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Leadership & Technology Managers
Nathan Hoffmann
Interim Director

Nathan Hoffmann joined the office as a technology manager in 2008, taking on the responsibilities of assistant director in 2013, and more recently, associate director. He manages a portfolio of engineering technologies, with a focus on material science. Included in his portfolio are the innovations emerging from the Rogers research group, which have spun out four new ventures.

Prior to joining the Office of Technology Management, Hoffmann was a training specialist in the Cybersecurity Directorate at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). He is a United States Navy Veteran and served as a Nuclear Submarine Warfare Officer for seven years.

Hoffmann is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers and the Licensing Executives Society. He has spoken at professional meetings and has served on special committees focused on improving the efficiency of transactions across academic institutions.

He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering, an MS in Systems and Entrepreneurial Engineering, and an MBA, all from the University of Illinois.

Brad Edwards
Technology Manager

Brad Edwards joined the OTM in 2007 as a patent coordinator and joined the Technology Manager team in 2012. Prior to joining the OTM, Brad served as a senior chemist and patent coordinator at Chemtura Corporation. He is a named inventor on six U.S. patents and is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Brad's portfolio focus is agricultural, animal and crop sciences, food science and human nutrition, and veterinary medicine.
(217) 244-6453

RK Narayanan, Ph.D.
Associate Technology Manager

Dr. Radhakrishnan (RK) Narayanan comes to OTM with 15 years of experience in life sciences research, with diverse expertise in oncology, neuroscience, genomics, molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, and genetics. Before joining OTM, RK developed his skills in technology transfer as an intern in Intellectual Property and Business Development at Partners Innovation in Boston. RK also executed multiple research projects in Neuro-Oncology at Harvard Medical School as a Research Scientist and conducted investigations in Neuroscience at MIT during his postdoctoral fellowship. RK has a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. RK also has degrees in Biomedical Genetics and Botany.

RK's portfolio focus is life sciences and healthcare. 
(217) 300-1614

Svetlana Sowers, Ph.D.
Senior Technology Manager

Dr. Svetlana Sowers brings to OTM 15 years of software development and management experience from both Fortune 500 and start-up companies. At Yahoo!, Svetlana led multiple projects and cross-functional teams to define and deliver products in the areas of cloud computing, data mining, and data pipeline processing.  While at Motorola Mobile Devices, Svetlana ran a USB lab, driving interoperability testing with phone carriers, and managing a team of 30+ local and global engineers.

Svetlana's portfolio focus is software and copyright.

Jeff Wallace
Senior Technology Manager

Jeff Wallace comes to the Office of Technology Management with more than 20 years of experience in intellectual property management and technical sales and marketing. Jeff worked in the industrial gas business where he was focused on developing and bringing new technology solutions to customers within the automotive, chemical, electronics, food and beverage, healthcare, metals and pharmaceutical markets.  

Jeff's portfolio focus is engineering.

Steve Wille
Associate Director & Senior Technology Manager

Steve Wille worked in product development and manufacturing in chemical, medical, and electronics companies for more than 28 years prior to joining the OTM. He is an inventor on seven patents and has authored several papers published in peer reviewed journals. In Steve's most recent prior position he was a section manager for hardware engineering at Siemens Medical Solutions, where he directed a staff of more than 50 engineers and managed several multinational projects. 

Steve's portfolio focus is bio-imaging, semiconductors, processes, materials, and devices.

Lisan Smith, Ph.D.
Technology Manager

Dr. Lisan Smith brings over 10 years' worth of experience as both an academic and a pharmaceutical industry scientist, in addition to experience in business development. Before joining OTM, Lisan was a Scientific Liaison at the TB Alliance, where she got involved with TB drug research and development. Lisan also brings drug discovery experience from her time as a Senior Research Biologist in Neuroscience Drug Development at Merck Research Laboratories. While at Merck, she established external academic collaborations and managed the research activities of a biology team. Building productive research and business relationships was also a focus of Lisan's at both a start-up and a large contract organization. Lisan completed her Ph.D. in Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University.

Lisan’s portfolio focus is life sciences and healthcare.

Professional Staff
Sandra Allain-Muñoz
Legal Agreements Coordinator
(217) 244-7933

Gregg Banninger
Patent Coordinator
Jeannine "Nene" Corlas
Account Tech 1 
(217) 300-2763

Todd Creason
Business Manager
Tracy Hunter
Patent Office Manager
(217) 333-0793

Eric Ives
Patent Coordinator
(217) 300-5034

Heather Jones
Assistant to the Director & Office Administrator 
(217) 333-2003

Nicole Nair
Assistant Director for Marketing & Communications 
(217) 244-5011

Greg Nau
Financial Compliance Coordinator
(217) 265-0092

Liz Schleef
Chief Clerk
(217) 300-2625

Donna Wilm
Legal Office Manager
Sarah Craig
Patent Fellow
Sage Dunham
Commercialization Analyst
Sarah Foster
Communications Intern
Daniel Gambrell
Commercialization Analyst
Greg Miner
Commercialization Analyst
Chris Monaco
Commercialization Analyst
Tarrant Qian
Communications Intern
Fernanda Schaefer
Communications Intern
Sarah Shim
Commercialization Analyst
Shijia "Sara" Tang
Commercialization Analyst
Zach Wiersma
Lead Commercialization Analyst