About the President
Mr. Thompson joined the UWM Foundation in 2006 to broaden the Foundation's role in support of research and innovation and to help launch the UWM Research Foundation.
Prior to joining the UWM Foundation, Mr. Thompson was Managing Director for TechStar, a Milwaukee-based organization that assists in launching high-tech companies where he helped launch companies in biomedical imaging, medical devices and therapeutics. He also led TechStar's efforts to identify regional biotech strengths and organized the Biomedical Technology Alliance, an alliance among Milwaukee institutions to foster research collaboration.
Mr. Thompson was previously part of the corporate new ventures group at Hughes Electronics where he worked with early stage companies in consumer electronics, broadband services and entertainment. His technology background includes managing software development projects and designing and launching communications satellites as a system engineer at Hughes Space and Communications.
Mr. Thompson previously served on the boards of start-up companies, MatriLab and NovaScan. He holds a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from UCLA.
Dr. Jessica Silvaggi joined the UWMRF team in the fall of 2009 as Technology Licensing Associate. In this position she established the marketing program for the UWMRF patent portfolio leading to the execution of several license agreements, option agreements, material transfer agreements, and sponsored research agreements. In addition she played a major role in the evaluation of UWM intellectual property for patentability and commercialization, and aided in the drafting of the related licensing agreements. In June 2011 Dr. Silvaggi was appointed as the Licensing Manager for UWMRF where she will continue to manage the overall patent portfolio and the marketing and licensing program.
Dr. Silvaggi graduated summa cum laude from the University of Connecticut with a B.S. from the department of Molecular and Cell Biology. She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University where she discovered previously unknown small, untranslated RNAs in the sporulating bacterium Bacillus subtilis. After her doctoral work she conducted postdoctoral research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. She received the Ruth L. Kirchstein-National Research Service Award from the NIH to study the protein PGC-1 alpha and its role in protection against the damage caused by free radicals in the brain.
Mr. Pfannes joined the UWM Research Foundation as a Licensing Associate in August of 2011. His main role involves identifying technologies with commercial applications and assessing their intellectual property and market potential, leading marketing efforts, preparing and negotiating license agreements, and aiding in the formation of startups. Mr. Pfannes works to bring University developed technologies into a commercial setting. As a former Technology Transfer Intern for the UWM Research Foundation he worked to bring new technologies to market by developing a business plan around an early stage technology.
Mr. Pfannes earned a Master's Degree in engineering mechanics from UW-Milwaukee researching strength estimation of bone microstructure using computed tomography. He holds Bachelor's Degrees in mechancial engineering from UW-Milwaukee and in physics with an emphasis in optics from UW-La Crosse. Mr. Pfannes has experience in laser research, in the laser manufacturing industry, in the aerospace industry and in orthopedic biomechanics research.