UK Women Innovators Network

UK Women Innovators Network

UK Women Innovators Network

UKWIN Event 2023

We will see you in March 19, 2024.

UK Women Innovators Network (UKWIN)

The UK Women Innovators Network (UKWIN) program aims to increase the number of UK women participating in innovation. This includes getting women involved and prepared to take leadership roles in all stages of the commercialization process - from idea generation, through research and discovery, to patenting, and ultimately to products and processes in the marketplace. UKWIN will provide a supportive forum for women innovators, which allows them to exchange experience, advice, and strategies for taking their innovations to the next level.

Program activities include social/networking events, topical discussion roundtables, keynote speakers, education on navigating the commercialization process and the requisite resources, entrepreneurial training, and coaches/mentors.

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UKWIN 2023 Speakers

Host: Taunya Phillips, Director, Office of Technology Commercialization, University of Kentucky

Taunya is the director of the Office of Technology Commercialization at the University of Kentucky where she oversees a team of 16 staff managing the University’s intellectual property, licensing and startup portfolios. Previously, she was the senior associate director of New Ventures & Alliances, where she was focused on overseeing key alliances for OTC and managing support and services for UK and Lexington entrepreneurs and startups. She has worked at UK since 1999, where her previous positions have been assistant vice president for Commercialization & Economic Development, chief financial officer for Kentucky Technology, Incorporated, College of Engineering lecturer, and Minority Engineering program director.

Before UK, Taunya worked at Milliken & Company, a chemical and textile manufacturer. Positions included production manager, process engineer, technical salesperson, and marketing analyst & planner. Taunya is a National Academy of Inventors (NAI) honorary member, a member of the College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council, a Midwest University Research Network (MRUN) board member, and a past president of the UK Alumni Association board of directors. She was the 2014-2015 board chair for Opportunity for Work and Learning Incorporated and is a past president of the UK College of Engineering Alumni Association Board. Taunya has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Kentucky. 

Welcome Address: Linda Dwoskin, Ph.D., Senior Associate Vice President for Research, Special Projects, Professor, College of Pharmacy, and Faculty Innovator and Entrepreneur, University of Kentucky

Dr. Dwoskin is a Professor in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department in the College of Pharmacy and is a Senior Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Kentucky (UK). For the past 33 years, Dr. Dwoskin has researched neuropharmacology and stimulant use disorders, including nicotine and methamphetamine, and the discovery and development of novel pharmacotherapies to treat these disorders. She authored over 270 peer-reviewed publications, served as a member of several different NIH study section panels and has been funded continuously by the NIH for the past 33 years, including as the Director/PI of a National Cooperative Drug Discovery Group (U19) on new treatments for nicotine use disorder (2003-2009) and a cooperative U01 grant on the discovery of novel therapies for methamphetamine use disorder (2000-2021). Currently, she is the Director/Contact PI of an NIH-funded REACH grant entitled “Kentucky Network for Innovation & Commercialization (KYNETIC)”, which is focused on nurturing innovators and innovations across the commonwealth of Kentucky by providing funding, mentoring, education, and a network of relevant expertise to translate academic discoveries to commercialization. Dr. Dwoskin is an inventor on 24 issued UK patents, and she was co-founder and Vice President of Yaupon Therapeutics/Ceptaris Inc., a biotech start-up, which raised $60M in investment capital and was acquired by Actelion Inc. following the FDA approval of Valchlor®/Ledaga®, a treatment for Stage 1A and 1B mycosis fungoides-type cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, which is currently on the market in the USA and around the world.

Moderator: Mandy Wilson Decker, Registered Patent Attorney and member of the Intellectual Property & Technology Services Group, Stites and Harbison

Mandy Wilson Decker is a Registered Patent Attorney and member of the Intellectual Property & Technology Service Group at Stites & Harbison. Her practice focuses on intellectual property protection strategy, including counseling clients on infringement, validity and patentability, transfer of intellectual property, patent drafting, and patent prosecution.

Contributing to her practice is a scientific background in chemistry and experience with academic and commercial research in the areas of biochemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical sciences. Mandy is regularly called upon to speak on issues relating to patent prosecution, protecting intellectual property, intellectual property strategies in a global marketplace, and life sciences technologies.

Ms Decker has been named one of the Global Top 250 Women in IP by Managing Intellectual Property, she is rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell, she is listed in Chambers USA, and she has been named by Best Lawyers in America and Kentucky Super Lawyers. She has also been honored by Business First of Louisville, 20 People to Know in Law, Partners in Health Care, and Forty Under 40.

Ms. Decker previously served as a scientific research associate at the University of Kentucky in laboratories housed in the Advanced Science Technology and Commercialization Center (ASTeCC). Her scientific research experience also involved working with Niadyne, Inc., a biotechnology company involved in the research and development of dermatology products, including cosmeceutical and pharmaceutical skin care products to address various health care needs, which in-licensed intellectual property developed at the University of Kentucky.

She currently serves on the Kentucky Intellectual Property Alliance (KYIPA), Executive Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

She has also served on the Annual Campaign Committee of the Legal Aid Society for more thank fifteen years, serving as Chair in 2019. She also served on the on the Saint Agnes School Board from 2015-2018, serving as Chair during the 2017-18 school year. She is also serving a 2021-2024 term on the Saint Agnes Parish Council, and is currently the Chair. Ms. Decker was also Co-Chair for a 2022 Ad Hoc Committee for Engagement at Saint Agnes, developing strategic initiatives for reengaging the community post-COVID. She is a member of the Leadership Louisville Center. She also served for nine years as a member of the Board of Directors for Crane House, an organization dedicated to improving understanding between Asia and the United States. During her time with Crane House she served as a Vice President, and as Chair of various committees including the Nominating Committee and Personnel Committee. Ms. Decker has also been involved in a number of other non-profit organizations in the community, including Dress for Success Louisville and Junior League of Louisville.

Within Stites & Harbison, Decker served as a member of the firm Management Committee (2016-2020), chair of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force (2021), chair of the Women’s Initiative, SWIFT (Stites Women Investing in Our Future Together) (2012-2015), a member of the Nominating Committee (2022), a member of the Diversity Committee (2010-2015), and a member of the Ethics Committee (2006-2010).

She lives in Louisville in the Highlands with her husband, Deck, and their children, Molly Kate and Ben.

Panelist: Monique Kuykendoll Quarterman, Executive Director for the Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation (KY Innovation), Kentucky Cabinet of Economic Development

Monique Kuykendoll Quarterman is the Executive Director for the Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, also known as KY Innovation, at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. A globally recognized expert in inclusive innovation, she is a co-founder of the Kentucky Intellectual Property Alliance, a co-founder of the NIH Proof of Concept Network Action Committee on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, the former Executive Director of Kentucky Commercialization Ventures, a multi-institutional reviewer of higher education and small business innovation programs, and a Louisville-based entrepreneur. Her efforts have contributed to more than a quarter billion dollars in equitable access to capital dollars coming into Kentucky over the past 10 years.

Panelist: Phoebe A. Wood, Principal of CompaniesWood

Phoebe Wood is Principal of CompaniesWood, a firm that specializes in advising and investing in early-stage companies.  She retired as Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of Brown-Forman Corporation following 24 years at Atlantic Richfield (now BP).

Ms. Wood is a director of several large publicly traded companies, all members of the NYSE and S&P500:  Invesco, Ltd., Leggett & Platt, Inc., Pioneer Natural Resources Co., and PPL Corporation (the parent company of LG&E).  She previously served on the boards of Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. and OshKosh B’Gosh, Inc.

Ms. Wood is a Trustee of the Gheens Foundation and is chairman of the board of The American Printing House for the Blind.  She is a Trustee emerita of Smith College.  She has an MBA from UCLA and was named one of 100 Inspirational Alumni of the Anderson School of Management.  She is a member of The Committee of 200, an invitation-only membership organization of the world’s most successful women business leaders. She was recently chosen as one of 100 national business leaders who make up Bizwomen’s Inaugural Women to Watch list, named to the NACD Directorship 100 for 2018, and to the Junior Achievement Kentuckiana Hall of Fame.  She was named to Louisville’s Power 50 leaders by Business First for the second year. 

She has two daughters and lives in Louisville.

Closing Remarks: Lisa Cassis, Ph.D., Vice President for Research, University of Kentucky

Dr. Cassis has served as the University of Kentucky's Vice President for Research since June 2015.

As VP for Research, she leads the university’s research enterprise and oversees research proposal development, grants and contracts administration, human subjects protection, 13 multidisciplinary research centers and institutes, and seven service core facilities. She has provided leadership on the UK Strategic Plan and for the new $265 million research building—which focuses UK research efforts on Kentucky’s most pressing health challenges in the areas of cancer, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and substance abuse.

She is program director of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant that supports the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) focusing on obesity and cardiovascular diseases, now in its 15th year. She has published more than 175 scholarly articles, has been continuously funded from the NIH for 34 years, has served on several NIH standing study sections, and is the recipient of several national research awards.

Cassis joined the faculty at UK in 1988, and is currently a professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, the Saha Cardiovascular Research Center, the Graduate Center for Toxicology, the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center, and the College of Pharmacy.

Cassis earned a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy and Ph.D. in pharmacology from West Virginia University and held postdoctoral positions, including as an Alexander Von Humboldt Research Fellow, at the University of Wurzburg in Wurzburg, Germany, and the University of Virginia. 

UKWIN 2021 Conference Speakers

Host: Taunya Phillips, Director, Office of Technology Commercialization

Taunya is the Director of the Office of Technology Commercialization at the University of Kentucky where she oversees a team of 14 staff managing the University’s intellectual property, licensing and startup portfolios. Previously, she was the senior associate director of New Ventures & Alliances, where she was focused on overseeing key alliances for OTC and managing support and services for UK and Lexington entrepreneurs and startups. She has worked at UK since 1999, where her previous positions have been assistant vice president for Commercialization & Economic Development, chief financial officer for Kentucky Technology, Incorporated, College of Engineering lecturer, and Minority Engineering program director.

Before UK, Taunya worked at Milliken & Company, a chemical and textile manufacturer. Positions there included production manager, process engineer, technical salesperson, and marketing analyst & planner. Taunya is a member of the College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council, a Midwest University Research Network (MRUN) board member, and past president of the UK Alumni Association board of directors. She was the 2014-2015 board chair for Opportunity for Work and Learning Incorporated and is a past president of the UK College of Engineering Alumni Association Board. Taunya has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering and a Master of Business Administration, both from the University of Kentucky. 

Welcome Address: Linda Dwoskin, Associate Vice President for Research, Special Projects, Professor, College of Pharmacy, and Faculty Innovator and Entrepreneur

Dr. Dwoskin is a Professor in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department in the College of Pharmacy and is a Senior Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Kentucky (UK). For the past 33 years, Dr. Dwoskin has conducted research in the field of neuropharmacology and stimulant use disorders, including nicotine and methamphetamine, and to the discovery and development of novel pharmacotherapies to treat these disorders. She authored over 270 peer-reviewed publications, served as a member of a number of different NIH study section panels and has been funded continuously by the NIH for the past 33 years, including as the Director/PI of a National Cooperative Drug Discovery Group (U19) on new treatments for nicotine use disorder (2003-2009) and a cooperative U01 grant on the discovery of novel therapies for methamphetamine use disorder (2000-2021). Currently, she is the Director/Contact PI of an NIH-funded REACH grant entitled “Kentucky Network for Innovation & Commercialization (KYNETIC)”, which is focused on nurturing innovators and innovations across the commonwealth of Kentucky by providing funding, mentoring, education, and a network of relevant expertise to translate academic discoveries to commercialization. Dr. Dwoskin is an inventor on 24 issued UK patents, and she was co-founder and Vice President of Yaupon Therapeutics/Ceptaris Inc., a biotech start-up, which raised $60M in investment capital and was acquired by Actelion Inc. following the FDA approval of Valchlor®/Ledaga®, a treatment for Stage 1A and 1B mycosis fungoides-type cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, which is currently on the market in the USA and around the world.

Speaker: Gilson Capilouto, Co-Founder and Chief Clinical Officer, NFANT Labs

Gilson Capilouto Ph.D. is Professor Emerita in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Kentucky and co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer for NFANT Labs, LLC. Atlanta, GA. She has more than 40 years of clinical experience in the assessment and treatment of pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders and has focused her clinical research on neonatal feeding for the past eighteen years. Dr. Capilouto is co-inventor of an FDA cleared medical device designed to generate objective metrics related to infant sucking performance- a biomarker for neonatal brain injury and growth prediction. NFANT products are being implemented as a standard of care in children’s hospitals across the United States. nfant Feeding Solution, the company’s premier product, is also being used in research activities in the US, Japan, China and Australia. nfant Feeding Solution has received numerous awards including 2018 finalist for SXSW Impact Pediatric Health Pitch Competition, Austin, TX, 2017 Breakthrough Technology of the Year from the Technology Association of Georgia, and 2015 recipient of the Georgia Bio Innovation Award.

Speaker: Kate Van Pelt, Co-Founder and CEO, Synaptek

Kate is an ice hockey player turned concussion researcher turned entrepreneur. Currently, she is co-founder and CEO of Synaptek, a concussion management application focused on making concussion assessment easier, more effective, and accessible. She is interested in all things related to the brain, sports, and data science. Outside of work you can her cheering on the Boston Bruins and Dallas Cowboys with her husband, spoiling their dog, baking cookies, or running to balance out the cookie baking.

Speaker: Kelly Wright, Founder and CEO, FreshEyes Solutions

Kelly Wright is the founder and CEO of FreshEyes Solutions, a business-to-business technology company. FreshEyes Solutions' signature product is a fragrance sampling kiosk to engage consumers where they are. Kelly is a chemist, software developer, Christian, mother, and Girl Scout troop leader.