OTA Team

Robert J. Schneider, PhD
Associate Dean for Office of Therapeutics Alliances

Robert Schneider Dr. Schneider leads the Office of Therapeutics Alliances (OTA), guiding the activities of both the Translational Science Incubator and Virtual Accelerator programs, overseeing all aspects, from academic discovery to industry, nonprofit, foundation and federal grant partnerships. As director, Dr. Schneider participates in development of new drug discovery partnerships, licensing, project management activities, evaluation of relevant NYU patent portfolios, development of therapeutics-focused translational research working groups, and implementation of contract research organization opportunities. 

Dr. Schneider holds the Albert B. Sabin endowed chair for molecular pathogenesis at NYU School of Medicine. His laboratory research and participation in therapeutic clinical trials are directed to the development, progression and metastasis of breast and other cancers, and the interplay of the inflammatory response. He has published over 140 research papers in these and related areas. Dr. Schneider is also an associate director of the NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center, director of Translational Cancer Research, and co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program at NYU School of Medicine. He is the recipient of a number of research awards, holds a number of patents, and is a founding scientist of five biotechnology/small pharmaceutical companies.


Nadim Shohdy, PhD
Assistant Dean, Therapeutics Alliances

Nadim Shohdy Dr. Shohdy directs the activities of the Virtual Accelerator program to translate new discoveries into developmental therapeutics, including establishing contract research organization collaborations and engaging subject-matter experts. He directs development of new partnerships with industry, investors and nonprofits. Dr. Shohdy is the coordinator of project activities in licensing, working closely with the NYU Office of Industrial Liaison. He also assists in development of translational research working groups, developmental funding decisions and benchmarks for progress reporting. Dr. Shohdy is also a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell Biology at NYU School of Medicine.

Dr. Shohdy received his PhD with Distinction in Microbiology from Columbia University and was the 2006 Richard C. Parker Graduate Student Award recipient. His thesis work in Dr. Howard Shuman's lab focused on elucidating virulence mechanisms of Legionella pneumophila. Dr. Shohdy completed his postdoctoral training at the Rockefeller University where he was awarded an NRSA Fellowship to study the cell biology of hepatitis C virus in Dr. Charles Rice's lab. During this time, Dr. Shohdy was a co-founder of the Rockefeller University Biotechnology Forum. Dr. Shohdy then joined the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), a non-profit product development partnership, as a research analyst in IAVI’s Innovation Fund where he was involved in developing and managing collaborative alliances with biotechnology companies and academia. 


Xinyan Huang, PhD
Therapeutics Research Operations Manager

Xinyan HuangDr. Huang is responsible for providing robust project management support and scientific oversight for all OTA projects where she leverages her extensive expertise in drug discovery project leadership and more than 8 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining NYU, Dr. Huang worked as a senior research scientist in the Neuroinflammation Disease Biology Unit at Lundbeck, an international pharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics for CNS disorders. In her role, she was a researcher and team/project leader for target identification and validation, assay development, high-throughput screening, hit identification, lead optimization and candidate selection for clinical development.

Dr. Huang earned her Ph.D. in Biological Science from the University of Toledo and completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan where she focused on developing mouse models to study RGS proteins in cardiovascular and metabolic function. She has received a Multidisciplinary Cardiovascular Research Training Grant from NIH, Outstanding Postdoctoral Research Award from the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan, and the Rising Star Award from the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association.


Eric Ekland, PhD
Senior Research Analyst

Eric EklandDr. Ekland is responsible for comprehensive scientific and business intelligence to help OTA evaluate NYU research with potential for innovative drug discovery and guide the development of OTA-supported workplans. Dr. Ekland leverages his experiences in early stage biotechnology in the business and academic spheres to review the science, intellectual property, regulatory paths and overall commercial potential for incoming OTA projects.

Dr. Ekland received his PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California at San Francisco where he studied B-cell biology in the laboratory of Dr. Jason Cyster. He completed his post-doctoral training at Columbia University where he developed novel anti-malarial therapeutics in the laboratory of Dr. David Fidock. He was the recipient of multiple awards including a Howard Hughes Pre-doctoral Fellowship and a Life Sciences Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. He has authored or co-authored over 20 publications in leading journals including Science and Nature. Before joining OTA, Dr. Ekland worked as an Associate Research Analyst at JMP Securities, a boutique investment bank with a significant focus on early stage healthcare companies. In that capacity, Dr. Ekland holds both Series 7 and 63 licenses.


Marisa Mitchell-Flack
Research Technician

marisa mitchell-flackMarisa Mitchell-Flack provides hands-on support to OTA projects involving activities in NYU Langone laboratories. She wields her extensive experience in molecular biology, tissue culture, biochemistry and animal handling to assist with optimizing protocols and experiments at the bench level. Prior to joining OTA, Marisa worked as a Research Technician screening small molecule immunomodulators at Innovimmune Biotherapeutics, a biotechnology company in Brooklyn, NY. While there, she developed and wrote several SOPs, optimized and performed high-throughput in vitro screening assays, and completed many in vivo safety and efficacy studies. She has also held research technician positions at Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical College. Marisa earned a BA in Biology from Hood College.