Kelly Sexton, Ph.D., Director
Kelly is responsible for directing all aspects of the office, focusing on strategy, transactional efficiency as well as administration of the $2.5 M Chancellor’s Innovation Fund. Kelly has served as an Executive in Residence in NC State’s Poole College of Management HiTEC startup creation program and serves on the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network steering committee.
Kelly holds a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in Molecular Pathology from the University of California, San Diego where she was supported by a fellowship from the California Breast Cancer Research Foundation. She completed her postdoctoral studies at Stanford University where she was awarded a fellowship from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Kelly worked in the Office of Technology Licensing at Stanford University prior to joining NC State in 2007.
Marie Blanchard, Executive Assistant to the Director
Marie received her BA in Sociology with a Criminal Justice option from NC State University, where she has worked for more than 27 years. Prior to joining the OTT, she served as the Executive Assistant to the Director in the Credit Programs & Summer Sessions office. In addition to her duties as Executive Assistant, Marie serves as the Intellectual Property Committee administrator.
Robert Whitehead, Ph.D., Associate Director
Rob has a Ph.D. in Toxicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BS in Biochemistry and Biology from Virginia Tech. Prior to joining the OTT, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrated Science and Technology at James Madison University. Rob manages the negotiation and processing of Material Transfer Agreements, Confidential Disclosure Agreements, and Licensing and Option Agreements. In addition, he promotes the commercial development of intellectual property in the areas of Biotechnology and Life Science.
Dinesh Divakaran, Ph.D., Associate Director
Dinesh earned his Ph.D. & M.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of South Florida and B.E. in Electronics Engineering from University of Mumbai. At NC State, he leads and directs a team of professionals managing innovation, developing intellectual property, licensing technologies, facilitating ventures and building R&D partnerships in engineering, textiles, natural resources, physical sciences, design, education, management, humanities and social sciences. He also directs commercialization efforts in software, copyrights and data. In addition, he personally manages NC State’s IP portfolio in electrical & computer engineering, computer science, industrial & systems engineering, mathematics, statistics and analytics. Dinesh is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at NC State. Before joining NC State, he worked in technology transfer at the Texas A&M University System and earlier at the University of South Florida, where he also taught and conducted research as Adjunct Faculty of Electrical Engineering. A member of IEEE and AAAS, Dinesh has been elected to the Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu honor societies.
Wade Fulghum, Assistant Director, Venture Development
Wade received his Bachelors of Finance from the University of Florida as well as a Masters of Business Administration from Hawaii Pacific University focusing on Organizational Change Management. Wade’s experience includes serving as a Technology Commercialization & Development Counselor for the North Carolina Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC) and as the Assistant Director for the Economic Development Partnership for NC State University. Wade has experience as a small business owner and in commercial finance and insurance. Wade brings experience in grant writing and has served as the principal investigator and co-principal investigator on both State and Federally funded research projects. Wade serves as the Chair of the Entrepreneurship Working Group, for the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster and is a veteran of the US Army.
Jeffrey Bissette, Assistant Director, Business & Licensing Compliance
Jeff earned a BA in Business Administration at North Carolina State University in 1992. Prior to joining the OTT, he worked as a Contract Negotiator for industry funded research agreements in the Office of Sponsored Programs and Regulatory Compliance Services. As Assistant Director for Business and Licensing Compliance, Jeff manages the OTT’s government reporting and licensee diligence.
Amanda Ottaway, Assistant Director, Operations and Strategy
Amanda serves as the Assistant Director, Operations and Strategy performing a variety of duties including informational input into the OTT’s Knowledge Sharing Database System (KSS). She helps manage the uploading of patent documentation, invention disclosures, agreement summaries and IP correspondence into the KSS system.
Brian Eller, J.D., Licensing Associate
Brian earned a BS in Materials Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and a J.D. from U.C. Davis School of Law. Prior to joining the OTT, he completed an internship at the U.C. Davis InnovationAccess, a unit of the Office of Research, in addition to an externship at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Technology Center Unit #2800, where he helped examine patent applications in the field of semiconductors, electrical and optical systems, and components. During law school, Brian spent a summer as a judicial extern for the Honorable Charles R. Wolle, Senior Judge for the Southern District of Iowa. Brian has a strong technical background in electronics, semiconductors, telecommunications, nanotechnology, and medical devices.
Kultaran Chohan, Ph.D., Licensing Associate
Kultaran earned a Ph.D. in Genetics from NC State University, a MS in biology from University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a LL.M. in Intellectual Property and Technology Law from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. He is a member of the New York Bar Association and is licensed as an attorney in New York. Prior to joining the Office of Technology Transfer at NCSU as a licensing associate, Kultaran worked for over a year first as an intern and then as a licensing assistant with this office. Kultaran is well versed in intellectual property matters and has a strong technical background in genetics, microbiology, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, plant biology, plant breeding, and manages NCSU’s Ag-Biotech and plant variety portfolio.
R. Casey Boutwell, Ph.D., Licensing Associate
Casey earned his Ph.D. in Optics from the University of Central Florida, Orlando and BS in Physics from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. Following his doctorate, he supported the University of Central Florida’s OTT by reviewing and advancing technologies ranging from biophysics to materials science. Caseyalso served an Orlando-based tech-commercialization start-up as Marketing and Business Development Manager before joining NCSU. Casey is the lead case manager for inventions from the departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, and non-life science research centers and institutes in the College of Science.
Roberta Terry, Senior Financial Manager
Roberta received her BA of Business Management from Warner Southern College. She has over15 years experience in finance and compliance. Prior to joining the OTT, Roberta worked as a Fiscal Manager in the Contracts and Grants unit of NC State University where she handled State and Federal Contracts and Grants. As the Senior Financial Manager, her current duties include royalty distribution as well as financial reporting compliance.
Melicia Ryles, Financial Manager
Melicia received her AAS in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting from Hardbarger Junior College of Business. She brings over 15 years of extensive experience in finance and collections to the OTT. Prior to joining NC State University, Melicia was employed with Cigna HealthCare as the Delinquency Coordinator where she developed and implemented strategic collection procedures for the Research Triangle area. As the Financial Manager for the OTT, her current duties include managing accounts receivable and collections within the University’s established policies.
Warren “Gerry” Sasser, Senior Agreements Manager
Gerry received his Bachelors of Business Administration from Memphis State University as well as a Masters of Business Administration from Campbell University. Prior to joining the OTT, Gerry worked as Director of Research Programs Services for the College of Textiles. As Agreements Manager, he manages and negotiates all miscellaneous agreements for the office including Material Transfer Agreements, Confidentiality Agreements, Interinstitutional Agreements and Collaborative Research Agreements.
Ken Holland, Administrative Services/Document Signature Manager
Ken’s responsibilities include serving as first point of contact for the technology transfer program, coordinating all incoming and outgoing departmental correspondence, document and file research as needed and management support of the office, as well as serving as departmental LAN Tech.
Nicholas LeBlanc, Ph.D., Agreements & Data Integrity Specialist
Nicholas received his Ph.D. in Slavic Linguistics from UNC-Chapel Hill. Prior to joining the OTT Nicholas served as Registrar in the Department of Anthropology at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has experience in database management and development in educational, non-profit, and commercial settings. Nicholas performs a number of quality control functions in the OTT’s Knowledge Sharing Database System (KSS). He assists with the processing of invention disclosures, agreements, and patent documentation to ensure the overall consistency and accuracy of KSS data.
Wendy Womble, Diligence Specialist
Wendy brings 20 years of experience in finance and administrative support to the OTT. Prior to joining the OTT, Wendy worked as an Accounting Technician at NCSU’s McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education where she maintained accounting records, prepared invoices, payroll, receipts, and deposits. Her current duties as Diligence Specialist include working directly with company/licensee liaisons to address their license agreement diligence obligations. She reviews reports from licensees against agreement milestones and reporting obligations. Wendy also maintains and tracks aging debt by companies, manages collection efforts associated with overdue invoices, and works with the Assistant Director to audit licensees for missed diligence obligations