2020 Annual Conference: Innovating Texas – Program Speakers

The TAMEST 2020 Annual Conference: Innovating Texas program speaker lineup includes expertise from academia and industry, and sessions will feature success stories from some of Texas’ greatest entrepreneurs and inventors and look at astounding research and technology developments happening now that will impact our lives and economy in the future.

Program Speakers

John Anderson

John L. Anderson, Ph.D.

President, National Academy of Engineering
Vice Chair, National Research Council
John L. Anderson is president of the National Academy of Engineering since July 1, 2019. He was born in Wilmington, Delaware, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware in 1967 and Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1971, both in chemical engineering. He was most recently Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and president (2007–2015) of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). Before that he was provost and executive vice president at Case Western Reserve University (2004–2007), following 28 years at Carnegie Mellon University, including 8 years as dean of the College of Engineering and 11 years as head of the Chemical Engineering Department. He began his professional career as an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Cornell University (1971–1976).

Dr. Anderson was elected to the NAE in 1992 for contributions to the understanding of colloidal hydrodynamics and membrane transport phenomena and was elected an NAE councillor in 2015. His service also includes numerous National Academies activities, such as the Committee on Determining Basic Research Needs to Interrupt the Improvised Explosive Device Delivery Chain (chair); Committee on Review of Existing and Potential Standoff Explosives Detection Techniques (chair); Organizing Committee for the National Security and Homeland Defense Workshop (co-chair); Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology (co-chair); and Ford Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Review Panel on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering.

In addition to his NAE membership, Dr. Anderson is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was appointed to the National Science Board in 2014 for a six-year term. He received the Acrivos Professional Progress Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and an award from the Pittsburgh Section of AIChE for “Outstanding Professional Accomplishments in the Field of Academics,” and he is listed on the Alumni Wall of Fame at the University of Delaware. In 2012, he received the National Engineering Award from the American Association of Engineering Societies. He has held visiting professorships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation), University of Melbourne (Australia), and Landbouwuniversiteit Wageningen (the Netherlands). He has presented guest lectures at universities throughout the United States and is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters.

Dr. Anderson is married to Patricia Siemen Anderson. They have two children and five grandchildren.

Learn More >

Keith Argenbright

Keith Argenbright, M.D.

Professor
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Keith Argenbright, M.D., is a professor in the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center and Department of Clinical Sciences, where he serves as the Chief of Community Health Sciences at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Argenbright serves as the Director of Mentoring, Leadership and Career Development, and chair of the Education Mentoring & Oversight Committee, within the Center for Translational Medicine (CTM).

In addition to his role at UT Southwestern, Dr. Argenbright serves as director of Moncrief Cancer Institute, an affiliate of the NCI-designated UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. Moncrief Cancer Institute is a non-profit, community-based cancer prevention and support center, providing services spanning the cancer continuum of care, including public education and outreach, cancer prevention and early detection, behavioral and nutritional counseling, genetic testing and counseling, survivorship services and population research. Since the inception of its initial prevention program in 2010, Moncrief Cancer Institute has been the recipient of $55 million in local, state and federal awards.

As part of his role at UT Southwestern, Dr. Argenbright teaches a course on management principles and developing leadership skills for clinical/translational researchers, which is consistently one of the highest rated courses in the CTM curriculum. Applying his nearly 30 years of mentoring experience, he also launched an extremely successful case-based mentor training program for mid-career faculty.

Dr. Argenbright is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and Tulane University School of Medicine. He completed a family practice residency at John Peter Smith Hospital and a Master of Medical Management at Carnegie Mellon University.

Learn More >

Andrea Belz

Andrea Belz, Ph.D.

Division Director, Industrial Innovation and Partnerships
National Science Foundation

Dr. Andrea Belz joined the National Science Foundation (NSF) in May 2019 as the Division Director of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP), which manages America’s Seed Fund powered by the NSF, the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps™), Partnerships for Innovation and Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC). Previously, Andrea served as Vice Dean for Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering, as well as Entrepreneur-in-Residence (Technology) of Industrial and Systems Engineering. She was previously a Visiting Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the California Institute of Technology. From 2014 to 2019, Andrea was the Founding Director of Innovation Node-Los Angeles, a regional hub for the NSF I-Corps™ program. She has worked with many university startups and investors, most recently representing a major angel investing group on the board of a Caltech spinoff laser manufacturer until its acquisition in 2018. For nearly 20 years, Andrea has advised universities, corporations and other organizations on commercialization opportunities as managing member of the Belz Consulting Group. Belz holds a doctoral degree from the California Institute of Technology in physics and a master’s degree in finance at Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business.

Learn More >

Rafael Bras

Rafael L. Bras, Sc.D.

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Georgia Institute of Technology

Rafael L. Bras, Sc.D. is the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a professor and the K. Harrison Brown Family Chair in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Bras was distinguished professor and dean of the School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. For 32 years prior, he was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was Institute faculty chair, head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department, and director of the Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory. He has served as advisor to the National Science Foundation, the National Research Council and the NASA Advisory Committee, among others.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Puerto Rico. His awards include the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award Hall of Fame, AGU Horton Medal, NASA Public Service Medal, and the Clarke Prize, among others. He chaired a panel that supervised the design and construction of a multibillion-dollar project to protect the city of Venice from floods. He has published two textbooks, more than 230 refereed journal publications, and several hundred other publications.

Learn More >

Jim Breyer

Jim Breyer

Founder and CEO
Breyer Capital
Jim is the founder and CEO of Breyer Capital, a premier venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, California. Jim has been an early investor in over 40 technology companies that have completed highly successful public offerings or mergers. As a lead investor and director, many of these investments returned well over 100 times their cost, and over a dozen more have returned well over 25 times their cost.

Jim is the co-chairman of IDG Capital based in Beijing, with offices in Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai. IDG Capital was the first firm to bring venture capital into China, and Jim has been passionate and has a long track record of successfully investing in China and partnering with leading Chinese entrepreneurs. He is also a co-founder of Accel KKR based in Menlo Park, California.

Over the past several years, Jim has developed a deep personal and investment interest in long-term oriented entrepreneurs and teams working in artificial/augmented intelligence (AI) and human assisted intelligence (HAI) and he has made numerous investments in this space.

Jim currently serves on the board of directors of Blackstone (BX), and has previously served as an investor/lead director at 21st Century Fox, Dell, Etsy, Facebook, Marvel Entertainment, Wal-Mart and many other highly successful technology companies. Jim is currently an Emeritus of the Advisory Board at the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management. He is also an Emeritus of Harvard Corporation, Harvard’s senior governing board; a member of Harvard Business School’s Board of Dean’s Advisors, a member of Harvard University’s Global Advisory Council since inception; a founding member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at Stanford’s School of Engineering and a chairman of the Stanford Engineering Venture Fund as well as a founding member of The Stanford University Human Assisted Intelligence (AI) Program which was launched in March 2019.

In addition, Jim is a long-time active volunteer as a Trustee of SFMOMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the American Film Institute (AFI) in Los Angeles and Stanford’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS).

Learn More >

Michael Brown

Michael S. Brown, M.D.

Regental Professor
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Michael S. Brown received an M.D. degree in 1966 from the University of Pennsylvania. He was an intern and resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and a post doctoral fellow with Earl Stadtman at the National Institutes of Health. He is currently Paul J. Thomas Professor of Molecular Genetics and Director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Dr. Brown and his colleague, Dr. Joseph L. Goldstein, discovered the low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor, which controls cholesterol in blood and in cells. They showed that mutations in this receptor cause Familial Hypercholesterolemia, a disorder that leads to premature heart attacks. Their work laid the groundwork for drugs called statins that block cholesterol synthesis, increase LDL receptors, lower blood cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. Statins are taken daily by more than 20 million people worldwide. Brown and Goldstein shared many awards for this work, including the U.S. National Medal of Science and the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology. Dr. Brown served for 16 years on the Board of Directors of Pfizer, and he is currently a Director of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

Learn More >

Livia Eberlin

Livia Schiavinato Eberlin, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
The University of Texas at Austin

Livia Schiavinato Eberlin was born and raised in Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil. Her passion for mass spectrometry (MS) started as an undergraduate research assistant at the Thomson Laboratory of the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP). As an undergrad, she visited the Aston Laboratory at Purdue University to also pursue undergraduate research in MS. She received her B.S. in Chemistry from UNICAMP in 2007 and then moved to the U.S.A. in 2008 to start a PhD program in Analytical Chemistry at Purdue University under the mentorship of Prof. R. Graham Cooks. During her Ph.D., Livia developed and applied ambient ionization MS imaging to human cancer diagnosis. In recognition of her innovative PhD work, Livia received many awards including the Nobel Laureate Signature Award from the American Chemical Society. In 2012, she started her postdoctoral work at Stanford University under the guidance of Prof. Richard N. Zare, where she continued to develop MS technology for biomedical research. During that time, she received the L’Oréal for Women in Science Fellowship, a K99 pathway to independence award from the NIH/NCI and was listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 list in science and healthcare. In 2016, Livia started her independent career as an assistant professor in the Chemistry Department at The University of Texas at Austin. Since then, Livia and her group have received several recognitions for their research. In 2018, Livia was named a Sloan Research Fellow, a Moore Inventor Fellow and a MacArthur Fellow.

Learn More >

Joseph Goldstein

Joseph L. Goldstein, M.D.

Professor and Chairman
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Joseph L. Goldstein is Chair and Regental Professor of the Department of Molecular Genetics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He and his colleague, Michael S. Brown, discovered the LDL receptor and worked out how these receptors control cholesterol homeostasis. This work opened the field of receptor-mediated endocytosis and laid the conceptual groundwork for development of drugs called statins that lower blood LDL-cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. For this work, Drs. Goldstein and Brown were recipients of the Lasker Award in Basic Medical Research (1985), Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1985), and National Medal of Science (1988). In recent work, Drs. Goldstein and Brown discovered the SREBP family of transcription factors and showed how these membrane-bound molecules control synthesis of cholesterol and fatty acids. For this work, Drs. Brown and Goldstein received the Albany Medical Center Prize (2003) and the Rolf Luft Award from Karolinska Institute (2016). Dr. Goldstein is currently Chair of the Lasker Awards Jury and is a member of the Boards of Trustees of Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Rockefeller University and the Board of Directors of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society.

Learn More >

Adam Hamilton

Adam L. Hamilton, P.E.

President and CEO
Southwest Research Institute

Adam Hamilton serves as president and CEO of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), one of the nation’s largest independent providers of advanced scientific and applied technology solutions. A not-for-profit 501(c)(3) conducting more than $600 million of research each year, the Institute provides solutions for some of humankind’s most pressing problems in environments from deep sea to deep space, and practically everywhere in between. The Institute was founded in 1947, and Hamilton became only the fourth president to serve in October 2014.

Learn More >

Clay Heighten

Clay Heighten, M.D.

Co-founder and Partner
GPG Ventures, Caddis Partners, Health Wildcatters
Dr. Heighten is a founding member of Green Park and Golf Ventures. Since 2013, GPG Ventures has managed investments exceeding $ 65,000,000 into over 75 different early stage healthcare companies including therapeutic, medical device and software technologies.

In 1994, Dr. Heighten founded the physician organization that ultimately became known as Medical Edge Healthcare Group, P.A. (MEHG). MEHG at the time of its acquisition in 2010 by Texas Health Resources (THR) employed over 400 doctors and mid-level providers and owned facilities providing a comprehensive range of ancillary and laboratory services that in aggregate accounted for over 1.5 million patient encounters per year. Dr. Heighten completed the integration of MEHG into the Texas Health Physician Group in 2013.

Dr. Heighten was also a founder and board member of Physerve Physician Services (Physerve). Physerve provided comprehensive management support to multiple physician groups across the USA and was also sold to THR.

Dr. Heighten is also a founding member of Caddis Partners, a real estate development and management company specializing in healthcare properties. Caddis has consistently ranked as a top developer by number of square feet developed in North Texas. Dr. Heighten serves on multiple boards of directors of early stage healthcare companies and is a co-founder of Dallas based Health Wildcatters, a healthcare focused business accelerator.

Along the way, Dr. Heighten has served on the boards of hospitals, insurance entities and technology companies. He is married to Dr. Debra Caudy, a medical oncologist, and has four children. His philanthropic interests are devoted to the understanding, prevention and treatment of autistic spectrum disorders.

Learn More >

Andrei Iancu

The Honorable Andrei Iancu

Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director
United States Patent and Trademark Office

In his role as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Andrei Iancu provides leadership and oversight to one of the largest intellectual property offices in the world, with more than 12,000 employees and an annual budget of over $3 billion. He also serves as the principal advisor to the President, through the Secretary of Commerce, on domestic and international intellectual property policy matters.

Prior to joining the USPTO, Mr. Iancu was the Managing Partner at Irell & Manella LLP, where his practice focused on intellectual property litigation. Mr. Iancu appeared in a variety of high-profile matters in front of the USPTO, U.S. district courts, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the U.S. International Trade Commission. He has represented clients across the technical and scientific spectra, including those associated with medical devices, genetic testing, therapeutics, the Internet, telephony, TV broadcasting, video game systems and computer peripherals.

Mr. Iancu has also taught patent law at the UCLA School of Law, and has written and spoken publicly on a variety of intellectual property issues. Prior to his legal career, Mr. Iancu was an engineer at Hughes Aircraft Company.

Throughout his career, many organizations have recognized Mr. Iancu for his work. Among his legal community accolades, the Daily Journal, California Lawyer magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal, Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, and many others have acknowledged his expertise in commercial litigation and intellectual property law. Mr. Iancu has also been the recipient of the Patent and Trademark Office Society 36th Annual Rossman Award, the Hughes Aircraft Malcolm R. Currie Innovation Award, and the Melville B. Nimmer Copyright Award. Mr. Iancu holds a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. He also has a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, both from UCLA. Mr. Iancu was born in Bucharest, Romania. He has lived in the United States since the age of 12. He and his wife Dr. Luiza C. Iancu have two children, Ariella and Robert.

Learn More >

Mamie Jones

Mamie Jones

Sr. Vice President of Product Development
Intuit ProConnect Group

Mamie Jones is the Pro Connect Senior Vice President of Product Development at Intuit. She is responsible for the development and operations of the Pro Connect Group’s portfolio of products like ProConnect Tax Online, Lacerte and ProSeries, which are used by accounting professionals to serve their customers and work with state and federal agencies. Since joining Intuit in 2011, she has led the technology transformation for the company’s online product offerings. Under her leadership, the Plano campus of Intuit has been recognized by the Dallas Business Journal as a Best Place to Work, and Intuit was recognized by Fortune as a Great Place to Work in Texas. Intuit was the highest-ranking technology company on either list. Mamie was also recognized as a Tech Titan in 2016 by the Dallas Business Journal, and she was awarded Intuit’s CEO Leadership Award 2017.

Prior to joining Intuit, Jones served as the Sr. Vice President of Hoovers, a division of Dun and Bradstreet. She led the technology transformation to an SOA platform and spearheaded the adoption of Agile methodology. This resulted in extraordinary developmental improvements, making it possible to focus on game changing initiatives. Before joining Hoovers, Jones was the Sr. Vice President of Travelocity, managing all aspects of technology from development to operations. In one way or another, Jones has been professionally involved in the software development industry throughout her career. Jones has proven her leadership abilities in software design and development by creating best-in-class teams dedicated to implementing high quality products and innovative solutions.

Tom Kowalski

Tom Kowalski

President and CEO
Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute

Thomas R. Kowalski is President and CEO of the Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute (THBI) in Austin, Texas.

He has previously served as a senior staff member to Governor Bill Clements of Texas, U.S. Senator John Tower of Texas, and Congressman Jim Collins of Dallas, Texas.

With over thirty-five years of political and policy experience, Mr. Kowalski was appointed in 1989 by Governor Bill Clements to the Board of Regents of the Texas State University System. He served as Chairman of the Board of Regents in 1995. In addition, Mr. Kowalski currently serves as Chairman of the McCoy College of Business Administration Advisory Council at Texas State University.

An avid public speaker, Mr. Kowalski gives numerous talks on positioning Texas as a global leader in the development of biotechnology and life sciences. He was appointed in 2002 to Governor Rick Perry’s State Council on Science and Biotechnology Development. He is the former Chairman of Bio’s Council of State Biotechnology Associations, whose national membership consists of forty-nine state associations involved in biotechnology development and advocacy. Mr. Kowalski is a distinguished alumni of Texas State University.

A lifelong Texan, Mr. Kowalski resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Susie.

Learn More >

Tom Luce

Tom Luce, J.D.

Board Chairman
Texas 2036
Tom Luce’s life has been one of family, professional accomplishments, public service and social entrepreneurship.

Tom has been married to his life partner, Pam, for 58 years. They have three adult children, a daughter-in-law and seven grandchildren.

He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Southern Methodist University.

Tom was the founding and managing partner of the Hughes and Luce law firm. His career was centered on corporate law and commercial litigation. He was lead attorney on multibillion mergers and litigation, and was selected at various points in his career as one of the best attorneys in Dallas, Texas, and the United States.

His public service in Texas was distinguished by gubernatorial and legislative appointments to major state positions including Chief Justice of the Supreme Court pro tempore, member of the Sunset Commission, Superconducting Super Collider Commission, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute, Texas Commission on Judiciary, Chief of Staff of the Select Committee on Public Education, and Education Commission of the States.

On the national level, he was appointed as Assistant Secretary of Education by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate, and appointed to The Library of Congress Board by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

In addition to founding Texas 2036, Tom has founded and led numerous other nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving the needs of others including the Texas Business and Education Coalition, Just for the Kids, Data Quality Campaign, the National Center for Educational Accountability, the National Math and Science Initiative, the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and was a founding member of the Board of the Episcopal School of Dallas.

He has authored two books on improving public education and has taught at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs, Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Dallas.

Learn More >

Matt McMahon

Matt McMahon

Director, SEED Office (Small Business Education and Entrepreneurial Development)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Matt leads the newly-formed SEED Office to accelerate NIH-funded biomedical innovations from bench to bedside. SEED supports a comprehensive translational research ecosystem that includes a national network of academic proof-of-concept centers and a small business program that invests over $1 billion annually in a portfolio of more than 1,500 life science companies. SEED also provides technical and entrepreneurial advisory services and builds relationships with business, finance and healthcare stakeholders to ensure these innovations will impact patients’ lives. Matt has a diverse background in academia, biomedical small business, congressional policy and NIH program development and management. He served as the director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Office of Translational Alliances and Coordination and created and led the National Eye Institute’s Office of Translational Research. His previous experience also includes service as the principal scientist for the bionic eye company Second Sight Medical Products and as a staff member on both the United States Senate and House of Representatives committees responsible for science, technology and innovation policy. Matt holds a B.S. in Optical Engineering from the University of Rochester and a M.A and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of California, San Diego.

Todd Mitchell

J. Todd Mitchell

President
Two Seven Ventures
 
Todd Mitchell has spent his career in energy, first in natural gas exploration and geophysics; more recently as founder of Two Seven Ventures, a clean-energy investment fund. Todd served on the board of directors for Mitchell Energy & Development Corporation (MEDC) from 1994 to 2001, and after MEDC’s acquisition by Devon Energy Corporation, served on Devon’s board until 2012. He was a founding investor and is a director for Alta Resources LLC, a privately held shale gas exploration company which has developed holdings in the Fayetteville, Marcellus and Duvernay shales. Two Seven Venture’s investment portfolio includes companies in solar PV development; building energy management; building power, lighting and controls; hot water monitoring and controls; energy storage; and synthetic biology. Todd was president of the Houston Advanced Research Center from 2001 to 2006 and remains HARC’s board chairman. HARC manages programs focused on clean energy, air quality, climate, water and urban resiliency in the greater Houston and Texas Gulf Coast regions. Todd has a B.A. (Geology) from Colorado College, MA (Geology) from The University of Texas, and M.Sc. (Sustainable Development, with Distinction) from Edinburgh University.

Learn More >

General John M. Murray

General John M. Murray

Commanding General
Army Futures Command

General Murray was commissioned as an Infantry officer in the U.S. Army upon graduation from the Ohio State University in 1982. Throughout his career, General Murray has served in leadership positions and commanded from Company through Division, with various staff assignments at the highest levels of the Army.

General Murray has held numerous command positions. His command assignments include: Commanding General Joint Task Force-3; Deputy Commanding General – Support for U.S. Forces Afghanistan; Commander Bagram Airfield; Commanding General 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia; Commander, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, at Fort Hood, Texas while serving in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM; Commander, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany; Commander, C Company, 1-12th Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Carson, Colorado.

Previously, he was the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, in the Pentagon; Director, Force Management, the Pentagon; Assistant Deputy Director for Joint Training, J-7, Joint Staff, Suffolk, Virginia; Director, Joint Center for Operational Analysis, United States Joint Forces Command, Suffolk, Virginia; Deputy Commanding General (Maneuver), 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; Deputy Commanding General (Maneuver), Multi-National Division-Baghdad OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, Iraq; G-3 (Operations), III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas; Chief of Staff, III Corps and Fort Hood, Fort Hood, Texas; C-3, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, Iraq; G-3 (Operations), 1st Infantry Division, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany; Chief, Space Control Protection Section, J-33, United States Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado; S-3(Operations), later Executive Officer, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; Chief, Plans, G-1, III Corps and Fort Hood, Fort Hood, Texas.

General Murray’s awards and decorations include: the Distinguished Service Medal w/ Oak Leaf Cluster, the Defense Superior Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge and the Army Staff Identification Badge.

General Murray hails from Kenton, Ohio. He and his wife, Jane, have three lovely daughters and eight grandchildren.

Learn More >

Eric Olson

Eric Olson, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Eric Olson is the founding Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He also founded the Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine at UT Southwestern, which is advancing new strategies for organ regeneration. In addition, Dr. Olson directs the Wellstone Clinical Research Center for Muscular Dystrophy Research at UT Southwestern. He holds the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair, the Pogue Chair Distinguished Chair in Cardiac Birth Defects, and the Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship in Stem Cell Research.

Eric Olson and his trainees discovered many of the key genes and mechanisms responsible for development of the heart and other muscles. His laboratory also unveiled the signaling pathways responsible for pathological cardiac growth and heart failure. Olson’s discoveries at the interface of developmental biology and medicine have illuminated the fundamental principles of organ formation and have provided new concepts in the quest for cardiovascular therapeutics. His most recent work has provided a new strategy for correction of Duchenne muscular dystrophy using CRISPR gene editing.

Dr. Olson is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Basic Research Prize and Research Achievement Award from the American Heart Association, the Pasarow Medical Research Award, the Pollin Prize, the Passano Award, and the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology. In 2009, the French Academy of Science awarded Dr. Olson the Lefoulon-Delalande Grand Prize for Science. He is among the most highly cited scientists in the world, with his work having been cited over 100,000 times (with an h-Index of 180) in the scientific literature.

Eric Olson has co-founded multiple biotechnology companies to design new therapies for heart muscle disease. Most recently, he founded Exonics Therapeutics, which is advancing gene editing as a therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In his spare time, he plays guitar and harmonica with The Transactivators, a rock band inspired by the Texas troubadour, Willie Nelson, who created the Professorship that supports his research.

Learn More >

Ross Perot Jr.

H. Ross Perot Jr.

Chairman
The Perot Group

A Dallas, Texas, native Ross Perot Jr. serves as chairman of The Perot Group, which manages the various Perot family interests that include real estate, oil and gas and financial investments. Additionally, Mr. Perot is chairman of Hillwood, a Texas-based, leading global real estate development company which he founded in 1988.

Mr. Perot is a founder of Perot Systems Corporation and served in various roles including CEO, chairman of the board, and a member of its board of directors, until the company was acquired by Dell Inc. in 2009. Mr. Perot served on the Dell Inc. Board of Directors from 2009-2013.

An aviation enthusiast, in 1982 Mr. Perot completed the first helicopter flight around the world in less than 30 days and served as a pilot in the United States Air Force for over eight years. Perot then served as chairman of the Air Force Memorial Foundation where he led a 14-year effort to build the United States Air Force Memorial in Washington, D.C., honoring the men and women of the United States Air Force. The Memorial was dedicated to the Nation in October 2006.

Mr. Perot has won numerous awards throughout his life and career including the Gold Medal Award for Extraordinary Service from President Ronald Reagan, the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. Most recently, Mr. Perot was inducted into the “Living Legends of Aviation” and received the Eisenhower Award by Business Executives for National Security.

Mr. Perot currently serves as chairman of the board of the EastWest Institute and serves on the boards of the Dallas Citizens Council, Vanderbilt University, the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum and The Real Estate Roundtable in Washington, D.C.

Learn More >

Peter Pisters

Peter WT Pisters, M.D.

President
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Pisters is president of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he previously served in faculty and leadership positions for more than 20 years. His appointment to the presidential post, effective December 1, 2017, followed an international search and a unanimous naming as sole finalist by The University of Texas System Board of Regents.

Renowned as a cancer surgeon, researcher, professor and hospital administrator, Dr. Pisters earned his medical degree at Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. He completed his master’s degree in health care administration at Harvard University School of Public Health and did his postgraduate work at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where he was chief administrative fellow. He earned designation as a Certified Physician Executive in 2014 and was named a fellow of both the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American College of Surgeons.

Most recently, Dr. Pisters led more than 14,000 employees and 1,700 physicians as president and chief executive officer of the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto, Canada. UHN is Canada’s largest academic medical center. Affiliated with the University of Toronto, which recently ranked as the 12th most outstanding academic institution in the world, UHN has a $400 million research enterprise. It advances studies in cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, genomic medicine and rehabilitation medicine. In Toronto, Dr. Pisters also served as president and chief executive officer of The Michener Institute of Education and as a professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto.

Originally arriving at MD Anderson in 1994 from a surgery instructor position at Memorial Sloan Kettering, he joined the faculty as assistant professor of Surgery. He rose to full professor with tenure in 2004 and was repeatedly honored during his two decades at MD Anderson, earning two Fellows Outstanding Teacher awards and three Faculty Excellence awards. Dr. Pisters became medical director and eventually vice president for MD Anderson’s regional care system, comprising multiple Houston-area locations. He previously served as clinical consultant for the Center for Global Oncology (now MD Anderson Cancer Network®), section chief for Sarcoma Surgery and assistant medical director of the Sarcoma Center. He specialized in helping patients with sarcomas and gastrointestinal (GI) cancers and remains a board-certified surgeon.

Dr. Pisters is a member of more than two dozen national organizations and currently serves or has served in leadership positions on the advisory boards of numerous others, including several for the National Cancer Institute. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Surgery and serves as a reviewer for multiple others. His own research, focused on sarcomas, GI cancers and other malignancies, has resulted in nearly 400 peer-reviewed and additional articles, book chapters, teaching aids and other publications.

Learn More >

Katie Rae

Katie Rae

CEO and Managing Partner
The Engine

Katie serves as the CEO and managing general partner of The Engine. She is also co-founder and managing director of Project 11 Ventures. She serves as a board member at Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Form Energy, Via Separations and Cellino. She has advised hundreds of founders and invested in nearly 100 companies at the earliest stages of formation. Key investments include Pillpack (acquired by Amazon for $1 billion), Bevi, GrabCad, Synack, Zagster, NBD Nano, Neurala and Amino.

Katie has experience in managing startup accelerators and business-innovation programs—several of which she co-founded including Techstars Boston and Startup Institute. In addition to her extensive investing career, she has over 20 years of experience in management and operations including holding management positions at Microsoft, Eons, AltaVista, RagingBull, Zip2 and Mirror Worlds. She holds an M.B.A. from Yale University and a B.A. in Biology from Oberlin College.

Learn More >

Kerry Rupp

Kerry Rupp

General Partner
True Wealth Ventures
Kerry Rupp is a General Partner at True Wealth Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund investing in women-led businesses in the sustainable consumer and consumer health sectors. She is also a nationally-certified instructor for the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program, helping university-based teams to commercialize their science and technology research.

She serves on the board of the Austin Healthcare Council, Texas 4000 for Cancer and BrainCheck and is a board observer at Ocean Approved. She is an active startup coach and judge at startup competitions nationwide, and serves as a mentor at Capital Factory, and on the advisory boards of Texas Health Catalyst program at Dell Medical School and Women@Austin.

Previously, Kerry was CEO at DreamIt, a Top Ten U.S. startup accelerator and early-stage venture fund. Before DreamIt, Kerry founded a travel startup Holiday Golightly, and advised senior executives at Allrecipes.com, Reader’s Digest, LexisNexis, Payscale, and Taleo. She has held Vice President positions at AllRecipes.com, Jobster, Classmates.com and LexisNexis, and began her career as a consultant with McKinsey and Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).

Kerry holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Biology from Duke University.

Learn More >

Gerald Sewack

Gerald Sewack, Ph.D.

Director of Scientific Operations
RA Capital Management, L.P.

Gerald is the Director of Internal Discovery at RA Capital Management. Gerald’s primary responsibility is to leverage RA Capital’s TechAtlas platform to identify differentiated opportunities for new venture formation. Gerald holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Harvard Medical School. His research investigated chromatin structure and transcription factor binding. He worked previously at Global Prior Art, an intellectual property analysis firm, as a partner and the director of the Life Sciences Division.

Learn More >

Scott Sheffield

Scott D. Sheffield

President and CEO
Pioneer Natural Resources

Scott D. Sheffield is an energy industry leader who played significant roles in the American shale revolution and lifting of the U.S. crude oil export ban. He currently serves as President and CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, the company he helped found in 1997 and grew into what is today the second-largest crude producer in Texas.

The son of an ARCO executive, Sheffield attended high school in Tehran, Iran. After graduating from The University of Texas, he began his career as a reservoir engineer with Amoco Production Co. In 1979, Sheffield became the fifth employee of Parker & Parsley Petroleum Co. in Midland, Texas. By 1985, he was CEO of Parker & Parsley and became its chairman in 1991.

Under Sheffield’s leadership, Parker & Parsley merged with MESA, Inc. in 1997 to form Pioneer Natural Resources Co. He became the company’s founding CEO and assumed the position of chairman of the board in August 1999. Sheffield retired from the company in 2016, but he returned as President and CEO in 2019 and continues to serve on the board.

Sheffield also serves as a director of The Williams Companies, Inc., a provider of large-scale infrastructure for natural gas and natural gas products, on the advisory board of the Center for Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and on the Energy Council of CSL Capital Management, LLC, a private equity firm.

The Permian Basin Petroleum Association recently honored Sheffield as the recipient of its prestigious Top Hand award, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership within the oil and gas industry and the Permian Basin community.

He is also a 2013 inductee into the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum Hall of Fame, memorializing those whose achievements and outstanding contributions to the industry helped build the Permian Basin. Sheffield also received the Texas Oil & Gas Association’s Distinguished Service Award, the ADL’s Henry Cohn Humanitarian Award in Dallas, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Hope Award in Midland and the Frank Pitts Award for Energy Leadership from Southern Methodist University.

Sheffield is a distinguished graduate of The University of Texas with a bachelor of science degree in petroleum engineering.

Learn More >

Loren Steffy

Loren Steffy

Author, Speaker and Publisher
30 Point Press/Stoney Creek Publishing Group

Loren Steffy is a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly, an executive producer for Rational Middle Media and a managing director for 30 Point Strategies, where he heads the 30 Point Press publishing imprint. He is the co-author of The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens (to be published in February 2020) and the author of George P. Mitchell: Fracking, Sustainability and an Unorthodox Quest to Save the Planet, which was published in October 2019. He is the author of two previous books: Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit and The Man Who Thought Like a Ship.

For nine years, Steffy was the business columnist for the Houston Chronicle and before that was the Dallas (and Houston) bureau chief and a senior writer for Bloomberg News. His award-winning writing has been published in newspapers and other publications worldwide. He lives in Wimberley with his wife, three dogs and an ungrateful cat.

Learn More >

Andrew Strong

Andrew Strong

Partner
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP
Andrew Strong, a Pillsbury partner, has represented private and public company clients in the life sciences, emerging technology, energy and transportation industries over the past 25 years. These include numerous biotech start-ups to Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and energy companies.

Andrew previously served as the General Counsel and Compliance Officer for the Texas A&M University System where he was responsible for, among other things, technology and IP commercialization, business transactions, research compliance and litigation for the System which employs approximately 25,000 employees with nearly a $4 billion per year budget. He was the founding president and CEO of Kalon Biotherapeutics, a contract development and manufacturing organization formed by the Texas A&M System in 2011 and, under his leadership, Kalon grew significantly and was sold in 2014 to FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies.

Based in Texas, Andrew now counsels international and U.S. biotech founders, investors and executives on company building, private and public financing, non-dilutive funding (CPRIT), technology licensing, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances and joint development partnerships.

Andrew has served on a number of private and public company boards and presently serves on the boards of biotech companies Medicenna Therapeutics, Inc. (TSX: MDNA) and ImmunoGenesis, Inc.

Learn More >

Richard Templeton

Richard K. Templeton

Chairman, President and CEO
Texas Instruments
 

Rich Templeton is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Texas Instruments. Over the past six years, Rich has reshaped the company to focus on designing and manufacturing the best products, analog and embedded processors, and selling into the best markets, industrial and automotive. TI’s business model, under Rich’s leadership, has put the company among the S&P 500’s top cash generators and returners.

Rich has shown he understands that success is measured by more than a profit statement, demonstrating daily that the company’s values are foundational to how TI conducts business and its long-term success. His leadership has been recognized by Institutional Investor’s Best Semiconductor CEO’s in America list for the past several years.

Outside of TI, Rich serves on the board of the Semiconductor Industry Association, Southern Methodist University and Southwestern Medical Foundation. Personally and professionally, he has put an emphasis on public issues to advance science and math education. The industry has taken note of Rich’s commitment and passion to STEM education, and in 2012, he received the SIA’s highest award, citing his service as a “vigorous advocate for science, technology, engineering and math education.”

Learn More >

James Willson

James Willson, M.D.

Chief Scientific Officer
Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)

Dr. Willson leads the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) academic research program in supporting innovation in cancer research and recruiting world-class cancer researchers to Texas institutions. He is nationally renowned for his work in the genetics of colorectal cancer, having spent more than three decades in the field. Dr. Willson’s research led to the development of cell and animal models for human colon cancer that have been key to identifying genetic factors in disease progression.

Dr. Willson joined CPRIT in March 2016 following a distinguished career as director of Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center and associate dean of oncology programs at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Under his leadership, Simmons Cancer Center achieved designation as a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center. He helped bring the same prestigious designation to Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland, where he served as its director from 1994–2004.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Dr. Willson earned his M.D. from the University of Alabama in 1976. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1981 and received additional training at the National Cancer Institute.

Learn More >

Huda Zoghbi

Huda Y. Zoghbi, M.D. (NAM, NAS)

Professor, Baylor College of Medicine
Director, Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Huda Zoghbi is the Ralph D. Feigin Professor of Pediatrics, Neurology, Neuroscience, and Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the founding Director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Zoghbi’s interests range from neurodevelopment to neurodegeneration. Her discovery (with Harry Orr) that Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 1 is caused by expansion of a polyglutamine tract and her subsequent studies have had profound ramifications since many late-onset neurological disorders involve accumulations of disease-driving proteins. Zoghbi’s work in neurodevelopment led to the discovery of the gene Math1/Atoh1 and showing that it governs the development of several components of the proprioceptive, balance, hearing, vestibular and breathing pathways. Zoghbi’s group also discovered that mutations in MECP2 cause the postnatal neurological disorder Rett syndrome and revealed that changes in the levels of MECP2 in either direction underlie various neuropsychiatric features. She has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among Dr. Zoghbi’s recent honors are the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and Canada Gairdner International Prize.

Learn More >