedical engineering and entrepreneurship lends itself well to exploring technologies in molecular and biomedical engineering,” Iris notes. “Jeremiah has great science communication skills and has worked with me to generate marketing materials for a next-generation medical device for craniosynostosis.” 


Abigail Nason, a Ph.D. student under Dr. Jin Suntivich in the Materials Science and Engineering Department. Abigail finds pleasure in cycling along the rolling hills of Ithaca during the summer and loves spending time at the Lindseth Climbing Center during the winter. Abigail is working with Maxim Shabrov, a Business Development and Licensing Associate at CTL, on technologies in a variety of fields, including textile recycling and moisture management, digital privacy, wearables, and medical devices. Abigail is interested in learning about how emerging technologies are accessed for commercial potential, as well as about specifics of intellectual property protection. Abby’s role is to conduct market due diligence and customer research and identify and engage with potential commercialization partners. “She is very proactive and enjoys thinking broadly about potential market applications for a given technology,” expresses Maxim.  


Tian Tang, a Ph.D. candidate advised by Prof. Lynden Archer at the Department of Materials and Science Engineering. Tian spends her spare time enjoying travel and exploring new restaurants, particularly those offering spicy cuisine. 




Nicole Maurici is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Dr. Brian Crane’s group at the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis, cooking, and painting outside of research. 




Maggie Elpers, a Ph.D. candidate under Dr. Jan Lammerding at the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering. Maggie enjoys spending time outdoors running or hiking, attending concerts, and traveling. 




Nicole, Maggie, and Tian have worked with Sarah Ward, a Business Development and Licensing Associate at CTL, who shares that, “Nicole and Maggie prepared marketing materials for (I) patient-specific spinal implants and (II) new degradable plastics, respectively. They and Tian will continue to work with each BDLA on a wide variety of technologies for different types of projects, including tech briefs, prior art searches, and slide decks.” 

From a diverse array of academic disciplines, colleges, and personal interests, these individuals share an eagerness to contribute meaningfully to the support of Cornell’s innovation. Their journey either within academia or outside academia promises to be one of exploration, innovation, and meaningful contributions to both CTL’s mission and Cornell’s legacy of groundbreaking research and technological advancements. 

Visit the CTL Practicum website for more information about this program.