Chief Technology Transfer Officer
Elsie is a recognized expert in developing new, effective models for moving technologies from the lab to the marketplace, where they can benefit the public. Her expertise aligns with the department’s goal to grow researcher, industry, and entrepreneurial engagement at Berkeley Lab with the goal of transitioning the technologies to the marketplace.
Elsie’s education and experience in scientific research, intellectual property management, technology commercialization, and startups make her uniquely qualified to innovate the field of technology transfer. Her insights into the goals and concerns of all stakeholders – from research scientists and patent attorneys to industry representatives and entrepreneurs – have enabled her to build symbiotic relationships and find synergies among these diverse groups.
Previously, she was a molecular biologist and biochemist at Argonne and Brookhaven National Laboratories. Her interest in managing scientists’ intellectual property led her to pass the U.S. Patent Bar exam and become a patent agent at Argonne. Elsie then moved on to manage IP development, commercialization and marketing for Argonne’s Office of Technology Transfer. After successfully innovating IP review, licensing strategies, and private sector partnerships at Argonne, she joined McMaster University in Canada as Executive Director of the Industry Liaison Office. At McMaster, Elsie developed and implemented a strategic plan to manage university IP and identify industry partners and licensees for lab technologies. She built relationships with local business communities and encouraged a culture of commercialization within the university. She created PreInc, a pre-incubation space that supports McMaster researchers starting new companies. She also led the C4 Network, a collaborative initiative with ten Ontario universities and research institutions, fostering innovation and commercialization.
B.S., Biology, Queen’s University Belfast
M.B.A., North Central College
Ph.D., Agricultural Biochemistry, Queen’s University Belfast
Patent Agent with U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office
Deputy Chief Technology Transfer Officer
Working with the IPO Chief Technology Transfer Officer, Robin plans and executes strategies for industry partnerships, intellectual property management, licensing, and entrepreneurship training with the goal of accelerating the commercialization of Lab technologies. She manages Berkeley Lab’s participation in the DOE Lab-Corps program, based on the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps). Lab-Corps offers Berkeley Lab researchers tools and training to help transition energy-related technologies into products that benefit society and the national economy. Robin is building on Lab-Corps to establish a technology-to-market training program for Lab researchers as part of IPO’s broader Berkeley Lab Innovation Corps initiative.
Previously, Robin served as Director of Commercialization for the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a DOE Lab-University consortium for developing cellulosic advanced biofuels. She developed and executed a strategic plan for technology transfer and partnerships that resulted in JBEI exceeding the top three US universities in inventions and licenses, per funding dollar. At JBEI she facilitated venture formation and negotiated partnership and licensing deals with dozens of companies, including Total Gas and Oil, Bridgestone, Abengoa, POET, COFCO, and FuturaGene.
Robin also created the Lab’s Cleantech to Market (C2M) program, which was adopted by the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business as a formal course. C2M is a partnership between students, researchers, and energy professionals to translate clean tech research into market opportunities.
Her work history includes extensive experience in conflict mediation and reporting on science, technology and the environment for The Christian Science Monitor.
B.A., Chemistry, minor in Philosophy, University of Virginia
M.S., Science, Technology, and Public Policy, George Washington University