our team

University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF) Departments

Executive Director

Marie Kerbeshian, PhD, CLP

Assistant Vice President and Executive Director
Phone: 319-335-4155

Dr. Kerbeshian is Assistant Vice President and Executive Director of the UIRF where she oversees UI’s commercialization efforts for technology developed at the university. She is a Certified Licensing Professional™ and a registered patent agent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. She has almost two decades of experience in commercializing university innovations.  Prior to joining the UIRF in 2017, Marie led the offices for the Indiana University system and at the University of Virginia.

Marie graduated from Wellesley College with highest honors in biological sciences and earned a PhD in zoology from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining University of Virginia’s commercialization office, she was a postdoctoral fellow at that university’s Center for Research in Reproduction in the Health Sciences Center and at the National Science Foundation’s Center for Biological Timing in the Department of Biology.

Licensing

Mihaela Bojin, PhD, CLP

Senior Licensing Associate
Areas: Bioinformatics, Chemistry, College of Law, College of Pharmacy, Hematology, Neurology, Orthopaedics, Radiology
Phone: 319-335-2723

Mihaela BojinDr. Mihaela Bojin joined the UIRF as a Licensing Associate in 2013. She has an expertise in licensing, business and intellectual property assessment in a variety of technical fields (pharmaceuticals, medical devices, software, etc.) Mihaela was a patent agent at King & Spalding LLP, New York Intellectual Property Practice Group, where she managed complex patent dockets for U.S. and foreign pharmaceutical, chemical, and cosmetics clients. Mihaela also has extensive research and teaching experience gained as an assistant professor at the City University of New York, and as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Davis, and at New York University. Mihaela holds a PhD in Chemistry from Cornell University, and a BS in Chemistry from University of Bucharest, Romania. Mihaela is a registered patent agent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Kenneth Karanja, PhD, MS

Licensing Associate
Areas: Biochemistry, Cardiovascular, College of Engineering, College of Nursing, Neurosurgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Physics, Pulmonary, Surgery
Phone: 319-335-4607

Kenneth KaranjaDr. Kenneth Karanja joined the UIRF as a Licensing Associate in 2016. He assesses, markets, negotiates and licenses early stage technologies developed by University of Iowa (UI) faculty, staff and students. Before joining the UIRF, Kenny was an intern at the Office for Technology Commercialization at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and a Postdoctoral Scholar in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Kenny holds a PhD in Biochemistry Molecular Biology and Biophysics and an MS in Medical Device Innovation from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Kellen Sensor, MBA, MS, RTTP

Senior Licensing Associate
Areas: Anatomy and Cell Biology, Biology, Dentistry, Endodontics, Emergency Medicine, Immunology, Otolaryngology, Urology
Phone: 319-335-4073

Kellen SensorKellen Sensor joined the UIRF in 2013 as a Licensing Associate. He has extensive experience in negotiating agreements, developing marketing strategies, and assessing commercial viability of technologies. Prior to joining the UIRF, Kellen was a Licensing Associate at the University of Cincinnati’s Intellectual Property Office for four years. He has been designated as a Registered Technology Transfer Professional by the ATTP. Kellen holds an MS in Genetics from Cornell University, an MBA in Marketing from the University of Iowa, and a BA in Biotechnology from the University of Northern Iowa.

Intellectual Property

Paula DeGrandis, JD, MS, BS

Associate Director of Intellectual Property
Phone: 319-335-4659

Paula DeGrandis joined the UIRF in 2016. Paula is an Intellectual Property attorney with legal experience representing large academic institutions, multinational corporations and start-up companies as both in-house counsel and outside counsel. Paula holds a JD from Northern Illinois University, an MS in Molecular Biology, and a BS in Biology from Northern Illinois University. She completed post-graduate work in both start-up biotechnology and academic settings.

Tyann Porepp, BS

Intellectual Property Manager
Phone: 319-384-2718
Notary

Tyann PoreppTyann Porepp joined UIRF in 2010 as the Intellectual Property Manager. Tyann manages correspondence and deadlines associated with patent prosecution. Prior to joining the UIRF, she worked at an intellectual property law firm in Des Moines, Iowa where she assisted in patent and trademark prosecution. Tyann holds a BS in Human Resources Management from Upper Iowa University. She is also a registered notary.

Outreach & Engagement

Jane Garrity, PhD, RTTP

Associate Director of Outreach and Engagement
Phone: 319-335-5795

Jane GarrityDr. Jane Garrity joined the UIRF in 2015. She manages outreach and engagement with the UI community, industry relations, Intellectual Property acceleration, and general UIRF operations. Prior to joining the UIRF, she worked in technology transfer at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and the University of Delaware. Jane holds a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a BS in Biology from the California Institute of Technology. She is also a registered U.S. patent agent.

Accounting & Operations

Jolene Griffith, BBA

Finance and Operations Manager
Phone: 319-384-0886

Jolene GriffithJolene Griffith joined the UIRF in 2008 as Senior Accountant. She manages all accounting functions relating to the University of Iowa Intellectual Property policy and patent prosecution. She also manages compliance and reporting, prepares audited government financial statements, IRS filings and other customized financial reports. Jolene holds a BBA in Accounting from the University of Iowa, Tippie College of Business.

Nancy Halder, BA

Accountant
Phone: 319-384-4227

Nancy HalderNancy Halder originally joined the UIRF as an Accountant in 1995 and remained until 2008; she returned to the UIRF in 2012. She manages the accounts receivable and payables, assists distribution recipients, and licensee financial terms. Nancy holds a BA in Communications from Goshen College in Indiana.

Spencer Stumpf, BBA, CAPM

Invention Disclosure Manager
Phone: 319-384-3592

Spencer StumpfSpencer joined the UIRF in 2015 as the Inventions Disclosure Manager. He manages new invention disclosures and answers faculty and staff questions regarding the invention disclosure process. He also prepares the UIRF non-financial reports. Spencer holds a BBA in Business Management with the Entrepreneurial Management Certificate from the University of Iowa and is a Certified Associate in Project Management.

Agreements

Erin C. Gallagher, JD, BS

Material Transfer Agreements & Data Systems Manager
Phone: 319-335-4169
Notary

Erin GallagherErin Gallagher joined UIRF in 2014 as the Material Transfer Agreements and Data Systems Manager. As the first point of contact, she triages all incoming request for agreements and tracks their timely execution. Prior to joining the UIRF, Erin worked in alternative dispute resolution and policy analysis of federal and state healthcare legislation. She has worked in various positions at the University of Iowa since 1999 in healthcare research and residency programs. Erin holds her JD from the University of Iowa and a BS in Geology/Land Use Planning and Public Policy from Metropolitan State College in Denver. She is also a registered notary.

Freda Stelzer, JD, AB

Non-Monetary Agreements Manager
Phone: 319-335-4548

Freda StelzerFreda Stelzer joined the UIRF in 2007 as a Licensing Assistant. She manages contractual agreements related to commercializing technologies invented at the University of Iowa. Prior to joining UIRF, Freda held the positon of Technology Transfer Associate at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis Missouri. Freda holds a JD from Washington University in St. Louis and an AB in International Relations from the University of California, Berkeley.