UW Today

This is an archived article.

May 30, 2002

Industry Relations director

Dr. Susan Wray has begun work as the School of Medicine’s new director of industry relations in the Office of Research and Graduate Education.

Wray has worked for a variety of biomedical and high-tech firms, as well as higher education. She was vice president of a university spin-off company, LifeSpex, Inc., from 1996 to 1998. From 1988 to 1996 she was at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she was director of the Office of Patent, Copyright and Technology Licensing and then director of the Office of Technology Transfer Education.

“The Office of Research and Graduate Education is very pleased that Dr. Susan Wray has joined our staff as the director of industry relations,” said Dr. Albert Berger, associate dean for research and graduate education. “Dr. Wray fills an important position in the School of Medicine as the person responsible for promoting commercial development of the research enterprise. She has considerable experience in technology transfer, both in the university setting and in the private sector. We are indeed fortunate to have attracted her to join us and look forward to having her lead the School of Medicine efforts in business development of our research.”

“It is exciting to have access to all of these great faculty researchers at the UW School of Medicine,” Wray said. “Many in our region do not know that UW receives more federal biomedical research funding than any other public university in America. I look forward to facilitating the flow of research results and inventions into the corporate world, so those inventions can be developed into products that can benefit people.”

Since she moved to the Seattle area, Wray has been vice president for clinical, regulatory and legal affairs at LifeSpex, Inc., of Kirkland, a lawyer at Preston Gates & Ellis LLP, and a consultant for Vilano Consulting.

Before she went to the University of Florida in 1988, she was an associate for two Washington, D.C., law firms and earlier worked in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs.

Wray graduated cum laude from Duke University in 1974 and earned a D.D.S. degree from the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry at Chapel Hill in 1980. In 1977-78, she was chairman of the National Council of Students for the American Association of Dental Schools.

She earned her law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., in 1984.

In 1993 Wray testified before Congress on access by foreign companies to U.S. universities. She has served on the board of directors for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Biotechnology Institute. She lectures on a variety of topics related to the commercialization of biomedical products, including intellectual property protection and premarketing approval mechanisms through the Food and Drug Administration. She is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers, the Licensing Executives Society and the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society.

Commenting on the industry relations function in an academic setting, Wray said: “The faculty who participate in corporate sponsored research or other tech transfer get a real charge out of seeing their research used in new and exciting ways. The graduate students who are involved can sometimes secure postgraduate employment with the corporate sponsor, or obtain other benefits from observing the product development process. We can serve all three missions this way — education of our students, research in the basic sciences, and service to the public.”