Kelly Sexton

Associate VP, Innovation Partnerships and Economic Impact


Phone: 734-763-0614

Innovation Partnerships
1600 Huron Pkwy, 2nd Floor-Bldg 520
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2590

Assistant: Abha Wiersba, executive secretary,

As associate vice president for research – innovation partnerships and economic impact, Kelly works closely with the vice president for research as well as other leaders across the university to provide visionary and strategic leadership of U-M’s innovation, corporate research and technology commercialization activities, including overseeing Innovation Partnerships. In this role, she supports and encourages university-wide programs for intellectual property development, innovation, and engagement with business and venture communities in the region, across the nation, and around the globe.

Prior to her arrival at U-M in 2018, Kelly was the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Technology Commercialization and New Ventures at North Carolina State University, where she served as principal investigator for an NSF I-Corps site and co-founded an alumni angel investor network to provide a new source of funding for university startups and spinouts.

Kelly holds a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in Molecular Pathology from the University of California, San Diego where she was supported by a fellowship from the California Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Kelly completed her postdoctoral studies at Stanford University where she was awarded a fellowship from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Kelly serves as co-chair of the U-M Roundtable on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, on the Advisory Board for the Detroit Chapter of Venture for America, and the Executive Committee of Ann Arbor SPARK.