Dartmouth has named Nila Bhakuni director of technology transfer in the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer. She will manage intellectual property originated at Dartmouth, lead the effort to commercially license discoveries in science and technology at the College, and bring innovative projects to the entrepreneurial market.
Bhakuni comes to Dartmouth from Rice University in Houston, where she was director of the office of technology transfer. Under her guidance, the office helped create as many as three startups a year, developed $13 million in industrial-sponsored research contracts, and facilitated 1,500 patents and patent applications.
“We are thrilled to have someone with Nila’s background and passion join us in shaping the future of Dartmouth technology transfer,” says Tillman Gerngross, Thayer School of Engineering professor, biotech entrepreneur, and associate provost for the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer in the Office of the Provost.
“Her experience in working with faculty and facilitating changes in policies and practices will help us execute on our vision to bring discoveries to market that have a positive impact on society,” Gerngross says.
Bhakuni has an MS in mechanical engineering from Ohio State University and an MBA in marketing and strategy from Carnegie Mellon University. She has worked as an engineer at Alcoa Inc., and has served as a technology transfer officer at Harvard University. She began work at Dartmouth on July 1.
Bhakuni says she was drawn to Dartmouth when she saw that President Phil Hanlon ’77 made innovation and entrepreneurship key components of his vision for the College.
“I really wanted to work with this team. I want to work at an institution with this clear vision,” she says. “My philosophy is that the inventor is the hero. I want to help innovators at Dartmouth realize their dreams to take their research to where they want to take it, to make it accessible for the greatest number of people, and to change the world.”
Jamie Coughlin, director of entrepreneurship for the College, including the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network (DEN) and the DEN Innovation Center and New Venture Incubator, says the partnership between entrepreneurship and technology transfer will provide a powerful resource for faculty inventors.
“Our objective is to provide service and support for inventors to enable them to take innovations and turn them, through this partnership, into new and exciting ventures,” Coughlin says.
Trip Davis ’90, executive director of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer, was chair of the search committee for the director of technology transfer. Search committee members, in addition to Coughlin, were Professor Michael Casey; Tuck School of Business Adjunct Professor Phil Ferneau; Thayer School of Engineering Professor Eric Fossum; Office of Sponsored Projects Director Jill Mortali; Geisel School of Medicine Professor Charles Sentman; and Lori Sostowski from the Office of General Counsel.
Bhakuni succeeds Alla Kan, who retired in October 2014 and was honored as director emerita. Assistant Director Glennis Gold served as interim director from November 2014 through June 2015, and will remain a key member of the technology transfer team.
Bhakuni says she is looking forward to exploring outdoor activities and cultural opportunities in the Upper Valley with her husband and two sons.