Yun Li, PhD, Chief Executive Officer. Managing Director of VIC Technology Venture Development’s New Mexico Branch. Dr. Li’s multifaceted professional career spans from R&D and global program management in Fortune 500 companies to technology commercialization/startup and business consulting. In 2006, she started a consulting firm in business and professional development. In this capacity, she has assisted a wide range of companies in building commercialization strategies and capabilities, clarifying value propositions, defining applications/markets, building teams, and raising capital. She is a founding member of five technology startups. Dr. Li is an advocate for international collaboration in technology commercialization and is deeply immersed in the US-China collaboration ecosystem. She was a board member of Startup New Mexico, and serves on the board of advisors at Technology Venture Corporation. Dr. Li graduated from Tsinghua University, China, with a BS in Electrician Engineering and a MS in Nuclear Physics. She received her PhD in Materials Science from Arizona State University.
Reza Foudazi, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer and Associate Professor at New Mexico State University (NMSU). Dr. Foudazi has a MS in polymer engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology (AUT), Tehran, Iran, where he worked on modeling non-Newtonian fluid flows in mixers. He received his doctorate in chemical engineering from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), Cape Town, South Africa on the structure and rheology of High Internal Phase Emulsions (HIPEs). He worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Flow Process and Rheology Centre at CPUT on replacing surfactants by nanoparticles and controlling the rheology of HIPEs. Then, he joined the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University (Ohio, USA) as a research associate, and worked on the polymerization of HIPEs and the production of fibrous porous polymers. Dr. Foudazi joined the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at New Mexico State University (NMSU) as a tenure-track assistant professor in fall 2013. He has established Soft Matter Research & Technology (SMaRT) lab at NMSU.
Strategic Advisor Board
Dr. Jesse McCool – Dr. McCool has over 20 years of biotech experience with 15 years working for contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs). Jesse is the CEO and Co-Founder of Wheeler Bio, a customer-first CDMO which integrates the discovery, optimization, and development stages of new biological entities enabling best-in-class delivery of preclinical and clinical materials to IND sponsors. Jesse previously held technical and executive leadership positions at Lonza, Mascoma (Lallemond) and Cytovance Biologics where he helped to position the company for growth and M&A. Following the 2015 acquisition by Hepalink, Jesse served as Cytovance board director, CTO and CEO while supporting global integration and corporate strategy. He left Cytovance following the successful 2020 Hong Kong listing (SZSE:002399, HKEx:9989). Jesse earned a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2003. He completed his postdoctoral work at Dartmouth College Thayer School of Engineering (Hanover, NH) and additional technical training at the Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands). In addition to his industry experience, Jesse is an established public speaker, researcher and peer-reviewed journal author and contributor
Dr. Ranil Wickramasinghe – A Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas. He is the first Arkansas Research Alliance Scholar. Ranil has over 30 years of industrial and academic research experience working with membrane based separation process. He is the director of the Membrane Science Engineering and Technology (MST ) Center a National Science Foundation Industry and University Cooperative Research Center. Through the MAST Center, Ranil works closely with leading membrane manufacturers as well as biopharmaceutical companies.
Ranil’s research in membrane based bioseparations is recognized internationally. He has over 20 years’ experience designing and developing membrane based unit operations to validate virus clearance in the manufacture of protein based biopharmaceuticals.
Ranil obtained his PhD from the University of Minnesota and his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Melbourne. He serves as a proposal reviewer for US funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation as well as overseas funding agencies. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and several book chapters.