Tech Licensing

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UF Innovate | Tech Licensing works with innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and industry partners to maximize the potential of University of Florida innovations through commercialization for the global good. Founded in 1985, Tech Licensing receives more than 300 invention disclosures, executes more than 100 commercial transactions and launches nearly 20 companies each year. In 2017, the Milken Institute ranked the University of Florida third in the nation for its tech commercialization efforts.

With the benefit of UF Innovate’s two business incubators and its Ventures organization, Tech Licensing connects researchers with investors and industry to lead them through the commercialization process.

  • We support UF research by negotiating agreements that balance university and industry interests.
  • We manage UF’s intellectual property and commercialize the university’s technology portfolio.
  • We work with UF researchers, faculty, staff and students to guide them through the tech transfer process to assist with invention disclosures and research activities.
  • We offer guidance in planning and implementing effective patent, copyright or trademark strategy.
  • Our licensing officers assist in technical and market assessments while providing customer service to industry partners.
  • We provide assistance in assessing potential opportunities to form startups based on UF technologies.

Report a New Discovery

Visit the Gatorlink portal to report a new invention or work.

Disclose Biological Materials

Need to disclose biological materials? Complete the form. 

Innovator's Guide

Learn more about the innovator’s role during some of the key steps of the licensing process.

Innovator's FAQ

Have questions? You’re not alone. Check out these questions frequently asked by our innovators.


Interested in startups? Discover tips for launching a startup or learn about existing UF companies. 



Explore how Tech Licensing works with industry and see which technologies are available for licensing. 

Available Technologies

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Fellows Program

Are you a UF student looking to gain experience as a fellow? Find out if one our four tracks is right for you. 

Contact Info

Address & Directions

Physical Address:

Our office is located in Suite 108 in the UF Innovate | The Hub building in Gainesville, Florida. The building is midway between the main campus of the University of Florida and Gainesville’s downtown.

UF Innovate | Tech Licensing
747 Southwest 2nd Avenue, Suite 108
Gainesville, FL 32601

Mailing Address

UF Innovate | Tech Licensing
P.O. Box 115575
Gainesville, FL 32611-5575


Staff Directory

Photo of April Kilburn April Kilburn Assistant Director, Licensing Officer
Photo of Anita Rao Anita Rao Assistant Director, Licensing Officer
Photo of Lenny Terry Lenny Terry Assistant Director, Licensing Officer

Lenny works with innovators and technologies from chemistry, materials science, and chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering. He has successfully negotiated over 290 licenses and has helped to start more than 40 companies.

When Lenny joined Tech Licensing in 2007, he had more than 20 years of industrial chemical experience. He has held multiple research positions with Milliken Specialty Chemical and Ciba Vision Corporation. He worked as a Business Development Manager for Clariant Specialty Chemicals for ten years. He is an inventor on 24 U.S. patents related to the contact lens and personal care markets.

Lenny earned his BS in Chemistry from the University of Richmond in 1981 and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Emory University in 1986.

Photo of Zahara Jaffer Zahara Jaffer Assistant Director, Licensing Officer

Zahara is an Assistant Director with Tech Licensing, where she manages intellectual property protection and licensing for technologies from biomedical and other research disciplines.

She led the drug discovery programs for a biopharma startup company where she also managed the company’s research collaborations with academia. Zahara has over 15 years of biomedical research experience from the academic and industry sectors and significant experience in research program management, grant writing, technology development, and business development.

She earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of British Columbia and completed her postdoctoral training in molecular oncology and tumor biology at the Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Photo of Rick Croley Rick Croley Assistant Director, Licensing Officer
Photo of John Byatt John Byatt Associate Director, Tech Licensing

In 2005 John joined Tech Licensing as a licensing officer, working predominantly with faculty in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Dentistry to evaluate, patent, license and commercialize new technology. He serves as the Associate Director in OTL.

John worked almost 19 years as a research scientist working with Monsanto’s Animal Agricultural Division working on or leading a variety of projects including: development and launch of the first production animal biotech product – recombinant bovine somatotropin for increasing milk yield of dairy cattle; evaluating the use of growth promoters for aquaculture; and identification, validation and use of DNA markers to increase genetic gain in livestock.

John Byatt received a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of London and a Ph.D. from the University of Reading while working at the National Institute for Research in Dairying. He spent two and a half years as a post-doc in the Department of Dairy Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Photo of Noel Burmeister Noel Burmeister Licensing Associate for Anita Rao

Noel works with Licensing Officer Anita Rao, assisting in portfolio management for the life science area. She and Anita manage invention disclosures, patent prosecution, MTAs, CDAs, research agreements and licensing agreements for UF innovators in the life sciences. Many of her innovators are those in the UF Departments of Medicine and Pharmacy.

Before joining Tech Licensing in 2001, Noel worked at the Third District Court of Appeal in Miami. She worked at UF Innovate | Tech Licensing until 2009, moved to the University of South Florida’s tech transfer office for 2010-June 2014, and then returned to UF in her current role.

Noel graduated from Florida International University with a master’s degree in criminal justice.

Photo of Melanie Campos Melanie Campos Licensing Associate for April Kilburn

Mel assists with new disclosure triage, coordination of patentability review and timeliness of filing, and management of patent applications from filing through expiration. She assists with marketing IP to identify commercial partners, completion of CDAs/NDAs, and throughout the negotiation process to execution of licenses. She liaises with innovators, patent attorneys, and licensees on patent strategy matters. She manages federal compliance and commercially funded reporting obligations for IP.

Mel began her work at UF as an OPS/Clerk in October 2004, became a senior secretary in March 2005, and moved into the Licensing Associate position in July 2007. In addition to her core responsibilities, Mel also served at MTA Coordinator from 2005-2014.

She graduated with a B.A. in pre-law from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

Photo of Adrienne Padgett Adrienne Padgett Licensing Associate for John Byatt
Photo of Zettia Fizer Zettia Fizer Licensing Associate for Lenny Terry

Zettia and Licensing Officer Lenny Terry handle IP from the departments of chemistry, mechanical and aerospace engineering, materials science engineering and chemical engineering. They review invention disclosures to determine patentability or commercial potential by meeting with innovators, determine if a patent, trademark or copyright should be filed, comply with all federal and state grants and regulations, and actively market technologies that have commercial potential.

Before joining the office in 2007, Zettia worked in the Office of General Counsel at UF as a legal assistant to the IP attorney and personnel attorney. She also worked at the Kissimmee Utility Authority in Kissimmee as the assistant to the president.

Zettia studied the legal assistant program at both Valencia Community College and Santa Fe College.

Photo of Karen Crespo Karen Crespo Licensing Associate for Rick Croley

Karen Crespo joined the UF Innovate | Tech Licensing office in August 2017, working as a Licensing Associate handling technologies in the fields of physical sciences, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and software. She manages all aspects of the patenting process, including implementation of all federal reporting obligations as required under the Bayh-Dole Act and ensuring all data is accurate for contracts managed by the licensing team. She facilitates communications with innovators, the marketing team, attorneys and licensees, coordinating and processing correspondence and providing liaison support to adhere to the rules and regulations guarding the tech transfer system.

Karen started her career as a court reporter, working in the field for 10 years, next working as an IP paralegal in the legal field for 13 years.

She earned her B.S. in Office Management with a concentration in Court Reporting from Husson College in Bangor, Maine. She received her paralegal and cancer data management certificates from Northeastern University in Boston.

Photo of Tanya Farmer Tanya Farmer Licensing Associate for Zahara Jaffer

Tanya works with Licensing Officer Zahara Jaffer, assisting in portfolio management for the life science area. Specifically, she and Zahara manage invention disclosures, patent prosecution, MTAs, CDAs, research agreements and licensing agreements for UF innovators in biomedical engineering, radiology, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, urology, and emergency medicine.

Before joining Tech Licensing, Tanya worked as a paralegal in law firms in Central Florida (corporate law and commercial real estate). She joined Tech Licensing in 2017.

Tanya has an AA from Santa Fe College and her BA from University of Central Florida.

Photo of Erika Henderson Erika Henderson Administrative Support Assistant

Erika is the Invention Disclosure Coordinator for UF Innovate | Tech Licensing. If you have questions, are experiencing technical difficulties, or need a troubleshooter, she is the person to call. Erika receives, assigns, and processes disclosures for the licensing teams. In addition, Erika works with three licensing teams to help coordinate their conversations with inventors and/or outside parties and to send correspondence on their behalf.

Erika has held positions at an R&D operation for a corporation, a government entity, in higher education, and in her spare time, she’s managed and promoted her family’s thriving farm business.

Erika has worked for UF Innovate | Tech Licensing since March 2016, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences from the University of Florida, where she also minored in Leadership.

Photo of Leah Manning Leah Manning Administrative Support Assistant

Leah works with three licensing teams to help coordinate their conversations with inventors and/or outside parties and to send correspondence on their behalf.

Leah has worked for the State of Florida for 8 years and has worked for UF Innovate | Tech Licensing since November 2017.

Photo of Jim O’Connell Jim O’Connell Assistant Vice President

Jim serves as the Assistant Vice President for Commercialization, leading UF Innovate, the umbrella organization over Tech Licensing, Sid Martin Biotech and The Hub. Jim is also the director of Tech Licensing. He works with internal and external constituents to provide strategic leadership and direction in building and capitalizing on facilities, expertise and technology at UF.

Before joining UF Innovate, Jim directed the tech transfer office at the University of Miami and served as the director of the Michigan Venture Center at the University of Michigan. Jim came to tech transfer with 20 years of industry experience. He worked in two startups in the medical device industry. He also served in the U.S. Air Force as a helicopter pilot.

Jim earned his M.S. in engineering management from the University of Maryland and his B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic.

Photo of Dawn Meyers Dawn Meyers Executive Assistant

Dawn supervises two administrative support assistants who, in turn, support 13 Tech Licensing staff members. She assists Jim O’Connell, who directs Tech Licensing and the umbrella organization, UF Innovate. And in those ways (and many more), Dawn assists all members of the organization.

She schedules and prepares agendas and handouts, coordinates internal meetings as well as meetings with high-level visitors. She coordinates travel, arranges for business meals, prepares reports and presentations, handles the office budget, reconciles expenditures, assists in planning and implementing investor and innovator events, maintains the UF Innovate van, keeps office and break room supplies ordered and available, and otherwise keeps the office running like a well-oiled machine.

Before joining UF Innovate | Tech Licensing in 2003, Dawn worked as a legal secretary for a law office and as a bank accounting clerk.

Dawn studied accounting at East Stroudsberg University and Northampton County Community College in Pennsylvania.

Photo of Patricia Reineke Patricia Reineke Financial Analyst/Contracts Administrator

As Financial Analyst/Contracts Administrator Patti provides pertinent metrics for the Tech Licensing office to the UF Board of Trustees, the State University System Board of Governors, to departments and colleges across campus, as well as to AUTM, the professional organization that completes an annual licensing survey of universities before issuing a fiscal year ranking. Patti also monitors the financial progress of the office budget throughout the fiscal year. She works with the UFRF business office on a daily basis to ensure that all financial terms of Agreements remain in compliance. began to manage all license agreements, options and interinstitutional agreements that came through Tech Licensing.

Before joining Tech Licensing in 2003, Patti served several years as a paralegal in a full-service law firm in Jacksonville.

Photo of Rachel Harding Rachel Harding Licensing Liaison

Rachel works in concert with the licensing teams to review and track biological materials and related rights, particularly those related to AAV gene therapy.

Before joining Tech Licensing as a licensing liaison in 2016, Rachel was a postdoctoral researcher at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center of the Ohio State University.

She graduated with a B.S. from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in the biological sciences from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

Photo of Sara Dagen Sara Dagen Marketing & Communications Manager

Sara handles marketing and communications for all of the entities under UF Innovate. On any given day, she might mine news about our startups or innovators to share on social media, edit website content or find a fix for one more glitch, create flyers or documents for events, plan events, or write articles about the exciting happenings at UF Innovate.

After joining the UF Innovate team in 2014, Sara worked her way up from a technical editor to the communications manager. In these capacities, Sara is forced to use both sides of her brain, interpreting science speak to communicate to a business audience. Previously, she used both sides of her brain teaching Algebra and English to middle and high school students. She also worked at The Gainesville Sun as a writer and editor.

Sara holds a B.S. in journalism and a M.Ed. in educational technology from the University of Florida.

Photo of Michelle Friedline Michelle Friedline Marketing & Communications Specialist

Michelle Friedline, MFA, MSE, coordinates writing the Technologies Available for Licensing for UF Innovate | Tech Licensing.

She produced strategic video content for schools and nonprofit organizations before joining UF Innovate in 2017.

Michelle earned her master’s degree in entrepreneurship from the University of Florida and her MFA in documentary film from Wake Forest University.

Photo of Penelope Gianelli Penelope Gianelli MTA Coordinator

Penny assists in arranging the material transfer agreements (MTAs) for researchers to receive or send research materials. These are predominately (but not all) in the nature of “scientific sharing” for academic research and do not include fee-for-service agreements (DSP), purchase agreements (Procurement), sponsored research or grants (DSP), or clinical trial agreements (OCT).

When materials are requested from a UF researcher, Penny can assist in determining if an MTA is needed to send the material to another academic researcher. If an MTA is needed, she takes over coordinating the request with the requester’s technology office. If a for-profit entity is requesting material, in conjunction with the appropriate licensing officer, Tech Licensing can consider whether a license is more appropriate. In either case, Penny will evaluate the IP terms and their ramifications on the researcher’s work and potential publications. It is important that materials not be transferred without an MTA as the sender may lose valuable rights.

When a UF researcher requests material from another academic institution or for-profit company, Penny assists in reviewing and revising the agreement provided, or suggests an agreement form if the provider does not have one. She reviews the terms and implications with each researcher to be sure the agreements are understood and acceptable. The goal is to free scientists to work on science instead of administrative paperwork.

Prior to coming to UF, Penny was an attorney in private practice, working in real estate development and private corporations. She graduated from Emory University Law School and Stetson University.