Program Staff

Teaching Staff

Ian Biggs, Senior Associate Director of UGA Innovation Gateway and UGA I-Corps Program Lead
706.542.4308 |

Biggs, COO of the Innovation Gateway startup program, leads all activity related to faculty research-driven startups. He was originally trained as an accountant and worked in the banking world, then moved on to have extensive experience in leading and building businesses globally, as well as running small venture-backed businesses. He was involved in the VC-backed business that commercialized the technology behind Dolly, the first cloned mammal, and a startup developing a new vaccine platform. He has been the principal in purchasing and selling numerous technology-based businesses and has run a large R&D program within a multinational corporation.

Tim Martin

Tim Martin, Associate Director, UGA Startup Program, Innovation Gateway
706.542.9933 |

Martin is the Associate Director of the UGA Startup Program, where he works with faculty and students to educate, mentor, guide and advise UGA startups through initial formation, funding and growth strategy. Martin’s company portfolio is focused on the therapeutic, medical device and diagnostic startup companies. Martin holds a B.S. and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from N.C. State and UNC-CH, respectively. Martin was co-founder of a university spin-out startup company, Augment Medical, and later worked as a Project Engineer at Yukon Medical. Before coming to UGA, Martin served as the Assistant Director of KickStart Venture Services at UNC-CH.

Dan Geller, Assistant Director, UGA Startup Program, Innovation Gateway
706.583.0876 |

Dr. Dan Geller is The Assistant Director of the Innovation Gateway Startups Program and Agricultural Engineering Faculty in the College of Engineering. Dan has a long history of industry directed research and has developed several commercial bio-based products including “Smarter-Starter” a renewable charcoal lighter fluid. Dr. Geller is also an entrepreneur and owns several companies including Kindercore Vinyl, a phonograph record press which opened in 2017.

Kevin Wu, Design Engineer/Engineering Catalyst, UGA Startup Program, Innovation Gateway
706.542.2051 |

Wu is an engineer working with the UGA Startup Program. He oversees the engineering and material science startups in the Startup Program’s portfolio, and provides prototyping assistance to startups. Wu obtained his B.S. and M.S. in Biological Engineering from UGA and has worked on projects spanning from indoor UAV navigation to a portable blood flow monitor.

Administrative Support

Christy Anderson, Administrative Associate for UGA Innovation Gateway
706.542.1673 |

Christy Anderson is the Administrative Associate for the UGA I-Corps program lead, Ian Biggs. Christy works directly with the I-Corps’ project members, assisting with their day-to-day needs during the accelerator program. In addition, she is responsible for ensuring team members submit proper documentation for travel and equipment purchases. Christy processes reimbursements for team members and reporting I-Corps expenses.

Heather Pierce, Administrative Associate for UGA Innovation Gateway
706.583.8209 |

Heather Pierce is the Administrative Assistant for the UGA I-Corps program lead, Ian Biggs. Heather works directly with the I-Corps’ project members, assisting them with their day-to-day needs during the six-week accelerator program. In addition, she acts as a collaborator in processing grant proposals and reporting documents for the I-Corps program.

Program Advisors

Robert (Bob) Howe Pinckney IV, Director of the UGA Entrepreneurship Program
706.542.9753 |

Bob Pinckney, director of UGA’s entrepreneurial programs, works closely with all of UGA’s schools and colleges to expand opportunities for students to gain core skills that enable them to develop and implement new ideas and start their own businesses and nonprofits. The former CEO of Athens-based EvoShield LLC, Pinckney has founded or co-founded several consulting, software and telecommunications companies over the course of his career. He joined EvoShield, one of the nation’s fastest growing sports apparel companies, as its CEO in 2010. The company was ranked first in the 2011 Bulldog 100 ranking of the fastest-growing companies owned or operated by UGA alumni and has been in the top 10 since the rankings began in 2010. Pinckney holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from UGA’s Terry College of Business and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.

Crystal Leach portrait

Crystal Leach, Director of UGA Industry Collaborations
706.542.2289 |

As director of Industry Collaborations at UGA, Leach works across the university to connect faculty and students with industry collaborators to form strategic research alliances. With over 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry, she has extensive knowledge of product and technology development, from concept to commercialization. She has led the concept development efforts for several novel medical devices and as such is especially well-versed in the business-assessment and user-understanding phases of such projects. In addition, Leach has a wide range of contacts in the areas of market assessment, market research, competitive intelligence, and intellectual property assessments who can be tapped to assist with developing business plans and commercialization strategies.

Derek Eberhart Portrait

Derek Eberhart, Director of the UGA Innovation Gateway
706.542.2207 |

As director of Innovation Gateway, Eberhart leads UGA’s efforts to maximize the impact of research discoveries and foster economic development. He led the strategic integration of UGA’s technology licensing and startup programs to form Innovation Gateway in order to streamline the path from lab to market. Prior to joining UGA in 2008, Derek served as director of Alliance and Portfolio Management at Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, a spinout from Baylor College of Medicine. He managed several of Lexicon’s drug discovery partnerships, including alliances with biopharma companies. His over two decades of management and commercialization experience, along with his broad scientific expertise, equip him to lead UGA’s efforts to facilitate the translation of discoveries into products and companies that benefit the public across a diverse spectrum of market sectors. Eberhart received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UGA and earned his Ph.D. in genetics and molecular biology at Emory University. As an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, his research focused on the generation and analysis of mouse cancer models.

Larry Hornak Portrait

Lawrence Hornak, Professor and Associate Dean for Research
706.542.2462 |

Lawrence Hornak is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Associate Dean for Research in the UGA College of Engineering. Hornak works with faculty and graduate students to cultivate and grow research with an emphasis on building entrepreneurial activity, startups and industry partnerships, and serves as the contact point and facilitator for these activities in the College of Engineering. Prior to joining UGA in 2014, Hornak served for four years as an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC) Program Director on rotation from West Virginia University (WVU) and worked with both I-Corps and SBIR program directors. Among other initiatives at WVU, he founded the Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR), an NSF I/UCRC. Hornak was also a founding partner of NexID Biometrics, a company spun out of CITeR that was recently acquired by Precise Biometrics.