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Research Foundation president

Brian D. Thompson

UWM Research Foundation


Jessica Silvaggi, Ph.D.
Senior Licensing Manager
UWM Research Foundation

Audrey Salazar Ph.D.

Licensing Associate
UWM Research Foundation


Nicole Green
Program Coordinator
UWM Research Foundation

Francesca Forcinito
Communications Coordinator
UWM Research Foundation



About the President

Mr. Thompson joined the UWM Foundation in 2006 to broaden the Foundation's role in support of research and innovation and to help launch the UWM Research Foundation. He leads efforts by the UWM Research Foundation to bridge between the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the private sector through programs that include catalyst grants and intellectual property management as well as fostering corporate partnerships, spinout companies and student entrepreneurship. 

Mr. Thompson is also Director of the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center at UWM.  He is Co-PI on the Milwaukee I-Corps Site sponsored by the National Science Foundation, and helps lead the program which helps university based innovators explore markets for their technology through lean launch and the customer discovery process.  He teaches new ventures as an adjunct instructor in UWM’s College of Engineering and Applied Science and the Lubar School of Business.

Prior to joining the UWM Foundation, Mr. Thompson was Managing Director for TechStar, a Milwaukee-based organization that assists in launching high-tech companies where he helped launch companies in biomedical imaging, medical devices and therapeutics. He also led TechStar's efforts to identify regional biotech strengths and organized the Biomedical Technology Alliance, an alliance among Milwaukee institutions to foster research collaboration.

Mr. Thompson was previously part of the corporate new ventures group at Hughes Electronics where he worked with early stage companies in consumer electronics, broadband services and entertainment. His technology background includes managing software development projects and designing and launching communications satellites as a system engineer at Hughes Space and Communications.  

Mr. Thompson serves on the board of the Wisconsin Technology Council and has been active in fostering entrepreneurship in the Milwaukee.  He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from UCLA. 

Mr. Thompson previously served on the boards of start-up companies, MatriLab and NovaScan. He holds a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from UCLA.

Senior Licensing Manager

Dr. Jessica Silvaggi joined the UWMRF team in the fall of 2009 as Technology Licensing Associate.  In this position she established the marketing program for the UWMRF patent portfolio leading to the execution of several license agreements, option agreements, material transfer agreements, and sponsored research agreements.  In addition she played a major role in the evaluation of UWM intellectual property for patentability and commercialization, and aided in the drafting of the related licensing agreements.  In June 2011 Dr. Silvaggi was appointed as the Licensing Manager for UWMRF where she will continue to manage the overall patent portfolio and the marketing and licensing program.  

Dr. Silvaggi graduated summa cum laude from the University of Connecticut with a B.S. from the department of Molecular and Cell Biology.  She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University where she discovered previously unknown small, untranslated RNAs in the sporulating bacterium Bacillus subtilis. After her doctoral work she conducted postdoctoral research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.  She received the Ruth L. Kirchstein-National Research Service Award from the NIH to study the protein PGC-1 alpha and its role in protection against the damage caused by free radicals in the brain.    

Licensing Associate

Dr. Audrey Salazar joined the UWMRF team in the fall of 2016 as a Licensing Associate. In this position she builds relationships with UWM researchers, identifies and evaluates potential inventions and intellectual property, and coordinates the overall technology marketing and licensing strategy, design and implement process for marketing technologies and programs.

Ms. Salazar earned her Ph.D., in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and her B.S., in Chemical Engineering and French from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was the former Research Scientist for the Bemis Company, Inc., where she engaged in senior leadership, drafted invention disclosures, initiated and led discussions with key stakeholders and executed treatment projects. She was also an instructor and co-curriculumn developer at Northwestern University with lessons focusing on renewable energy and power generation.

Program Coordinator

Nicole Green joined the UWM Research Foundation team in the summer of 2016 as the Program Coordinator for the Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship and UWMRF. Ms. Green's role is to push innovation and entrepreneurial thinking across campus in different capacities. Her expertise lies in experiential design and uses design thinking and human-centered techniques to build in-class workshops, extracurricular content, and to facilitate meetings that promote new ways of thinking. She helps student entrepreneurs grow their endeavors and develop personal skills. She also connects UWM with the community by involving non-profits and high schools in programs at UWM. Ms. Green is a proud UWM University Innovation Fellow (UIF) and collaborates with other fellows to be change agents on campus. 

Ms. Green earned her master's degree in Science Management from UW-Milwaukee Lubar School of Business. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts in Design and Visual Communication. Ms. Green has trained at the Standford d.school at a Teaching and Learning Studio as well as at Google with the UIF program. Prior to joining the UWM Research Foundation, Ms. Green was the Design Strategist at Translator Design Agency and was a Program Manager for UWM's Student Startup Challenge.

Communications Coordinator

Francesca Forcinito joined the UWM Research Foundation in the fall of 2016 as Administrative Assistant and became the Communications Coordinator in 2017. Ms. Forcinito's key duties include scheduling high level meetings, reviewing and drafting communications, creating and editing presentations, facilitating mailing projects, managing grant projects, coordinating Board Meetings, maintaining the UWMRF website, coordinating grant programs and acting as liason between UWMRF and campus on graphic design projects.

Ms. Forcinito recently earned her B.S., in Communications-Public Relations and Environmental Science from Carroll University. She previously interned in the Communications and Marketing Department as well as the Human Resources Department at Carroll University where she edited and drafted news and press releases, wrote byline articles, collaborated multi-departmentally with graphic designers and created various academic/HR manuals, forms and logos for universal use.

UWM Research Foundation Interns

Lorne Forsynthe (lorne@uwmfdn.org) - Technology Transfer Intern

The Technology Transfer Intern Program employs student interns to support a continuum of intellectual property management activities that include: identification and assessment of intellectual property, management of patent prosecution, and marketing and licensing of technology, creation of business plans, and market research. 

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