Michelle is the Senior Director of the Office of Technology Development and is the Director of Licensing and Intellectual Property. Prior to joining Salk, Michelle was a Senior Licensing and Intellectual Property Manager and eventually Assistant Director of Licensing at the University of Pittsburgh. During her tenure at the University of Pittsburgh, Michelle's responsibilities included evaluating, patenting, and licensing biomedical therapeutic and diagnostic technologies both to established biotechnology companies and to University startups. She also worked closely with inventors, business and marketing teams, and colleagues in regulatory affairs on a variety of matters to move innovations from the bench-top to the bedside. From 2003 to 2008, Michelle was a Patenting and Licensing Manager at the National Institutes of Health. During her tenure at the NIH she was involved in the licensing and patenting of innovations from the National Cancer Institute, improving the overall efficiency of the NIH technology transfer process, initiating alliances with industry, and guiding scientists through the regulatory process at the FDA. Michelle was admitted to the patent bar in 2004. She received her PhD in biochemistry and cancer cell biology and held a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Kiren is a Licensing Associate at the Salk Institute’s Office of Technology Development, and is also a Registered U.S. Patent Agent. Kiren has served as an advisor to local San Diego biotech start-ups and provided assistance in drafting patent applications, developing intellectual property strategies and business development. Kiren has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Institute of Psychiatry, London, where her work focused on biomarkers for neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and depression and a M.Sc. in Neuroscience from the University of Manchester, where she worked on the circadian regulation of behavior. Kiren moved to the United States in 2007 and prior to joining Salk she was a Project Scientist in the UCSD Department of Neuroscience, and carried out research focused on the biochemical mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and on the identification of potential biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases. She was also a post-doc at the Sanford-Burnham Institute and the University of Southampton, UK.
Melissa is a Licensing Associate at the Salk Institute’s Office of Technology Development. Melissa received her Ph.D. in Cell Regulation from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center where she studied lipid signaling in the parasitic protozoan Trypanosoma brucei. Before joining the OTD, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Laboratory at Salk where her research focused on the identification and characterization of novel host factors mediating HIV-1 replication. She was also an intern in the OTD before moving to her current position.
Vernalynn is the Accountant for the Office of Technology Development. She is responsible for auditing and processing invoices, expenses and receivables for accuracy and compliance with government and Salk requirements and procedures. She works closely with the Business Manager within OTD as well the Finance department. Vernalynn joined the Salk Institute in 2010 and joined OTD in the fall of 2013.
Amy joined the department as Business Manager after working several years at Salk in the Research Accounting department. She has a B.A. in Accounting, as well as a teaching credential in Math and Business. Her position in OTD manages overall business functions, oversees financial activity, administers the budget, and ensures accounting practices are followed appropriately.
Art Root serves as OTD's Compliance Coordinator. In this position, Art monitors and audits the department's invention reporting processes to ensure compliance with government regulations. Art is also tasked with license surveillance, ensuring that licensees comply with obligations. Art also administers OTD's patent annuity database. Art has a B.A. In Political Science from UCSD and joined the OTD team in 2009.