Team Responsible for the Technology Showcase Receives NCI Director’s Award

By Chris Worthington, staff writer; contributed images
Tech Showcase graphic

A broadly based team from Frederick National Laboratory (FNL), NCI’s Technology Transfer Center (TTC), and NCI’s Office of Scientific Operations (OSO) has been recognized with a 2020 NCI Director’s Award.

The award, from the “Making an Impact” category, recognizes the team’s work to establish the annual Technology Showcase, an event that fosters scientific collaboration as well as licensing of NCI technologies. The recipients are:

  • Victoria Brun, partnership project manager, FNL Partnership Development Office
  • Mary Ellen Hackett, external communications manager, FNL
  • Walter Hubert, scientific program director, NCI OSO
  • Michele Newton, marketing communications manager, NCI TTC Invention Development and Marketing Unit
  • Vladimir Popov, director, FNL Partnership Development Office
  • Laura Prestia, communications and strategic initiatives manager, NCI TTC
  • Michael Salgaller, unit supervisor, NCI TTC Invention Development and Marketing
  • Maggie Scully, senior strategic business development analyst, FNL Partnership Development Office

The first Tech Showcase took place on June 7, 2017. Members of FNL’s Partnership Development Office and NCI’s TTC worked with local economic development leaders from Frederick City and County as well as the Maryland Technology Development Corporation to plan and run the event, which was attended by more than 150 people.

The following year saw the event expand to a full day, with NCI Director Norman E. Sharpless, M.D., delivering the keynote address. Last year, more than 200 people attended the event, which included four new panel sessions and a keynote address from Mr. Rich Bendis, president and CEO of BioHealth Innovation, Inc. This year, the Technology Showcase is moving to an entirely virtual format, which will significantly expand its reach.

In just three years, the Tech Showcase has facilitated numerous confidential disclosure agreements as well as follow-up meetings between FNL and NCI scientists, business development teams, and external collaborators. One contractor Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (cCRADA) also resulted directly from last year’s showcase. The company involved will be participating in this year’s panel, where they will discuss their experience working with FNL to develop and execute the cCRADA. 

“This event also brings together a complete ecosystem of scientists, technologies, collaborators, entrepreneurs, financiers, and local and state agencies/organizations focused strictly around life sciences,” said Popov.

To learn more about the 2020 Technology Showcase and register for free, go to the event webpage. Below, the award winners share their thoughts on the event and planning team:

Victoria Brun: The Technology Showcase team is excellent and fully committed to improving the event each year, and it is exciting that the team is getting recognized. I think the event has been effective in showcasing FNL’s and NCI’s capabilities and the fact that we are willing and able to partner with companies and organizations.



Mary Ellen Hackett: Attendees appreciate the Tech Showcase for the opportunity to learn about NCI and FNL technologies available for licensing and to hear from the experts gathered for the panel discussion. But it’s clear the event is most valuable for making connections with others in the biotech community. It’s gratifying to walk through the ATRF atrium and see dozens of small groups gathered in conversation. What are they cooking up?! You can tell the Tech Showcase is a “must-attend” event for Maryland biotech.


Walter Hubert: I’m delighted that our event and its planning team is honored with this award from the NCI Director. Tech Transfer … tangibly contributes to the NCI’s mission. In my perception, the Tech Showcase is the only event in our area where cancer-related inventions can be connected to local and regional developers. The path from bench to bedside is arduous, but our event reduces the distance between inventor and developer.


Michele Newton: So many interesting things come together to make the Tech Showcase special: hearing great cancer researchers talk about the potential of their technologies, getting to highlight the Frederick National Laboratory, seeing the Ambassadors from the Technology Transfer Ambassadors Program apply their newly acquired knowledge about technology commercialization, engaging with biotech companies in the region, and learning how our event co-sponsors from Frederick County and City and TEDCO work to support business development. Having all of these things converge with a focus on accelerating potential cancer technologies to patients is a worthwhile endeavor.

Vladimir Popov: This is a very prestigious award. Being a part of the team who received this nomination only reassures me that we are on the “right track” with this or any other future events between FNL, NCI, and other stakeholders. I am very proud to be a part of such a great team that not only initiated Tech Showcase four years ago, but consistently continued to improve it over the years.



Laura Prestia: I have been a member of the Planning Committee since the showcase started. It has been exciting to see how the event evolved from its inception and has incorporated feedback from attendees to improve each year. I have heard a lot of positive feedback about the networking opportunities during the event between regional stakeholders and NCI/FNL scientists. I also hear how it is a fantastic opportunity for junior scientists and postdocs to network with local industry experts.


Michael Salgaller: As a result of the Tech Showcase, we’ve had a deeper relationship with Maryland Tech Council, Maryland Department of Commerce, Maryland Technology Development Corporation, and the European-American Enterprise Council. This deeper relationship has produced numerous opportunities for outreach, awareness, and education regarding NCI and FNL activities and opportunities.



Maggie Scully: It’s a great event that aims to fulfill the mission of NCI and FNL—to advance scientific knowledge and technology to improve human health. It is an honor to serve on the organizing committee and to get such recognition! I really like that we (FNL) open up our doors and directly engage with our community. It’s a broad group of people that attend, from local scientists to start-up founders and business development folks. There is a real energy and buzz to it.