VPDP 2.0 Instructors

Aprille Busch

Aprille Busch joined the IC² Institute at The University of Texas at Austin as a Program Manager in 2015 after three years with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Science and Technology Cooperation where she fostered international science and technology relationships. She currently manages the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Southwest Node, and leads entrepreneurship development sessions with a focus on the lean startup methodology. Aprille began her career in Washington, D.C. with the late Senator Ted Stevens (AK), and served as his Staff Director and Chief Counsel on the Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Prior to her position with the State Department, Aprille was Defense Counsel for Representative Don Young (AK).

Aprille received her B.A. in Communication from Saint Mary’s College, Indiana and a Concentration in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame. She received her J.D. from Tulane University Law School where she specialized in International and European Union law.

Atilla Hakan Özdemir

Dr. Atilla Hakan OZDEMIR

Dr. Ozdemir received his BSc degree in Civil Engineering from the Middle East Technical University in 2000. He acquired his MBA degree from Bilkent University in 2002 and PhD degree in Finance from Hacettepe University in 2012. He worked as Assistant Inspector at Finansbank A.S. between 2002 – 2003 and as Project Manager at Technology Development Foundation of Turkey (TTGV) between 2004 – 2014. He has experience in R&D and innovation policies, project management (funded by national and international organizations (The World Bank, EU, UNDP, UNIDO), technology transfer and commercialization, company valuation, entrepreneurship, venture capital, seed capital, start-ups and SMEs.

Between 2014-2016, Dr. Ozdemir worked as the Director of the R&D and Innovation Office of Abdullah Gul University (AGU) (responsible from technopark and technology transfer office) and Assistant Professor at AGU School of Leadership and Management. He is also an internationally certified project management professional (PMP, by PMI).

Since 2016, Dr.Ozdemir has been working as the TTO Director of Bilkent University.

Deniz Bayhan

Deniz started her career as an industrial engineer in defence sector and hold various positions as project engineer, management information systems coordinator and manufacturing resource planner for ten years. Later, she joined The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey - TÜBITAK TEYDEB where she involved in developing and monitoring several technology and innovation support programmes as Programme Manager first, then promoted as Deputy Director. She gained in-depth knowledge in the field of Industrial RTDI Grant Programmes during her eleven years in TÜBİTAK.

Deniz joined Technology Development Foundation of Turkey - TTGV as Senior Expert in 2006. She had responsibility for various project coordination and management activities including Innovation Based Competitiveness Assessment [ino]rekaR for clusters, on site technology and innovation management audits, TR32 Regional Innovation Strategy Development Project, R&D projects screening system, work package and task management in several EU-funded framework Projects, National Technology Awards Program held by TÜBİTAK, TTGV and TÜSİAD.

Doğan Taşkent

Doğan Taşkent joined Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Polytechnic Institute of New York University for the PhD program in 1993 after graduating from Eidgenösische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH) with a degree in Electrical Engineering and from MIT he received graduate degrees in Electrophysics and Technology MBA.

During 1998-2005, he worked as a R&D engineer, expert consultant and instructor at Lucent Technologies Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. During that timeframe he led major fiberoptic transmission system deployments for Verizon, BT, Telia, Deutsche Telekom, Global Crossing, Qwest, and UPC around the globe. Furthermore, he has consulted in the areas of Knowledge Management, Competency Management and Telecommunications Technologies as part of Lucent Worldwide Services (LWS) in New York

Since 2006, as Partner of Arkan&Ergin Corporate Finance, he has been working in telecommunications, renewable energy, and in startup ecosystem as company restructuring advisor in Turkey. He has presented over 100 seminars (major universities and multinational corporations) the Turkish Startup Ecosystem and the Growth of Entrepreneurship in Turkey. He has served as jury on 25+ business plan competitions and helped professionally to establish over 100 startups. Focusing especially on Biotech companies and supporting clustering in that field in Izmir and Istanbul. He is the founding President of MIT Enterprise Forum in Turkey and an active member at the Advisory Board of the Endeavor Turkey. He is founding Board member of the Ege University Technopark, founding Board Member of the Dokuz Eylül University Business Angel Network and Founding Board Member of the Turkish Business Angels Association. Since 2008, Doğan Taşkent has been member of the Board at the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Turkey, where we ran the presidency between 2012-2016. He was also the Vice-President at the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) responsible for Switzerland between 2013-2015.

Duygu Öktem Clark

Duygu Oktem received her BSc in Computer Engineering and completed her MSc in Information Systems at Middle East Technical University. She worked for the TUBITAK EU Framework Programs National Coordination Office. She represented Turkey in European ICT Clusters, sustained partner channels between Turkish and European organizations; consulted Turkish universities, SMEs and corporations on R&D strategy and innovation.

In 2009 she joined Turk Telekom Group as R&D Manager, responsible for commercialization of R&D projects. She launched and led PILOTT, the startup accelerator program of Turk Telekom. She was awarded with the 2 prestigious awards, and featured in HBR and Forbes Turkey.

Duygu is a mentor at many and international startup programs such as at TÜBİTAK, UNIDO Global Clean Tech, Telefonica Wayra Startup Accelerator, Istanbul Technical University Startup Incubator, Startup Bootcamp Istanbul, TurkishWin, Galata Business Angels, ARYA Women’s Investment, and Entrepreneurship Foundation.

Eli Velasquez

Eli Velasquez is the Director of Business Development at VentureWell. In this role, he is responsible for identifying viable opportunities and driving new business to the organization. Prior, he was the Director of Venture Development at Texas Tech University. He is an NSF I-Corps Nationally Certified Instructor and co-founder and former Executive Director of the Lubbock Angel Network. His efforts in Texas led to over $20M in funding for startups, entrepreneurship programs, incubators, and proof of concept funds. He obtained a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University and a J.D. degree with an Intellectual Property Certificate from Whittier Law School.

Mel Bulu-Taciroglu

Mel Bulu-Taciroglu is a specialist in Finance and Economics education. She has been teaching various classes for the Technology Management Technical Breadth Program at UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering since 2011. She is also active at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability where she recently developed a new course titled “Entrepreneurship and Finance for Environmental Scientists.” Bulu-Taciroglu continuously collaborates with active entrepreneurs, corporations, as well as non-profit organizations to deliver the most up-to-date information and real-life examples to her classes. She was placed 1st in University Placement Exam among close to 900,000 applicants in her home country, Turkey. She holds a B.S. from the Middle East Technical University in Economics, M.A. from Boston College in Economics, M.S. in Mathematics and Ph.D. (ABD) in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Michael Harrington

Michael J. Harrington, Ph.D., is the Chairman and CEO of Genoverde Biosciences, Inc., a biotechnology startup, focused on increasing yield in economically important crops through bioengineering and sustainable agricultural technologies. In July 2016, Dr. Harrington helped Genoverde™ secure its first round of early-stage investment from the National Science Foundation through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I Program.

Over the past 15 years, Dr. Harrington has focused on building a solid foundation on scientific discovery in cellular biology and molecular genetics. Prior to his employment at Genoverde™, he served as Senior Research Fellow in Biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) where he worked with Dr. Samuel P. Hazen to optimize ‘cell wall’ gene technologies; helping to raise over US$100 thousand to develop and commercialize these research innovations. In 2009, Dr. Harrington received his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland Baltimore County followed by a four-year postdoctoral research program in France (INRA, Versailles) to study plant cell wall biology.

Outside of his scientific responsibilities, Dr. Harrington served as an instructor, advisor and mentor for entrepreneurship in the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship at Isenberg School of Management (UMass). His focus was to help early stage start-ups to develop and validate business models, identify key customer segments for product introduction and secure seed stage funding. He continues to work with early stage companies to optimize and execute their business strategies.

Sanem Yalçıntaş Gülbaş

Dr. Yalcintas Gulbas, is a multidisciplinary engineer having a PhD degree in food engineering and an MSc degree in Information Technologies. After several years experience in academy and later on in private sector; she took part in foundation of Hacettepe University Technology Transfer Center Inc., in 2009; where she is still working as the Vice GM, today.

Being one of the four Turkish Technology Transfer Professionals who have met the requirements for the International Certified Licensing Professional (CLP) qualification; she has extensive experience in technology transfer and commercialization practices. She has coordinated more than 500 joint development and R&D projects between university and industry and mentored more than 20 start-ups in different fields. She was selected as “Mentor of the Year - 2015” by UNIDO, TUBITAK and Cleantech Open US.

She has also been serving as an Expert Evaluator and Reviewer to the European Commission since 2010 and has evaluated more than 300 emerging technology projects and business ideas under different programmes such as H2020-SME Instrument, H2020-MSCA ITN, H2020-BB-05, FP7-R4SMEs, CIP and EUROSTARS. She also reviewed and monitored more than 10 European Commission funded projects under HORIZON 2020-SME Instrument Phase 2 and FP7-Research for SMEs.