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.
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 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.
Nazita Gamini joined the Brandeis University Office of Technology Licensing as a Technology Licensing Associate in October 2016. In this role, she deals with a number of intellectual property issues including negotiating, drafting and reviewing various agreements including IP licenses, research collaborations, material transfer and confidential disclosure agreements. Nazita also works closely with outside patent counsel to protect and maximize the value of Brandeis University’s Intellectual Property. Prior to joining the OTL staff, Nazita worked at various biotech startups in the Boston and Cambridge areas. Nazita is an attorney and holds a M.S. in Microbiology. She is a co-author on a number of scientific and legal manuscripts as well as a holder of a U.S. patent application. Nazita is fluent in Farsi and is an amateur poker player.
Lorraine Laham, Ph.D., MBA
Business Development & Licensing Consultant
Lorraine joined OTL in October of 2016 to support the department’s business development and licensing efforts for partnering the university’s early product opportunities with industry. She has over 15 years of experience working with biotech, pharma, device and academic companies in roles focusing on the identification, evaluation, transactions negotiations, IP management and R&D development for advancing the commercialization of innovative early stage life sciences platforms, technologies and product opportunities.
Lorraine has a Ph.D. in Cell & Developmental Biology from Harvard Medical School with her dissertation specializing in control of rearrangements in the actomyosin cytoskeleton and also an M.B.A. from Boston University. Before her move into technology transfer, she completed her post-doctoral training at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute specializing in growth-factor mediated signal transduction pathways for development and cancer.
Bozhanka Vitanova, MBA
Bozhanka joined the Hassenfeld Family Innovation Center team as Program Director for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in September 2016. She works on developing and managing programs that support Brandeis students, faculty, and staff in building impactful enterprises.
Prior to joining the HFIC team, Bozhanka cofounded Yunus&Youth, an international organization supporting young social entrepreneurs at the early stage of their endeavors. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Sustainable Schools International, a nonprofit investing in sustainable education for rural economic development in Cambodia. Bozhanka's expertise is in social entrepreneurship, in particular youth-led ventures. She has conducted research in the field as a Fulbright scholar, identifying factors that influence early stage social enterprise success. Bozhanka is an alum of the Brandeis International Business School, with a Masters degree in International Economics and Finance.
Fern Shamis joined the OTL in the summer of 2015 as Program Coordinator to provide programmatic and administrative support to the Hassenfeld Family Innovation Center. Fern helps coordinate the many existing and newly developed programs within the Center and is the principal administrative contact and liaison with leadership, innovators, vendors, faculty, staff, mentors, students, and others for designated programs, projects, events, and assignments. Fern holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Lesley University and has extensive background working within the non-profit educational sector.