External Committee Members are industry experts, early-stage venture investors, successful entrepreneurs familiar with university technology development and startup ecosystem, and strong supporters of Cornell innovation. They serve on committees for various Ignite programs.
External Committee Members
Dr. Galvin is a member of several scientific societies, has published more than 20 technical papers and holds 58 patents. He is a member of the Advisory Councils of the Cornell Engineering College, Entrepreneurship at Cornell and the Cornell Materials Science Department and has served as a member of the Cornell Board of Trustees. He also serves as a director of the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research and Ithaca Area Economic Development. He was named Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year 2014.
He holds a B.S. from the California Institute of Technology in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in materials science and MBA from Cornell University.
For eleven years, he was Senior Investment Partner at Siemens Venture Capital / Next47.
Prior to SVC, Anupendra spent eight years in M&A at JPMorgan, Salomon Smith Barney and Siemens. Anupendra also worked in strategy consulting for McKinsey, and Product Development Finance for Ford, where he was a member of the core team that set-up Ford in China and India.
Anupendra Sharma is a passionate Cornellian. He led the creation of the Cornellians in Venture Capital Database. When he was at Cornell, he was recognized with the Johnson 10×2000 award for his efforts to make the Johnson School a top 10 school (it was ranked 8th when he graduated). He also judged the Entrepreneurship competition for two years, and mentored one of the companies to Angel and Series A rounds.
Anupendra holds an MBA from Cornell, Masters in Accounting & Finance from Manchester Business School, and Masters in Economics and Bachelors of Instrumentation Engineering from BITS Pilani.
Dr. Stevens formerly served as Vice President at Harris & Harris Group, an early-stage venture capital firm. He also sat on the Board of TARA Biosystems, Inc.; ProMuc, Inc.; Interome, Inc.; and SynGlyco, Inc. Dr. Stevens was an early employee at HZO, Inc., leading its R&D, commercialization, and technical business development efforts.
He holds degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University (BSc) and Northwestern University (PhD) and a Certificate in Management for Scientists and Engineers from the Kellogg Business School.
Meghan is a guest writer for TechCrunch and Forbes and lecturer at Columbia University, Cornell University, and Yeshiva University on Venture Capital. She is an active leader on the Young Patrons board at Lincoln Center and co-chairs the nextgen board of Facing History, an education nonprofit that furthers diversity and inclusion.
Meghan received her B.S. in Fiber Science from Cornell University and M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors of BeMeHealth, Podimetrics, SunBird Bio, and TRex Bio and is a Board Observer to Auron Therapeutics and Engine Bio.
Prior to joining Polaris, Alexandra was part of the initial research team at Inzen Therapeutics, where she helped develop their platform technologies. She moved to Inzen from Vertex Pharmaceuticals, where she held a research fellowship.
Alexandra received a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology from Harvard University, where she studied natural product discovery. Alexandra performed her undergraduate studies at New York University.
Diego received a BS in Electrical Engineering from UC Santa Barbara and an MS and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University.
Diego is a co-founder, board member, and Chief Scientific Officer of Endpoint Health. He employs his background in building multidisciplinary technical teams to create and develop the core technologies that enable Endpoint Health to deliver products to improve patient care.
Jennifer has served on the boards of GiveGab, Pom, True Gault, and Venuebook. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Tompkins Financial Corporation and its affiliate bank, Tompkins Trust Company. She serves the industry on the boards of the National Venture Capital Association and the Upstate Capital Association of New York. Previously she served on the board of Allworx, Inc. until its sale to Paetec Corporation.
As President and CEO of CBORD, Mr. Alexander led CBORD through 29 years of growth. The CBORD Group, founded in 1975, is the world’s leading provider of campus and cashless card systems, food and nutrition service management software, nationwide student discount and off-campus commerce programs, housing and judicial process management software, and integrated security solutions. CBORD prides itself on being the only provider that can offer such a broad portfolio of solutions designed to improve our clients’ daily operations and help them provide their customers with greater convenience and satisfaction. In 2004, Mr. Alexander sold a portion of his interest in CBORD to a private equity consortium consisting of Sterling Investment Partners and Oak Investment Partners, among others, and stepped down as CEO, maintaining his responsibility as Chairman of the board. In 2008, the firm was sold again to Roper Industries, Inc., a publically held firm (ROP), and Alexander stepped down from the board.
Mr. Alexander was elected to Cornell’s Board of Trustees by the alumni body to a four-year term beginning July 1, 2000, and was reelected in 2004. He has served on numerous committees, and chaired the Audit Committee for 3 years, taking the university through the Sarbanes Oxley process. He currently serves at a Trustee Emeritus and Presidential Councilor. He serves on the advisory councils of the Entrepreneurship@Cornell (E@C) Program, the Johnson School, and is the alumni advisor to the Johnson Board Fellows program and BR Consulting. He also serves on the community advisory board of the Johnson Art Museum. He was the 1987-88 Dorothy M. Proud Lecturer at Cornell’s Division of Nutritional Sciences. He currently chairs the executive committee of the Sphinx Head Society, Cornell’s first undergraduate honor society.
Locally, Mr. Alexander has been involved in numerous activities. He is probably best known for Coyote Loco, an innovative Mexican restaurant located just outside of Cornell’s campus, started in partnership with three other business-minded Mexican food lovers. Community activities include the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, FOODNET, Tompkins County’s elderly home-delivered meal program, the Sciencenter’s Advisory Board, the Boy Scouts of America, the Hangar Theatre, and the Cayuga Venture Fund. Mr. Alexander serves as an independent director of the Tompkins Financial Corporation (TMP), where he has chaired the Audit Committee, and serves on the boards of both the bank and of the holding company, as well as its Compensation Committee and its Pension Investment Committee. He served as a director for real Foods LLC, which was sold in 2012 to Rich Products, and also serves on the board of Sound Reading Systems, Inc. Mr. Alexander volunteers with the United Way of Tompkins County, and chaired its annual campaign for the 2002-2003 year. He served as National Campaign Co-Chair for the Hangar Theatre’s first-ever capital campaign with his wife Elaine, and serves on the board of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, where he chairs the development committee and has had the responsibility of conducting its first-ever capital campaign.
Ernst and Young selected Mr. Alexander as the Upstate New York Technology Entrepreneur of the in 2002. Cornell selected Alexander as its 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year. John and Elaine Alexander were honored in 2014 as recipients of Cornell’s prestigious Frank H. T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award for their service to Cornell.
He has over 30 years of semiconductor industry experience, in the areas of marketing, sales, business development and operations management. Richard has held executive management positions with semiconductor, Silicon IP, EDA, design and testing services companies -- ranging from early-stage, pre-revenue startups seeking funding, to a general manager role with P&L responsibility for a $200 million product line at NXP Semiconductors.
Richard started his career as a chip designer in the computer industry and is a holder of two US patents. He holds an MBA from Pepperdine University, an M.S. EE from Cornell University and a B.S. Computer Engineering degree from Boston University.
Dr. Rasmussen is currently serving as an alumni elected trustee of the Cornell University, and has been active in numerous Cornell alumni and student organizations. She has been a member of the Cornell University Council, Materials Science and Engineering Advisory Board, President's Council of Cornell Women where she has served as the Board of Trustee Liaison, the chair of the PCCW's Alumnae/Faculty Engagement and Student Mentoring Committees and vice-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion committee. She is passionate about mentoring students in STEM fields. She has been an advisor for Scientista National Student Organization and Mentoring@Cornell working group. She has a long history of active engagement with Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at Cornell, advising and providing leadership development workshops as well as mentoring students and being a guest speaker at SWE events over many years. She is also passionate about mentoring pre-college school students that are interested in STEM fields and was a keynote speaker at Expanding Your Horizons. She has supported United Way through leadership giving with a focus on women and children.
Dr. Rasmussen is a member of Tau Beta Pi and Beta Gamma Sigma, Engineering and Business Academic Honor societies, respectively. She and her husband Dan reside in Pittsford, NY and a part of the year in Copenhagen, Denmark. She speaks fluent Korean and has currently CEFR B1 level proficiency in Danish. Her two adult children are both in STEM fields, in medicine and computer science and physics.
Dr. Hu is currently the CEO of Rapafusyn Pharmaceuticals, a drug therapeutics R&D stage biotech company that is built on a bi-functional “molecular glue” macrocyclic molecule platform and has a rich and growing drug asset pipeline across multiple therapeutic areas.
Prior to Rapafusyn, Dr. Hu has built / run several companies in the US, including, for example, Avotres Inc., a clinical stage biopharma company developing autoimmune disease and cancer therapies targeting regulatory T cells. Earlier, during his ~14-year management consulting career track for life science industries, Dr. Hu advanced through the career ladder, starting with such firms as AT Kearney and IMS Consulting, later becoming managing partners / heads of consulting firms such as Bionest USA and BioStrat Advisory LLC, and leaving the consulting industry as the head of healthcare consulting business in the Americas for GlobalData PLC, a publicly listed global company headquartered in London.
Dr. Hu is a world class expert in strategic decision-making, and a recognized pioneer & thought leader in precision / personalized medicine strategy, as marked by high profile personalized medicine strategy projects for top pharmaceutical companies, business publications in prestigious journals, conference presentations and membership in industry committees. His experience is supplemented with earlier careers at CuraGen, BMS and Illumina.
Dr. Hu holds a PhD in Genomics from NYU, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business double-majored in Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management.
Steve is also an Angel Investor and Adviser to multiple early-stage ventures. Member of Cornell Red Bear Angels Group. Venture Partner at LearnLaunch, the premier EdTech Accelerator program (and more) in Boston. Achievement Gap Combatant. Passionate about helping students early-stage founders gain the new 'Leveler': The Art/Science of Argumentation and Persuasion.
Faculty Committee Members
Faculty Committee Members serve on the Ignite Postdoc for Ventures committee. They are current Cornell faculty with venture background and experience guiding next-generation entrepreneur engineers and scientists.
Research in the Erickson lab has been primarily funded through grants from the NIH, NSF, ARPA-E, ONR, DOE, DARPA, USAID, Nutrition International, and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Prof. Erickson has helped to found numerous start-up companies commercializing: high-throughput pharmaceutical instrumentation, biomedical diagnostics, and energy technologies, including Halo Labs, VitaScan, and Dimensional Energy.
Dr. Erickson has received the DARPA-MTO Young Faculty Award, the NSF CAREER Award, the Department of Energy Early Career Award, among others. In 2011 he was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers (PECASE) by President Obama. For his efforts in co-founding the field of optofluidics, Erickson has been named a fellow of the Optical Society of America and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Technology Advisors are comprised of Cornell alumni, business experts and investors with specific domain expertise who volunteer and provide feedback on select proposals.
Michael has recently retired as Chief Technology Officer for Vir Biotechnology, Inc. Over 4½ years he built and led a multi-modality technical approach to the development of treatments for serious infectious diseases such as COVID-19, influenza and hepatitis B. In May 2021, Vir Bio received Emergency Use Authorization for its broadly neutralizing COVID therapeutic monoclonal antibody Sotrovimab.
Over the last six years Michael has served as Chairman, Sanofi Biotech Advisory Council providing strategic guidance to Sanofi in the advancement of their growing biologicals business. He has also served on the Board of Directors for three public companies.
Before joining Vir Biotechnology, Dr. Kamarck was Senior Vice President of Global Vaccines and Biologics Manufacturing and President of Merck BioVentures where he was instrumental in establishing Merck’s global antibody infrastructure (Keytruda) and their biosimilars business.
Prior to Merck, Dr. Kamarck held numerous senior executive positions at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, including President, Technical Operations and Product Supply as a member of the Wyeth Management Team. While there he was responsible for establishing a global biotechnology network of more than 10,000 employees to develop and manufacture numerous blockbuster products, such as Enbrel (etanercept) and Prevnar.
Michael began his pharmaceutical career at Bayer AG serving in nine roles in research, development and technical operations over 16 years, including Senior Vice President of Operations for Bayer Biologicals.
Dr. Kamarck received his B.A. from Oberlin College, his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a Leukemia Society Fellow at Yale University. He has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and has 20 issued patents. He received an Honorary Doctorate from University College Dublin in 2009.
At Kairos Ventures, Dr. Palmer is responsible for leading the Physical Sciences Investment Team in sourcing and due diligence of opportunities across the sciences, broadly defined to include innovations in materials, energy, communications, catalysis, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and medical devices. In addition, he has operational responsibilities for and sits on the Board of Directors of a number of portfolio companies. Dr. Palmer also manages the relationships with several of Kairos Ventures’ university partners.
In his free time, Dr. Palmer goes on long hikes in the mountains with his chihuahuas, Ferrous and Morty.
Dr. Zhou received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from Peking University and Cornell University, respectively. Before joining BICI, Dr. Zhou has worked in product development and system engineering as Staff Engineer at ASML, technology scouting and investment as Venture Manager at Technology-To-Business (TTB) center of Siemens, and technology transfer as BD director at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center(PARC).
Dr. Zhou is the recipient of Lockheed Martin’s “Excellent in Research” award and Sandia National Laboratory’s LDRD Award. He has more than 10 peer-reviewed papers and patents.
Dr. Aston was trained as a poultry veterinarian and has expertise in virology, immunology, vaccines, and poultry management. She obtained her veterinary degree from Cornell University and her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, and she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Davis.
Dr. Aston is passionate about leveraging her animal science and technical expertise to drive innovation in animal health and nutrition.
Through these experiences, I’ve developed a unique point of view. Grit is more important than IQ. Empathy is key to building products that people love. Most importantly, a positive impact can produce outsized returns.
I’m now a technology investment associate at Osage University Partners, a VC firm ($600M AUM) that invests exclusively in startups that are commercializing university research.
Dr. Jolly earned his PhD from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and his BSc in Dairy Technology from NDRI, India with a Gold Medal standing. He shares a U.S. Patent with Dr. F. V. Kosikowski specializing in enzyme modification of foods and cheese. His research work at General Foods and Pfizer Pharmaceutical Research where he specialized in modified plant proteins, fermentation derived proteins, enzyme modification of proteins. Dr. Jolly has another patent on Enzyme modified proteins at Pfizer. Dr. Jolly has even owned his own cheese manufacturing operation.
Mason graduated from Cornell University as an International Agriculture and Rural Development major with a concentration in Economic Development, and minors in Business and Law.
Joe is a recognized visionary in technology startups, with a keen eye for commercializing the latest technology advancements. His extensive career has included involvement in entrepreneurship, startup phase companies, business plans, venture capital, corporate governance, and intellectual property strategy. He has been involved in the founding of more than 100 companies as a founder, investor, director, legal counsel, or employee, and has advised entrepreneurs, high-growth businesses, and venture capitalists. These companies have been in a wide range of technology areas including speech recognition, nanotechnology, energy, IT, computer networking, life science, and biotech. As a founding judge for MIT’s $100K Entrepreneurship Competition and a Senior Lecturer at Sloan School of Management at MIT, his passion for cutting edge technology continues to evolve in new directions. Joe received his S.B. and S.M. in Management from M.I.T and a juris doctor cum laude from Harvard Law School. He practiced law for 17 years, first at Ropes & Gray and then at Sullivan & Worcester as director of the High-Tech/New Ventures Group.