Meet the Staff
Brandeis University engages in research and scholarship that push the boundaries of knowledge, discover how the world works, and design innovations that improve society. In support of these endeavors, the University has developed an extremely active and supportive Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) to achieve a full range of competencies in licensing, business development and legal matters for transferring technologies created within Brandeis.
The OTL is a cohesive, coordinated group servicing researchers, inventors, thought-leaders, entrepreneurs and industry. Our goal is to take Brandeis inventions and innovations discovered by our researchers and provide the appropriate support and infrastructure to allow technology development, commercialization and, ultimately, the development of products. We help enable research by providing services to the research community.
The team has backgrounds in technology licensing, patenting, bench research, finance, funding, business, law and start-ups. Not only does the OTL manage and provide support for innovations and technologies from within Brandeis, but it prospectively seeks external support in the form of industrial collaborations, patents and licensing, grants and donations.
Rebecca Menapace, MBA, CLP
Associate Provost for Innovation
Executive Director of the Office of Technology Licensing
Rebecca Menapace, MBA, CLP is the Associate Provost for Innovation and the Executive Director of the Office of Technology Licensing at Brandeis University. She is responsible for advancing the university’s academic mission of research excellence by pursuing strategic industry partnerships in a highly competitive business and academic environment. She actively supports science faculty, undergraduates, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in commercializing their discoveries for the public benefit, and provides leadership and management for all of Brandeis’s intellectual property through the Office of Technology Licensing.
Prior to Brandeis, Rebecca spent 12 years with Partners Healthcare as the Director of Research Ventures and Licensing, leading all intellectual property, licensing and start-up development for Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She has also worked in corporate development, product management, applications engineering and research for a number of Boston-area biotechnology companies.
Rebecca is a registered Patent Agent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is a named inventor on two U.S. patents. She earned her Master’s in Business Administration from the Northeastern University High Tech MBA Program and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology with a concentration in Chemistry from SUNY College at Oswego.
Anupama Ahuja, Ph.D.
Dr. Anupama (Anu) Ahuja joined Brandeis University as the Associate Director of the Office of Technology Licensing in September 2014. In this role, she is responsible for identifying new industry partners and developing strategic relationships to commercialize University inventions. Prior to joining Brandeis, Anu managed all aspects of the intellectual property (IP) portfolio in a broad area including the life sciences, chemistry and engineering at the North Carolina State University for over four years. She has also been involved in counseling businesses, fostering new startups, as well as negotiating complex deals with multinational companies.
Anu has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Wayne State University, MI and a Master of Science in Biotechnology from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. Later, as a postdoctoral fellow and a research faculty at Yale University, Anu was responsible for developing new mouse models for immunotherapy and for understanding the adaptive immune response. While at Yale, she took her first step to transition into the IP space by interning at the Office of Cooperative Research.
Melissa Blackman, Ph.D.
Melissa Blackman joined the Brandeis University Office of Technology Licensing as a Technology Licensing Associate in October 2013. In this role, she deals with a number of intellectual property issues including negotiating, drafting and reviewing license, collaboration, material transfer and confidential disclosure agreements. Melissa also works closely with outside patent counsel to protect Brandeis University’s Intellectual Property. Prior to joining the OTL staff, Melissa interned in the Brandeis University OTL and coordinated the SPROUT Virtual Incubator Program.
Melissa holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Brandeis University, where her thesis work focused on the plasticity mechanisms that allow the brain to stay stable in the face of outside perturbations, and specifically how these mechanisms may be aberrant in the neurodevelopmental disorder Rett syndrome.
She obtained her B.S. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Molecular and Cell Biology. Throughout her undergraduate training she was involved in bench research, including two summer internships at Merck Research Laboratories in West Point Pennsylvania where her research project focused on developing small molecule therapeutics to treat ocular microvascular diseases.
Sadie E. Knight, M.S.
Sadie began working as a Technology Licensing Associate in the Brandeis University Office of Technology Licensing in January 2015 after getting her start in the OTL as an intern in July 2014. She works closely with University inventors and patent attorneys to strategically and effectively protect Brandeis’ intellectual property. While managing the University’s invention portfolios, she’s been gaining experience with various contracts and license agreements. Sadie is also responsible for extending the tools, resources and opportunities provided by the OTL to the University’s innovative community and beyond. Since assuming her new role, she has worked diligently with the OTL staff to foster the University’s innovative community by creating the new SPARK Program. Implementing the SPARK Program into The Virtual Incubator with the established SPROUT Program will help bring together Brandeis’ entrepreneurial and impactful thinkers from across all disciplines.
Prior to joining OTL, Sadie earned her MS degree in Inorganic Chemistry from Brandeis. She also holds a BS in Chemistry from James Madison University in Virginia. Sadie plans to continue expanding her knowledge in intellectual property and eventually pursue a career in patent law as a patent attorney. She is an avid knitter, comedy enthusiast, and animal lover.
Lipoi M. Finau, MBA
Director of Finance and Accounting
Lipoi has been a part-time OTL team member since March of 2012. His primary area of responsibility is in that of financial management, leading the annual operating budget and projection process of the OTL. While developing and maintaining multi-year financial plans, Lipoi also oversees the processes for creating, reviewing, and approving vouchers, billings, journal entries, payables, receivables and royalty distributions. Before Brandeis, Lipoi was the Director of Finance and Accounting for 17 years in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, where he managed the financial operations with an annual operating budget of $80+ million. Lipoi received his MBA from Alaska Pacific University and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from University of Hawaii.
Diane has been working in the OTL as the department coordinator and assistant to the executive director since September of 2011. One of her key responsibilities involves managing the annuities docket and maintaining the general IP docket. Diane is responsible for licensee financials, royalty and patent income, office expenses and patent legal expenses. She also assists in the preparation of the fiscal year budget preparation and participates in IP projects. Diane is a certified notary and worked for 15 years at a plaintiff personal injury law firm in Boston. She received her paralegal certificate from the University of New Hampshire, Durham and holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from UNH, Plymouth.
Sumedha Ahuja-Bahri, J.D.
Intellectual Property Consultant
Since September of 2014, Sumedha has been working in the OTL as an Intellectual Property Consultant, where she reviews incoming invention disclosures and determines proceeding strategies. Sumedha reviews and advises on Brandeis' patent portfolio and also advises on any patentability or other patent prosecution related issues. In addition to reviewing licensing agreements and any technology transfer related agreements, Sumedha drafts high tech marketing pieces on inventions to attract potential licensees. Additionally, she plans and implements various marketing strategies, including traditional and social media. Sumedha also teaches seminars on patent law to inventors and students.
Sumedha has over 8 years of experience as a patent attorney in both law firm and in-house environments. She received her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and is a registered attorney in MA, as well as a registered patent attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She has an engineering background, holding a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering with a Mechanical Engineering concentration from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).