The IEI team of professionals has extensive experience in innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization of advanced technologies. Don’t hesitate to contact us for information or just to discuss some ideas. The group is available to help in any way they can.
Dr. Schmitt is a Biochemist and Computational Chemist whose primary research interests are in the areas of drug design, computational chemistry, systems biology and pharmacology. During his 29 year career he and his colleagues have: a) pioneered synthetic methodologies for bioactive lipid mediators, b) elucidated the biosynthetic and metabolic pathways for platelet activating factor, c) discovered how phospholipases mediate oxidative burst in leukocytes, d) developed the first accurate structural model of alkylhydroperoxide reductase e) identified the first in situ agent for labeling cysteine sulfinic acids in proteins, f) designed 5 drugs that have been evaluated in human clinical trials [Dr. Schmitt holds 30 Patents and PCTs in drug discovery] and f) developed an extensive drug discovery platform using techniques such as pattern recognition and quantum molecular dynamics [developed thru extensive funding from NSF and NIST’s ATP program]. He is currently applying his unusually diverse background to the development of novel cancer therapeutics that target fatty acid synthase. Dr. Schmitt has been committed to training and mentorship throughout his career. While at Targacept Inc. he mentored numerous graduate students and interns, at the Bent Creek Institute he led the development of undergraduate and graduate internship programs. Dr. Schmitt heads the school’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Dr. Schmitt has extensive leadership experience of complex research enterprises. Working with the North Carolina University System, he was the lead scientist establishing biotechnology infrastructure in Western North Carolina. During his tenure, he established the Bent Creek Institute, which is home to North America’s first plant seed and tissue bank (germplasm repository) dedicated to plants and fungi of medicinal interest. Dr. Schmitt has held leadership positions in the pharmaceutical industry trade organization (AAPS) and has been on the Boards of 5 national and international non-profit organizations. As an entrepreneur, he has been involved with the launching of four technology companies.
Mr. Clarkson has served as senior management at multiple startup companies and has extensive experience in developing high-tech products for emerging industries, new venture creation, and entrepreneurship. In addition to his position with the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, Mr. Clarkson is an Adjunct Professor at the Wake Forest University Business School. At the Business School, Mr. Clarkson teaches Commercializing Innovation, New Venture Planning, and Entrepreneurial Marketing. Previously, he was CEO of Otothera (a medical device company startup in the hearing area) and VP Marketing/Business Development at startup Kalon Semiconductor (an ultrawideband wireless semiconductor new venture). Before that, Mr. Clarkson was VP Marketing at Coradiant, an early stage manufacturer of performance monitoring equipment for data centers. Prior to those positions, he participated in Strategic Planning in the Intel Wireless Networking Group (WNG) responsible for planning in the 802.11 Wi-Fi and 802.16 WiMax markets. While at Intel, Mr. Clarkson was also responsible for 802.11 external marketing at the division level, third party business development, GM for an internal startup to develop internet television, and director of marketing for the Network Equipment Division. Before being acquired by Intel, he was VP Marketing at networking equipment startup IPivot. Prior to IPivot, Mr. Clarkson was founder and VP Marketing of joint venture between Microsoft and QUALCOMM (Wireless Knowledge), VP Business Development for Wireless Data and VP Marketing/Sales for Eudora at QUALCOMM. Prior to QUALCOMM, he was VP Multimedia Marketing at emerging company Brooktree and was founder and Chairman of startup Graphic Software Systems (GSS) in Portland Oregon. Mr. Clarkson has also been a software engineer at Tektronix and was for a time lead programmer on the Galileo Spacecraft Command and Data subsystem at Jet Propulsion Labs. He has a BA in Physics from Wake Forest University, and a MS in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Prior to joining the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, Dr. Lema Tomé completed research fellowship in the Brain Tumor Center of Excellence at Wake Forest University working on the development of molecularly targeted therapies to combat glioblastoma multiforme and in the Neuronal Survival Unit, Department of Experimental Medicine at Lund University in Sweden, investigating mechanisms of alpha-synuclein cell-to-cell transfer in Parkinson's disease. In addition, Dr. Lema Tomé has worked with the Babcock Demon Incubator of Wake Forest University and has served as a consultant for star-up companies in the therapeutic and biotechnology fields. Dr. Lema Tomé is currently an adjunct assistant professor at Wake Forest University Department of Biology and also an instructor at Fosyth Technical Community College. She has held positions as adjunct assistant professor in the department of Biology at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and lecturer and facilitator at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Carla received her BS and MS from Florida Institute of Technology. She graduated in 2008 with a PhD in Neurobiology and Anatomy from Wake Forest University and the next year she completed her MBA from the Babcock School of Business at WFU. Carla’s primary responsibilities with the IEI are to assist investigators with market assessment and strategic development of ideas as well as serving as a liaison with industry partners. She additionally collaborates with the Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship department at the Wake Forest University Reynolda Campus.
Ms. Sharpe has served in several management positions at Wake Forest Baptist Health both in the research field as well as general departmental administration. She functioned as Clinical Research Manager/Project Manager in the Department of Neurology for 15 years working on an NIH Program Project Grant, NIH funded grants and contracts, and pharmaceutical international clinical trials with Astra-Zeneca and Pfizer. Ms. Sharpe has extensive experience in project management, managing grants and contracts, and developing and managing budgets. She has excellent communication skills both within the organization and with sponsors/clients. Ms. Sharpe served as a liaison for face to face meetings and teleconferences with sponsors/clients; and assisted sponsors/clients in planning and coordinating national and international meetings. Ms. Sharpe was instrumental in the development of a clinical operation in the Ward A. Riley Ultrasound Center for Carotid Intima-media Thickness (CIMT) Risk Screening – an example of translational science at Wake Forest Baptist Health. Ms. Sharpe served as Administrative Manager in the Department of Radiology for three years. She assisted the Vice Chairman of Administration with special projects; staff recruitment, development and supervision; and office administration. Ms. Sharpe was instrumental in the initial marketing effort for the Breast Imaging Section which included meetings with corporate officers of leading companies, developing advertising campaigns, and developing an internal and external breast cancer awareness program. Ms. Sharpe served as Manager of Marketing Research and Assistant Vice President of the Marketing Group for the Wachovia Corporation for six years. Her responsibilities included planning, scheduling, and administering marketing research projects relative to markets, services, bank expansion, advertising and communication strategies, and marketing information systems. Ms. Sharpe represented the Marketing Group on the Facilities Planning Committee.