TCS Promotes Funding Opportunity with Global Biotech Company

Dr. Ana Fidantsef, of the TCS Licensing team, collaborated with CSL in promoting the 2022 Research Acceleration Initiative across UConn and identifying faculties whose research aligned with CSL. CSL Ltd is a leading global biotech company operating in over 35 countries, with headquarters in Australia. CSL develops and delivers innovative biotherapies to help people living with life-threatening medical conditions. CSL’s Research Acceleration Initiative aims to fast-track discovery of innovative biotherapies through partnerships between CSL and global research organizations. These partnerships provide funding and access to industry experts for scientists working on novel therapeutic strategies. Successful applicants will receive up to $200k p.a. for up to 2 years (max $400k funding).

The 2022 Research Acceleration Initiative was launched in December, 2021 with a focus on innovative research projects that address unmet medical needs and that are aligned with CSL’s Therapeutic Areas and scientific Platform.  A total of 6 applications were submitted by UConn’s faculty through TCS by the close of deadline.

Other opportunities like this can be found on TCS’s Innovation Funding Opportunities webpage.

Author: Dr. Amit Kumar, Senior Director of Licensing

Dr. Neeraj Visen joins TCS as Licensing Director for Engineering

Technology Commercialization Services is happy to announce the addition of a new team member, Dr. Neeraj Visen in the role of a new Licensing Director for Engineering.

Neeraj has a doctoral degree in engineering, a project management diploma, and over 18 years of experience in technology transfer in university environments in both Canada and the USA and in private sector. He has broad experience generating start-ups and license transactions, including deals with Fortune 500 companies for both physical and life science technologies. Additionally, his experience working in the private and technology start up sectors brings insight into collaborations with industry.

Neeraj looks forward to mobilizing UConn research to the world. “This job is exciting and gratifying. Every day technologies come out of universities that change the world for the better. It is a global effort and I am proud and happy to be part of that community, and the UConn research community.”

TCS Welcomes Michael Invernale as Senior Licensing Manager

TCS welcomes Michael A. Invernale as the new Senior Licensing Manager for Physical Sciences.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Boston College, where he worked on nanoparticles for aqueous soluble semiconductor nanocrystals. Michael also holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Connecticut, spanning the Chemistry Department and the Institute of Materials Science; his dissertation focused on organic conducting polymers with a variety of properties, including color-changing functionality. Michael was also a postdoctoral associate in the Langer Lab at MIT, where his studies centered around novel sensing platforms using microneedle arrays and conducting polymers for diabetes therapeutics.

While at MIT, a UConn start-up company, Alphachromics, which was co-founded by Michael and his PhD advisor, Gregory A. Sotzing, gained traction and attracted him back to Storrs. Throughout his graduate and entrepreneurial work, Michael engaged with Tech Transfer, intellectual property, and marketing of nascent technologies.

Now back at UConn, Michael is excited to be a part of UConn’s research world once again: “I am very eager to engage with faculty and to make a meaningful contribution to the successes of the many incredible technological innovations generated at the University on a daily basis. There is no dearth of talented individuals here who give us the opportunity to learn about their amazing new scientific achievements and to find ways to bring them into the broader marketplace. This office plays a unique role in the life cycle of technology, and it is a vibrant place to work for any curious and creative individual.”

Author: Michael Invernale, Senior Licensing Manager for Physical Sciences

TIP Digital Company Tackles Mental Health

Mental health remains a concern for all of us, but especially among the parents, teachers and organizations that see the devastating effects of declining mental health among our teenage population, primarily among young girls. From February to March 2021, emergency rooms visits for suspected suicide attempts were over 50% higher among girls aged 12–17 compared to that same period in 2019, according to a study published by this summer by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

When speaking about the state of our youth’s mental health, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy states, “This is a critical issue that we have to do something about now. We can’t wait until after the pandemic is over.” 

When TIP Digital had the opportunity to work with CEO Wendy Ward and her team at futuresTHRIVE, a tech company focused on developing mental health intervention tools for schools and pediatric doctors, we were thrilled. Not only is Wendy and her team focused on a topic near and dear to many of us at TIP and the broader Stamford community, but they are addressing a devastating gap in current mental health diagnoses: baselining a child’s mental health characteristics from age 4 so as to identify high-risk patients and intervene early on. 

futuresTHRIVE will graduate the TIP Digital program in February 2022 after reaching some impressive milestones: 

  • Raising an additional $125,000K. 
  • Receiving a recommendation from the National Science Foundation for a grant investment of $256,000 for design phase 2. 
  • Out of 263 participants, being among the 8 finalists at the prestigious Ignite Healthcare Fire Pitch Competition. 

We are excited to continue to work with Wendy and her team as they become alumni of the program and can’t wait to see all the success they achieve and lives they positive impact in 2022 and beyond.  

If you are a doctor or school practitioner interested in learning more about futuresTHRIVE’s product or becoming a strategic partner in their success, please email Wendy Ward at 

Author: Margaret Feeney, Director of TIP Digital 

TCS Launches Online Portal for Invention Disclosures

Technology Commercialization Services (TCS) has launched a new online portal for submission of new invention disclosures for faculty, staff and students across all campuses. The new online portal will make it easier and more efficient for inventors to submit their invention disclosure and will also allow them to track its progress through the intellectual property protection process. The forms allow the inventors to attach any relevant documents such as manuscripts, posters and the signed signature page. In addition to the standard invention disclosure form, a separate form is available for software inventions.  Both forms can be accessed using the link

TCS works with innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and industry partners to transform UConn discoveries into products, companies, and jobs that benefit society and fuel economic development. Through a coordinated approach between tech transfer, licensing, and startup teams, TCS provides services that enable success for faculty, business, Connecticut, and beyond.

Author: Amit Kumar, Director of Licensing 

TCS Attends 2021 BIODigital Conference

I was excited to represent UConn at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) International Convention, BIODigital, this past June.  BIO is the world’s largest advocacy association representing member companies, state biotechnology groups, academic and research institutions, and related organizations across the United States and in 30+ countries. Due to the pandemic, the conference was virtual for the second year in a row. A virtual platform allowed me to meet with companies from all over the world.  I was excited to represent UConn as our research has developed around 100 innovative technologies. I was able to a good sense of the current of the biotechnology market, and the conference gave me the opportunity to promote UConn great research.

Throughout the conference it became clear that larger biotech companies seem to be paying more attention to early stage technologies. Rare disease technologies were a hot topic last year and remained so this year as well.  The overall impression was that companies are “hungry” for new tech and new ideas. BIODigital is a great learning and networking experience for those in the biotech industry and beyond!

Author: Ana Lena Fidantsef, Technology Licensing Associate

TCS Welcomes New Licensing Director Chris Conners

TCS welcomes Chris Conners as a new Licensing Director for Life Sciences.  Chris holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Florida with a Minor in Biomechanics. While there, he was an undergraduate researcher on a project on predictive modeling for pharmaceutical air mills. Chris also has his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of South Florida (USF), where his dissertation focused on nanoparticle based drug delivery in the treatment of severe osteoporotic diseases.

While at USF, Chris interned in their Tech Transfer office, which led to his love for the Tech Transfer field. After his dissertation defense, he joined the Tech Transfer team at USF where he eventually ended up overseeing the life science portfolio for the university.

Now at UConn, Chris is excited to be a part of UConn’s research world: “UConn’s research base is growing every year, and there are exciting technologies coming out of the university. I am excited to help with that growth and the corresponding growth of this office. I am especially excited to participate with some of the new changes in the office, like the transition to doing more patent filings in house. Furthermore, I am excited to share my knowledge, experience and perspective with the rest of the team.”