The Wake Forest Innovations Team
Industry Research Collaboration
Sue Appt, DVM
Associate Director, Preclinical Translational Services
As leader of Preclinical Translational Services, Susan Appt ensures that her team of surgical and technical staff have access to the resources they need to support faculty and industry studies at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Wake Forest School of Medicine. Appt draws from her extensive expertise in large animal studies and model development to guide and manage preclinical studies supported by her team. She brings a “team player” philosophy to her job and is passionate about helping each person accomplish their part of the team’s mission.
Heather Deloid, DVM
Associate Surgical Research Veterinarian
Heather DeLoid works with industry partners and researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to coordinate surgical and veterinary clinical support for preclinical studies, often serving as the lead surgeon with a team of veterinary technicians. She pulls from her experiences in preclinical contract research, the medical device industry and clinical veterinary practice to design and perform studies. An outgoing person, DeLoid enjoys interacting with a variety of clinicians, researchers and industry sponsors to build relationships and foster collaboration.
Erica Hale, MS
Project Manager, Alliance Management
Erica Hale coordinates and supports industry-funded clinical research conducted by the clinicians and researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. With more than 15 years of conducting clinical trials, Hale uses her experience in both clinical trials management and research to build and maintain successful academic-industry relationships. Her passion is helping Wake Forest Baptist faculty make new discoveries through successful partnerships.
Jade Lackey provides support for preclinical industry-sponsored research through study design, data collection methods and strategies for data management, in addition to serving as a liaison between study sponsors and researchers. She brings valuable scientific experience from her extensive background working in nonhuman primate research. Because of her outgoing personality, Lackey enjoys building relationships with both faculty and industry sponsors.
Terry Ladd, MBA
Director of Business Development
Terry Ladd, MBA, engages industry to establish research collaborations with Wake Forest Baptist faculty. In his more than 25 years in business development and marketing for preclinical contract research organizations, Ladd has developed working relationships with every major pharmaceutical company, numerous medical device manufacturers and countless biotechnology companies located in the U.S. and around the world. Ladd’s ability to seek out creative solutions helps him match client needs with research capabilities and interests of Wake Forest researchers.
Susan Martelle, PhD
Susan Martelle develops and supports collaborative relationships with faculty members and aligns their academic interests with industry partners. She understands the challenges of scientific research and is adept at reading and interpreting preclinical and clinical data sets from her own work as a principal investigator. This experience gives her a unique perspective as a researcher, which helps her forge partnerships between industry and faculty. Being detail-oriented, Martelle quickly ingests important information and easily organizes it to achieve the team’s goals.
Manager, Business Development
Jessica Snyder conducts market research and business performance analysis to align the institutional expertise of Wake Forest Baptist with the needs of industry partners. She brings a wealth of science-based knowledge from her background in infectious disease and cancer research, in addition to her understanding of industry research and development trends. Being naturally inquisitive, Snyder loves that her job allows her to go in search of answers that lead to decisions in operations, strategy and program development.
Ken Szeliga, MS
Senior Project Manager
Ken Szeliga coordinates partnerships between industry sponsors and the experts and resources of Wake Forest Baptist Medical to promote preclinical research. His scientific background in experimental psychology—10 years of bench experience and 12 years in study conduct—gives him an understanding of how to move a medical device or new therapeutic from early discovery to the clinic. Through his work in both academia and industry, Szeliga has gained valuable experience that allows him to successfully manage academic-industry collaborations.
Technology Innovation & Commercialization
Katherine Brown manages the intellectual property portfolio for Wake Forest Innovations and ensures compliance for federally funded inventions. With prior experience as a paralegal, Brown has developed a deep knowledge of the patent process and is currently working to become a patent agent. Passionate about her role in improving health and bringing technologies to fruition, Brown is naturally organized and loves creating new processes to improve efficiency.
Philip Brown, PhD
Philip Brown helps faculty members turn their ideas into functioning medical devices by developing and validating prototypes. His background in biomedical engineering and 3D printing gives him the skills and resources to design and produce quality prototypes quickly and efficiently. Self-described as “extremely curious,” he relishes the opportunity to dive deep into new projects or technologies—from stents and syringes to implants and surgical tools.
John Druga, MS, MBA
Licensing Director, Technology Commercialization
John Druga works with both inventors and industry to usher new medical technologies to the marketplace by matching technologies with the best industry fit. With a background in product development, biomedical engineering and finance, Druga brings a wealth of experience to the commercialization of medical technologies. His natural curiosity drives his understanding of the marketplace and his motivation for helping advance ideas from inventions to innovations.
Stefan Grant, MD, JD, MBA
Director, Intellectual Property Strategy and Management
Grant helps Wake Forest Baptist faculty develop robust intellectual property, providing scientific, medical, legal and business advice about technologies and their commercialization prospects. His varied background in medicine, law and business—including time as the general counsel of a pharmaceutical company and a practicing intellectual property attorney—provides him with a unique perspective on technology development and commercialization. Grant has a willingness to explore alternative approaches to problems and believes that honest disagreement can help provide better solutions, an outlook he brings to the table when protecting and developing technologies.
Sarah Haigh Molina, PhD, MBA
Associate Director of Innovation
Sarah Haigh Molina identifies and evaluates promising medical technologies from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center—including therapeutics, diagnostics and IT products—and assists inventors in developing and protecting their intellectual property on the way to licensing their inventions. She straddles the line between academia and industry, knowing the travails and triumphs of both start-ups and academic research. With experience in basic and translational science, biology, drug discovery, business management and technology development, Sarah’s versatile problem-solving skills help her find unique and creative ways to advance medical technologies from Wake Forest Baptist.
Deepika Poranki, PhD
Senior Innovations Associate
Deepika Poranki works hands-on with inventors, helping them evaluate their technologies and guiding individual projects—primarily therapeutics—through the stages of development. She understands both sides of commercializing medical technologies through developing a keratin biomaterial as a preclinical researcher and from working in business development for a biopharma start-up. Her love of “talking science” makes her excited about working with inventors and helping them blaze a trail for their inventions.
Director of Technology Innovation
Kenneth Russell helps inventors turn their ideas and inventions into licensable medical devices. After more than 25 years in the medical devices industry, his expertise aids academic inventors in creating quality devices that are valuable to industry partners by using the resources of Wake Forest Innovations to design, test and develop commercially-ready medical devices. The guiding principle of his work is improving patient care by connecting the medical device industry to academic inventors.
Dean Stell, MBA
Dean Stell leads out-licensing efforts for a portion of the Center’s proprietary technologies and runs the Center’s alliance management function. He has spent the bulk of his career contributing to the commercialization of academic-stage technologies and that makes him successful in a broad range of areas.
Osama Zahid, PhD
Osama Zahid partners with Wake Forest Baptist researchers to evaluate the commercialization potential of their innovative technology ideas. Zahid earned a master’s degree in biotechnology and a PhD from Wake Forest University, developing single-molecule diagnostic tools for disease detection. His experience helps him identify with the scientific process of potential inventors while helping them discover their idea’s potential in the marketplace. A natural extrovert, Zahid has a passion not only for seeing science actualized, but also for networking and building relationships with researchers.