Erika Bechtold (PhD ’10) Young Alumni Award Recipient

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During Homecoming 2018, the Friends of Chemistry announced that Dr. Erika Bechtold (PhD ’10) would be the 2018 recipient of this year’s Young Alumni Award.  She joins Cassidy Brown (2017), Kerry Pickin Paumi (2016) and Peter Tarsa (2015) in this list of impressive young Chemistry alumni.

Erika received her undergraduate Chemistry degree at Virginia Tech before entering the PhD program here in 2006.  While she was here she worked with Dr. Bruce King in our department as well as Dr. Leslie Poole (WFU School of Medicine – Biochemistry)  at the interface of organic and biological chemistry by making and testing new molecules capable of defining specific sites of oxidation on sulfur containing proteins.

Upon leaving Wake Forest, Erika obtained a post-doctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying nitric oxide pathways in order to develop better treatments for malaria.  But Erika began to develop interests in the area of university intellectual property and technology transfer. The seed of this interest may have been planted, while she was in our PhD program and had an internship at Wake Forest Innovations.

At the end of the scientific post-doc, Erika made the transition to the world of tech transfer by taking a job as a licensing associate at Tufts University.  By the time she left Tufts, she held the position of Senior Licensing associate with the responsibility for the entire School of Arts and Sciences and managed over 100 distinct patent families. Erika continued her growth in this field by becoming a licensing manager at Partners Health Care in Boston where she managed patent portfolio with over 130 distinct patents and portfolios spanning radiology including radiopharmaceuticals, contrast agents, diagnostic agents, medical devices, software for image processing, and novel imaging hardware .  She recently has taken a position as the Director of Strategy at Sofregen in Boston where she advises both the CEO and CSO on business and scientific matters.

Her former research advisor, Dr. Bruce King notes…

“I am very impressed, and her resume shows how much a young WFU chemistry alumni can accomplish since 2010. She is a great scientist and businessperson I will be curious to see where she goes.  She is most worthy for this honor.”

We are all very proud of her.