ODU hires Associate VP for Innovation & Commercialization

Kevin Leslie will be Old Dominion University’s first associate vice president for innovation and commercialization, the Norfolk-based university announced Friday.

Leslie will improve ODU’s technology transfer operation to better identify, develop and market faculty, staff and student intellectual property and startups. He also will lead federal and other grant applications related to innovation and ecosystem building.

“Dr. Leslie will take ODU’s innovation and commercialization activities to the next level of success, as appropriate for an R1 institution,” Morris Foster, ODU vice president for research, said in a statement. “ODU will expand its role as Hampton Roads’ academic research and innovation leader.”

For the past two years, Leslie has served as the inaugural executive director of the Hampton Roads Biomedical Research Consortium, a state-sponsored partnership between ODU, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University and Sentara Healthcare to advance regional health equity and bio-health innovation. He worked with regional leadership to deploy $22 million in capital and operating funds, develop and implement strategic plans and build shared research infrastructure and resources.

“Building the Hampton Roads Biomedical Research Consortium helped me gain a deep understanding of the region and its institutions,” Leslie said in a statement. “As ODU’s role in Hampton Roads and the commonwealth continues to grow, I look forward to building on that knowledge to accelerate the translation of ideas from its labs and classrooms out into the world.”

Before leading the HRBRC, Leslie was associate director of Virginia Commonwealth University Ventures and helped lead Richmond’s Health Innovation Consortium, a public-private platform to support novel health care technologies.

Leslie holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from William & Mary. He has a doctorate in integrated life sciences from VCU.

He is a member of the Civic Leadership Institute’s 2023 Executive Program class and has served as adjunct faculty for the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program.

In his role, Leslie will work closely with Sarah Jane Kirkland, who ODU named associate vice president for corporate partnerships in December 2022.


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