Community Spotlight: Laren Gogo, Contracts Officer for Biomedical & Life Sciences at The University of Toronto
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LAUREN GOGO* joined the Innovations & Partnerships Office of the University of Toronto in July 2012 as a Contracts Officer for Biomedical & Life Sciences. She is responsible for drafting and negotiating sponsored research contracts and material transfer agreements, as well as reviewing and recommending for approval grant proposals with a commercialization or industry focus. She received a Master of Biomedical Technology degree from the University of Calgary.
Addgene (AG) – How did you decide to pursue a career in technology transfer?
Lauren Gogo (LG) - I decided on tech transfer after completing my Master’s degree. I loved learning about science but realized I didn’t necessarily want to be the person doing the science. My Master’s program discussed the business aspects of biotech and pharma, but also subjects such as immunology and biochemistry & molecular biology. I became very interested in intellectual property and wanted to work with academics to translate their research for commercial use and to really build partnerships.
AG – What do you see that has changed in the tech transfer world during your career?
LG - I think there is a lot more involvement with smaller companies and start-ups now. There is not as much a focus on huge companies anymore.
AG – How has the tech transfer community grown in Canada these past few years?
LG - Many people and institutions are getting so much more involved now, and I think the Canadian tech transfer community is getting to the point where we can learn from each other and see best practices within our own country, which is really helpful! I think most institutions are seeing the value now in technology transfer and developing partnerships to really get research out to the public. Institutions have begun to encourage their researchers to submit disclosures and to think about where their developments can be applied. A few years ago, I worked for an institution where I literally had to go out and explain the concept of tech transfer to the researchers. I think now the importance of intellectual property and tech transfer is better understood by institutions and their researchers and such practices are even strived for.
AG – Any advice for those entering the field or thinking about it?
LG - I would highly recommend getting in touch with people who are already in the field and picking their brains. I was extremely fortunate when I was entering the tech transfer world to have a number of people accept my requests for informational interviews or for them to provide some insight on their institution’s processes. It was really helpful!
AG – Are there any courses, seminars or other educational opportunities that you believe aspiring or new tech transfer professionals should consider?
LG - If you can get to an AUTM meeting, do it! A lot of those seminars and networking opportunities were extremely helpful to me. Another Canadian resource that I have recently become more involved with is CAURA- the Canadian Association of University Research Administrators. They have a lot of webinars and discussion groups that really facilitate interaction between institutions and the sharing of best practices.
AG – What is your favorite book and why? Please no spoilers
LG - I’m not sure I have one favourite book. I love to read and always have something on the go. Right now I’m reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and am really enjoying it. The way the scenes and emotions are described is amazing! You feel transported to India.
* The views expressed above do not necessarily state or reflect the views of the University of Toronto, Innovations and Partnerships Office of the Univeristy of Toronto or Addgene. They were given in Ms. Lauren Gogo’s capacity as an individual and technology transfer professional.