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

Keith Argenbright

Keith Argenbright, M.D.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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Ross Perot Jr.

H. Ross Perot Jr.

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.

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Peter Pisters

Peter WT Pisters, M.D.

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.

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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.

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Josh Resnick

Josh Resnick, M.D.

Managing Director
RA Capital Management

Josh Resnick is a managing director at RA Capital Management. Josh’s primary responsibility at RA Capital is to lead early-stage private investments in and oversee the creation of new companies developing drugs, medical devices, diagnostics and research tools. Josh holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Williams College, an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business. He has more than 15 years of experience in investing, company formation and company leadership across all stages of drug development, from discovery through commercialization. Josh was previously co-lead of SV Health Investors’ U.S. Biotech practice where he was responsible for SV’s U.S. venture creation activities, including its incubator, Brahma Discovery. Before SV, Josh was president and managing partner at MRL Ventures Fund, the early-stage therapeutics-focused corporate venture fund within Merck & Co. Prior to MRL Ventures, Josh was a venture partner with Atlas Venture and a partner at Prism Venture Partners, focusing on company formation and seed and Series A investing. Josh is currently a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and continues to practice medicine as an attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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Richard Templeton

Cindy R. WalkerPeach, Ph.D.

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

Dr. WalkerPeach returned to Central Texas to lead CPRIT’s Product Development Program, which critically evaluates and invests in Texas-based companies with promising novel products (drugs, diagnostics, medical devices and other non-traditional oncology applications) and services that will benefit cancer patients and society.

Prior to joining CPRIT, she served as program director for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program in Washington, D.C. I-Corps prepares research scientists/engineers to extend their focus beyond the university laboratory and accelerates the economic and societal benefits of research projects with commercialization potential. She joined NSF from The University of Texas at Austin where she was a director at the Austin Technology Incubator, having served as lead advisor for healthcare-focused life sciences startups. She was responsible for evaluating new business ventures, managing a portfolio of bioscience startups and providing business mentoring to technology-focused faculty and entrepreneurs.

Prior to government service, Dr. WalkerPeach had more than 20 years of experience in the biotechnology sector as a member of several life science management teams. Dr. WalkerPeach completed a B.S. in Chemistry and holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology.

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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.

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