Company and Leadership

What are the benefits for inventors and universities in working with VIC Foundry?

The VIC Foundry team has extensive technology commercialization experience and success. Working with our team can help steer technology development in the most impactful and commercially-promising directions. Access to SBIR and STTR funding is provided without the inventor needing to form a separate new company, which is time-consuming, distracting from the university research, while carrying significant costs and risks.

When the grant-funded development work goes as planned, a new company is formed to commercialize the technology with private equity funding ensured. VIC has a strong track record for successfully commercializing university technologies. The inventor takes a technical advisor role in the new company and can receive equity and consulting compensation.

For universities, it is an opportunity for licensing technologies that otherwise may never be licensed due to the stage of development at the university. Universities can benefit from subcontracted work back to the university, and from having a much higher chance of substantial licensing revenue compared to a typical faculty or student-led startup.

What are the benefits for investors?

For the VIC Investor network, the VIC Foundry provides an additional source of high-quality deal flow and de-risks highly promising technologies. It allows deeper insights prior to VIC making the go/no-go decision on a new start-up to commercialize the given technology.

Key Management

Calvin Goforth, PhD – Chief Executive Officer

In addition to serving as VIC Foundry CEO, Dr. Goforth is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of VIC Technology Venture Development. In these roles, he has raised tens of $millions in capital, helped bring several high value products from concept to market, and helped bring multiple companies to exit events.
 
He received a BS in Aerospace Engineering with Highest Honors from the University of Texas at Austin. Early in his career, Dr. Goforth held positions at NASA (where he worked alternate semesters while pursuing his BS) and Rocketdyne, where he worked in the space shuttle main engine performance analysis group.
 
He later received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He then returned to his home state of Arkansas and took a position as an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arkansas. There, he received the school’s Halliburton Outstanding Researcher Award in Mechanical Engineering for three straight years.
 
He left his faculty position to form Vector, Inc. with the vision to build open-architecture PC-based controllers. Goforth self-financed the company and developed its first product in one year. Product sales ramped up quickly and the company was sold at the end of its second year of operations. Dr. Goforth’s experiences with Vector and other early stage technology companies led him to found VIC Technology Venture Development.
 
At VIC he developed the company’s virtual enterprising business model to support the formation and development of technology start-up companies. Dr. Goforth also founded and manages the VIC Investor Network that provides seed capital into every new company VIC forms.

Xiaoli Su, PhD – Senior Scientist

Dr. Su has a PhD in Analytical Chemistry and a broad background in medicine (pharmacy). He has a proven track record in both academia and industry with over 20 years’ experience in automated analytical and bioanalytical systems, biosensors, chemical sensors, and assay development. His technical leadership has led to the successful development of self-contained microfluidic cartridge based automated immunoassay system, multichannel capillary immunoassay instrument, handheld photoelectrochemical biosensing device, novel nucleic acid amplification tests, and many other innovative technologies and products for rapid detection of a variety of biological and chemical species. In his research areas, Dr. Su has published one book chapter and 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and has 4 patents (issued and pending).

Natalie Gassman, PhD – Senior Fellow

Natalie Gassman, PhD received a BA in chemistry from Michigan State University, where she was also a member of the Women’s Crew team. She earned a PhD from the University of California Los Angeles in chemistry in 2008. She held post-doctorate positions at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Her postdoctoral training focused on the role of DNA repair in response to environmental exposures and how modulated DNA repair mechanism contribute to cancer development. As an assistant professor of physiology and cell biology at the USA College of Medicine and a cancer researcher at MCI, Natalie focuses her work on characterizing the influence that environmental exposures has on DNA repair and characterizing how DNA repair proteins are altered or modified in the context of cancer. She has also developed a versatile detection method that helps identify deficiencies in repair mechanisms that give cancer cells a survival edge and hopes that these results can be applied in a clinical setting to tailor therapies for cancer patients. “Our team is trying to find the magic formula – how much DNA damage you have and how you will respond to treatment,” she said. “It’s personalized medicine for your genome.”

Michael Gaspar, MD – Fellow

Mike Gaspar graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Biological Engineering before obtaining his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia. After completing his surgical internship at Loyola University Medical Center-Chicago, he underwent further surgical training as an orthopedic surgery resident at Albany Medical Center. Followed by an academic fellowship in hand and upper extremity surgery at Thomas Jefferson University’s Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center (PHSC). Where he subsequently spent more than five years as the Director of Clinical Research and Undergraduate Medical Education. During that time, he also completed an executive M.B.A. from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. for his work developing a novel treatment algorithm to treat ulnar neuropathy at the elbow and recently founded M-Squared Healthcare Solutions, LLC, a boutique healthcare consulting company based in Washington, D.C.  

Mike has been awarded several research fellowships at institutions including PHSC, the Hand Rehabilitation Foundation, the Anderson Orthopaedic Clinic and the Hospital for Special Surgery, and has received funding from the NIH, NSF and Arthritis Foundation as well as from industry. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and has served as an ad hoc reviewer for 20 international medical journals. He was honored as a Top Doctor Under 40 by the Pennsylvania State Medical Society in 2018 and named to their Opioid Task Force in 2020. He has also served as a consultant and advisor to the Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL Players Association.

Evan Goldberg, PhD – Fellow

Evan serves as the Director of Scientific Affairs for the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), a Georgia Tech affiliate. He works with academic faculty to help commercialize their early-stage technology and works with industry partners to expand their academic collaborations. He currently leads program leadership and business development for preclinical testing at GCMI. With over ten years of experience as a Study Director, he has managed hundreds of preclinical research projects for medical device, pharmaceutical and biologics companies of varying complexity ranging from model development and initial prototype testing to GLP safety and efficacy studies in many therapeutic areas. Prior to joining GCMI, he served as a Research Engineer at the UCLA Center for Cerebral Palsy, where he managed a clinical laboratory serving patients with musculoskeletal disorders. Evan holds a BS and MS from the University of Texas at Austin in Mechanical Engineering and an MS and PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, in Biomedical Engineering.

Secondra Holmes, PhD – Fellow

Secondra Holmes is a chemical biologist who’s passionate about drug discovery research. She has a chemistry BA from Texas A&M University, a MS in chemistry from Sam Houston State University and is finishing her PhD in Pharmacology and Chemical Biology at the Center of Drug Discovery of Baylor College of Medicine. She studies fragment-based drug discovery, focusing on library development, screening, cheminformatics, and biochemical assay development. Her internship with the Baylor Licensing Group is her professional introduction to technology transfer and she continues to develop as an advisor in therapeutic development space.

Gurshagan Kandhola, PhD – Fellow

Gurshagan Kandhola, PhD, is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Her research focuses on the extraction of cellulose nanomaterials from forestry and agricultural biomass and the application of nanocellulose based composites in the food, agricultural, and biomedical sectors. She is the CTO at CelluDot, a startup she co-founded with her colleague in 2020, with an aim to commercialize their patent-pending technology that reduces herbicide volatility and drift. She earned her PhD in Biological Engineering at the University of Arkansas, Master’s degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology Engineering at Panjab University, India. She is passionate about sustainability, science communication, technology commercialization and mentoring women in STEM.

Kelly Mabry, PhD – Fellow

Kelly Mabry is a technical leader passionate about bringing meaningful technologies from lab to market. She has developed comprehensive product development plans with a strong product foundation, developed supply chain & manufacturing strategies, and shaped regulatory submissions. She is currently the Director of Research and Development at Tangible Science, where she has led the development of contact lens-related products from inception through development and on to FDA clearance and commercialization. A chemical engineer by training, she has worked at the interface of engineering, materials science, biology, and medicine. Her PhD thesis in the lab of Kristi Anseth of the University of Colorado focused on designing biomimetic materials systems for in vitro study of heart valve cells.

Cristhiaan Ochoa, MD, PhD

Cristhiaan Ochoa is a staff Pulmonary and Critical Care physician at JPS Health and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at U.T. Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. With over 20 peer-reviewed publications and two patents pending, he is passionate about medical research and innovation. He holds an M.D. from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in his native country of Colombia and a Ph.D. from the University of South Alabama Center for Lung Biology. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NHLBI and NCI) and the American Heart Association. Cristhiaan is also a medical officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.