Tatiana Litvin-Vechnyak

Tatiana Litvin-Vechnyak, PhD

Associate Vice President, Innovation Ventures
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey


Currently, I serve as the Associate Vice President of Innovation Ventures (IV) at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. In this role, I oversee all activities related to technology transfer and new venture formation, as well as activities focused on management of the intellectual property assets of the university in all areas including life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, and agriculture. I have nearly 20 years of experience in IP management and over 10 years in various leadership roles. Prior to my role with Innovation Ventures, I was a Senior Licensing Associate at the Office of Technology Transfer and Business Development at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. I am an active member in various local and national professional organizations, speak frequently about intellectual property and technology licensing, have taught a course on commercializing innovation for the Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. I have a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from Clark University and I am a Registered Patent Agent with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Some of my proudest accomplishments include the revamp of the University’s patent policy, and establishment of a robust and diverse fellowship program that has well over 100 alumni doing technology transfer worldwide.  Outside of technology transfer, I am an aspiring sailor.  My family and I belong to a club where we support all sailing related activities from membership to junior education. 


What experience do you have working on or with a strategic Board of Directors? 

Over the years, I have served on the Research & Development Council of New Jersey Board of Directors. The mission of R&D Council of New Jersey, is around collaborations among industry, academia and government to grow STEM in education and innovation 

Please include a brief description of your volunteer experiences within AUTM. 

I have been a member of AUTM on and off for several years. As I have gained more experience in leadership roles, I understood the tremendous value of the mentoring, best practices sharing, policy setting that this amazing organization provides. I started to advocate for and support my teams involvement with the organization. We started to submit topics to the various regional and national events, etc. My team members serve on professional development committees and are frequent participants on panels. Several members have been recipients of the Howard Bremer Award. 

Why do you want to join the AUTM Board of Directors? 

I feel ready to get involved at the next level, to have a more active voice, to give back, to influence and help shape the future. Is that too ambitious? 

Have you served in a volunteer leadership role for other organizations? If so, please explain. 

I am very active with the Big10 Academic Alliance Tech Transfer team. We plan meetings, share best practices, etc. On a personal level, my family and I have been members at the Raritan Yacht Club. I serve on the membership committee, my husband is a commodore and my daughter was a Junior Commodore. We are all about community, enriching lives, enhancing experiences, supporting each other. 

If elected by the Membership to the Board, would you consider serving as Chair? Please explain. 

If and when ready - yes. 

Please share personal strengths that you believe would be valuable to the AUTM Board and/or the strategic direction of the Association. 

I am passionate about growing inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship, women leadership, mentoring and coaching. I have experience building networks, developing a vision and getting a diverse group of people behind a novel idea. At Rutgers, when I stepped into the AVP role, I developed a strategic plan for the organization, revamped the patent policy, increased the team's performance according to a number of KPI, (including have 2 record licensing revenue years), launched a gap fund, among several other accomplishments. I am passionate, collaborative, driven, focused.. 

What special experience do you have in driving and implementing a strategic plan? 

In 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, I led the development of a strategic 5-year plan for Innovation Ventures. Although there were some obstacles along the way including leadership change, I am happy to report that most of the items outlined in the plan are well under way and are key to bring IV into a new light universitywide. 

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? 

Following my conversations with current and past members of the AUTM Board, I feel that this is something that can be well managed. I have full support of my leadership which I know to be critical to success. 

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 passionate about DEI. My team is one of the most diverse teams within our broader Office for Research. We speak over 10 language and come from very diverse backgrounds and experiences. This is all as a result of an intentional approach to hiring and retention. I belong to a Women in Licensing organization. I spearheaded a novel intiative at Rutgers where we provide advisory services to other state colleges and universities that have innovators that would not have had access to tech transfer were it not for the partnership with Rutgers. 

Advocacy for the innovation ecosystem is something AUTM has promoted recently.  How do you think AUTM should continue to be involved? 

Advocacy done by AUTM has been game changing on many levels including bringing awareness to universities nationwide to issues relevant to technology transfer. We should be actively involved, in partnership with other professional organizations and federal relations teams representing our universities. 

Is there anything else you would like AUTM Members to know about you before they vote? 

The experience of putting my candidancy before you is humbling. Many of you possibly do not know me. The reason I want to be involved at this level is because I want to have a voice in discussions of critical importance to all of us, to what we do on a daily basis in our jobs to drive impact. I see amazing progress that has been done over the years and I want to be a part of the transformative future that we can all shape. I am grateful for the opportunity.