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About
Technology
Innovators
Students
Industry
Startups

Our Leadership

Understanding
Industry & Innovation

The CURF team has a broad background and depth of experience guiding new technologies from concept to commercialization. We are strong advocates for innovation at Clemson University, leveraging our expertise to advance scientific discovery and support university researchers.

Our Leadership

Leadership

Executive Team

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Chase Kasper, MBA

Senior Deputy Director

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Andy Bluvas, JD, MBA

Assistant Director of IP Management

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Clarissa Austin, MS

Assistant Director of Marketing, Business Development, & Branding

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Mark Roth, Ed.D., Ed.S., MBA

Associate Director of Business Development

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Pushparajah Thavarajah, PhD, MBA

Business Development Associate - Life Sciences

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Cindy Sauer, JD

Contract Manager

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Brittany Souto

Executive Assistant/ Office Manager

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Melissa Ioannidis, MPA

Technology Commercialization Associate

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Pamela West, MBA

Business Officer

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Eden Wallace

Marketing Manager

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Jackie Hanna

Innovation Marketing Graduate Assistant

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Nicolette Occhifinto

Digital Marketing Intern

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Jessie Boulos

Technical Transfer Intern

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Brenda Okereke

Technical Transfer Intern

Chase Kasper, MBA

Senior Deputy Director


Chase manages the day-to-day business activities of technology transfer operations for CURF. He works closely with the Executive Director, supporting the leadership, guidance, and decision-making across all CURF initiatives, including the management of technology transfer, intellectual property, commercialization, corporate relationship development, communications, and economic development.
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Andy Bluvas

Andy Bluvas, JD, MBA

Assistant Director of IP Management


Andy manages university technology disclosures and intellectual property (“IP”) capture and prosecution and is the primary contact for university stakeholders regarding intellectual property matters. He provides contractual support on non-financial terms and conditions in CURF agreements.
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Clarissa Autin

Clarissa Austin, MS

Assistant Director of Marketing, Business Development, & Branding


Clarissa oversees the development and implementation of the CURF marketing strategy, including but not limited to the marketing of university intellectual property (IP) for licensing and commercialization and the marketing of university research expertise to increase the profile of Clemson University's research enterprise.
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Mark Roth

Mark Roth, Ed.D., Ed.S., MBA

Associate Director of Business Development


As Associate Director of Business Development, Mark works to identify, evaluate, market, and license new technologies from Clemson’s research enterprise to the marketplace by coordinating with internal and external innovation stakeholders to develop and execute commercialization plans. In addition, Mark collaborates with faculty inventors and external partners to develop and implement strategies to market broader research enterprise resources and capabilities to maximize the commercial success of research being conducted at Clemson.
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Pushparajah Thavarajah

Pushparajah Thavarajah, PhD, MBA

Business Development Associate - Life Sciences


As Business Development Associate for Life Sciences, Thava works to engage external partners to identify, assess and evaluate, market, and license new technologies from Clemson's biological / life sciences research enterprise to the marketplace by coordinating with internal and external innovation stakeholders to develop and execute commercialization plans.
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Cindy Sauer, JD

Contract Manager


As the CURF Contracts Manager, Cindy is responsible for the administration and coordination of all non-financial post-transaction terms and conditions where CURF is a named party. Cindy also advises and provides support in both the pre- and post- transaction phases of contract development related to technology commercialization, sponsored research, and business development activities, specifically in contract compliance.
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Brittany Souto

Brittany Souto

Executive Assistant/ Office Manager


Brittany supports the CURF Executive Director and is the recording secretary for the CURF Board. As CURF Office Manager, Brittany also manages day-to-day administrative duties related to personnel, space management, foundation operations, and serves a critical role as initial contact with CURF internal/external constituents.
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Melissa Ioannidis

Melissa Ioannidis, MPA

Technology Commercialization Associate


Melissa supports the management of cases and ensures timely evaluation of new inventions.  She handles the docket of cases so that inventions go smoothly down the path to be patented.  She completes all the Federal reporting to ensure that Clemson University is in compliance.
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Pamela West, MBA

Business Officer


As the Business Officer, Pam is responsible for the general accounting, payroll, procurement activities, and budget development & maintenance of the foundation, and is the CURF liaison to University and affiliated organization business offices.
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Eden Wallace

Marketing Manager


Eden supports the Assistant Director of Marketing, Business Development, and Branding with branding and marketing CURF and Clemson's intellectual property.
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Jackie Hanna

Innovation Marketing Graduate Assistant


Jackie assists the Assistant Director of Marketing, Business Development, and Branding with promoting and marketing Clemson University's capabilities and research efforts.
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Nicolette Occhifinto

Digital Marketing Intern


Nicolette assists the Assistant Director of Marketing, Business Development, and Branding with promoting Clemson University's capabilities and research efforts on social media platforms. 
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Jessie Boulos

Technical Transfer Intern


Jessica supports the Assistant Director of IP Management with Clemson University's technology disclosures and intellectual property. 
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Brenda Okereke

Technical Transfer Intern


Brenda supports the Assistant Director of IP Management with Clemson University's technology disclosures and intellectual property. 
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Board of Directors

The next Board of Directors Meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 25, 2023 at 8:30am. The meeting will take place at the Clemson University Madren Center, and will be streamed live on Zoom. For more information, contact Brittany Souto at bsouto@clemson.edu.
Dennis Kekas is Associate Vice Chancellor for NC State’s Partnership Office who earlier, at IBM, developed the first NYSE floor trading system, point-of-sale, UPC scanners, keyboards and networking products. At State he led deals with NSA, IBM, Red Hat, etc. More recent he launched the Power America Institute, a Smart Cities Initiative and the IBM/NC State Q Hub. His BSEE is from Clemson with studies at Syracuse, NC State and UCLA. A registered PE with 8 Patents he is past president of the Clemson Alumni Association receiving the DS Award in 1999, Association of University Research Parks Leadership Award in 2016 and awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by NC Governor Cooper in 2019. He is Chair of ImagineOptix Corp., and a board member for CURF and MCNC.

Dr. Karanfil was appointed vice president for research at Clemson University in February 2016 to steer the university’s research strategy, working closely with faculty and staff at Clemson and with collaborators in industry and the community. He was named senior vice president for research, scholarship and creative endeavors in 2023. Clemson joined the list of the nation’s top research universities as a Carnegie R1 university in 2016, a reflection of its growth in research expenditures across disciplines and increases to the number of doctorate degrees awarded and postdoctoral and non-faculty researchers on staff. Clemson’s performance across all of Carnegie’s metrics have improved under Dr. Karanfil’s leadership since receiving the R1 designation, and Clemson’s R1 classification was reconfirmed in 2018 and again in 2021. Total research and development expenditures have risen sharply and are at their highest levels of at least the past decade at $263 million in 2022.

In addition to serving as Senior Vice President for Research, Scholarship and Creative Endeavors, Dr. Karanfil serves and represents Clemson University on several boards and committees (Battelle Savannah River Alliance, SC Smart-State Endowed Chair, SC EPSCoR, Clemson University Research Foundation, South Carolina Research Authority, South Carolina Universities Research and Education Foundation, Southeastern Universities Research Association, and Oak Ridge Associated Universities). Before his current position, Dr. Karanfil served as chair of the environmental engineering and earth sciences department and later as associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. He currently maintains an active research portfolio as well, focusing on water quality and improvements to water, wastewater and hazardous waste treatment systems.

Angie Leidinger is a senior executive at Clemson University, serving in two key roles.  As Vice President for External Affairs, she is responsible for Clemson’s state and federal governmental relations programs and coordinates Clemson’s work with industry to strengthen the university’s economic and industry engagement. As Senior Advisor to the Board of Trustees, she supports the work of the board and facilitates relationships and information sharing with administrators, faculty, staff and students. Leidinger earned a bachelor’s degree in graphics communication from Clemson in 1990 and joined the University in 2002 as Executive Director of Governmental Affairs. She previously worked in government relations at the S.C. Department of Commerce and in the private sector.

Cliff Holekamp is the Cofounder & Managing Director of Cultivation Capital, one of the most active early-stage venture capital firms in the United States. Previously, Cliff was the Professor of Practice & Academic Director for Entrepreneurship at Washington University in St. Louis where he was named one of the top 100 entrepreneurship professors in the world and where he led the entrepreneurship program to a #1 world ranking.
Eric Weissmann is the new Executive Director of NEXT, an entrepreneur support organization in Greenville, SC that provides mentoring, capital, and facility resources for entrepreneurs across the region. Prior to this role, Weissmann was part of the founding team at Cintrifuse, a similar ecosystem catalyst, in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he serves as Vice President of External Relations. Weissmann launched “StartupCincy,” an initiative that started as a simple social media hashtag and bloomed into a full-fledged, connected community.
James P. Clements became Clemson University’s 15th president on Dec. 31, 2013. Under his leadership, Clemson has raised the bar in academics, admissions, enrollment, retention rates, graduation rates, research and diversity. Clements has also led the way in helping to raise more than $2.5 billion in private funds during his career, including approximately $1.7 billion since he arrived at Clemson. During Clements tenure, Clemson athletic programs have continued to rise in preeminence, winning 2 National Championships in Football, 1 National Championship in Men’s Soccer and 17 ACC Championship titles. Driven by the university’s elevated academic reputation and the exposure from their athletic success on the national stage, the value of the Tiger Paw has never been higher.

Dr. Jeremy Mercuri is the John Witherspoon Gilpin MD ’82 Endowed Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Clemson University. He is also Director of the Laboratory of Orthopaedic Tissue Regeneration and Orthobiologics and is Deputy Director of the Clemson University Biomedical Engineering Innovation Campus (CUBEInC). 

Dr. Mercuri received his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Drexel University in 2003. He completed his Master’s and PhD in Bioengineering at Clemson University in 2006 and 2011, respectively. Following his doctoral work, Dr. Mercuri obtained a clinical post-doctoral fellowship at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas in Greenville, South Carolina. Prior to his current academic appointment, Dr. Mercuri spent several years as a senior research engineer in the medical device industry working in the areas of biomechanical testing and biomaterials development for Medtronic Spine & Biologics and Stryker Orthobiologics, respectively. Dr. Mercuri currently serves as
the Chief Scientific Officer for Samaritan Biologics, LLC and is the founder and Chief Scientific Officer of NovaVia Spine & Biologics, LLC.

Dr. Mercuri’s academic research program focuses on developing biomimetic extracellular matrix (ECM)-based scaffolds designed for the repair and regeneration of herniated intervertebral discs, osteochondral defects, and damaged rotator cuff tendons. Dr. Mercuri’s lab also evaluates the efficacy of different mesenchymal stem cell sources as therapies for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions by employing both in vitro and in vivo models.

Jeff Broomfield served as Head of Strategy & Strategic Projects for the Smart Infrastructure operating company of Siemens USA, where he was responsible for leading strategic planning activities, developing division-level strategic marketing programs, driving strategic disruption evaluations and activities, and being an executive ambassador for Siemens in both external and internal collaboration endeavors.  Broomfield earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Clemson University and had a progressive 30-year career with Siemens including assignments in engineering, product management, sales, business development, marketing, and strategy.  Relative to Clemson University, he currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF) and on the External Board of Advocates for the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.  He previously served as an inaugural member on the Clemson University Industry Advisory Board, as a sponsoring industry advisor for the Center for Advanced Power Engineering Research (CAPER), and as the executive focal for Siemens corporate partnership with Clemson University.

Dr. Leslie Hossfeld was named Dean of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences at Clemson University (CBSHS) in July 2018 where she has worked to create the Building Healthy Communities initiative for CBSHS that brings together the college’s seven disciplines to address critical needs in the 46 counties of South Carolina through research, teaching and service, and the land grant mission. Dean Hossfeld has prioritized research ascension for the college increasing research awards from $4 million in 2018 to $20 million in 2023.

Prior to joining Clemson University, Dr. Hossfeld was Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology, Criminology and Social Work at Mississippi State University (MSU) leading interdisciplinary research focused on improving the lives of rural Mississippians.  Before joining MSU she was Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where she worked extensively in rural economic development serving on several national and state economic development boards, and in
elected national leadership positions in the profession. She has also made more than 150 research presentations in various national and international conferences in addition to over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, books, technical reports, white papers, and research briefs. She maintains an active research portfolio focused on community and economic development, food and nutrition security, and rural health disparities.

Dr. Ronald Lee is a 1976 graduate of Clemson University, where he earned his B.S. in microbiology. He then earned an M.S. in environmental science and engineering at UNC-Chapel Hill. After working several years as an engineer, he enrolled in dental school, earning a Doctor of Dental Medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in 1988. Dr. Lee has practiced dentistry in Aiken for over 30 years, and has been named a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, a title given to only 7 percent of practicing dentists nationwide. In 2010, the South Carolina General Assembly elected Lee to the Clemson board of trustees, where he currently serves on the committees for Educational Policy, Finance and Facilities, and Institutional Advancement.

Tom is a Founder and Partner of Fulcrum Equity Partners, an Atlanta based private equity firm focused on healthcare and technology investments.  He has over 20 years of investment, financial and operating experience. Mr. Greer was the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Regency Healthcare, Inc. (“Regency”) a provider of hospice services throughout the Southeast. In 2006 Tom recapitalized Regency with EDG Partners, an Atlanta-based private equity firm. Tom then served as Chairman of the Board at the successor to Regency, Regency Healthcare Group, LLC, up until the sale of Regency to GTCR in April 2011. Prior to Regency he was a Vice President in the healthcare investment banking group at Robinson Humphrey.

Anthony “Tony” Wagner is Clemson University’s executive vice president for finance and operations and Chief Operations Officer. Tony earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Penn State University and his master’s degree in educational leadership and policy from Temple University. He also served as a deep-sea diver in the US Navy for four years. Prior to joining the Clemson family, Tony served as executive vice president for finance at Augusta University and the affiliated Augusta University Health System. He also previously served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Temple University as well as serving in various leadership roles at Penn State University in the government relations and finance space. In addition to his higher education experience, Tony has significant government service in Pennsylvania, including serving as deputy secretary of the budget and deputy state treasurer. He and his wife Lisa have two grown sons.
Mr. Tracy Walters is the Director of Grant and Contracts Administration at Clemson University. In this role, Tracy oversees the performance and training of twenty exempt and non-exempt staff; provide direction and oversight of all post award (technical and financial) grants management activities that includes; the Interpreting federal regulations and sponsor guidelines, developing policy and procedures for campus-wide application, Establishing grant project accounts for faculty spending, monitoring project expenses to ensure compliance with federal, state and sponsor regulations, assessing risks and initiating process redesign aimed towards reducing administrative burden on
University faculty. In addition, Tracy oversees, and monitors audit activities conducted by federal, state, and independent auditors on Clemson sponsored activities. He defends audit disallowance claims levied from external auditors and prepares management responses that details internal control activities that aids to negate findings and further minimizes institutional risk. Tracy has served in this role at Clemson since April 2018. Overall, Tracy has over 30 years of research administration and grants management expertise, and he has served over 20 years in similar roles at the University of Connecticut, Yale University and the University of Georgia.
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