Meet Cindy Chepanoske: Director of Technology Licensing, CTTEC, at Carnegie Mellon University

Cindy Lou Chepanoske, PhD, is the Director of Technology Licensing at the Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC) at CMU. Cindy currently works with the IP portfolios and licensing matters for a number of departments in the School of Computer Science. She also serves as the CTTEC contact for licensing matters related to Center for Machine Learning and Health (CMLH) projects, while working closely with the folks at the CMLH and CMU’s Office of Sponsored Programs.

Cindy ChepanoskeWhat led you to the PHDA?

I was led to the PHDA because of the natural fit of the subject matter relative to the current IP portfolio that I manage here at CMU. For example, I work with the computational biology department and the machine learning department, and my background is in healthcare-related software. Prior to coming to CMU, I’d been working with bioinformatics projects and related software systems in various capacities (application scientist, program director) to solve specific problems related to data integration to derive meaningful insights. The mission of the PHDA is very similar, and it’s exciting to see work among the top institutions reach the scale it can.

Where are you from? If you moved to Pittsburgh, why?

I am a classic “boomerang” story. I grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from CMU in the mid-nineties. There were not very many job prospects here at the time, my friends and I laughed at the idea of staying in Pittsburgh since it did not invoke the cool-factor as it does now – plus I was committed to going to graduate school in the west. I stayed in the west with the opportunities I had there (Bay Area, Salt Lake City, and Seattle) and I moved to Pittsburgh to apply my diverse industry experience at CMU’s CTTEC. I came “home” for this new opportunity and also to be closer to family. It was a tough sell to my husband in 2012, but now he’s now trying to convince lots of folks to move here! The impact the research here in Pittsburgh has made in almost every industry, from healthcare to autonomous systems to consumer products and more, was a compelling story then and even more so now.

What trends are you most excited about today in data and healthcare? Why?

With a high-level lens on the topic, I can say that I’m excited to think about the prospects of telehealth and telemedicine that was pushed to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the information that can be gleaned about our healthcare from this form of delivery. In some ways, this has added another dimension of data that was previously not available until we were made comfortable using such services. Now that many of us are (I can talk to a nurse via secure connection and show them the pesky rash my daughter has without packing up and coming to the pediatrician’s office- yes, please!) there’s even more information that can be used to better understand what works in this space, and why, and how we can reach folks without adequate access to services better in the future.

What’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

I love bicycle commuting and have made it a priority everywhere I’ve worked to stay committed to this lifestyle choice and live close enough to work to get some rides in a few times a week (even if it involves a ferry!) I am a fair- weather commuter for sure and have somewhat adjusted to Pittsburgh’s relationship to cyclists. Nevertheless, I have loved seeing the city, CMU and University of Pittsburgh commit to safer roads for cyclists in the last 10 years. That said, I’d likely rather cycle next to an autonomous vehicle testing on the roads in Pittsburgh vs. an actual Pittsburgh driver.

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