Yannis C. Yortsos, Principal Investigator, has served as Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering since June 2005. He is the Chester F. Dolley Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and holds the Zohrab A. Kaprielian Dean’s Chair in Engineering. Yortsos is well known for his work on fluid flow, transport and reaction processes in porous and fractured media with applications to the recovery of subsurface fluids and soil remediation. He has been actively involved in the peer review of the Yucca Mountain Project for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste. The recipient of many honors for research, teaching and service, Dean Yortsos is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and serves as the liaison of Section 11 to the National Research Council. Yortsos received his B.Sc. from the National Technical University, Athens, Greece, and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology, all in chemical engineering. An invited scholar at several institutions in the United States and abroad, he joined the faculty of USC in 1978. Yortsos is an Associate member of the Academy of Athens, and is the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Engineering Deans Council as well as the Executive Committee of the Global Engineering Deans Council.
Andrea Belz, Co-PI is the incoming Vice Dean for Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. She serves as the Director of the NSF Innovation Corps (“I-Corps”) funded Innovation Node – Los Angeles and has served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence, with faculty appointments in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering; the Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation; and the USC Marshall School of Business. She also currently serves as Visiting Professor of Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on modeling technology-based entrepreneurial ecosystems, with an emphasis on the NASA SBIR program, and she has published research in optical systems, nuclear physics, geomicrobiology, and systems engineering. She is the founder and chair of the Technology Transfer and Infusion session at the IEEE Aerospace Conference. Dr. Belz is Managing Director of Kinetic Intelligence, an intellectual property strategy consultancy, and has previously guided strategic planning for world-class innovators including Avery Dennison, BP, California Institute of Technology, CVI Melles Griot, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Occidental Petroleum, Raytheon, SPIE, and UCLA, as well as venture capital firms, university technology startups, and international public-private partnerships supporting technology transfer ecosystems. An active angel investor, she serves on the Board of Directors of Caltech spinoff laser manufacturer Ondax. She holds a B.S. in physics from the University of Maryland at College Park, with High Honors in physics and University Honors in political economics; a Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology; and an M.B.A. in finance from the Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business.
Mary Beth Campbell is Assistant Director in Caltech’s Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships. Previously, Campbell was a Research Staff Member at the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), supporting the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on a variety of science policy issues. At STPI, she was the lead author on a report examining technology transfer practices at the U.S. federal laboratories; the study helped inform the 2011 Presidential Memorandum on Accelerating Technology Transfer and Commercialization of Federal Research in Support of High Growth Businesses. Campbell was awarded the 2013 Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) Howard Bremer Scholarship, and she is a registered U.S. Patent Agent. Campbell received her B.S. in Mathematics and Physics summa cum laude from the University of San Francisco, and was a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow while earning her Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University.
Azar Nazeri joined the ITA (Institute for Technology Advancement – UCLA) in August of 2014. She has been leading the ITA’s efforts in many of the large joint proposal (i.e. for research centers, programs, etc.) over the last 18 months and managing the NSF Innovation I-Corps program at UCLA. Prior to the ITA, Azar was the Research Manager of the Education and Energy Research Collaboration (EERC) between the University of Maryland and the Petroleum Institute of Abu Dhabi UAE for seven years, where she was responsible for coordinating the activities of a multimillion-dollar research and educational collaboration between the two universities. Dr. Nazeri brings with her over fifteen years of experience as a research scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and Program Manager at the Office of Naval Research (ONR), overseeing vital Naval technology developments and materials research programs. Nazeri received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from UCLA in 1989.
Fred Farina is Chief Innovation Officer at the California Institute of Technology and Executive Director of Caltech’s Office of Technology Transfer. His responsibilities include managing OTT’s staff, evaluating inventions at Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, supervising patent prosecution and portfolio management, negotiating licensing deals with industry, and fostering the creation of startup companies based on Caltech/JPL technologies. Prior to joining OTT, Farina worked for eight years as a research engineer in the GPS field. He subsequently joined a law firm where he prosecuted patent applications on various advanced technologies before the U.S. and European patent offices. Farina holds a diplome d’ingenieur in electrical engineering from the National Institute of Applied Sciences in Lyon, France, and an M.S. in electrical engineering from Caltech. He is a registered U.S. patent agent.
Dwight Streit is a distinguished professor in the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and Director of the UCLA Engineering Institute for Technology Advancement. He is Chair of the UCLA Department of Materials Science and Engineering with a joint appointment in the Electrical Engineering Department. Prior to joining UCLA in 2010 he was Vice President and Technical Fellow at Northrop Grumman Corporation and TRW Space and Electronics. He joined TRW in 1986 and Northrop Grumman in 2002 via the acquisition of TRW. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the NASA Space Foundation Technology Hall of Fame. He has over 350 technical publications and conference presentations with 22 U.S. and 10 international patents. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from UCLA in 1986 and was the UCLA Engineering Alumnus of the Year in 2003.