Hemi Chopra, PhD, MBA
Senior Innovation Manager
University of Maryland
I have always been interested in working at the intersection of business and science. Over the 26 years working at a plethora of institutions, companies and universities, I have had the good fortune of working on various technologies in various fields including cardiology, oncology, infectious diseases, medical devices and plant science.
While at the UMASS office of technology transfer, I was successful in licensing an RNA platform technology to a company resulting in a significant upfront payment including equity, royalty, sublicensing and other license fees. The technology was jointly-owned and I maneuvered the negotiations on a joint invention agreement and the license agreement with skill and patience.
While at the Brigham, I licensed a technology on a blood marker for heart failure to a startup managed by a venture capitalist firm. As part of the license, I assumed a board seat, which was an experience that gave me a better understanding of how startups are formed and how business professionals interact with scientists. This technology was eventually commercialized and made it to the market.
While at the University of Maryland, I licensed a technology on plant seeds to a seed-powered health company, with products having a beneficial effect on heart health, weight management, gut health, inflammation and brain health. This license not only resulted in significant upfront and other fees, but also established a sponsored research relationship.
While at my company BIOMedt2, I was responsible for getting a startup in the cancer space a license with a company. The license negotiations were smooth and equity was a part of the deal. During my tenure, I helped institutions market and license their technologies to various entities.
I am proud to have managed all of cardiology technology disclosures for the Brigham, a hospital known for its cardiology department. I have also operated a consulting company, which gave me additional confidence that I could face challenges in life. I am proud of the fact that I started this company. I am also proud of the fact that two of my topics were chosen to be used in panels in the 2021 AUTM Annual Meeting and two of my topics were chosen to be used in panels in the AUTM Eastern Region Meeting.
What experience do you have working on or with a strategic Board of Directors?
At UMASS medical school I worked on drafting a strategic plan and mission for the technology licensing office.
Please include a brief description of your volunteer experiences within AUTM.
I have served on the Online Professional Development Committee from 2013-2015 and the Essentials Course Committee from 2012-2015 and the Eastern Region Meeting Committee. I have given two talks at the AUTM Annual Meeting 2021 and two talks the Eastern Region Meeting this year.
I have immensely enjoyed working on the volunteer committees by seeing how science is being applied to the market place by so many wonderful institutions. I have formed good relationships with AUTM members resulting in a great network. I helped selecting which webinars to be promoted. In the Essentials Course, I presented ideas on how to make the course even better.
Why do you want to join the AUTM Board of Directors?
I have 26 years of experience doing technology transfer and believe that I have to give back to the AUTM community. Being on the board of directors will give me an opportunity to strategize with others the future of AUTM and how it can be further improved.
I was a member of my condominium board and managed a budget. To prioritize different items and requests, understanding the pros and cons of each gave me invaluable experience that can be used in any environment including AUTM.
I want to be able to leverage AUTM capabilities, resources, and experience to support member networking and training, and to advocate for our profession to government, industry, and the public around the world.
Have you served in a volunteer leadership role for other organizations? If so, please explain.
I was a volunteer at PBS in their fund-raising efforts. I worked at the Hackerman Patz house at Johns Hopkins Hospital. This entity helped patients and their families with housing at the hospital.
If elected by the Membership to the Board, would you consider serving as Chair? Please explain.
Yes. One of my strongest skills is in public speaking and working with diverse people. Being a chair will allow me to use these skills while working with other board members. I have managed interns and am now mentoring a new hire an experience that has taught me a great deal about myself and mentoring successfully.
I would like to build upon AUTM advocacy expertise, we can generate global awareness of technology commercialization, promote the outcomes and impact of technology transfer, and encourage national decision makers to align policy with the desired outcomes of broad knowledge dissemination, strong academic-industry partnerships, and positive economic impact and diversity.
Please share personal strengths that you believe would be valuable to the AUTM Board and/or the strategic direction of the Association.
I have confidence, strong work ethic, am driven and forward thinking with a great sense of humor. I like giving presentations, organizing meetings, advocating for a cause, and representing institutions where I work at conferences and meetings.
What special experience do you have in driving and implementing a strategic plan?
While at UMASS I was assigned the task of writing a strategic plan for the office of technology commercialization. I worked in a team to get the job done.
How do terms of the position (both responsibilities and time commitment) fit with your other responsibilities? Will you have any conflicts of commitment between your full-time position and your volunteer time on the AUTM Board?
I am a Senior innovation manager and I do technology transfer every day. I can use the experience I gain at work to be applied directly to AUTM. Working as a board member, will allow me to do a better job at work and vice versa. I therefore think of a board member as an extension of the work I do every day.
Although I will be spending time on the board, I will disclose that to our Conflict Of Interest Committee and should be able to continue my work in the board.
AUTM is committed to addressing issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion both on the Board and on behalf of our Members. Briefly describe how your experiences can contribute to the Association’s growth in this area.
I am aware of these issues and have worked with people of diverse background and ethnicity. I think diversity brings success to an organization like AUTM and should be nurtured. Having worked at State and Private Institutions, I have seen diversity in all forms and have worked with a diverse set of people contributing to their growth and they contributing to mine.
Through international networking and training opportunities and events, we can also increase knowledge, share experience among communities, and disseminate our lessons learned throughout the technology management profession. For example, the 2016 Western Region Meeting included 30% Asian participants, which creates a rich forum for sharing widely diverse experiences.
Advocacy for the innovation ecosystem is something AUTM has promoted recently. How do you think AUTM should continue to be involved?
- Encourage all TLOs to develop an innovation ecosystem.
- Emphasize that jobs are created by this ecosystem.
- Have discussions at meetings and other wise encourage startups.
- Create an award for the most innovative institution by the number of startups created.
- Create an award for the most innovative inventor as judged by publications, patents, startups and licenses.
Is there anything else you would like AUTM Members to know about you before they vote?
If elected to the Board, I pledge to represent the best interests of our membership, work to enhance AUTM capabilities, and guide AUTM strategy to the benefit of its members, their institutions, and our profession.