Program Staff

Teaching Staff

Ian Biggs, Director of Startups, UGA Innovation Gateway and Director of Programming, UGA Innovation District
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.

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.

Programming Support

Christy Anderson, Associate Director for UGA Innovation Gateway
706.542.1673 |

Christy Anderson is the Associate Director 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 reports I-Corps expenses.

Program Advisors

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.

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.

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.