Project:Marigold Power—Clean, reliable power through thermophotovoltaic energy conversion
Bio: David Bierman completed his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at MIT. There, he and team member Prof. Andrej Lenert (University of Michigan) developed a novel solar thermophotovoltaic converter that is capable of harnessing the entire solar spectrum for power generation. Their research helped revitalize the field and established the current world record for solar-to-electrical conversion efficiency for this technology.
Bio: Lance Brockway received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University in 2014. Following his doctorate work he was a visiting scholar at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and, most recently, a postdoc at a joint venture between UC Berkeley and the National University of Singapore. There, he led a research and development and manufacturing teams to reinvent the air conditioner for efficient operation in tropical climates.
Project: Photia—Industrial-scale manufacturing of nanocomposites
Bio: Joe Geddes founded Photia to enable rapid manufacturing of advanced materials for energy applications using holographic lithography. Prior to Photia, Geddes was an engineer at the company Rolith, where he made key contributions to the development of Rolling Mask Lithography, a method for making two-dimensional nanostructured coatings. He earned his Ph.D. in engineering science and mechanics from Penn State.
Bio: Supriya Jaiswal holds bachelors and masters degrees in physics from the University of Oxford, a masters degree in atomic physics and a Ph.D. in engineering physics from the University of Virginia, and professional qualifications in business and finance from University of California, San Diego. In 2015 Jaiswal was elected to SPIE Senior Member for distinction and honors in optics and photonics. She was listed on SPIE’s 2016 Women in Optics.
Bio: Jessica Morrison began developing micromirror-based lighting architectures while earning a Ph.D. in physics from Boston University. After graduating in 2016, she worked as a postdoc in the Lighting Enabled Systems and Applications (LESA) NSF Engineering Research Center, where she focused on dynamic free-space optical communications using microelectromechanical systems. Morrison also holds a B.S. in physics from the University of Cincinnati.
Bio: Lauren Otto holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota. She has extensive experience in optics, nanofabrication, and materials, and has built devices including sensors, solar cells, and hard drive heads. Laminera is developing industrial manufacturing methods for synthetic metals, with applications in energy and digital memory. Otto also holds B.S. and B.A. degrees in physics and mathematics from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN.
Project:MicroByre—Bespoke bacteria for biomanufacturing
Bio: Sarah Richardson earned a B.S. in biology from the University of Maryland in 2004 and a Ph.D. in human genetics and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2011. As chief scientific officer of MicroByre she leads the construction of genomic toolkits for non-model prokaryotes. Trained in both computational and molecular biology, Richardson brings a unique perspective on the emerging technologies enabled by “synthetic” biology.
Bio: Vince Romanin received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from U.C. Berkeley, with a focus on heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and energy and resources. Prior to Cyclotron Road, he was a mechanical engineer and research scientist at Otherlab where he was the project lead on a hybrid solar photovoltaic and thermal system. Prior to Otherlab, Romanin worked with Abengoa Research on advanced heat transfer fluids, properties, and chemistries.
Project: Dauntless.io—Real-time, adaptive machine learning for energy applications
Bio: Adam Vaughan is focused on the intersection of physical systems and computer control. His work has included engine control electronics for custom race cars, robotics, electric motor control, machine learning control for near-chaotic engine combustion. Vaughan earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and masters and bachelors degrees under full scholarship from The Cooper Union in New York City.
Bio: Prior to Nelumbo, Dave Walther spent eight years in research and development, and engineering management roles for Cobalt Technologies, an international renewable chemicals and biofuels company. He spent over 10 years leading research teams in biosensing, power, and energy at the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center. Walther holds a B.S. in materials science & engineering and B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley.
Project:ActiveMEMS—Powering the next-generation internet-of-things
Bio: Erkan Aktakka founded ActiveMEMS to commercialize his decade-long research on micro-electro- mechanical systems at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 2012 and has been a research faculty member since 2016. His research has resulted in new advanced microfabrication technologies and record-performance transducers, as well as over 30 publications, multiple patents, awards, and press coverage.
Bio: While earning his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, Miguel Sierra Aznar ran two major California Energy Commission projects on advanced combustion technologies. He received his M.S. in sustainable energy technologies from the Technical University of Eindhoven, a B.S. in engineering from the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, as well as a B.S. in power generation and energy conversion systems from the Polytechnic University of Valencia.
Project:Antora Energy—Inexpensive energy storage for a cleaner electricity grid
Bio: Justin Briggs holds a B.S. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University. Focusing on thermophotovoltaic energy conversion as a doctoral candidate, he built a thermo-optical characterization platform to study the optical properties of advanced thermophotovoltaic materials at temperatures over 1200°C. He also grew and validated a new material for selective thermal emission.
Bio: Nishita Deka is currently completing her Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on the design and fabrication of nanoscale devices for MEMS applications. She has collaborated with Dominic Labanowski to optimize resonant magneto-acoustic devices and cofounded Sonera Magnetics with him to commercialize their work. She has a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California.
Bio: Jill Fuss earned a B.A. in environmental science from Wesleyan University, a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and was a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist at Berkeley Lab. Fuss was recognized as a Berkeley Visionary in 2015 by the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce. In 2012, she cofounded CinderBio with Steve Yannone and the startup has won numerous grants and competitions.
Project:Noon Energy—A new class of ultra-low-cost battery
Bio: Christopher Graves received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in sustainable energy and electrochemistry before continuing his research at the Technical University of Denmark, most recently as a senior scientist. Graves has led projects on novel electrochemical energy storage technologies, from new materials to modeling and characterization of cells to design and techno-economic analysis of systems. He has collaborated with NASA and as a visiting scholar at Stanford University on related electrochemical materials and devices.
Project:Takachar—Harvesting value from agricultural waste
Bio: Kevin Kung earned his Ph.D. from MIT, focusing on biofuels and renewable energy, and specializes in biomass and energy conversion systems, engineering design in resource-constrained settings, and waste industry innovation. In 2012 he cofounded a company that turns agricultural residues into carbon-negative fertilizer. Kung received his A.B. in physics from Princeton University, M.Phil. in physics from University of Cambridge, and S.M. in biological engineering from MIT.
Bio: Dominic Labanowski earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. During that time, he studied and developed resonant magneto-acoustic devices based on acoustically-driven ferromagnetic resonance; he collaborated with Nishita Deka to optimize these devices and the pair cofounded Sonera Magnetics to commercialize their work. Labanowski earned his B.S. in electrical and computer engineering from The Ohio State University.
Bio: While pursuing his joint M.B.A./M.S. in environment and resources at Stanford University, Tim Latimer worked as a completion engineer at McClure Geomechanics and as a consultant in Boston Consulting Group’s energy practice. Prior to that, he worked for BHP Billiton’s U.S. onshore shale operation, where he held both engineering and field operations roles. Latimer earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Tulsa.
Bio: Alexei Marchenkov holds an M.S. degree in physics and mathematics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. He received his Ph.D. in low temperature physics from Leiden University, Netherlands. After a postdoctoral appointment at the University of California, Berkeley, Marchenkov was an associate professor of physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In 2004, he received the National Science Foundation’s Early Career Development (CAREER) fellowship.
Bio: Jack Norbeck is a recent Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow and research petroleum engineer with the US Geological Survey, where he performed research on induced seismicity related to oil and gas activity. He holds a Ph.D. in energy resources engineering from Stanford University, an M.S. in civil engineering from Colorado School of Mines, and a B.S. in civil engineering from University of Colorado at Boulder.
Project:Antora Energy—Inexpensive energy storage for a cleaner electricity grid
Bio: Andrew Ponec received his B.S. in energy systems engineering from Stanford University, where he did research on advanced photovoltaics and power electronics. Between his sophomore and junior year, Ponec took a leave of absence to found a solar energy company called Dragonfly Systems. Dragonfly developed and commercialized a novel power electronics topology for utility-scale solar power plants. SunPower acquired the startup in 2014.
Bio: Steve Yannone earned a B.S. in biochemistry from UC Riverside and a Ph.D. in molecular biology and biochemistry from the UC Irvine followed by a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Los Alamos National Laboratory and seventeen years leading his group at Berkeley lab as a principal investigator. In 2012, he cofounded CinderBio with Jill Fuss and the startup has won numerous grants and competitions.