Biochemistry Ph.D. Alumnus Combines Interest in Science, Humanities in Career as Patent Agent

Photo of patent agent Dan Blasiole at desk
Photo by Robin Davies.

Dan Blasiole’s career is a synthesis of his two intellectual passions: the sciences and the humanities. After honing his science knowledge with a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the lab of professor Alan Attie, he found the perfect combination of these two interests as a patent agent.

Originally from Pennsylvania, he attended Franklin and Marshall College intending to get a degree in a science field. Instead, he left with a degree in philosophy and headed to the University of California, San Diego for a master’s degree in the philosophy of science. After spending several years researching molecular epidemiology in a Department of Defense lab in California he moved to Madison for his Ph.D. in biochemistry with Attie, which he finished in 2008, and discovered the patent field. Today he works at DeWitt LLP, a law firm in Madison, Wis.

“I enjoyed doing science in the lab, but I loved learning and studying the theoretical aspects of science even more,” Blasiole explains. “I felt either too narrowly focused (in the lab) or too distanced from the scientific forefront (in the philosophy of science), neither of which was the right fit for me. I had a skill set in critical analysis and argumentative writing that I had developed studying philosophy, and I wanted to leverage this along with my passion for science in my future career.”

Through networking with professionals at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), he learned of the patent field and got interested. As a patent agent he specializes broadly in biotechnology. Patent agents are the negotiating liaisons between inventors and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Blasiole often works with WARF in his role.

UW–Madison researchers who want to patent an invention, some even from the Department of Biochemistry, first approach WARF. WARF then connects with patent attorneys and agents like Blasiole, who talk with WARF and the inventor to learn about the invention and understand the science behind it. Blasiole then drafts all the materials for a patent application, sends it to the USPTO, and negotiates back and forth with the USPTO to get it approved as a patent.

Read more about Blasiole and his career at the link below.