The Office of Industry Engagement works with industry partners and researchers to help solve industry problems and transform technologies and discoveries into products and services.
We facilitate strategic collaborations through sponsored research, international research collaborations, licensing, patents and commercialisation.
Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Industry Engagement
Executive Assistant to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Industry Engagement)
Louise is the Executive Assistant to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Industry Engagement) at La Trobe University.
Louise’s career in high level executive support spans over 20 years across the corporate sector, state government and higher education, including Minter Ellison supporting senior lawyers in media litigation and professional indemnity; John Holland in major projects; and the Department of Infrastructure to the Director of Commercial and Legal, Director of Victoria’s Regional Fast Rail project, and the Executive Director Corporate.
Lou has also held executive assistant positions in the Chancellery at La Trobe University, supporting the Vice-President Administration and Executive Director to the Vice-Chancellor; and in more recent years the Chancellery at The University of Melbourne as Executive Assistant to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research. Lou holds an AssocDipBusAdmin and an AdvDipBusMngt and has held several supervisory positions.
Industry Engagement, Strategic Alliances & Research Precinct
Director, Strategic Partnerships & Research Precinct
Alison is Director for Strategic Partnerships & Research Precinct at La Trobe University. She is central to supporting the growth and development of La Trobe’s Research and Innovation Precinct including developing a strategy for the R&I Precinct and each of the key areas of focus: Health & Wellness and Food & Agriculture, underpinned by Enabling Digital Technology such as cyber security and data analytics.
Prior to joining La Trobe, Alison worked across a range of sectors and industries in private, government and not-for-profit organisations. She has extensive experience working in the disability and welfare reform sector where she has conducted and supported research into disability services as well as managed teams supporting allied health professionals to deliver disability and injury management interventions. She has also managed complex legal and mediation matters related to the delivery of disability services for a Commonwealth agency and held senior positions responsible for strategy, organisational and business development.
Adnan Syed Muhammad, PhD, MBA
Business Development Manager, Industry Research Partnerships
(College of Arts, Social Sciences & Commerce)
Adnan works as Business Development Manager for the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce. He is part of Industry Engagement Team within the office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Industry Engagement). His role is to help academic staff in external engagement establishing and maintaining industry partnerships and securing research funding.
Adnan has extensive experience in industry engagement as Development Manager for two Research Focus Areas at La Trobe University and prior to that as Chief Operating Officer for two multi-university research centres at the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales. Adnan has also taught Strategic Management in the La Trobe MBA program. Prior to joining the universality sector, Adnan worked as regional manager, South East Asia for a multinational company ABB at its Singapore office. Adnan has a PhD in management, MBA and two postgraduate degrees in electrical and biomedical engineering.
Darren Coomber, PhD
Business Development Manager, Industry Research Partnerships
(College of Science, Health & Engineering)
Darren Coomber is the Business Development Manager for Industry Research Partnerships for the College of Science, Health and Engineering.
Darren supports College staff to develop and maintain research partnerships with external organisations including businesses, not-for-profit and community agencies, and government bodies. Darren also assists industry in identifying research partners within the university.
Darren brings to La Trobe over 10 years experience in open and collaborative innovation from roles as Vice President Australia for NineSigma and CEO for InnovationXchange Australia. In these roles he assisted clients to identify and pursue technology partnerships with external organisations. Darren has worked with clients in 14 countries including universities, research institutes, government agencies, multinational and small companies. Projects have spanned sectors including pharmaceuticals, food, medical devices, consumer products, mining, whitegoods and transport.
Darren has a PhD in Chemistry and has held academic and industrial research positions in Australia and the UK.
Innovation, Commercialisation and Technology Transfer
Craig Patch, PhD, MBA
Director, Commercialisation & Innovation
Craig Patch is Director, Commercialisation & Innovation at La Trobe University. He is responsible for the identification, protection and commercialisation of University intellectual property.
Prior to joining La Trobe, Craig was Chief Innovation Officer at Clover Corporation, which is an ASX listed life science company. In that role he lead commercial, research and development activities. Over a successful 10-year period he was responsible for multiple new product launches, strategic licences (in & out) and the spin out of two biopharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining Clover, Craig was Manager, Innovation & Commercialisation at University of Wollongong/UniQuest.
Craig is the founder and director of verNx Biotechnology and Feedback Nutrition. He has a PhD in Biomedical Science, a MBA, a BApp Sc and a Grad Dip Nutrition & Dietetics. He has published more than 30 peer reviewed articles and is an inventor on 3 patent applications.
Natalia Alvarez Lopez, MSc, BEng(AgInd)
Manager, Innovation and Commercialisation
Natalia Alvarez Lopez is Manager Innovation and Commercialisation at La Trobe University. In her role, she is responsible for the identification of Intellectual Property arising from researcher activities and the development of commercialisation strategies between Universities and external stakeholders.
Prior to joining La Trobe, Natalia was the Technology Transfer Executive Officer for Universidad de Antioquia, the second largest university in Colombia with over 230 research groups. She was responsible for assessing technologies, protecting, negotiating and transacting on behalf of the institution. Prior joining Universidad de Antioquia, Natalia was the National Strategy Manager from a federal government entity in Colombia that promotes innovation, technology, competitiveness initiatives and a mentoring program for entrepreneurs (TecnoParque). In this role, she was responsible for designing and executing strategies to promote innovative technology projects directed at for-profit sectors.
Natalia has extensive experience in the innovation and technology transfer areas and facilitating interactions between universities and external partners such as funding bodies, industry and government. She holds a MSc in Technology Management, a Specialisation in Innovation Management and a Bachelor Degree in Agri-Industrial Engineering. She was also trained in Technology Commercialisation by the IC2 Institute of the University of Texas.
Giulia Gizzi, MBiotech, MBA, BSc
Commercialisation Administration Officer
Giulia Gizzi is the Commercialisation Administration Officer within the Innovation and Commercialisation team at La Trobe University. In this role, she is responsible for managing all activities related to the University’s patent portfolio, implementing operational processes and reporting the activities of the Office of Industry Engagement.
Giulia’s role in the Innovation and Commercialisation team was her first full-time career role within her chosen fields after graduating. Prior to this role, Giulia completed a Bachelor of Science (majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), a Master of Biotechnology and a Master of Business Administration.
La Trobe Accelerator Program (LTAP)
Director, La Trobe Accelerator Program
Cerasela is the Director of La Trobe Accelerator Program, with the primary role of overseeing the development and implementation of a strong entrepreneurial program all over Victoria and in all La Trobe Campuses.
Passionate about innovation, Cerasela truly thinks that sustainable start-ups are the key for a better future. She perceives fostering innovation and entrepreneurship as one of the core missions of academia.
Cerasela has 7 years of experience working in universities’ incubators as a senior manager. Before taking this role, she was Program & Activation Manager at RMIT. She also held several senior management positions at ESSEC Business School in Paris, where for 6 years she developed new entrepreneurial communities in Europe and Singapore. Cerasela is also an experienced lecturer and researcher, with multidisciplinary expertise (PhD in Computer Science, Engineering Degree in Bio-Informatics and a Master in Business Administration) allowing her to build connections between different areas of research and their applied, commercialised context.
Cerasela has settled in Australia with her family since November 2014. She loves Melbourne and Victoria and has faith in the creativity of younger generation.
Events & Communication Coordinator
Lauren Giusti is the Events and Communication Coordinator for the La Trobe Accelerator Program (LTAP).
Lauren is a highly skilled events and public program professional with a background in developing and coordinating engaging experiences for a broad range of audiences and communities. She has expertise in internal and external stakeholder engagement and relationship building. She has a keen eye for creativity and is detailed in her communication work. Her strong administrative background has enabled her success in her previous roles.
Lauren has held previous positions in the education and creative arts industries including Monash University, the Biennale of Sydney and the National Gallery of Victoria. She has completed a Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary – Visual Arts) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
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