Meet the Invention Ambassadors

We are proud to introduce the 2016-2017 AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassadors.  Learn more about them below and follow their journey!


Aaron Baughman is a Senior Technical Staff Member and lead data scientist with IBM’s Sports and Entertainment for professional tennis and golf.

Early within his career, he worked on biometric identification such as face, fingerprint and iris recognition. Further, he was a technical lead on a DeepQA (Jeopardy!) project and an original member of the IBM Research DeepQA embed team.  He has published papers within knowledge discovery and data mining, biometrics and medical applications. Aaron published a book with Springer titled “Multimedia Data Mining and Analytics”.

Aaron holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Georgia Tech, a M.S. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins, and 2 certificates from the Walt Disney Institute.  Aaron is a 2-time IBM Master Inventor, IBM Academy of Technology member, Corporate Service Corps alumni, and a lifelong INFORMS Franz Edelman laureate.  He has 31 patents with many more pending.


Bertrand Cambou is a Professor of Practice at Northern Arizona University where his primary research interests are in nanotechnologies. He is directing the cybersecurity effort at NAU, and is partnering with his colleagues in the development of disruptive power storage solutions. He is also an active entrepreneur, serving as a board member, and technical advisor to a private enterprise. Prior to his current position, Bertrand was a senior executive in Silicon Valley, in nanotechnologies. He has invented a novel magnetic transistor capable of sensing micro-currents for power management systems. He was a corporate officer at Advanced Micro Device, and spun off AMD’s memory division to create “Spansion” leading a successful IPO, raising $1B. He worked in the smartcard industry at Gemplus (now Gemalto) as president of Gemplus software. Bertrand spent 15 years at Motorola Semiconductor (now NXP-Freescale), where he was CTO for five years and was named Distinguished Innovator and scientific advisor of the BOD. His personal contribution at Motorola included the invention and development of the SmartMOS, MEMS technologies, and the III/V integration on silicon. From 1996 to 1999 he led the power PC effort at Motorola with Apple and IBM, contributing to the successful introduction of the G3 and G4 product family at Apple. Bertrand holds a Doctorate degree from Paris-South University (XI) in electronics, an Engineering degree from Supelec, and a Master in Physics from Toulouse University, France. He authored or co-authored 42 patent disclosures with 412 citations. In the last year alone he filed 10 patents, had papers accepted at the IEEE and NSF 2016 workshop “securing the Internet of Things” in Washington, the 2016 annual Cyber and Information Security conference in Oak Ridge, and a poster at the 2015 innovation forum for DOD in Austin.


Eric Fossum is a Professor at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth and Director of the School’s Ph.D. Innovation Program.  He is a semiconductor device physicist and engineer specializing in image sensor technology and is currently exploring the Quanta Image Sensor. He is best known for the invention of the CMOS image sensor now used in billions of cameras. He was inducted into the US National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2011 and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

He received his B.S. in Physics and Engineering from Trinity College, CT in 1979, his Ph.D. from Yale in 1984 and became an EE faculty member at Columbia. In 1990 he was recruited to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech where he managed JPL’s image sensor and focal-plane technology R&D and invented the CMOS image sensor. He then co-founded and co-led Photobit Corporation to commercialize the technology. Photobit was acquired by Micron in 2001. He later served as CEO of Siimpel Corporation to commercialize MEMS auto-focus actuators for camera phones.  He worked with Samsung Electronics before joining Dartmouth in 2010. He has published over 280 technical papers and holds over 160 US patents.   Dr. Fossum co-founded the International Image Sensor Society (IISS) and served as its first President. He and his wife operate a hobby farm in New Hampshire and he enjoys his time on his tractor.

Rick Hamilton serves as the Client Innovation Leader for IBM’s Watson IoT Division, establishing partnerships for client business transformation.  In this capacity, he works with partners’ senior technical and business leaders to define transformative applications for cognitive IoT.  He conceives and articulates novel uses of learning systems in the ambient environment, and engages engineering teams to ensure successful delivery of these capabilities.  He broadly drives executive and customer communications, outlining strategy, approaches, and direction. 

In recent years, Rick has successfully worked to define IBM’s Cloud, IoT, and Cognitive offerings.  With over 740 issued United States patents, Rick is the most prolific inventor in IBM history, and has contributed more than 1% of IBM’s issued US patents in each of the past five years (2011-2015).  A frequent analyst and speaker, he has spoken on cloud computing, innovation cultures, and intellectual property management to clients in 31 countries.

Ayanna Howard is the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Chair in Bioengineering in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Zyrobotics, a Georgia Tech VentureLab startup company.   Her area of research is centered around the concept of humanized intelligence, the process of embedding human cognitive capability into the control path of autonomous systems. This work, which addresses issues of intelligent control as well as aspects of human-robot interaction in real-world environments, has resulted in over 200 peer-reviewed publications.

To date, her unique accomplishments have been highlighted through a number of awards and articles, including highlights in USA Today, Upscale, and TIME Magazine, as well as being named a MIT Technology Review top young innovator and recognized as one of the 23 most powerful women engineers in the world by Business Insider. In 2013, she also founded Zyrobotics, which is currently licensing technology derived from her research and has released their first suite of therapy and educational products for children with special needs.

She received her B.S. in Engineering from Brown University, her M.S.E.E. from the University of Southern California, and her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California.

Benjamin S. Hsiao, a Distinguished Professor in Chemistry at Stony Brook University, received his B.S. degree from National Taiwan University, Ph.D. from University of Connecticut, and post-doctorate training at University of Massachusetts. He joined DuPont Company as a staff scientist and spent 8 years in R&D before coming to Stony Brook University. He served as Chair of the Chemistry Department and held Vice President for Research position at Stony Brook University. Currently, Hsiao is a Founding Co-Director of Innovative Global Energy Solutions Center (, aiming to prototype ‘sustainability for off-grid communities of tomorrow’, using the Turkana Basin Institute in northern Kenya as a living laboratory. He is also the Director of Center for Advanced Technology in Integrated Electric Energy Systems (, with the mission to enhance the development and integration of advanced technologies into electric energy systems on multiple scales.

Hsiao has a distinguished reputation in polymer science. His current research interests are mainly focused on the development of sustainable nanostructured materials for water pufication. He published over 442 peer-reviewed scientific papers, 42 reviews and chapters in books and encyclopedias, 228 conference proceedings, obtained 34 issued patents (including 20 US patents) and 21 pending patent applications, and edited 2 books. He was elected as Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of American Chemical Society, Fellow of American Physical Society, Fellow of Materials Research Society, Fellow of National Academy of Inventors, and received SUNY Distinguished Professor, Hononary Professor from University of Queensland in Australia, Chang-Jiang Scholar from Education Ministry of China, Co-operative Research Award from Division of Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering of American Chemical Society, NSF Special Creativity Award and DuPont Young Faculty Award. Hsiao and his team have developed a highly permeable breakthrough membrane technology using nanofibrous materials for water purification, which removes pathogens and contaminants in water using gravity or solar heat.  This invention can provide affordable and sustainable drinking water solutions to people in remote communities and after catastrophic disasters, and the technology has been highlighted by the AAU, and the NSF in a 2015 exhibit for the U.S. Congress.

Anthony Mulligan is a founder and CEO Hydronalix, Inc, based in Sahuarita, AZ, which is a developer of small autonomous unmanned surface vehicles and related power generation and sensor packages for maritime applications.  Hydronalix is known Internationally for its EMILY Motorized Rescue Buoy for swift water rescue, and tsunami response.  Hydronalix is a 2015 Tibbett’s Awardee.  In January 2016 Hydronalix teamed with Texas A&M University Center for Robot Assisted Search and Rescue to successfully deploy EMILY systems to Greece to assist with the Syrian Ocean Drowning crisis while migrating across the Aegean Sea from Turkey to the Island of Lesvos.

Previously, Mr. Mulligan was a founder in 1989 and CEO of Advanced Ceramics Research, Inc (ACR), until its acquisition by BAE Systems in 2009. ACR started with a single $50,000 SBIR phase I program and grossed over $135 million until its acquisition.  In 2011 ACR was inducted into the SBA’s SBIR Hall of Fame. Mr. Mulligan has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

His latest project, EMILY was selected as Grand Award Invention of the Year (for Security Category) by Popular Science for 2010, and selected as #7 of “The 50 Best Inventions of 2010” by Time magazine. In 2012 Scientific American Magazine listed EMILY as one of 7 Additional Compelling Breakthroughs that are poised to change the world. EMILY was nominated by the Canadian Safe Boating Council for the “2012 CASBA Maritime Industry Award”.

Z. Maria Oden is a Professor in the Practice of Engineering in the Department of Bioengineering at Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering, and Director of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) at Rice University. Oden also co-directs the Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health at Rice where undergraduate students design technologies to address healthcare challenges identified by clinical partners around the world. She has about 25 years of combined academic, research, clinical experience in biomedical engineering and engineering design.  As director of the OEDK, a 20,000 sq. ft. engineering design studio that provides ready access to all the tools, supplies and resources students need to invent and bring engineering design projects to life , Oden collaborates with Rice faculty members to develop and execute engineering design programs for undergraduate students in all engineering disciplines at Rice.  

Oden’s innovative approach to creating an invention ecosystem at Rice links excellence in teaching, technology development and leadership of the OEDK.  Through collaborations fostered by Oden, students are presented with real-world problems brought to Rice by partners from, industry, local community partners, Texas Medical Center and university researchers.  Several technologies from the global health technology program are now commercially available. Oden, faculty colleagues and students in her classes were the inventors of a bCPAP system to help premature babies breathe, a syringe pump, an apnea detection and correction monitor, medication dosing clips, a blood pressure monitor for pregnant women, an incubator and dozens of other technologies. 

As important as Oden’s efforts have been in creating the bricks and mortar facility at Rice, she has — even more importantly — driven the pedagogical efforts in incorporating engineering design and invention into the curriculum of the George R. Brown School of Engineering. Students now have the opportunity to start inventing in courses starting their freshman year and deepening as they move through their undergraduate education.  In addition to her professional and teaching responsibilities at Rice, Oden collaborates with colleagues around the nation to foster growth in undergraduate design and invention education, as well as global health technology design. For her efforts in educating students, Oden has twice, in 2012 and in 2016, been awarded the George R. Brown Prize for Superior Teaching from Rice University, which is voted on by alumni of the university. She has also been awarded the 2012 Fred Merryfield Design Award by American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) for national excellence in teaching engineering design.  For her role in the invention of numerous global health technologies and taking life-saving health solutions to the developing world, Oden and colleague Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum received the $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation in 2013.

Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director and producer whose notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery using his time-lapse, high-speed and macro cinematography techniques.

Louie’s recent theatrical releases include the 3D IMAX film Mysteries of the Unseen World with National Geographic, narrated by Forest Whitaker, and the pollination documentary Wings of Life for Disneynature, narrated by Meryl Streep. Mysteries is a journey into invisible worlds that are too slow, too fast, too small and too vast for the human eye to see. Designed to inspire, educate and evolve our perspective on the world, Schwartzberg creates and curates Moving Art™ videos, which can be found on your smart phone and Netflix. Louie’s three TED talks have gone viral with over 47 million combined views. His Gratitude Revealed series of shorts recently launched on Supported by the Templeton Foundation, and science and analytics by the Greater Good Center at UC Berkeley, the series explores the virtues of gratitude. nematography techniques.

John Warner is the recipient of the 2014 Perkin Medal, widely acknowledged as the highest honor in American Industrial Chemistry. In 2004 he received The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring (considered one of the highest awards for US science education). He received his BS in Chemistry from UMASS Boston, and his PhD in Chemistry from Princeton University. After working at the Polaroid Corporation for nearly a decade, he then served as tenured full professor at UMASS Boston and Lowell (Chemistry and Plastics Engineering). In 2007 he founded the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, LLC with Jim Babcock, (A research organization developing green chemistry technologies) where he serves as President and Chief Technology Officer, and Beyond Benign (a non-profit dedicated to sustainability and green chemistry education). He is one of the founders of the field of Green Chemistry, co-authoring the defining text Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice with Paul Anastas. He has published over 250 patents, papers and books. His recent work in the fields of pharmaceuticals, personal care products, solar energy and construction and paving materials are examples of how green chemistry principles can be immediately incorporated into commercially relevant applications. Warner received the American Institute of Chemistry's Northeast Division's Distinguished Chemist of the Year for 2002 and the Council of Science Society President’s 2008 Leadership award. Warner was named by ICIS as one of the most influential people impacting the global chemical industries. In 2011 he was elected a Fellow of the American Chemical Society and named one of “25 Visionaries Changing the World” by Utne Reader.

Alumni Ambassadors

Inaugural Ambassadors, 2014-2015

Karen Burg, PhD
Harbor Lights Endowed Chair & Professor, Department of Small Animal Medicine & Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia

A graduate of North Carolina State University (B.S., Chemical Engineering) and Clemson University (M.S., Ph.D., Bioengineering), Karen completed a tissue engineering postdoctoral fellowship at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, before joining the faculty at Clemson University.  Her research program has evolved from tissue engineering for regenerative medicine application to the development of bench-top engineered tissue systems and diagnostics.  Following completion of an American Council of Education fellowship at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the Georgia Institute of Technology, she was appointed Interim Vice Provost at Clemson University and Director of the Institute for Biological Interfaces of Engineering.  Prior to joining the University of Georgia, Karen served at  Kansas State University as Vice President for Research and Professor of Chemical Engineering.  Honors to Karen include a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the inaugural Swiss AO Research Prize, recognition as a Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s TR100 Young Innovator, an American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Fellow, an American Council on Education Fellow, and a US Department of Defense (DoD) Era of Hope Scholar.  Karen has given over 200 invited presentations and authored over 140 peer reviewed publications on the subject of engineered tissues.  Technologies from her team’s research serve as the basis for one spin-off company; a Burg invention is one of ten technologies featured in the ongoing Avon Foundation for Women - National Institutes of Health - Center for Advancing Innovation Breast Cancer Start-Up Challenge.  Karen has served on eight United States National Science Foundation (NSF) biomaterials-focused Engineering Research Center site visit teams and serves as reviewer for multiple national and international funding organizations, including the US NSF, the National Institutes of Health, the US DoD, the Swiss AO Foundation, the Swiss NSF, the Israel Science Foundation, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Rory Cooper, PhD
FISA/PVA Endowed Chair, Distinguished Professor of the Dept. of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Services, University of Pittsburgh

FISA/PVA Endowed Chair and a Distinguished Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh. He is also the Center Director at the Center of Excellence for Wheelchair and Related Technology, VA Rehabilitation Research & Development Center, and a Senior Research Career Scientist at the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, Dr. Cooper holds a secondary appointment at Pitt as Professor in both the Departments of Orthopedic Surgery and of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering. Dr. Cooper is also a Professor in the Robotics Institute, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Cooper attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (Signals and Systems) and his Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering (Computer Control Systems). From there he went to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering (Biomedical Engineering and Signals and Systems). He did his post graduate fellowship at VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center at the Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Affairs Hospital in Hines, IL, where his discipline was Rehabilitation Engineering and Science.

Dr. Cooper works in collaboration with several organizations, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society North America, and the American Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Cooper holds 8 patents and is the author/editor of 10 books, 30 book chapters, and over 600 journal publications, editorials and letters, and peer-reviewed abstracts and proceedings publications. He is a Founding Editor of the Assistive Technology Research Book series. He serves as an editorial board member for American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Assistive Technology, Journal of Spinal Cord Injury Medicine, and Medical Engineering and Physics.

Dr. Cooper has received numerous honors for his work, including the Paralympic Sports Science Award from International Paralympic Committee, Secretaries Award for Diversity and Inclusion from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Outstanding Civilian Service Medal from the U.S. Army War College, Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Power of Work Award from Goodwill Industries of Western Pennsylvania, the da Vinci Lifetime Achievement Award from the National MS Society - Michigan Chapter, and the Certificate of Appreciation from the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development - National Institutes of Health, amongst many others.

Vinod Veedu
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Oceanit

Currently serves Oceanit, a leading Engineering/Research and Development Company, as the Director of Strategic Initiatives, responsible for supporting key Initiatives for the corporate business. He earned MS and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Florida Atlantic University (2003) and University of Hawaii, respectively (2006). Prior to joining Oceanit, Dr. Veedu worked at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Nanotechnology Center and at the Hawaii Nanotechnology Lab. In 2006, Dr. Veedu joined Oceanit as Senior Nanotechnology Engineer, leading Materials Science related efforts for the company. Dr. Veedu is an active researcher in the area of nanocomposite materials. His research is targeted towards developing multifunctional nanostructures and hybrid platforms for various commercial and defense applications. He has more than 25 approved/pending US patents. His works have received wide acceptance in the nanotechnology community. In 2007, he became part of the Guinness Book of World records for the creation of the smallest nanobrush. In 2008, Dr. Veedu began hosting his own TV show called “Weird Science with Dr. V”, on HawaiiNewsNow (a CBS/NBC affiliate channel). Dr. Veedu also serves the NASA Space Center in Houston as Technical Advisor and he also supports the Houston Technology Center as Energy Advisor. Since 2011, Dr. Veedu has been serving Rice University as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science department.

Invention Ambassadors, Class of 2015-2016

Lisa DeLuca is a Technology Strategist for the IBM Commerce, Experience One organization. Lisa holds a Masters of Science in Technology Commercialization from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business, and a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University with minors in Business Administration and Multimedia Productions. In 2014, she was named one of Network World's 50 Most Fascinating People in the World of Technology.  She is a TED speaker, a self-­‐published author of a children’s book titled "A Robot Story", and the most prolific female inventor in IBM history and, at only 32 years old, one of the youngest inventors at IBM to ever reach the 100th Invention Plateau Award (an IBM internal patent award system).  Her innovation portfolio includes over 370 patent applications filed within the United
States and abroad, of which, over 150 have been granted, to date. The subject of her patent ideas range from areas such as cloud, mobile, social, security, and everything in between. Lisa has spoken at numerous tech conferences and written articles to share her technology and innovation passion with others.

Juan Gilbert is the Andrew Banks Family Preeminence Endowed Professor and Chairman of the Computer & Information Science & Engineering Department at  the  University  of  Florida  where  he  leads  the  Human  Experience Research Lab.  Dr. Gilbert has research projects in spoken language systems, advanced learning technologies, usability and accessibility, Ethnocomputing (Culturally Relevant Computing) and databases/data mining. He has published more than 140 articles, given more than 200 talks and obtained more than $24 million dollars in research funding. He is a Fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Gilbert is the inventor of Prime III, a universally designed voting technology that allows people to vote privately and independently on the same machine independent of their ability or disability. He is also the inventor of Applications Quest (AQ). AQ is an innovative data mining tool designed to solve Affirmative Action issues relating to the use of race/ethnicity, gender, national origin, etc. in university admissions, hiring and other practices.

In 2012, Dr. Gilbert received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from President Barack Obama. He also received the American Association for he Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2014 Mentor Award. He was recently named one of the 50 most important African-­‐Americans in Technology. He was also named a Speech Technology Luminary by Speech Technology Magazine and a national role model by Minority Access Inc. Dr. Gilbert is also a National Associate of the National Research Council of the National Academies, an ACM Distinguished Scientist and a Senior Member of the IEEE. Recently, Dr. Gilbert was named a Master of Innovation by Black Enterprise Magazine, a Modern-­‐Day Technology Leader by the Black Engineer of the Year Award Conference, the Pioneer of the Year by the National Society of Black Engineers and he received the Black Data Processing Association (BDPA) Epsilon Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution. In 2002, Dr. Gilbert was named one of the nation's top African-­‐American Scholars by Diverse Issues in Higher Education. In 2013, the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association at Auburn University named their Distinguished Lecture Series in honor of Dr. Gilbert.
Dr. Gilbert testified before the Congress on the Bipartisan Electronic Voting Reform Act of 2008 for his innovative work in electronic voting. In 2006, Dr. Gilbert was honored with a mural painting in New York City by City Year New York, a non-­‐profit organization that unites a diverse group of 17 to 24 year-­‐old young people for a year of  full-­‐time,  rigorous  community  service,  leadership  development,  and  civic engagement.

Jay Harman is a naturalist, inventor, and entrepreneur.  Harman has taken a hands-on approach to his lifelong fascination with natural fluid systems.  In the process, he has grown successful biomimicry companies that design innovative products, ranging from prize-winning watercraft, to a non-invasive technology for measuring blood glucose, to his most recent companies, PAX Scientific and its subsidiaries.  With a goal to show manufacturing industries that more efficient equipment is profitable for both shareholders and the environment, PAX designs devices including fans, mixers, pumps, refrigeration systems, and distillation systems, all based on Jay’s revolutionary understanding of nature’s methods for streamlining fluid flow.

As well as his roles as CEO of PAX Scientific, Inc. and PAX Mixer, Inc., Jay acts as chairman of the board for PAX’s subsidiaries companies, PAX Water Technologies, Inc. and PAX Pure, Inc. He shares his experience and adventures in the natural world and the corporate jungle in his book, The Shark’s Paintbrush, with all proceeds supporting biomimicry education. Jay is also featured in Prince Charles’ documentary, Harmony, and his book of the same title, as well as Elemental, an award-winning documentary profiling three environmental activists around the world.

Andrew Hessel is a Distinguished Researcher with the Bio/Nano Research Group at Autodesk Inc. in San Francisco and a futurist in genomic technologies. Working as a connector and catalyst in biotechnology and synthetic biology, he helps industry, academic, and authorities better understand the rapid changes happening in life science. He also is the founder of the Pink Army Cooperative, the world’s first cooperative biotechnology company, which is aiming to produce open source viral therapies for cancer. He is a fellow at the University of Ottawa, Institute for Science, Society and Policy, and the former co-­‐ chair of bioinformatics and biotechnology at Singularity University.

Suzie Pun earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology under the mentorship of Prof. Mark E. Davis. She then worked as a senior scientist at Insert Therapeutics/Calando Pharmaceuticals for three years developing polymeric drug delivery  systems  before  joining  the  Department  of  Bioengineering  at  University  of
Washington (UW).

She is currently the Robert J Rushmer Professor of Bioengineering, an Adjunct Professor of Chemical Engineering, and a member of the Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute at UW.  Her research focus area is in biomaterials and drug delivery and she has published over 80 research articles in this area, holds six patents, and given over 100 invited presentations on her group’s work. She contributed toward the development of drug delivery vehicles that have entered clinical trials. More recently, her research group has developed methods for drug delivery to the central nervous system as well as injectable, synthetic hmostats for trauma treatment.

Suzie has been recognized for her work with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, a Young Investigator Award from the Controlled Release Society, and the 2014 Inaugural Biomaterials Science Lectureship. Other honors include recognition as a Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s TR100 Young Innovator and as an American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering fellow.  Suzie has been committed to mentoring young scientists and engineers. She has mentored over 75 students in her laboratory at University of Washington, including 16 Ph.D. candidates and 13 postdoctoral fellows.  She has been recognized for her student mentorship with awards from both her department and the University of Washington.

Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Guided by the belief that all of the world’s people deserve access to health innovation, Professor Rebecca Richards-Kortum’s research and teaching focus on developing low-cost,  high-performance technology for low- resource settings. She is known for providing vulnerable populations in the developing world access to life- saving health technology, focusing on diseases and conditions that cause high morbidity and mortality, such as cervical and oral cancer, premature birth, and malaria. Professor Richards-Kortum’s work in appropriate point- of-care screening technologies has earned her induction into the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Rebecca is the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering at Rice University. Previously, she held the Cockrell Family Chair in Engineering #10 and was a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where she was also a Distinguished Teaching Professor. After receiving a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1985, she continued her graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she received an MS in Physics in 1987 and a PhD in Medical Physics in 1990. She joined the faculty in Bioengineering at Rice University in 2005 and served as Chair of Bioengineering from 2005-2008 and 2012-2014.

Dr. Richards-Kortum’s research group is developing miniature imaging systems to enable better screening for oral, esophageal, and cervical cancer and their precursors at the point-of-care. She led development of a novel high resolution microendoscope capable of real-time, subcellular imaging of epithelial tissue. Her team developed low-cost (<$2500), robust hardware platforms, including a tablet- and cell-phone based system. Together with colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine and the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, she has carried out clinical trials involving more than 1,000 patients, which show that the device has promise to improve early diagnosis of esophageal, oral, and cervical precancer. In a prospective, multi-center clinical trial carried out in the US and China, high resolution microendoscopy improved specificity for esophageal precancer from 29% to 79%, without reducing sensitivity. Clinical trials of over 15,000 patients in China, Brazil, and El Salvador are now underway.

Her group has integrated advances in nanotechnology and microfabrication to develop novel, low-cost sensors to detect infectious diseases at the point-of-care, including HIV, cryptosporidium, malaria, and Tuberculosis. Her group developed a low-cost sensor to detect hemoglobin concentration; the device reduced per test cost by more than 100-fold (less than US$0.01 per test) compared to the standard of care. She led development of novel nucleic acid tests to enable diagnosis of HIV in infants in low-resource settings, introducing the first integrated paper and plastic device to enable isothermal amplification of HIV DNA.

Together with Maria Oden, Dr. Richards-Kortum led development and dissemination of low-cost, robust technologies to improve neonatal survival in sub-Saharan Africa. Her team developed a $160 bubble CPAP device to treat premature infants with respiratory distress syndrome; the device delivers the same flow and pressure as systems used in the US, at 30-fold reduction in cost. Initial clinical evaluation showed that the device improved survival rates from 24% to 65%, mirroring the impact of CPAP when it was introduced in the US in the 1970s. The device has been implemented at all government hospitals in Malawi, and introduced in Zambia, Tanzania, and South Africa. In 2014, CPAP was recognized by the UN as one of 10 innovations that can save the lives of women and children now. The team is now developing a comprehensive set of technologies to enable provision of essential newborn care at district hospitals in Africa, with the goal to equip a district hospital serving a catchment area of 250,000 people for a cost of less than $10,000.

At Rice University, Dr. Richards-Kortum has established new educational programs in global health technologies. She founded the Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB) program in which undergraduate students from multiple backgrounds learn to think beyond geographic and disciplinary boundaries to solve challenges in global health. In 2012, Science awarded BTB the Prize for Inquiry Based Instruction, which recognizes outstanding examples of inquiry-based and design-based engineering education modules. In addition, the National Academy of Engineering recognized BTB with the Real-World Education Prize for successfully integrating real world experiences into undergraduate curriculum. BTB has also been recognized by ASEE with the Chester Carlson Award (2007) and with the IEEE Educational Activities Board Vice-President Recognition Award (2008).

Michael Smith is a visual computing architect and Director of the Intel Software Academic Program for Perceptual Computing and the Internet of Things. He is a specialist in image and video analytics with a focus on automated media understanding for video search and visualization. He has given over 100 invited presentations and he is the author of numerous scientific publications and a book on video indexing, search and summarization. He is a pioneer in health systems for remote monitoring and he is a co-founder of the Urban Health initiative for improving patient wellness in underrepresented communities.

He served as the Director of Research for France Telecom-Orange Labs, San Francisco, where he developed advanced media systems for smartphones and other mobile platforms. He developed seminal image processing and context aware analytics solutions to drastically increase face and location recognition in photographs on smartphones. As part of the Informedia Digital Video Library at Carnegie Mellon University, he developed patented technology for video metadata creation and summarization, which was licensed to several media organizations, including SonicFoundry and Sony.

He is also a specialist and innovator in entrepreneurial and education advances in developing countries. He recently worked with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to develop their national university system, where he served as the Vice President of Digital Media Studies and Chairman of the ICT Department. He has worked as a visiting scholar and Fulbright Specialist at the Universitaria de Investigación y Desarrollo, Colombia, the University of Campinas, Brazil, and the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He has held academic positions at the University of Texas in Austin, Huston-Tillotson University and Morehouse College. He also served as a research scientist and lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley as part of the NSF Broadening Participation in Computing Engineering Pathways Digital Library. Dr. Smith holds a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, a Master’s in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and a Bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee University and North Carolina A&T University.