Dear Rice Community,
I am excited to announce that Paul Cherukuri, the executive director of the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering, has been named Rice University’s first vice president for innovation.
As the chief innovation officer, Paul will lead Rice’s technology and commercialization infrastructure to translate breakthrough discoveries into inventions for the benefit of society. The primary areas of focus for the Office of Innovation will be technology translation, startup creation, commercialization and entrepreneurship training. Paul will also oversee Rice’s engagement with the Ion, including the university's programs in the newly inaugurated innovation district. This new role is part of my commitment for Rice to be a leader within the Houston and global innovation ecosystems.
A nine-member committee of faculty, staff and trustees selected Paul after a nationwide search was launched in January by Isaacson, Miller, one of the country’s leading executive search firms. The committee was led by Naomi Halas, the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Smalley-Curl Institute.
Paul will assume the vice president for innovation role Aug. 16.
Paul is a physicist, chemist and med-tech entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in academia and the pharmaceutical industry. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Kentucky and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry under Nobel laureate Richard Smalley at Rice.
Before returning to Rice in 2014, Paul was a visiting scholar with Harvard University chemistry Professor George Whitesides and a member of the Department of Experimental Therapeutics faculty at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He was also co-founder and chief technical officer of MAReNIR Technologies LLC and a senior scientist at Sanofi, where he developed drug products and biomedical devices.
As executive director of the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering since 2016, Paul has engaged with faculty to develop interdisciplinary translational research partnerships with federal and corporate agencies, garnering nearly $37 million in funding aimed at accelerating the development of new technologies into commercializable products.
I look forward to working with Paul on leveraging Rice's world-class research community, thriving entrepreneurship programming, top-ranked degree programs and talented undergraduate and graduate student body to advance and grow the institution's innovation portfolio.
Please help me give him a warm welcome when he assumes his new role later this month.
Reginald DesRoches, President