Knight Campus External Advisory Board

The Administrative Charge

The Knight Campus External Advisory Board draws on the expertise and knowledge of its members to advise the executive director on programs and policies. The board helps the executive director further the following goals: fast-tracking scientific discoveries into innovations that improve quality of life, training scientists, engaging in interdisciplinary research, forging tighter ties with industry and entrepreneurs, and creating new educational opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students; and enhancing the reputation of the Knight Campus among alumni, other institutions of learning, organizations, industry, colleagues, and community members. Board members also advise and assist in obtaining resources and financial support, particularly from corporate and private sources. 

Board Members

Cheryl Moody Bartel portrait

Cheryl Moody Bartel

Thermo Fisher Scientific
Senior Director, Research & Development

As part of Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Chief Scientific Office, Cheryl currently leads Research & Development Operations, which includes fostering the ecosystem and community for the organization’s 5,000+ scientists and engineers. Managing tools, processes and analytics that promote excellence in new product development and effective commercialization are key day-to-day responsibilities. Additionally, Cheryl drives alignment for multi-disciplinary R&D initiatives and programs to capitalize on Thermo Fisher’s breadth of capabilities. In her previous role, she led several R&D teams focused on the synthesis and characterization of new materials; formulations science; and analytical technique development to ensure sustainable and scalable manufacturability of materials and products related to biological labeling and detection and cell culture. Cheryl joined Thermo Fisher in 2006 and prior to joining held several leadership roles at the U. S. Department of Energy Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She holds a M.S. in radiochemistry from Washington State University and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Oregon State University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto, under the direction of Professor Scott Mabury. 

jeanne beacham

Jeanne Beacham

Delphon Industries LLC
President and CEO

Jeanne Beacham is President and CEO of Delphon Industries LLC., a materials manufacturing company to the Semiconductor, Aerospace and Medical Industries. Delphon has Divisions Gel-Pak, TouchMark and UltraTape, with offices in Hayward and San Diego, CA, Wilsonville, Oregon, St. and Taiwan and global sales support. Jeanne joined Vichem Corporation in 1994 as Vice President of Marketing and Sales of GEL-PAK, responsible for worldwide sales, marketing, and strategic alliances. Delphon was named by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the Top Women-Owned Businesses in the Bay Area. Jeanne is a Past President of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) and a founding member of Semiconductor Women’s Alliance Network, a member of SEMI and an active member of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Board and the C200 organization. Prior to GEL-PAK, Jeanne was the Marketing Manager at Tencor Instruments and spent 10 years at IBM in Essex Junction, VT, in engineering and management positions where she received multiple distinguished engineering awards. She was named one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology by the National Diversity Council in 2019. Jeanne received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University.

Eric Beckman

Eric Beckman

University of Pittsburgh
Bevier Professor of Engineering in the Chemical Engineering Department

Eric Beckman received his Ph.D. in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1988. After postdoctoral research at Battelle’s Pacific Northwest Laboratory in 1987-88, Dr. Beckman assumed his faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh (1989). Dr. Beckman was promoted to associate professor in 1994, and full professor in 1997, and previously served as Associate Dean for Research for the School of Engineering and Chairman of Chemical Engineering. Dr. Beckman’s research group examines the use of molecular design to solve problems in green engineering and in the design of materials for use in tissue engineering. In 2003, with support from the Heinz Endowments, the Bevier estate, and John Mascaro, Dr. Beckman created the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, a school of engineering institute that examines the design of more sustainable infrastructure. In 2005, Dr. Beckman co-founded Cohera Medical Inc. (with Michael Buckley) to commercialize surgical adhesive technology developed at the University. In 2015 the FDA approved the first product, TissuGlu® for use in patients in the US. The second product, Sylys® surgical sealant, was awarded the CE Mark from the EU in 2014 and received an IDE, allowing US clinical trials, in 2016 from the FDA. Dr. Beckman’s research group has produced over 200 publications in the area of molecular design and more than 40 patents; he currently supervises the chemical engineering department’s product innovation sequence for undergraduates.

Kristi Anseth

Kristi Anseth

University of Colorado Boulder
Tisone Professor & Associate Professor of Surgery

Kristi S. Anseth is a pioneer in biomedical engineering, a leading researcher and inventor in the fields of biomaterials and regenerative medicine. She has shown that by controlling the chemical, biological, and physical properties of biomaterials, fundamental cell biology questions can be probed and the information used in applications to regenerate tissue. Her work on engineering tissues has improved medical treatments for many parts of the body, from helping broken bones heal faster to replacing diseased heart valves. Dr. Anseth’s seminal work on the ways extracellular cues are transmitted through cells and her proof of novel mechanisms for biomolecule delivery have revolutionized the field. She is widely recognized for blending modern molecular and cellular biology with engineering and mathematics to produce the next generation of biomaterials that are tissue substitutes able to restore, maintain, or improve tissue function. Her discoveries have led to 17 patents—so far. In order to make those discoveries useful, Anseth founded Mosaic Biosciences, which translates these breakthroughs into useful applications for today’s medicine. Dr. Anseth received her B.S. from Purdue and then her PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado, and completed postdoctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue. She serves on 10 editorial boards and is highly sought for service on federal review panels such as the National Institutes of Health.

Sadik Esener portrait

Sadik Esener

Oregon Health & Science University
Professor of Medicine, Director of CEDAR, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

Sadik Esener, Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Early Detection Research and Wendt Family Endowed Chair in Early Cancer Detection at the Biomedical Engineering Department at OHSU. Prior to joining OHSU, Dr. Esener served in several leadership roles at the University of California, San Diego, in which he achieved results by bringing together scientists and technology across disciplines. He served as the director and principal investigator of the NanoTumor Cancer, a Nanotechnology Center of Excellence funded by the National Cancer Institute. He has also held leadership roles with the Center for Heterogeneously Integrated Photonics Systems (CHIPS) as well as the Opto-Electronic Stacked Processors (OESP) and the Fast Read-out Optical Data Storage Industrial Consortium, which were both funded by DARPA. His research focus has involved projects in multiple scientific fields relevant to cancer early detection, including electrical and optical engineering, nano-engineering and material sciences for biomedical applications. In addition, he has made many pioneering contributions to the fields of optical interconnects, light modulation, optical data storage, biophotonics as applied to gene chips, cell sorting and manipulation, and heterogeneous integration of photonics, electronics and biological components. More recently his work has focused on the synthesis and application of nanoparticles delivery of biologics for cancer therapies, brain mapping and in vivo imaging. Dr. Esener received his Ph.D. in applied physics and electrical engineering from the University of California, San Diego. He has published more than 375 journal and conferences articles, and made more than 250 presentations in international scientific meetings, 60 of which were invited. He holds 23 issued patents, has authored several book chapters, and organized and chaired scientific international conferences. Esener co-founded and served on the board of directors and scientific advisory boards of several companies.

Maryann Feldman

Maryann Feldman

University of North Carolina
Professor of Public Policy

Maryann P. Feldman is the Heninger Distinguished Professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina, an Adjunct Professor of Finance at Kenan-Flagler Business School and a Research Director at UNC Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.  Her research and teaching interests focus on the areas of innovation, the commercialization of academic research and the factors that promote technological change and economic growth. Dr. Feldman is an editor of the journal, Research Policy, and chairs an interagency working group on Science Policy. From 2014-2017, Dr. Feldman held a joint appointment at the National Science Foundation as the Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP) Program Director. Dr. Feldman was the winner of the 2013 Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research for her contributions to the study of the geography of innovation and the role of entrepreneurial activity in the formation of regional industry clusters. Her dissertation, Geography of Innovation, examined the spatial distribution of industrial innovation and provided an empirical model of the factors and resources that affected the production of new product innovation. This publication is noted to be the first time that the term “geography” was used to describe spatial phenomenon and is now an accepted lexicon. Currently, the geography of innovation is a subject area under the strategy division of the Academy of Management. Feldman’s most recent work explores emerging industries, entrepreneurship and the process of regional transformation. She has written extensively on the early development and growth of biotechnology, as an example of a transformative technology. In 2010, she completed a study of the industrial applications of optical science, which demonstrated typologies of places that were able to sustain industrial optics through a variety of economic development strategies. Currently, Feldman is actively engaged in researching the industrial genesis of the Research Triangle region, in a joint project with Nichola Lowe.  The project follows the development of the regional economy over a 50 year time period using a unique database of 3200 entrepreneurial ventures and attempts to understand the institutional dynamics that created a vibrant regional economy.

Ken Gall

Ken Gall

Duke University
Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Professor Gall received his BS, MS, and PhD from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in Mechanical Engineering. He is currently the Chair of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. His technical expertise is in the creation, modification, understanding, and commercialization of synthetic biomaterials. On the academic side, his materials publications have been cited approximately 16,000 times with an H-index of 69. On the commercial side, he has founded multiple medical device start-ups, including MedShape, Vertera, and Restor3d. MedShape is a fully functioning medical device company developing implants for foot and ankle reconstruction based on shape memory materials. MedShape’s sports medicine division was acquired by Conmed (NASDAQ:CNMD). Vertera created the first spinal fusion implants based on porous polymer technologies and was acquired by Nuvasive (NASDAQ:NUVA). Restor3d is a new venture utilizing 3D printing of polymers and metals to create unique patient-specific implants on demand across multiple fields of medicine.

Andrés J. García portrait

Andrés J. García

Georgia Institute of Technology
Executive Director, Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience
Petit Director’s Chair in Bioengineering and Bioscience
Regents’ Professor, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Andrés J. García is the Executive Director of the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience and Regents’ Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with Honors from Cornell University, and M.S.E. and Ph.D. degrees in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in cell and molecular biology at the School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania and then joined the faculty at Georgia Tech in 1998. Dr. García’s research program integrates innovative engineering, materials science, and cell biology concepts and technologies to create cell-instructive biomaterials for regenerative medicine and generate new knowledge in mechanobiology. This cross-disciplinary effort has resulted in new biomaterial platforms that elicit targeted cellular responses and tissue repair in various biomedical applications, innovative technologies to study and exploit cell adhesive interactions, and new mechanistic insights into the interplay of mechanics and cell biology. In addition, his research has generated intellectual property and licensing agreements with start-up and multi-national companies, demonstrating the translational potential and impact of this work. He has received several distinctions, including the NSF CAREER Award, Arthritis Investigator Award, Young Investigator Award from the Society for Biomaterials, Georgia Tech’s Outstanding Interdisciplinary Activities Award, the Clemson Award for Basic Science from the Society for Biomaterials, and the International Award from the European Society for Biomaterials. He has been recognized as a top Latino educator by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He is an elected Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering (by the International Union of Societies of Biomaterials Science and Engineering), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He currently serves as President for the Society for Biomaterials.

Steven Gillett

Stephen Gillett

CEO and Cofounder

Stephen Gillett is the CEO and cofounder of Alphabet’s moonshot, Chronicle. Gillett joined Chronicle from Google, where he was an executive-in-residence at Google Ventures (GV) and remains an advisor. His leadership experience spans across enterprise software, retail, and consumer technology, including stints as CIO at Starbucks and president of digital and global business services at Best Buy. Gillett most recently served as a senior leader at Google X, working on moonshots. Previously, he was an active adviser to GV executive vice president and chief operating officer of Symantec, and was a member of its board of directors. Gillett also held executive positions at Best Buy as president of digital, marketing and operations, and at Starbucks as chief information officer and general manager of digital ventures. His background includes senior technology positions at Yahoo! and CNET Networks. Gillett holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon, and was a member of the Ducks football team. He has a master’s degree in business administration from San Francisco State University.

natasha hernday

Natasha Hernday

Seattle Genetics
Senior Vice President of Corporate Development

Natasha Hernday is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, and a member of the Executive Committee at Seattle Genetics, Inc. She leads technology licensing, clinical and commercial collaborations, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate strategy projects, and serves on the Board of Directors for PDL BioPharma. Prior to joining Seattle Genetics in January 2011, she spent more than 16 years at Amgen, in roles of increasing responsibility in research, project management and business development finance, before joining the corporate development group in 2000. While in corporate development, she was a senior member of the mergers and acquisitions team for approximately seven years, followed by two years of sell-side experience leading Amgen’s out-licensing efforts and serving on the board of two companies for Amgen’s Venture Fund. Ms. Hernday received a B.A. in Biology from the University of California Santa Barbara and an M.B.A from Pepperdine University.

fei mao

Fei Mao

Biotium Inc.
President and Founder

Mr. Fei Mao received his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Oregon in 1990 and has since established a successful career as a researcher, inventor, and entrepreneur in the biotech industry. After receiving his doctorate, Mao first worked at Molecular Probes, Inc. (now part of Thermo Fisher, Co.), where he made a number of inventions in fluorescent dye technologies. Among the inventions is a series of AlexaFluor® dyes, which are now widely used in life science research and diagnostics. Later he worked at Therasense (another biotech company), where he developed the core technology (a novel biocompatible membrane and glucose-sensing chemistry) for an implantable real-time continuous blood glucose monitor, which is now being marketed under the brand name FreeStyle Libre® by Abbott Laboratories. Currently, Mao is the founder and president of Biotium—a biotech company, and a co-founder of Neurocentria—a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company. Biotium has become a leading supplier of innovative fluorescent molecular tools for life science research, medical diagnostics, and drug screening. Neurocentria is currently running phase two clinical trials for several neurological indications, and planning phase three clinical trials for early Alzheimer’s Disease, using its leading drug candidate, MMFS. Dr. Mao holds 132 granted US patents and 142 pending US patents.

David Mooney

David Mooney

Harvard University
Robert P. Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering
Core Faculty Member, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering

David Mooney is the Robert Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a Core Faculty Member of the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. He is a member of several national academies and has won numerous awards for his research and his mentorship/teaching. He has published over 400 articles and has been issued numerous patents, several of which have been licensed to companies, resulting in successful commercial products. He is also an active member in major engineering professional societies, an editorial advisor to multiple journals, and serves on several industry and government advisory boards. Dr. Mooney is a leader in the fields of biomaterials, mechanotransduction, drug delivery, tissue engineering and immunoengineering. He is interested in understanding how cells sense signals in their environment and how this alters cell behavior. His laboratory develops biomaterials that exploit these signals to regulate specific cells and their function. They were the first to demonstrate in 3-D culture that the mechanical properties of a substrate regulated stem cell fate. His lab also developed the first implantable biomaterial cancer vaccine that contained biochemical cues to recruit and re-educate the immune system to destroy cancer cells. Dr. Mooney’s goal is to use our knowledge of cell biology in conjunction with materials to boost therapeutic effects.

Bob Nerem

Bob Nerem

Georgia Institute of Technology
Institute Professor and Parker H. Petit Distinguished Chair for Engineering in Medicine Emeritus, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Bob Nerem joined Georgia Tech in 1987 as the Parker H. Petit Distinguished Chair for Engineering in Medicine. He currently is the Associate Director of the NSF Science and Technology Center for the Emergent Behavior of Integrated Cellular Systems, and previously was the Director of an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center called the Georgia Tech/Emory Center (GTEC) for the Engineering of Living Tissues, and was the Founding Director of the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, an interdisciplinary organization for biochemistry, bioengineering, and biology. Dr. Nerem is doing research in the field of cellular and tissue engineering; in the past, he has done research on blood flow in large arteries, the role of hemodynamics in the initiation of atherosclerosis, and the influence of flow on vascular endothelial biology. He began his research career in aerospace engineering, conducting studies on heat transfer in high-temperature shock-heated gases. Prior to coming to Georgia Tech, he was a Professor and Chairman in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston. Dr. Nerem's research projects include the investigation of hemodynamics as a regulator of vascular biology and pathobiology, and stem cell technology and the development of manufacturing systems for cell-based therapies. Sponsors of Dr. Nerem's work have been the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Whitaker Foundation, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Dr. Nerem has many awards to his credit. These include being a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine (formerly called the Institute of Medicine.

Roderic Pettigrew

Roderic Pettigrew

Texas A&M University and Houston Methodist Hospital
CEO of Engineering Health and Executive Dean for Engineering Medicine

Roderic Pettigrew, PhD, MD, serves as CEO of Engineering Health (EnHealth) and executive dean for Engineering Medicine (EnMed) at Texas A&M and Houston Methodist Hospital. Dr. Pettigrew also holds the endowed Robert A. Welch Chair in Medical Science. He was the founding Director of the US National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) of the NIH. EnHealth is the world’s first initiative to holistically integrate engineering into all of the colleges of a university that are a part of the health care enterprise. EnMed is the first constituent program, creating a school that integrates engineering into medical training to develop students/physicians who invent solutions to healthcare problems. Of note, an invention is required of each EnMed graduate. As the founding director of NIBIB, he oversaw all governance operations and chaired its National Advisory Board. Under his guidance, NIBIB became internationally recognized for its global leadership in developing and accelerating the application of transformative health care technologies. Previously, Dr. Pettigrew was a professor of radiology and medicine at Emory University, professor of bioengineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and director of the Emory Center for Magnetic Resonance Research at the Emory University School of Medicine. In 2017 he was recruited from the NIH to the Texas Medical Center in Houston as part of the Governor’s University Research Initiative to lead the new joint Texas A&M and Methodist Hospital Houston-based effort to transform healthcare. An MIT graduate who finished his medical training at UCSD, he is known for his pioneering work involving four-dimensional imaging of the cardiovascular system using magnetic resonance (MRI). Dr. Pettigrew’s current research focuses on integrated imaging and predictive modeling of coronary atherosclerotic disease. Dr. Pettigrew has been elected to membership of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering. He has also been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, India.

august sick

August Sick

Cascade Prodrug
Co-Founder and Managing Director

August Sick operates a private consulting practice focused on start-up to mid-stage biotechnology companies that have a need for experienced operations management, strategic planning and deal expertise, bringing 30+ years of successful executive, entrepreneurial and investment experience. His consulting firm has worked with companies worldwide; most notably leading the licensing of key patents of Sygnis, AG to Qiagen, BV and the sale of the assets of Lab Armor to Sheldon Manufacturing. He is a co-founder and managing director of Cascade Prodrug, Inc., a development stage company engaged in anti-cancer therapeutics. In addition, August currently serves as a director of Active Motif, Inc., and TheraFluor, which he also co-founded. He works part-time as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence for the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), assisting Oregon university researchers and technology managers and assessing their inventions for commercial and ultimately new startup business opportunities. Previously, August was a senior executive for Invitrogen Corporation, a career that covered more than 18 years. From 2003 to 2009, he was the President of Molecular Probes, Inc. after being acquired for $365M by Invitrogen in August 2003 and General Manager of the Cellular Analysis Business Unit managing its growth from $64M to $225M in less than 6 years. Previously, he held positions as Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy and Vice President of Business Development. August began his biotechnology career in 1986 as a research associate for Mycogen Corporation, a San Diego startup (now part of Corteva Agrisciences) where he discovered hundreds of novel genes encoding insecticidal toxins from strains of Bacillus thuringiensis and developed many novel molecular biology methods. He is the key inventor on 36 issued US Patents. August received a B.A. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from the University of California San Diego.

tom skalak

Tom Skalak

Clara Wu and Joe Tsai Foundation
Senior Advisor

Tom Skalak joined the Clara Wu and Joe Tsai Foundation in 2018 as Senior Advisor to Clara Wu. The Foundation makes philanthropic investments in science, economic mobility, and the arts, with a vision to produce transformative impact on societal well-being and sustainability. Biomedical sciences and translational research are major directions. Tom is Vice President for Research Emeritus of the University of Virginia and was previously the founding Executive Director of The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group in Seattle. In these roles, Tom led creative synthesis of research and innovation programs spanning biosciences, environmental sustainability, physical sciences, engineering, arts, design, and humanities. Tom’s original research included cardiovascular biomechanics, angiogenesis, computational modeling, and regenerative medicine. He is a past President of both the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). He was the founder of the UVA-Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partnership, a successful early-stage investment fund. Tom is Chair of the External Advisory Council of the MIT Science and Technology Center on engineering multicellular systems and a Council Member of the Government, University, Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) of the U.S. National Academies. He was educated as a bioengineer at The Johns Hopkins University (B.E.S. 1979) and the University of California, San Diego (Ph.D. 1984), was a Resident Artist at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in 2018, and is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

Peter Zandstra

Peter Zandstra

University of British Columbia
Director & Professor of the School of Biomedical Engineering

Peter Zandstra graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McGill University in the Department of Chemical Engineering, obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of British Columbia in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology and continued his research training as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the field of Bioengineering at MIT.  He then began his faculty appointment at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Biomaterial and was later appointed University Professor, the university’s highest academic rank. In July 2017, Dr. Zandstra joined the University of British Columbia as the Founding Director of the School of Biomedical Engineering and as the Director of the Michael Smith Laboratories. In these roles, he aims to build programs with deeper interactions between the Faculties of Applied Science, Science and Medicine, especially as related to innovative research and training programs. Dr. Zandstra is the Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Bioengineering and is a recipient of a number of awards and fellowships. Dr. Zandstra is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His research focuses on understanding how complex communication networks between stem cells and their progeny influence self-renewal and differentiation, and how this information can be applied to the design of novel culture technologies capable of controlling cell fate.