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New AVP will help extend reach of BU research

Vice President for Research Frances Carr this week announced the appointment of Donald Colbert to the newly created post of assistant vice president for technology transfer and economic development.

Colbert, who earned his doctorate degree in molecular, cell and developmental biology from Brown University in 1976, comes to Binghamton from Northern Illinois University, where he was director of the Technology Commercialization Office.

He has 25 years of experience in academic, government and industrial settings, with a focus on science and technology development, training, transfer, management, regulation and commercialization.

Carr said she thinks Colbert’s appointment comes at the right time to help the University capitalize on the fruits of its burgeoning research programs.

“The results of University research impact our lives in many ways, from educational enrichment to new technologies,” Carr said.  “We’re excited about ensuring through the technology transfer and economic development office that the results of this research have the broadest possible success, from new patents to new companies.

“Don Colbert joins us with a breadth of experience and an enthusiasm for working with the University faculty and the community.”

Colbert’s appointment is the latest sign of the University’s commitment to provide an enabling environment for entrepreneurial faculty, who last year disclosed a record eight inventions, Carr added.

By helping to facilitate the transfer of new knowledge and technology from the campus to the community, the University also provides an important service to the Southern Tier and the state. Colbert’s charge will include efforts to establish new partnerships and enhance existing collaborations between the University, business and industry and the larger community.

That should be nothing new for Colbert, who has played a key role in the establishment of over 20 new for-profit and non-profit organizations and has secured over $30 million in support for those efforts from contracts, grants and investors.

Colbert’s past academic affiliations include Brown University Medical School, where he was an instructor in the Pathology Department, postdoctoral training at UCLA and Baylor College of Medicine, and two years as assistant director of the Ohio State University Biotechnology Center.

Colbert has also been a peer reviewer for and advisory consultant to numerous federal agencies including the National Institutes for Health, the Department of Defense, NASA, and the Department of Energy. Throughout the 1980s, he held various management level posts in biotechnologies-related industry, mostly in Massachusetts.

He was director of NASA’s Center for Technology Commercialization program in Rockport, Maine from 1992 to 1995 and executive director for the Center for Innovation in Bio-Technology in Portland, Maine from 1990 to 1996.

Colbert completed his bachelor’s in biology at the University of California Irvine in 1970. He holds two patents, has several others pending, and has authored about 20 technical and non-technical publications.

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