InteliSpark was formed in 2016 to broaden the mission of providing assistance to include universities, venture capital firms, and economic development programs

Kirk J. Macolini - President, Principal Consultant, & Founder

Kirk Macolini is the Founder, President, & Principal Consultant of InteliSpark.   Kirk has over 15 years of experience with the SBIR and STTR programs and has developed proposals that have resulted in ~400 funded projects from agencies including all SBIR granting federal agencies. His work assisting start-ups in competing for SBIR/STTR funding has been featured in the journal Nature.  Many of his clients’ projects are based on University generated technologies – including technologies from well-respected research institutions such as Cornell University, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California Berkeley, and the University of Virginia.  He has held technical, management, and business roles in small software and biotech firms.  Mr. Macolini earned a Masters of Science and Bachelors of Science in the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has eight-years of military experience in military intelligence and combat engineering roles. An entrepreneur at heart, Mr. Macolini also founded Centurion Technology to help small innovative firms compete effectively against larger SBIR mills. He is dedicated to giving each client the personal attention required to make the client successful. If you have any questions, feel free to email Kirk directly at

Jodie Mangor – senior Proposal Development consultant

Jodie Mangor joined the InteliSpark team in 2016. Formally trained as a research scientist, she has over seven years of lab experience in university-based projects ranging from degradation of bacterially produced polymers to tRNA gene regulation. She is also a co-inventor on a patent held by Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University with potential application in gene therapy. Over the past decade, she has authored Acoustiguide and  AudioConexus audio-tour scripts for high-profile venues including the 9/11 Memorial Museum, Ford’s Theatre, and travel destinations around the world. She also spent four years as editing scientific manuscripts for publication in Springer Science+Business Media journals.  Jodie has an M.S. in molecular biology from the University of Oregon, as well as B.S. degrees in both microbiology and environmental science from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Luisa torres - Proposal Development consultant/Life sCIENCE sPECIALIST

Luisa joined the InteliSpark team in 2019. She has 10 years of academic lab research experience and is the author of 10 peer-reviewed publications in neuroscience and immunology-related topics. Her graduate work focused on the use of anti-inflammatory therapy for the treatment of spinal cord injury in mice as well as the role of microglia in the healthy brain. She did a 3-year postdoc at Cornell University where she studied the effect of parasitic infections on the appearance of signs of Alzheimer’s disease in mice as well as the effect of perfluorinated compounds on the mouse immune system. Her strong interest in science communication led her to produce scientific content for lay audiences in the form of blog posts and radio scripts. She currently volunteers producing short interviews with scientists in the Ithaca area for WRFI’s Locally Sourced Science radio show. She is also the communications officer for the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) where she manages a team of 5 blog writers who generate science communication content for the ASPET website. Luisa has a PhD in Pharmacology from Stony Brook University.

Casey McGrath - Proposal Development consultant

Casey joined the Intelispark team in 2019. She has 12 years of research experience in the fields of molecular biology, genetics, genomics, and bioinformatics. Her graduate work involved the use of next-generation sequencing approaches and the development of computer code to analyze and manage genomic "big data". Before that, she performed high-throughput genotyping of patient samples to identify genetic variants associated with psychiatric diseases. After attaining her degree, she spent four years as a scientific editor and writer of academic manuscripts in the biological and medical sciences. She also writes highlights and summaries of scientific articles for lay audiences that have been published by various journals and news outlets, and she manages the social media content and strategy for the Oxford University Press journal Genome Biology and Evolution. Casey has a PhD in biology from Indiana University.

 Sheryl Rakowski – Proposal RESEARCH Specialist

Sheryl Rakowski joined the Intelispark team in 2017. Formerly a Senior Research Specialist of 20 years from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sheryl worked primarily in a Bacteriology Research Lab. As a co-author, she contributed to the writing, editing, and figure-generation of 9 peer-reviewed articles, 1 book chapter and 5 symposia posters. “Acknowledged” in 9 additional publications. Her interests and skills include science communications with an emphasis on the preparation of peer-reviewed manuscripts and grant proposals. Sheryl has a B.S in Biology from Cornell University and a M.S in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin.

Emma Hyland - Proposal Development Coordinator

Emma is a recent graduate of Ithaca College where she received her B.S. in Business Administration with a double concentration in finance and management. Prior to joining InteliSpark, Emma was an intern at Montgomery County Business Development Center,  focusing on PR work with local businesses. She also volunteered at Ithaca's local start-up incubator, Rev, and worked on the marketing team for a business' new sector. In her experiences with local businesses through both her internship and courses at Ithaca College, Emma has been filled with the desire to assist in the growth of start-ups and small businesses.