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Today Lisa has the pleasure of speaking with Nichole Mercier, the Assistant Vice-Chancellor and Managing Director for Technology Transfer at Washington University in St. Louis. In her role at WashU, Nichole is responsible for all office operations and strategy, including licensing, business development, finance, and administrative operations.

Prior to her time at WashU, Nichole was a Senior Contract Manager at Monsanto and a Licensing Associate at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Nichole received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biology at Clark University and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Listen as she shares her journey to Tech Transfer and how her office is structured. She speaks about WashU’s Tech Transfer Trainee Program, the history behind it, and how many people have gone through the program to date. Nichole also talks about how many invention disclosures, patent filings, and revenue-generating agreements her office has had in the last few years.

Nichole discusses the role corporate partners and philanthropic organizations play in Tech Transfer at WashU, some big success stories WashU has had in terms of technology and startups, and the challenges they face. Listen as Nichole discusses her work as a leader in analyzing the disparity between male and female innovators and the the Women In Technology (WIT) program she started to help to close the gap.

Nichole also speaks about the Equalize program and what it is geared for. She shares some challenges and barriers women face when participating in Tech Transfer and commercialization and her work with AUTM on having trustworthy mentors for women. Nichole finishes up with three wishes she would have for her office if she had a genie in a bottle and some advice for any Tech Transfer office that would like to do more to close the gender gap in invention disclosures and commercialization.

In This Episode:

  • [01:34] Welcome to the show, Nichole!
  • [01:51] Nichole speaks about her journey to Tech Transfer and Washington University.
  • [04:32] Nichole shares a little about her office and how it is structured.
  • [07:14] Nichole discusses WashU’s Tech Transfer Trainee Program, the history behind it, and how many people have gone through it to date.
  • [10:23] Nichole shares how many invention disclosures, patent filings, and revenue-generating agreements her office has had in the last few years.
  • [12:48] What do you think is the most important when managing innovations to have the greatest opportunity for success?
  • [15:32] Nichole speaks about corporate partners and their role in Tech Transfer at WashU.
  • [18:22] Nichole discusses philanthropic organizations and the role they play at WashU.
  • [19:38] Nichole describes some of WashU’s biggest success stories in terms of successful technologies and startups.
  • [23:22] Nichole speaks about some startups that have come out of WashU.
  • [24:57] Nichole shares some challenges her office is facing and some things they are working on.
  • [27:27] Nichole discusses her work as a leader and analyzing the disparity between male and female innovators and the programs WashU has developed to close the gap.
  • [30:15] Nichole speaks about a paper she wrote on some internal data she collected about the WIT program at WashU.
  • [32:39] Nichole believes it’s important to know your own data and think about the inventors’ makeup behind the inventions.
  • [34:26] What are some challenges and barriers women have faced when participating in Tech Transfer and commercialization?
  • [36:17] Nichole shares what she has learned about how women inventors think.
  • [38:10] Nichole discusses the Equalize program and what it is geared towards.
  • [41:43] Nichole speaks about the work she has done with AUTM on having a mentor that is there and trustworthy.
  • [43:42] What is next for WashU in closing the gap between men and women inventors and innovators?
  • [46:41] Nichole gives some advice for any Tech Transfer offices that would like to do more to close the gender gap in invention disclosures and commercialization.
  • [49:02] Nichole discusses the three wishes she has for her office if she had a genie in a bottle.
  • [50:33] Thank you for listening!