Leadership and Staff
David was appointed the inaugural Director of the Werth Institute in January 2018, and previously he served as the co-director of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Consortium and the Xcite: Women in Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship Conference. As a faculty member in the School of Business, he teaches courses on technology innovation and entrepreneurship. David is an active mentor at UConn, and has recently founded Zatoichi Co., a blockchain based startup.
Prior to UConn, David was a securities and corporate finance attorney, with experience representing startups from formation through the IPO process. He has extensive non-profit board experience. He holds a Ph.D. in Management from the University of Alabama, a J.D. from the University of Miami, an M.B.A. from Elon University, and a B.S. in Political Science from Northeastern University.
Hadi Bozorgmanesh is Professor of Practice in the School of Engineering at UConn where he developed and teaches Tech Experiential Entrepreneurship for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers interested in converting research into viable businesses. Bozorgmanesh is academic advisor to the Innovation House and actively involved with introducing entrepreneurship to the First Year Learning Communities. Bozorgmanesh also serves as a mentor and advisor to student entrepreneurs, and helps them with funding opportunities through the Third Bridge Grant Program.
Prior to UConn, Bozorgmanesh was a senior executive with Science Application International Corporation (SAIC), where he held leadership positions in Europe and the U.S. He holds a Ph.D in Nuclear Science and Engineering, M.S. in Physics and Nuclear Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Physics from UConn.
Kathy F. Rocha
Kathy F. Rocha is managing director of UConn’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Consortium. She is also entrepreneur-in-residence for the School of Engineering where she leads the Third Bridge Grant board, mentors student entrepreneurs and helps with their funding strategies. She is a managing director with Golden Seeds, a private equity angel investment group that specializes in investing in startups led by women entrepreneurs. Rocha is very involved with mentoring students and entrepreneurs in developing business models that produce positive results.
Previously Rocha was a leader in the computer networking industry and the realization of the internet. She was vice president of business strategy and operations for the network management group at Cisco and general manager of networking product divisions for 3Com. Rocha received a B.A. in political science and MBA degrees from Providence College in Providence, RI.
Dr. Radenka Maric is the Vice President for Research at the University of Connecticut where she oversees the University’s $260 million research enterprise at all UConn campuses, including UConn Health. Prior to becoming VPR in 2017, Dr. Maric served as Executive Director for UConn’s $132 million Innovation Partnership Building, which has already leveraged more than $80 million in industry and federal agency projects. Dr. Maric has first-hand experience transitioning academic discoveries into real-world products from her time at large corporations like Toyota and nGimat, as well as startups like her own company, Health eSense. In addition to her senior leadership roles, Dr. Maric is a Named Professor in Sustainable Energy in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Her research interests include the effect of structure, defects, and microstructure on transport and electrical properties of surfaces and interfaces. In particular, she is interested in developing novel materials for fuel cells, batteries and biosensors, durability study, performance, and life prognosis. She earned her BS from Belgrade University, and her MS and PhD from Kyoto University.
Katie Britt is a Program Assistant for the Werth Institute. Previously, Katie worked as a Regional Program Assistant for the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2008 with a major in Sociology.
Emma Costa is a University Specialist for the Werth Institute. Previously, Emma worked for Eastern Connecticut State University’s Women’s Center as a program coordinator and administrative assistant. She graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2019 with a degree in Women’s Studies and Anthropology. In her free time she enjoys roller skating, traveling, and painting with her cat, Milo.
John A. Elliott is currently the Dean of the UConn School of Business as well as AuranJ. Fox Chair in Business. He was most recently the Dean at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, which is part of the City University of New York (CUNY), Vice President of Baruch College, and the Irwin and Arlene Ettinger Professor of Accountancy. Dean Elliott received his BS and MBA. degrees from the University of Maryland and his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University. Prior to accepting the Deanship at the Zicklin School, he spent 20 years on the faculty at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, most recently as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Dr. Kazem Kazerounian currently serves as Dean and a professor of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut. He has been responsible for leading strategic initiatives focused on expanding the School’s research enterprise, institutional advancement, educational innovation, and technology commercialization. At the national level, he has been the Chair of ASME Design Division Executive Committee and has led several major national and international conferences and technical committees. He has served on the editorial boards of the ASME Applied Mechanics Review and ASME Journal of Medical Devices and has been Associate Editor of both the ASME Journal of Mechanical Design and the Journal of Mechanisms and Machine Theory. In addition, he is a Fellow of ASME and the recipient of the ASME Design Division Mechanisms and Robotics Award (a lifetime achievement award) in recognition of cumulative contributions to the field of mechanisms design and theory (2006), the George Wood Award in recognition of significant contributions to the field of mechanisms and robotics (1997), and the ABB Outstanding Faculty Award (1997). He was inducted into the Connecticut Academy of Science & Engineering (CASE) in 2008.
Lawrence K. Silbart, MPH, Ph.D. received his doctoral degree in toxicology from the University of Michigan and joined the Department of Animal Science at UCONN as an Assistant Professor in 1991. He has served as Department Head of the Department of Allied Health Sciences since 2006, and maintains an active research interest aimed at developing mucosal vaccines and adjuvants. Dr. Silbart has authored or co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, many in prestigious scientific journals, has held grants from federal agencies including the NIH and USDA, and has served on four federal grant review study panels. He served as Division G Chair of the American Society of Microbiology (2012), has overseen five post-doctoral fellows and has served as major advisor to twelve doctoral students including two in progress. Dr. Silbart is joint appointed in three departments, has served as a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University for over a decade, and held an adjunct appointment at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine for many years. He has received two teaching awards and has taught courses in Environmental Health and Vaccine research. He maintains an active research program aimed at developing mucosal vaccines and adjuvants for infectious agents and toxins. He joined the Provost’s office in the fall of 2013 as the Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives. In this role he has many responsibilities related to the roll-out of NextGenCT and the UConn Tech Park.