Pappu recognized as ‘woman to watch’ in life science

By Alyssa Patrick, Economic Development & External Affairs

SitaPappu-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Sita Pappu, Washington State University’s director of the Office of Commercialization, will be recognized this month with a “Woman to Watch in Life Science Award” during the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association’s annual Life Science Innovation Northwest conference, which takes place June 19-20 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

The award, which will be presented at a luncheon ceremony June 20, recognizes women “who are thought-leaders in their fields and shaping the future of their industries,” according to a press release from the organization. Pappu is one of six award recipients.

“I am honored by this recognition,” said Pappu. “I feel that this is truly reflective of the raised profile of WSU commercialization efforts in Washington state as well as nationally.”

“Sita exemplifies the spirit of this LSINW award,” said Anson Fatland, associate vice president for economic development. “She is thoughtful, inquisitive and always strives to make things work. Instead of saying ‘No’ she asks, ‘How can we make this work and get it done for everyone involved?’ She has been an amazing person to have on my team.”

Pappu holds a doctorate in genetics from the University of Alberta. After working in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, she started her career at WSU in 2002 as a technology licensing associate for biotechnology and life sciences.

In 2006, she was named senior technology licensing associate before subsequently being named associate director of the WSU Office of Intellectual Property. In 2013 she was promoted to director of that office, which she reorganized into the Office of Commercialization.

During her time at WSU, Pappu has successfully licensed more than 80 university technologies and has helped move WSU research in agricultural biotechnology, obesity management and animal health technology into the market. Her efforts have led to more than $10 million in generated revenue for WSU, as well as over 50 jobs created in Washington state.

“Sita Pappu and her staff function as fundraisers, negotiators and mentors,” said Katrina Mealey, a veterinarian in WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine who nominated Pappu for the award. “Commercialization is more than just intellectual property, and Sita deftly manages all these complex tasks and relationships.”

In the year since launching the Office of Commercialization, Pappu has helped shape national policy on intellectual property in Washington D.C., raised funds for and implemented WSU’s commercialization gap fund and made several invited presentations on life sciences and commercialization. She is a member of WBBA’s commercialization committee and serves on WSU institutional committees.

The other “Women to Watch in Life Science award winners are Amanda Jones from Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Amanda Paulovich from the Fred Hutchinson Research Center, Caitlin Cameron from OtoMetrix, Mila Lobanova from Blaze Bioscience and Rhea Coler from the Infectious Disease Research Institute.



Alyssa Patrick, WSU economic development, 206-219-2427,