The University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) has announced the appointment of Todd Ponzio as its new Vice President for the UTRF office located at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis.
He brings a wealth of experience to the role from his time advancing biomedical and healthcare technologies at the National Institutes of Health, Naval Medical Research Center and, most recently, Wake Forest Innovations where he served as Associate Vice President. In its announcement, UTRF noted that the COVID-19 pandemic hit soon after his arrival, but during his tenure, the office tripled its licensing portfolio.
“UTRF is thrilled to welcome Dr. Todd Ponzio (pictured right) to the team,” said departing UTRF President Stacey Patterson. “He brings years of biomedical technology transfer experience and a unique perspective to our work at the UTRF. Memphis is the medical hub in our state. With his passion for the field and knowledge of regulatory affairs, product development and more, he will be a tremendous asset for the UTHSC researchers looking to commercialize their discoveries.”
The new Vice President has been familiar with UTRF and the organization’s work because he and his wife lived in Memphis for five years during her residency.
“When I saw the advertisements for this opportunity, we knew we wanted to get back to Memphis,” said Ponzio. “I love the community atmosphere, enrichment of medical activities, and then on the culture side, it’s hard to compete with Memphis – from blues to BBQ. We love the city.”
Originally from California, he graduated with his doctorate in neuroscience from the University of California, Riverside, specializing in physiology and pharmacology. Ponzio grew interested in tech transfer and intellectual property while working as a postdoc at National Institutes of Health (NIH). After his tenure at NIH, Ponzio spent nearly eight years at the Naval Medical Research Center, serving as the Director of the Office of Research and Technology Applications, where he became familiar with product and market development activities. His office was one of 40 different technology transfer offices, yet it was responsible for around 30 percent of the Navy’s portfolio.