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Contact Staff

University of Maryland, College Park
UM Ventures, 0134 Lee Building, 7809 Regents Drive, College Park, MD 20742

For an overview of our office, see our Organizational Chart.


  • Kenneth Porter, PhD, MBA

    Executive Director, UM Ventures - College Park


    [email protected]

    Ken Porter is the Executive Director of UM Ventures - College Park and leads a team of dedicated professionals who serve faculty, staff, and students at the University of Maryland at College Park.  UM Ventures - College Park manages the University IP portfolio, engages corporate partners for research, supports faculty startups, and provides experiential learning opportunities for students.

    Ken served most recently at Innovate Calgary as VP for IP Management and Director of Social and Clinical Innovations, and where he co-founded the Western Canadian Innovation Offices (  WCIO is a consortium of 46 western Canadian academic institutions that together create “Market Pull” opportunities for cross-border industry-academic research partnerships.  He has led teams at the Universities of Colorado and Texas, and each team held the aim of building stronger relationships for faculty and students with industry, government, and entrepreneur communities.

    He holds a BS degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel, and Ph.D. (Chemistry) and MBA degrees from Duke University.  Ken is an active member of LES and AUTM, and is currently a member of the AUTM Board of Directors.

  • Felicia Metz, JD

    Associate Director


    [email protected]

    Felicia Metz is the Associate Director of UM Ventures - College Park. Felicia advises on patent prosecution, IP-portfolio development, and licensing.  Felicia received her B.S. in biological sciences from the University of Maryland and her J.D. magna cum laude from the University of Baltimore School of Law. She is a member of the Maryland bar and is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

  • Dean Chang, PhD

    Chief Innovation Officer and Associate Vice President for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, University of Maryland, College Park


    [email protected]

    Dr. Dean Chang is the Chief Innovation Officer at the University of Maryland. He coordinates and leads UMD’s innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development ecosystem that 1) helps students and faculty develop their entrepreneurial mindsets to pursue their innovative ideas and inventions, and 2) helps launch and scale startups and social ventures that spur inclusive economic development and impact.

    In 2013, Dr. Chang founded the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (AIE) to engage every college in design thinking and lean startup. Before AIE, he oversaw the school of engineering’s technology startup venture programs. Dr. Chang also played a critical role in the founding of Startup Shell in 2012 and STICs in 2017.

    Additionally, Dr. Chang is a lead PI and an instructor for the National Science Foundation's I-Corps Hub program and leads workshops for students, faculty, and administrators, as well as professionals and executives from industry, non-profits, and government agencies like NASA and HHS. He has also been an instructor and a coach in the Stanford's Teaching and Learning Studio.

    Prior to UMD, Dr. Chang spent 15 years in Silicon Valley where he served as the CTO and VP, Gaming Business of Immersion Corporation. He helped transform the venture-backed, Stanford robotics lab spinout into a publicly traded (NASDAQ: IMMR), world-leading licensor of haptics technology embedded in over a billion devices from companies like Apple, BMW, Microsoft, Samsung, and Electronic Arts. 

    Dr. Chang holds over 40 patents and received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, an M.S. and Ph.D in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


  • Debbie Auerbach

    Technology Transfer Manager


    [email protected]

    Debbie Auerbach joined the Office of Technology Commercialization in 2012. As Coordinator, Debbie’s responsibilities include managing the invention disclosure submission process, providing guidance to inventors on the process, and compliance reporting as well as coordinating actions related to inventions such as intellectual property protection, marketing, and licensing. Prior to joining the OTC, Debbie worked in the Office of Technology Transfer at JHU/APL. Debbie holds a Bachelor's Degree in Personnel and Labor Relations from the University of Maryland.

  • Emiko Kawagoshi, PhD, MBA

    Finance Manager


    [email protected]

    Emiko Kawagoshi is the Finance Manger for UM Ventures - College Park.  Emiko joined the UM Ventures team in April of 2019.  Previously, Emiko worked as the Tax Incentive Specialist at Maryland Department of Commerce for 7 years.  Emiko holds a Ph.d in Economics and an MBA from American University.

  • Yolanda Kerr

    Technology Transfer Coordinator


    [email protected]

    Yolanda Kerr joined the Office of Technology Commercialization in 2016.  Yolanda is the initial point of contact for faculty, staff and all visitors to the office. She provides general support to our office as well as assists in the management of the invention disclosure submission process and provides guidance to inventors on the process.  Her responsibilities also include tracking intellectual property by receiving, reviewing and docketing all legal correspondence. Prior to joining OTC, Yolanda worked in the University of Maryland's Office of Research Administration as a Sponsored Programs Assistant.

  • Livia Horton

    Technology Transfer Coordinator


    [email protected]

    Livia Horton is a Technology Transfer Coordinator in UM Ventures - College Park with over seven years of experience working in technology transfer. Livia joined UM Ventures in 2018 and is responsible for handling matters pertaining to government compliance, reviewing and docketing legal correspondence and invention disclosure intake. 

    Prior to joining UM Ventures, Livia worked as VCU Innovation Gateway's Intellectual Property Administrator, where she provided support to technology managers, patent attorneys, and researchers while ensuring responses to patent office actions were timely filed.

Intellectual Property


  • Hemi Chopra, PhD, MBA

    Sr. Innovation Manager


    [email protected]

    Hemi Chopra is a Sr. Innovation Manager at UM Ventures. Hemi manages the Life Science portfolio starting from the inception of the invention to licensing and commercialization. Hemi has several years’ experience in technology transfer matters at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, University of Massachusetts to name a few. She received her Ph.D. from Wayne State University and M.B.A. from Boston University.

  • Mark Sullivan, JD

    Innovation Manager


    [email protected]

    Mark Sullivan is an Innovation Manager for Physical Sciences at UM Ventures.  Mark has almost 20 years of experience as a Washington D.C.-based patent attorney, focusing his practice on patent prosecution and client counseling, with an emphasis on matters involving chemical technologies.  He has overseen domestic and foreign patent portfolios, working with large companies, research institutions, and start-ups. Mark has prosecuted hundreds of patent applications, prepared numerous opinions of counsel, and assisted clients in licensing their technologies.  Prior to his experience as a patent attorney, Mark worked as an engineer for two Fortune 500 companies in the chemical and defense industries.

    Mark received his J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law and his M.S. in environmental engineering and B.S. in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech.  He is a member of the D.C. bar and is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

  • Virinchi Juttukonda

    Innovation Manager


    [email protected]

    Virinchi Juttukonda is an Innovation Manager at UM Ventures - College Park.
    Prior to joining UM Ventures, Virinchi worked as an intern at the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization at Vanderbilt University where he also earned his Bachelor's Degree in Computer Engineering.

  • Ahmad Soltani, PhD, MBA, CPSM

    Ahmad Soltani, PhD, MBA, CPSM

    Innovation Manager

    Ahmad Soltani is an Innovation Manager at UM Ventures – College Park. In this capacity, he manages invention disclosure evaluation, intellectual property protection and commercialization strategy, including licensing, for the diverse physical sciences portfolio.

    He began his career with Union Carbide Chemicals & Plastics as a Project Scientist in 1989. He held position of increasing responsibilities in research and development, contract manufacturing, new business development, business strategy consulting, mergers & acquisitions, chlor-alkali strategic business unit management with external annual sales of over $250 million, and procurement with Union Carbides, Arco Chemical, Lyondell Petrochemical, and Bayer Corporation where he last served as Vice President Procurement, overseeing $1 billion per year of indirect spend, from 2008-2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    Ahmad earned his doctorate in Chemical Engineering from West Virginia University and a Master of Business Administration with Distinction from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He holds eight patents and has authored several technical papers. He has been married to his wife Massie for 29 years. They have two children, Sarah and Cyrus, and reside in McLean, Virginia.

  • Andrea Deering, PhD, MBA

    Andrea Deering, PhD, MBA

    Innovation Manager

    Andrea Deering is an Innovation Manager at UM Ventures. Andrea has more than fifteen years of experience in the university and company technology transfer environments. Andrea has performed the various functions of licensing and intellectual property management at Johns Hopkins University and at University of Maryland Baltimore as a Director of Licensing and Intellectual Property Manager, as well as handling a licensing deal portfolio for ATCC, the gold standard biorepository, as a Senior Licensing Associate. Andrea is a Registered Patent Agent, and received her M.B.A. from USC Marshall School of Business and her Ph.D. from University of Maryland.

Startup Support

  • Alla McCoy, MBA

    Director, Startup Support


    [email protected]

    Alla Corey McCoy has developed and launched Faculty Startup Support program at the University of Maryland in 2018. Alla joined UM Ventures - College Park as a Technology Licensing Associate for Information Sciences in 2013. 

    Prior to UM Ventures, Alla worked at the University of Maryland's Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship designing and managing experiential learning opportunities for student entrepreneurs. During her tenure, Alla also worked with regional entrepreneurs and investors, in particular she managed Dingman Center's angel investor group.

    Prior to joining the Dingman Center, Alla spent 8 years in the publishing industry. She led marketing, publicity, and sales efforts for small independent publishers specializing in professional, trade, and academic titles.

    Alla completed her MBA at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, in May 2013, and received a B.S. in Computer Science and a B.A. in English Language and Literature and from the State University of Moldova.

Entrepreneurs in Residence

  • Harry Geller

    Entrepreneur in Residence

    Harry Geller is an entrepreneur whose career has spanned a broad range of successful startup companies. Geller has started, owned and managed fourteen multi-million dollar businesses, primarily focused in the logistics, food services and real estate fields. Four of his companies have been named to the INC. 500 list of fastest growing companies, the most recent one in 2009. He was named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 1992.

    Mr. Geller’s earliest venture, Global Mail, LTD, founded in 1987, was twice named to INC. 500 list of fastest growing companies. Global Mail was acquired in 1999 by the Deutsche Post and Geller was appointed CEO of the America’s from 1999 - 2004. The company continues to thrive operating under the DHL/Global Mail brand. Mr. Geller was also the founder and owner of SoDel Concepts, a successful restaurant development company focusing on upscale, relaxed resort dining. SoDel Concepts has opened and operates five fine and casual dining seafood restaurants, all located at the Delaware Seashore. They were named to INC. 500 list as the nations fastest growing restaurant company in 2009.

    For the past few years Mr. Geller has focused his love of entrepreneurship towards mentoring and educating others and serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence and member of the Board of Advisors at the University of Maryland’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.

    Geller grew up in Montgomery County and graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1981 with BS in Business. He serves on advisory boards of various businesses in the Washington, DC area. He has held various volunteer positions including Chairman of his Logistics Trade Association and Treasurer of Young Presidents Organization (YPO).

    To schedule a meeting with Harry or to learn more about resources and support offered to campus startups, contact Alla McCoy, the director of the Startup Support program.

    Geller grew up in Montgomery County and graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1981 with BS in Business. He serves on advisory boards of various businesses in the Washington, DC area. He has held various volunteer positions including Chairman of his Logistics Trade Association and Treasurer of Young Presidents Organization (YPO).

  • Doug Humphrey

    Entrepreneur in Residence

    Doug Humphrey is a Serial Entrepreneur. Likely he can't help himself—probably some genetic pre-disposition to starting companies. He has started many, had success and failure, and serves today on a variety of boards of advisors and directors, and also as a business consultant to companies of all sizes.

    To schedule a meeting with Doug or to learn more about resources and support offered to campus startups, contact Alla McCoy, the director of the Startup Support program.

  • Laura Neuman

    Entrepreneur in Residence

    Laura Neuman is a leader with a record of delivering results in both the public and private sectors. She is a change agent in all aspects of building and managing organizations. Her experience includes financing and building/motivating great teams, and combines an entrepreneurial focus with a wide range of experience in corporate development, strategic planning, operations and government.

    Neuman has held public office and was CEO and company-builder in the private sector, ranging from venture-backed start-up to established national organizations. She has mentored, consulted or evaluated hundreds of early stage or start-up companies. Most notable achievement in business was to build technology startup Matrics, raising $17 million in venture capital; sold for $230 million.

    MBA from Loyola University in Maryland without a high school diploma or college degree and completed Executive Program at Stanford Business School.

    Frequent speaker and guest lecturer on leadership, entrepreneurship, government, and advocating for women. Subject of numerous business and human interest articles/news programs for overcoming significant challenges and achieving success.

    To schedule a meeting with Laura or to learn more about resources and support offered to campus startups, contact Alla McCoy, the director of the Startup Support program.

Site Miners

  • Dan Nadash

    Site Miner

  • Mark Komisky

    Site Miner

  • Annastasiah Mudiwa Mhaka, PhD

    Site Miner

    Dr. Mhaka is an experienced lifesciences and digital health executive, investment professional, and biotech entrepreneur with a passion for global health. Leveraging expertise in biomedical discovery, technology development, healthcare delivery, and fundraising she creates transformative healthcare advances impactful on a global scale. Utilizing her experience in emerging technologies, cross-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder approaches, Dr.  Mhaka has co-founded the Alliance for Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare (AAIH), a global coalition of 30+ organisations dedicated to resolving the myriad challenges facing the growing field of AI and Machine Learning based life sciences and healthcare solutions. In addition to her proven track record of over 50+ cross-industry deals in both the private and public sector, Dr. Mhaka has worked for a leading management consultant firm, and co-founded four companies within the drug development and nanotechnology sectors. This includes a mid-stage AI supported nanotechnology platform for diagnosis, disease management, therapeutic monitoring, data processing & transmission at the point-of-need. She  holds several advisory roles in academia and industry, and serves on the board of the Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce (BelCham), which promotes transatlantic business growth and collaboration. Dr. Mhaka received her PhD in Cellular and Molecular Medicine from Johns Hopkins Medicine where she developed a clinical phase oncology drug and attained her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry [Highest Honors, Summa Cum Laude] from the University of Pittsburgh.