Board of Advisors


Hooks K. Johnston, Jr.

Hooks Johnston is a retired senior vice president for operations at Smith & Nephew, a $2.6 billion worldwide medical technology company which develops and markets advanced devices in the areas of orthopaedic reconstruction, orthopaedic trauma, endoscopy and advanced wound management. He was responsible for operations at the company’s global headquarters for endoscopy in Andover, including manufacturing and distribution. His 16-year track record at Smith & Nephew has included expansion from one plant to four, with several overseas distribution sites; the integration of five acquisitions including two major ones; significant cost reductions; and a tenfold increase in sales.

Hooks is a former chairman of Mass MEDIC, the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council, which provides government relations and start-up support to its 300 member companies and serves as the industry’s liaison to medical institutions. He is currently working with the Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council on efforts to draw technology companies to the valley and is a member of the executive board of the Merrimack Business Development Group. He serves on the advisory board for Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s BioEngineering Department is currently co-teaching a course at the school. Hooks also works with the M2D2 program at UMass Lowell/Worcester, as chair of the Steering Committee, to help early stage medical device companies. He is presently serving on the boards of two medical device companies and involved in two buyouts.

Prior to joining Smith & Nephew, Hooks served in executive management positions at a number of other technology companies, including Northrop Corporation, Analogic, and Instrumentation Laboratory. He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and received his MBA from Harvard Business School.


John L. Brooks, III

John is currently the President and Managing Director of Medical Capital Group, a healthcare focused merchant bank. Medical Capital Group (MCG) provides investment banking services to early and growth stage life science companies, and is currently raising an initial fund to support investments in selected companies. MCG also partners with private equity firms, international healthcare organizations and strategic businesses to creatively assist promising young companies to secure access to capital and OUS clinical and commercialization support.

John is also a co-founder of Prism Venture Partners, now known as Prism VentureWorks. John works with Prism’s life sciences companies to grow successful businesses by evaluating the myriad of issues facing early and growth stage companies, including regulatory, reimbursement, clinical adoption, marketing and distribution and other critical business issues.   Prior to co-founding Prism, Brooks served as a General Manager at Pfizer/Valleylab where he developed and executed both a comprehensive, minimally invasive surgery strategy and an emerging opportunity business development capability.  Prior to that at Pfizer/Strato Medical, he led the growth of a rapidly evolving vascular access medical device business. Brooks has also held several vice president of finance and operations positions at successful high-tech, venture-backed companies and spent over 10 years in public accounting and consulting, focused on supporting venture backed entrepreneurs.

Brooks has co-founded three paradigm-shifting life sciences start-ups — Songbird Hearing, Locus Pharmaceuticals and Insulet (PODD). Brooks is currently a member of the Board of Associates for the Whitehead Institute, is on the Draper BioAdvisory Board, is a member of the M2D2 advisory board, a member of the Mass Medic Ignite board and is a the Vice-Chairman and Finance Committee Chair of the Joslin Diabetes Clinic. He holds an M.S. in Business and a B.B.A. cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  He is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Financial Planner.

Robert Crowley

Mr. Crowley has been associated with the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation (MTDC), currently known as MassVentures, since its inception in 1978 and was elected its president in 2002. Prior to that, he was executive vice president and chief investment officer. Mr. Crowley is one of the region’s most experienced venture capital investors in early-stage technology companies.

He is a former chairman of the MIT Enterprise Forum, the leading university/business partnership designed to nurture entrepreneurship among technologists. He is a director and former chairman of the Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE) and currently serves as president of SBANE’s Education Center. He is also a director of National Small Business United (NSBU) and of two MassVentures portfolio companies (Specific Surface Corporation and Cambridge Applied Systems, Inc.), as well as a past director of a number of former MassVentures portfolio companies, including Optical Micro Systems, Inc., Aspen Technology, Inc., MultiLink, Inc., Pacer Infotech, Inc., and Endogen, Inc.

Mr. Crowley has spent most of his professional life in finance, initially as a commercial lender with Shawmut Bank and Neponset Valley Bank & Trust Company, and, for more than 23 years, as a venture capital investor with MassVentures. He earned a B.A. from Fairfield University and an M.B.A. from Boston College.

Sherwin Greenblatt

Sherwin Greenblatt is Director of the MIT Venture Mentoring Service (VMS). This program supports innovation and entrepreneurial activity throughout the MIT community by matching prospective entrepreneurs with experienced volunteer mentors who, through their advice, guidance and contacts, can boost the chances of a start-up’s success. He also serves as an outside advisor and Board member to a number of start-up companies.

From 2005 to 2007, Mr. Greenblatt served as the Executive vice president and treasurer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Mr. Greenblatt, retired from Bose Corporation, was the first employee of Dr. Amar Bose, his former professor at MIT. As a project engineer, he worked on the early development of Bose high fidelity loudspeakers and related electronic systems. As the company grew, he held the positions of Chief Engineer, Director of Engineering, Executive Vice President and, for 15 years, President.

He is a community and professional leader having been a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, served as Chair of the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Framingham (Massachusetts) State College. Bose Corporation was a founding member of the Center for Quality of Management and Mr. Greenblatt served on its Board of Directors since its inception. He is also is a member of the Graduate Advisory Board of Babson College.

Mr. Greenblatt received his B.S. and M.S. degrees, both in Electrical Engineering, from MIT.

Patrick J. Larkin

Patrick Larkin is Director of the John Adams Innovation Institute, the economic development division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. The Innovation Institute seeks to grow and strengthen industry clusters, region by region, sector by sector, improving the competitiveness of industries and institutions. It supports job creation and retention by the knowledge-based companies of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy, improving conditions that enable economic growth. It provides accurate and reliable information, data and analysis to promote understandings and inform policymakers, and publishes the annual Index of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy. The Innovation Institute makes strategic investments through state funds that it manages. These include:

  • University Match Fund, which makes leveraged investments to help Massachusetts’ universities and academic research centers win competitive federal research awards To date, it has helped win more than $35 million in federal research funds, achieving better than a four-to-one return on investment.
  • Innovation Institute Fund, which makes targeted investments to spur new engines of economic growth, leveraging public and private resources Larkin brings more than 15 years of economic development experience (12 years with MTC) and a proven track record of success in economic affairs.

Among his accomplishments, Larkin is responsible for some of MTC’s more celebrated initiatives:

  • Piloting the FedTech program which matured into today’s Cluster’s Program;
  • Conceptualizing much of MTC’s Renewable Energy Trust; and
  • Championing the nationally-renowned Berkshire Connect initiative.

Prior to his work at MTC, Mr. Larkin served as Director of Federal/State Relations for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in Washington, D.C. and was appointed in 1993 to serve as Deputy Secretary for Defense Diversification and Technology Transfer for the Executive Office of Economic Affairs in Massachusetts.

Mr. Larkin served from 1979 to 1991 as top aide to the late Congressman Silvio O. Conte (R.-MA). He was responsible for all policy and programmatic activities within the Congressman’s personal office and was responsible for oversight of the Congressman’s activities on the House Appropriations Committee, where he served as the Ranking Minority Member from 1979 to 1991.

Stan McGee

Stan McGee is Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning in the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. There, McGee supports Secretary Greg Bialecki with respect to all strategic policy initiatives and coordinates various agencies and departments within the secretariat on overall policy direction. The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development is the area of Governor Deval Patrick’s administration that is responsible for working to insure that Massachusetts retains and attracts the best and brightest that the Commonwealth has to offer, that the state is competitive for many years to come and that affordable and attainable homes are near the jobs that Massachusetts’ sales force is working on retaining, growing and recruiting.

McGee worked for over seven years as a corporate and securities lawyer at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP in Boston, where, among other things, he advised public and private companies in the areas of corporate governance, NYSE, NASDAQ and SEC regulatory matters, general corporate and securities law and business and corporate planning; represented issuers and underwriters in initial and follow-on public offerings; represented early-stage technology companies and venture capital investors in equity and debt financings; and represented both acquirer and target companies in numerous asset, merger and stock purchase transactions. McGee was named a “Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Star” in business and securities law in the May 2006 and 2007 editions of Boston Magazine.

Immediately prior to joining the Patrick Administration, McGee served as the Director of Business and Civic Outreach at, a Boston-based non-profit created by a coalition of local and national organizations dedicated to ensuring that the November 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision on marriage equality is upheld and that any anti-gay constitutional amendment or legislation is defeated. At MassEquality, McGee created and led a strategic plan to build a broad-based coalition of support for marriage equality among influential Massachusetts business and civic leaders. This nationally-pioneering initiative strategically identified and successfully enrolled business and civic leaders representing sectors vital to the Massachusetts economy, including higher education, health care, financial services and tourism. It culminated in a full-page ad in the Boston Globe in July 2006 with over 165 prominent signatories, most of whom had never before taken a public position on marriage equality for same-sex couples.

McGee was born and raised on a farm in Selma, Alabama. He graduated from the University of Alabama, magna cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa, in 1992 with a special honors B.A. in history and French. While at Alabama, he was named a Harry S. Truman Scholar and was selected by USA Today as one of the top twenty undergraduates in the nation. He attended l’Université d’Aix-Marseille in Aix-en-Provence, France as a Rotary Foundation Scholar, and he received a second B.A. in modern history in 1994 from the University of Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. McGee graduated from Harvard Law School in 1998.

Lita L. Nelsen

Lita Nelsen is the director of the Technology Licensing Office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she has been since 1986. The office manages over 400 new inventions a year from M.I.T., the Whitehead Institute, and Lincoln Laboratory. Typically, they negotiate more than 100 licenses and start over 20 new companies annually.

Prior to joining the M.I.T. Technology Licensing Office, Ms. Nelsen spent 20 years in industry, primarily in the fields of membrane separations, medical devices, and biotechnology at such companies as Amicon, Millipore, Arthur D. Little, Inc., and Applied Biotechnology.

Ms. Nelsen was the 1992 president of the Association of University Technology Managers. She serves on the board the Mount Auburn Hospital and on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Foundation. She is the intellectual property advisor to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and is a founding and current board member of the Center for Management of Intellectual Property in Health Research.

She is widely published in the field of technology transfer and university/ industry collaborations. She was a CMI Fellow at the University of Cambridge with the Cambridge MIT Institute, studying university/ industry/ government partnerships in technology transfer and local economic development. She is a co-founder of Praxis, the UK University Technology Transfer Training Programme.

Ms. Nelsen earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering from M.I.T. and an M.S. in Management from M.I.T. as a Sloan Fellow.

James Theroux

Jim Theroux came to the University of Massachusetts in 1990 following a successful career as CEO of a cable television company that he started with venture capital. He describes himself as a “teaching practitioner” who enjoys helping students start businesses of their own.

Dr. Theroux has been an advisor to numerous start-ups and has served on the boards of several high-tech companies. He was recognized for the Best New Online Teaching Method in 2003 by the U.S. Distance Learning Association. In 2002, he won an award for the Innovative Pedagogy of the Year from the U.S. Small Business and Entrepreneurship Association. He was recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Online Teaching in 2003 from the Sloan World-Wide Consortium and a Top Ten Entrepreneurship Educator, a national award of the Kauffman Foundation and Ernst & Young, in 1998.

Mr. Theroux holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, an M.B.A. from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts.


Abigail A. Barrow

Dr. Abigail Barrow is the Founding Director of the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC). She is responsible for the overall management of the MTTC and the development of its programs.

Prior to joining the MTTC, Dr. Barrow served as managing director of  William J. von Liebig Center at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). The von Liebig Center was created in 2001 to support the commercialization of research being performed in the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering. She has also served as a member of the board of directors of the Center for the Commercialization of Advanced Technologies Consortium (CCAT), which assisted in the identification and commercialization of technologies in the area of crisis and consequence management and received more than $25 million in federal funding from the Office of Naval Research.

Dr. Barrow worked in a variety of roles at  UCSD CONNECT from 1990 to 2001. At CONNECT, she developed and expanded many of its programs to support early-stage company formation and technology commercialization. The CONNECT program is now internationally recognized and has been successfully replicated in other regions of North America and in Europe.

Dr. Barrow is on the board and is Chair of the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment (MOITI) and is on the board of the National Collegiate Inventors and innovators Alliance (NCIIA).  In addition, she is a Fellow of the Beyster Institute at the Rady School of Management at UCSD.

Dr. Barrow received her Ph.D. from the Science Studies Unit and a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Edinburgh.

William S. Rosenberg

Dr. William Rosenberg is the executive director of the Office of Commercial Venture and Intellectual Property (CVIP) in the University of Massachusetts President’s Office. He oversees the commercialization of intellectual property developed at the university’s five campuses. In nearly a decade at CVIP, Dr. Rosenberg has worked with the campuses to improve overall performances and the relationships with faculty and administration. He has led negotiations on important licensing deals, including new venture formation. Since 1995, licensing income has risen from several hundred thousand dollars to nearly $30 million.

Dr. Rosenberg developed the initial strategy for the implementation of the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC). He created the CVIP Technology Development Fund, which awards grants to investigators to further develop commercially promising technologies. Dr. Rosenberg is also an advisor to the university’s system-wide Conflict of Interest Committee and works with senior management to carry out the university’s economic development mission. He is a director on the board of the MassVentures and a member of the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Association of Technology Transfer Organization (MATTO).

Prior to joining CVIP, Dr. Rosenberg was with the University of Minnesota ‘s licensing office. He served in a business development role for more than ten years for a number of biotechnology companies, including Biotal (UK), Biotechnica International and American Bio-Technologies. He also ran a consulting firm, Pax Technologies International. Prior to that he was with the Environmental Protection Agency in Boston and Washington, D.C., and with environmental consulting firm ERT.

Dr. Rosenberg has a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Brandeis University and a B.S. in chemistry from Brooklyn College. He was a fellow of the Belgian American Educational Foundation and a post-doc at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.

Tom Chmura

Tom Chmura is vice president for economic development for the five-campus University of Massachusetts system, serving on the staff of President Jack Wilson.

In this position, Mr. Chmura is responsible for promoting and coordinating the university’s role as a resource for economic development and building strategic alliances with industry and state agencies engaged in economic and workforce development. He oversees the work of the university’s Office of Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property (including the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center ) and the UMass Donahue Institute (the president’s outreach and public service arm).

During his tenure at the university, Mr. Chmura has played a leadership role in developing a variety of system-wide initiatives, particularly in the areas of research, development and innovation; technology commercialization and entrepreneurship; strategic workforce development; and economic planning, research and analysis.

Mr. Chmura has more than 25 years of experience in economic development. Prior to coming to the university, he served as vice president for economic development of the Greater Baltimore Committee, a regional business leadership group. In Baltimore, he led efforts to create the Greater Baltimore High Tech Forum, forge closer ties between academia and industry, and establish a regional economic development strategy focused on the life sciences.

In addition, he worked for almost a decade as a senior consultant at SRI International (Stanford Research Institute) in Menlo Park, CA. While at SRI, he led a national study on the role of higher education in economic development and was the principal author of the book The Higher Education-Economic Development Connection, published by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Mr. Chmura holds a B.S. in management engineering and an M.S. in urban and environmental studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.