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Key Contributors

Kathy Ku

IP Advisor Wilson Sonsini

Katharine (Kathy) Ku is the chief licensing advisor in the Palo Alto office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Kathy is an internationally recognized leader in the field of technology transfer. She served as the Executive Director of Stanford University’s Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) for 27 years. During that period, OTL licensed hundreds of new technologies, bringing in $1.8 billion, most of which went back to support research and education at Stanford.

Kathy also spearheaded the development and implementation of nine principles related to university technology licensing. The principles are set forth in document entitled “In the Public Interest: Nine Points to Consider in Licensing University Technology.” More than 120 institutions have adopted the principles since they were published in 2007.

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Dennis Purcell

Founder Aisling Therapeutics

Mr. Purcell is the original Founder of Aisling Capital LLC. Previously, he served as the Senior Managing Partner. Prior to Aisling Capital, Mr. Purcell served as Managing Director of the Life Sciences Investment Banking Group at Chase H&Q (formerly Hambrecht & Quist, “H&Q”) for over five years. While at H&Q, he was directly involved with over two hundred completed transactions and supervised over $10 billion of financing and advisory assignments in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical products industries.

Mr. Purcell is a frequent commentator on the industry and has been honored in the “Biotech Hall of Fame” by Genetic Engineering News, named to the Biotechnology All-Stars list by Forbes ASAP, honored as one of the top 50 Irish-American businessmen and cited as one of the top 100 contributors to the biotechnology industry.

Marc Sedam

Vice president for technology opportunity ventures, NYU Langone Center. Former Chair of Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM).

Dan Pitt

President Palo Alto Innovation Advisers, Exec In Residence @ Plug and Play California, former Dean Engineering SCU (Silicon Valley), Nortel Networks, MEF Forum, Open Networking Foundation

Dan Pitt is a longtime advocate of innovation that benefits society. As president of the Silicon Valley consultancy Palo Alto Innovation Advisors and as Executive in Residence at the Plug and Play Tech Center, the world’s most successful startup accelerator, he sees several thousand startup companies a year and personally advises and invests in a select number.

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Brian McCaul

CEO at QUBIS Ltd & Director of Innovation, Queen's University, Belfast

Mary McKenna

Innovation expert advisor | Serial tech entrepreneur | Angel investor

Mary McKenna is a Northern Irish serial tech entrepreneur and angel investor.  She co-founded successful Irish online learning company Learning Pool which is based in Derry.

Since selling Learning Pool Mary has worked extensively with early stage startups and scaleups across the entire European ecosystem and especially with female and first time entrepreneurs.  She has angel invested in 20 or so early stage tech startups to date.

She is an EU Horizon Europe innovation judge, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Oxford and in 2020 along with some likeminded friends she launched the AwakenHub community for female founders across the island of Ireland.

Mary was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in the 2014 New Year’s Honours for services to digital technology, innovation and learning.

Ayokunmi Ajetunmobi

Life Sciences Investor (WAPG)

Building biotech startup ecosystems at We are Pioneer Group. Previously Head of Sequencing at Desktop Genetics, a venture-backed genomics startup, enabling therapeutic applications of CRISPR and other genome editing technologies. Desktop Genetics raised $3M from investors including Illumina Inc and IQ Capital. Exited to Celixir in 2018.

Other roles have included business development for OneStart, a corporate-backed biotech and healthcare accelerator, and co-founder of Evolve Biomed, an Irish biomedical innovation conference.

Dr Fiona Jamieson

Strategic Partnerships Director - UCL

Fiona is the Strategic Partnerships Director for Mechanical and Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at University College London (UCL). She is responsible for the development and implementation of department’s strategic collaborations with industrial partners and successful knowledge transfer of the departments technology.

Prior to this Fiona work at Imperial College London where she held a number of roles including account management of research partners, supporting the patenting of university technology and leading on the university’s participation Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Fiona holds a PhD in chemistry from Imperial College London.

Dr Emma Burke

Innovate UK, UK Research and Innovation

Emma is responsible for the design and deployment of national commercialisation programmes, across all disciplines and sectors, and within academia, public sector research establishments and businesses. Prior to joining Innovate UK, Emma held roles at Imperial College London, and Kings College London, creating successful entrepreneurial ecosystems for the translation of medical and defence research.

Sian Farrell

Chief Scientific Officer & Co-Founder, StimOxyGen

Sian Farrell is Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder of StimOxyGen, a spin-out company that has developed oxygen-generating nanoparticles to overcome tumour hypoxia and improve the effects of cancer treatments.

Sian initially studied pharmacy at Ulster University and received an award for Best Student on the MPharm Degree programme upon graduating in 2015. After gaining experience as a hospital pharmacist at Bristol Royal Infirmary, Sian decided to follow her passion and began a PhD in at Ulster University in 2017 focusing on the development of nanoparticle formulations for enhanced sonodynamic therapy.

In the final stages of her PhD, Sian began investigating the commercial value of StimOxyGen technology and established a spin-out company along with Professor Anthony McHale, Professor John Callan, and Dr Leslie Russell in 2021.

Sian recently led the StimOxyGen team to success at the INVENT 2021 awards, hosted by Catalyst NI, where she won all three categories and took home a total cash prize of £26,000.

Sian was recently included in the Belfast Telegraph’s 30 under 30 of the best and brightest entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland 2022 and MIT Technology Review’s Under 35 Europe 2022 listing.

With experience in both clinical and academic research settings Sian has developed a passion for technology transfer from bench to bedside to improve the lives of cancer patients on a global scale.

Dr Susan Kelly

Co-Founder and CEO of Respiratory Analytics

Dr Susan Kelly is the Co-Founder and CEO of Respiratory Analytics and has over fifteen years experience bringing life saving medicines/products to patients in areas of unmet clinical need. Prior to forming Respiratory Analytics in 2019, to develop aflo™, she held a series of roles focused on MS, asthma, COPD and cystic fibrosis before moving into the development of digital respiratory support solutions. aflo™ is a deep tech respiratory management platform which automates and monitors correct inhaler technique for metered dose inhaler patients, via a medical device, user App, clinical portal and data analytics hub. This hyper-personalised inhaler usage record is aggregated with local air quality data to improve symptom control and remote monitoring in asthma and COPD. Respiratory Analytics has won two highly competitive Innovate UK Smart grants and successfully raised two rounds of private investment to ensure that the aflo™ platform can help those with uncontrolled respiratory symptoms to manage these neglected conditions.

Dr Denis Doyle

Chair, Tyndall National Institute

Former Vice President & General Manager US & Ireland Manufacturing Operations at Analog Devices.  Headquartered in Massachusetts, Analog Devices makes silicon chips for cellular base stations, vehicles, robots and other applications. The company employs 1,150 people at its Limerick facility on the Raheen Campus, and a further 100 at a design centre in Cork.

Denis was recently appointed as Chair of Tyndall National Institute, Ireland’s ICT research institute.

Resonance Consulting and Coaching Limited specialises in leadership development of executives and high potential individuals

Conor Doyle

Atlantic Bridge

Conor Doyle is a venture capital investor at Atlantic Bridge with a specialist focus on Data, Machine Learning and Cybersecurity startups.

Conor has led investments in 20+ early stage startups across Europe and the United States including Snowplow, AtScale, CloudSphere, Mitiga, and has scaled investments through to successful realizations by US publicly listed buyers like Apple and Peloton.

Conor frequently takes operating secondment roles with his portfolio companies to support business development at the earliest stages. Earlier in his career, Conor focussed on University spin-outs on the founding team of Atlantic Bridge’s university bridge fund in 2015.

Conor holds an MEng in Mechanical Engineering from University College Dublin.

Peter Grant

The Helix Way

Peter Grant has a proven track record of delivering innovation programmes and approaches globally over the last 20 years that help researchers, entrepreneurs and businesses bring new ideas to the market, establish new ventures and achieve ambitious growth plans.

Peter Grant is currently a Director in The Helix Way, a new company which he co-founded in 2019.  The Helix Way has developed an international reputation for delivering public sector funded Lean start-up programmes such as Innovate UK’s Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) Programme, Knowledge Transfer Ireland’s Lean Start-up Programme and the European Institute for Innovation & Technology (EIT) Food Seedbed Pre-Accelerator Programme.

Tom Flanagan

Director for Enterprise and Commercialisation, UCD

Tom is the Director for Enterprise and Commercialisation at University College Dublin, where he leads innovation, entrepreneurship, and enterprise development at NovaUCD, Ireland’s premier incubator / accelerator.  NovaUCD has supported over 450 companies including Ireland’s sixth Unicorn Wayflyer.  With Tom’s leadership, NovaUCD has, in the last 5 years, doubled the number of spin-outs and tripled the seed investment in them.

Tom is on the Advisory Boards of two Atlantic Bridge University Funds. He served on the Board of the Dublin LEO and on founding boards of several high-tech companies including DecaWave, acquired for over €360m. He previously set up and ran the Hothouse Innovation Centre at TUD.

He began his career as an engineer with several patents and rose through the ranks of corporate America to lead a €100m/year telecommunications consultancy and systems integration business for Nortel as Vice President for Canada and Central US. Tom has an MSc from Aston University and an MBA from Northwestern University in Chicago.

Denise Sidhu

Partner & Director, Kernel Capital

Denise Sidhu is a Partner and Director at Kernel Capital. An active investment committee member across all the Kernel Funds with particular responsibility for transactional legal’s and compliance. Denise is a board member with portfolio investees Cirdan Imaging, B-Secur, Nova Leah and Kianda Technologies. Denise is also a Board Member of the Irish Venture Capital Association.  Prior to joining Kernel in 2001, Denise’s corporate finance experience varied from debt financing as Head of Finance in Ulster Bank Commercial Finance Limited and to trust and private banking in her role as Financial Controller of The Bank of Nova Scotia, Channel Islands. Denise is a Certified Public Accountant and a Licentiate of the Compliance Institute in Ireland.

Dr Amy Nommeots-Nomm

Octopus Ventures

Amy has a Master and a PhD in Material engineering specialising in Additive manufacturing. She is a Chartered Engineer, with over 20 peer reviewed research publication. She has scaled technology from TRL4-6 at Pratt and Whitney Canada in Montreal, and has over 10 years’ experience of research, strategy and technology transfer in a number of higher education institutes. In 2022, Amy joined the deeptech team at Octopus Ventures.

Maria Costeira

European Head of Innovation EIT Digital

Maria is passionate about innovation, with a global background in multinationals and start-ups, venture capital and private equity. With an extensive experience as a Corporate and start-up CEO in technology and healthcare companies, Ms. Costeira is a Jury Member at the European Innovation Council (EIC) Investment Committee and has been the European Head of Innovation at the European Institute of Technology (EIT Digital), having led Europe’s largest digital deep tech projects and investments.
Maria was the Founder and CEO of XPAND 3D, a world leader in 3D visualisation solutions, having brokered an historic joint-venture with Samsung, Sony, and Panasonic for the standardisation and licensing of communication protocols for 3D devices.

Sifted/Financial Times elected Maria as one of Portugal’s top women investors.