Clemson Division of Research

CURF names executive director

A seasoned business executive and product-development professional has been tapped to lead the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF).

Chris Gesswein
Chris Gesswein

As CURF executive director, Chris Gesswein is charged with commercializing innovative Clemson technology and intellectual property and nurturing private-sector partnerships that will advance scientific discovery at Clemson and support economic growth. Gesswein, who joined CURF in 2014 as director of licensing for technology transfer, has served as interim director since 2017.

“CURF serves as the intersection of university research and the economy. Chris’s business savvy and understanding of research-and-development will benefit Clemson faculty, industry and the South Carolina economy,” said Tanju Karanfil, vice president for research.

Prior to joining CURF, Gesswein served as vice president of business development at Ultradian Diagnostics, a start-up he helped nurture to a clinical stage medical device company while overseeing fundraising, regulatory compliance and research grants management. He has more than 20 years of experience bringing various technologies from concept to market working as a new product development and technology transfer specialist for early-stage startups as well as large multi-national companies. Gesswein also operated a consulting business to assist mid-market life-sciences companies and has been a co-author on approximately 21 federal SBIR/STTR and state technology-development grants.

Gesswein received his master’s degree in biotechnology and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University and his bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University. He has an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and is a member of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, the Association of University Technology Managers and the Licensing Executive Society.

“With a deep understanding of business, product development and research, Chris is well positioned to lead a great team at CURF and was an easy, unanimous choice by the board to move the organization forward,” said CURF board Chairman George Acker.

The Clemson University Research Foundation is a 501(c)(3) corporation organized exclusively for charitable, educational or scientific purposes to promote the research enterprise at Clemson University.

Through an agency agreement with the university, the foundation is commercializing intellectual property through technology transfer; licensing agreements and new venture formations; and assisting with research development through a Foundation-sponsored technology maturation program and participation in early-stage research grants and sponsored research activities.