925 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
We Are Jefferson
Reimagine is our commitment to raising the resources it takes to change the world in multiple, meaningful ways. We’re going to change the future for Philadelphia and beyond:
- People Leading Optimistic Revolutions
- Spaces that Heal and Inspire
- Communities United for Health Equity
- Discoveries that Improve Lives
In the summer of 2014, Jefferson reintegrated Thomas Jefferson University and Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals and began the process of reinventing the academic health center. The basis for this transformation is our “Blueprint for Strategic Action,” which calls for Jefferson to operate around four pillars – Academic, Clinical, Innovation and Institutional Advancement.
As the Innovation Pillar, it is our job to foster ideas and convert them into products and services. The Innovation Pillar is where we test new business models and nurture entrepreneurialism among employees, students and the Jefferson community. We want to make a profound change by adopting new forms of value creation. Universities have always been good at ideas; Jefferson Innovation is going to bring those ideas to you.
It is our goal to create a Jefferson-wide entrepreneurial ecosystem to advance the commercialization of new technologies by supporting members of the Jefferson community through superior services, mentorship, education and partnerships in translating new discoveries into practical applications.
Rose Ritts, PhD, MS
Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer
As EVP, Dr. Ritts is creating a world-class engine for innovation at Jefferson, advancing our commitment to developing products and services for commercialization, and in partnership with like-minded organizations, driving unique programs that transform how we deliver patient care and education and bring to market novel treatment therapies. In addition to driving innovation efforts for Jefferson, Dr. Ritts manages the commercialization staff for the Office of Technology Transfer and Jefferson Accelerator Zone members who support the creation of transformative educational and programmatic initiatives within that group.
With more than 20 years of experience in creating partnerships driven by emerging technology and new business model creation, Dr. Ritts is a leader in her field. In addition to her previous role at Duke University, Dr. Ritts managed emerging venture-capital funded newcos and served as the Director of Biotechnology and Materials at Sarnoff Corporation and Program Manager at the US DoD DARPA. While at DARPA she served on a number of government think tanks and review panels across DoD, NIH, NSF and DOE. Dr. Ritts received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and earned both her PhD and MS degrees from Stanford University.
Donna Gentile O'Donnell, PhD
Senior Vice President, Innovation Partnerships & Programs
Special Assistant to the President
Designer of leadership strategies. Past roles include Managing Director of the Life Sciences portfolio of the Eastern Technology Council; President of the Franklin Health Trust; special limited partner in PA Early Stage Partners Fund III; advisor to a number of life science startups and venture capital groups; member of the CURE Board, distributing $11 billion in tobacco settlement funds over 25 years; the Boards of Trustees of Drexel University, Drexel College of Medicine, and Drexel Law; and PNC's Women's Financial Services Network Advisory Board. Served in the Rendell administration as Deputy Health Commissioner of Policy and Planning, and advises Senator Robert P Casey on health issues.
Author of book Provider of Last Resort, columnist and TV commentator in numerous national and regional venues. Before joining Jefferson, consulted for non-profits and corporations on strategic planning and project implementation in life sciences and health care.
PhD, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. O'Donnell joined Jefferson in 2013.
Heather M. Rose, PhD, JD
Vice President, Licensing & Startups
Dr. Rose works with Jefferson faculty, staff and students to identify patentable subject matter within their work and coordinate invention disclosures and patent filings. Dr. Rose oversees patent prosecution on University owned intellectual property by outside counsel, assists with strategic de-risking, identifies suitable commercial partners and coordinates targeted marketing efforts. When suitable partners are identified Dr. Rose negotiates the agreements necessary to effect commercialization efforts.
Heather Rose PhD, JD joined the Innovation Pillar as the Director of Technology Licensing in February 2017. Prior to joining the Innovation Pillar at Jefferson, Dr. Rose worked for five years in the Drexel University Office of Technology Commercialization as a Licensing Manager focused on commercializing inventions in the life science disciplines. In addition to a JD with a concentration in intellectual property law obtained at the Kline School of Law, Dr. Rose also holds a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. At Penn, Heather performed and presented research about how retroviruses choose genomic locations for insertion of the viral DNA into the host chromosome with an overarching focus on safety and predictability in delivering therapeutic gene doses for gene therapy applications. While in law school Heather interned for two consecutive terms at the Corporate Intellectual Property Department of GlaxoSmithKline. Heather is a member of the PA, NJ, and United States Patent Bars.
Alexey Melishchuk, PhD, MS
Director, Technology Licensing
Alexey is a Director of Licensing at the Office of Innovation, and is responsible for commercializing biopharmaceutical, medical device and telemedicine technologies via licensing to existing companies and startup formation, and helping Jefferson faculty & clinicians establish collaborations with industry.
Alexey brings a lot of tech commercialization experience from Drexel University and, previously, the University of Pennsylvania, where he started as a postdoc studying ion channels. Alexey’s industry experience comes from investment banking at Janney Montgomery Scott, where he concentrated on fundraising and M&A in the healthcare sector, and business development consulting for early stage biotech companies and investment funds. Alexey holds a PhD in biophysics from the Bogomoletz Institute of Physiology (Kiev, Ukraine), and MS and BS in applied physics and mathematics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (Moscow, Russia).
Robert S. Pugliese, PharmD
Director, Innovation Design
As Director of Innovation Design, Robert empowers partners and students to be change agents through a number of initiatives he manages that bring together diverse specialties such as industrial design, architecture, medicine, and community policy and engagement. Robert also co-founded the Health Design Lab, a creative space built with the purpose of merging together design-studio ethos with science-oriented discipline to foster innovation in healthcare. Robert has special interests in public health challenges such as food justice and the opioid crisis; two active areas of research and development for the teams he leads through the Health Design Lab and JeffSolves programs. He also serves as Executive Director for the Jefferson Health Hack.
Robert received the Prescott Award in 2018 and is Chair of the ASHP Section Advisory Group on Emergency Care. He has presented on the intersection of healthcare and design at national venues such as SXSW and Stanford Medicine X. In 2019, Robert was selected as a Philadelphia Business Journal Forty Under 40 honoree and has spent over ten years practicing and teaching in Emergency Medicine. He received his Doctor of Pharmacy from Northeastern University.
Mike Accordino, MBA
Manager, Business Development
Mike manages the financial and administrative functions of the Innovation Pillar.
After five years with Jefferson Treasury Shared Services, Mike joined the Innovation Pillar in May 2017. Mike earned his MBA from Temple University.
Innovation Technical Specialist
In her role as Technical Specialist, Nicola is responsible for managing the Jefferson database for agreements, invention disclosures, patent applications and related legal correspondences. This role also includes working with researchers, patent counsel and external vendors and maintaining best practices to ensure accurate communications and record keeping.
Nicola has worked at Jefferson for over 10 years and has been with the Innovation Pillar since 2019. Previously she served as the Executive Assistant to President Stephen Spinelli and President & CEO Dr. Stephen Klasko. She has worked with many non-profit organizations, expanding her professional experience to many charitable causes. She is also a veteran of the United States Army, and a registered notary public.
IP & Licensing Specialist
Mr. Arcadipane manages the process of invention intake and coordinates with inventors on information and signatures needed for documents related to patent disclosure, filing and prosecution. He maintains a database of patent inventions and coordinates correspondence with external patent firms and attorneys engaged by Jefferson in the IP protection process, and establishes internal operating procedures regarding IP management and communications.
Robert joined Jefferson in October of 2016 after moving to Philadelphia from New York, where he provided support to C-level Executives for six years in the publishing and advertising industries. Robert received a BA in English Literature with a Minor in Business from the University of Delaware.
MaryEllen A. Daley
Special Projects Manager, Health Design Lab
Liaison between the Health Design Lab and Innovation Pillar to optimize and facilitate synergistic opportunities in support of cutting-edge innovation in both student endeavors and health care initiatives.
While relatively new to the healthcare industry, Ms. Daley’s passion for design thinking and innovation coupled with her project and research management experience in the legal field makes her an invaluable partner to both Innovation Pillar and the Health Design Lab. She has served on the board of directors of a non-profit organization who provides free legal services for individuals with disabilities and, she co-chaired their annual fund raising event.
Cathy Bedenbaugh, MBA Strategic Design
Program & Project Manager
Catherine works with the Innovation Pillar staff, as well as the university and health campuses, managing engagement projects relevant to innovation and entrepreneurship at Jefferson. Her specific responsibilities include identifying grant prospects in the public and private sectors as well as planning innovative programs such as the Innovation Engagement Speaker Series, JAZ Tank, and serving as logistics director for the Jefferson Health Hack.
Catherine has experience working with national retailers such as QVC, Macy's and Destination Maternity in product development management roles. She provided project coordination support to the launch team for the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing while pursuing her MBA at Jefferson University. Catherine originally hails from Texas, where she received her BFA from the University of North Texas.
Senior Contract Specialist
As a Senior Contract Specialist, Robin is responsible for managing and reviewing a variety of agreements, including Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs). Her role is key in investigating third party material use situations and ownership related issues, as well as providing strategy to resolve complex intellectual property matters.
Robin has over 20 years of contract and intellectual property experience in both profit and nonprofit institutions and has come to Thomas Jefferson University most recently from the Center of Technology Transfer at Cornell University. In addition to her extensive legal work in patents and trademarks, Robin is an inventor of multiple US patents and is an ABA certified paralegal. The Arts are a passion for Robin, who has worked professionally as an actor and writer. Robin attended the University of California, Los Angeles, Sonoma State University, and the MFA program at the New York Academy of Art with undergraduate degrees in psychology, fine art, and biology.