The Judges Team may change from year to year, depending on each Judge's personal availability and own work commitments. As they become confirmed for 2021, their information (name, title, head shot and short bio) will be posted on this page, in alphabetical order.

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Rajia Abdelaziz

Co-Founder and CEO, invisaWear

New England Innovation Award Winner 2020

Rajia Abdelaziz, Rajia holds a dual degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from University of Massachusetts Lowell. In college, she interned at Amazon Robotics, where she was first introduced to programming wearables. After graduating, Rajia declined multiple prestigious job opportunities to start invisaWear. At invisaWeear, she developed a system that incorporates fashionable jewelry, wearable devices and mobile applications to accelerate obtaining assistance during an emergency. 


Debora Babin Katz  

Vice President, TrucBrush Corporation

NewEngland Innovation Award Winner 2016

With over 20 years of sales, business development and marketing experience, Debora is highly focused on customer service and communication processes. A graduate of Babson College, she possesses true entrepreneurial spirit, which led her to establish her own marketing communication consulting firm in 2006. Her proudest moment -besides the births of her 3 children- was receiving the Schopfungsbeitrag {his Award recognizing "the undergraduate who has made the most creative contribution and innovative impact on the Babson Community". Today, Debora continues to support the Babson community as a Coach for Leadership and Teamwork (CLTP).

In 2013, Debora joined the TrucBrush development team and vision for a new, safe and mobile means to clear accumulated snow off trailer trucks and excited by its ability to allow a facility's snow service provider to perform this service in conjunction with their snow management platform. Debora serves on the Board of the National Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA). In 2015 she received the SIMA Volunteer Award for 10 years of commitment to the organization, including chairing the editorial advisory committee for Snow Business Magazine.  In May of 2015, she was inducted in as a Board Member of the Women in Trucking Foundation, and became its Chair in 2016. As a woman who has always worked in male-dominated industries, Debora is passionate about creating opportunities for other women to further their careers in the transportation industry.


Laurie Bishop

Sr. Associate Director- Alumni Relations Entrepreneurship and Career Strategy - Northeastern University

Laurie manages the Health Sciences Entrepreneurs program at Northeastern University (HSE). HSE Supports entrepreneurs with innovative ideas in healthcare, health sciences and life sciences, by providing mentoring and technical assistance to develop the entrepreneurial mindset and ultimately, a pathway to venture commercialization. Her professional career started with a 12-year tour at Verizon Communications in Boston, strategically navigating around the company to broaden her knowledge and impact in various positions, ranging from deep tech to global sales. After leaving Verizon, she championed operations and business development strategic initiatives for several startups and non-profits in Florida and the Boston area. Immediately prior to joining Northeastern, Laurie spent time with the New Venture Development team at UMass Lowell. In this role, she coordinated the NSF-funded I-Corps Site program and various workforce development projects, while mentoring life sciences and high tech ventures. Laurie earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University, participating in their first solar-powered car project and racing in the Tour de Sol. She also earned an MBA with a focus on Entrepreneurship from Babson College. Laurie currently serves as an advisor to ViTAL, Northeastern’s healthcare innovation student group. Laurie spends her spare time with her family and serving the community, focused on ensuring food and housing security. She considers herself a servant leader, a connector and expert in business development.


Evan Butler 

Chief Operating Officer, Etiometry

New England Innovation Awards Winner 2018

Evan Butler is an engineer and entrepreneur who co-founded Etiometry in 2010. Previously, he worked at Boston Children's Hospital in the Pediatric Cardiac Bioengineering Laboratory designing, building, and testing novel surgical robots and tools. Evan was also a NASA GSFP Fellow with Dryden Flight Research Center, and created intelligent flight control systems.

He received his Bachelor's Degree in Physics and Aerospace Engineering, and his Master's Degree in Dynamics and Control Engineering from Boston University. Evan has published conference papers, journal articles and a book chapter in the fields of medical predictive analytics, concentric tube robots and tools for minimally-invasive beating heart surgery, and intelligent flight control systems. Evan has received multiple awards, including the 2010 IEEE Transactions on Robotics Best Paper Award.


Kaitlyn Carlson

Founder & President, Theory Planning Partners

Kaitlyn is the Founder and President of Theory Planning Partners, A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™️ (CFP®), Certified Exit Planning Advisor™️ (CEPA™️), and an Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA®); she has established expertise advising high net worth individuals with strategic financial plans and actionable guidance. Before launching  Theory Planning Partners, Kaitlyn spent the majority of her career at UBS, where she held roles in Louisiana and Massachusetts. There, she developed more than 275 financial plans for clients and prospects before becoming an advisor on a private wealth management team that managed over $600 million for a few dozen families. Her career began in asset management with Putnam Investments. Passionate about giving back to her community, Kaitlyn serves as a Board Member for the New England Innovation Awards, coaches female entrepreneurs at Babson WIN Lab, and spearheads philanthropic efforts for her alma matter, Philips Academy, Andover. She is a graduate of Amherst College, where she played on the ice and field hockey teams. Kaitlyn lives in Marblehead, MA, with her husband Jake, and dog, Bacchus. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, reading, traveling and trying new restaurants around Boston.  


Denella J. Clark

President, Boston Arts Academy Foundation

Chairwoman, Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women

Denella Clark is the President of the Boston Arts Academy Foundation (BAAF), a nonprofit supporting Boston Arts Academy, Boston’s only public high school for the visual and the performing arts. She’s leading BAAF’s first-ever campaign, Building Our Future – a 6-year comprehensive $32M campaign. Over the course of 3 fiscal years, BAAF has grown from a $1.3M annual revenue to $5.5M. She has more than 25 years of experience in non-profit management, with significant leadership roles with The Dimock Center, Joslin Diabetes Center, MGH/Partners Healthcare, Bottom Line and most recently led her own firm The Give Back Group. Ms. Clark is also Chair of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women and Girls (MCSW), a state-established body charged with reviewing the status of women in Massachusetts and offering recommendations regarding policy that would improve access to opportunities and equality. She was first appointed to the Commission in 2015 and reappointed in 2018 by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. In June 2020, she was elected as Chair by her fellow Commissioners and is the first woman of color to lead the Commission.

Ms. Clark was born on the beautiful island of Jamaica, immigrated to Boston and attended Natick Public Schools as part of the METCO program. She graduated Natick High at the age of 16, attended Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). She is a recognized speaker on philanthropy, nonprofit, faith, women issues, and diversity. In 2011, she taught a 12-week course at Tufts University on Nonprofit Fundraising. In addition to the MCSW, Clark has served on many Boards including the City of Boston’s Racial Equity Fund, Boston Arts Academy Fashion Advisory Board, Board of Trustees of Fontbonne Academy, the Fenway Alliance Board, and the Executive Committee of the New England Area Conference of NAACP. In the past, she also served on many boards including the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, Inc. (METCO), NAACP, and The Boston Club Corporate Board Committee. Of her many titles, she is most proud to be Mommy-in-Chief to Cherina and Will.


Kelly Crowley - McInnis

Director of Business Development, AIM HR Solutions

With over 20 years of experience, Kelly is a dynamic and highly regarded HR professional. Kelly has had the longest association with New England Innovation, as the concept of recognizing and supporting innovation was the brainchild of her late father, Robert J. Crowley, Sr. and his long-time associate, Julie Scofield . Having been surrounded by innovative companies her entire life and  listening to them pitch their ideas at Babson College and the MIT Forum throughout her childhood, Kelly has seen over 200 companies win this prestigious award since its inception back in 1986. She has served as a Judge for many many years; Kelly currently is the Director of Business Development at AIM HR Solutions.


Dr. Carolyn Edelstein

Executive Director, OpenBiome

New England Innovation Award Winner 2017

Dr. Carolyn Edelstein is the Executive Director of OpenBiome, a universal stool bank and microbiome research institute, and a 2017 New England Innovation Award Winner. Carolyn was a member of the founding team and previously served as Director of Outreach and Public Affairs, where she oversaw OpenBiome's efforts to expand the availability of FMT across 1,000 hospitals and clinics, present its work to the public, and contribute to the discourse on the regulation of fecal microbiota.

Previously, Carolyn worked at the US Agency for International Development, where she helped launch the Global Innovation Fund, a $200 million institution backed by foreign aid agencies from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Sweden, and South Africa, to test and support low-cost, high-impact interventions to improve global health and prosperity. 


Omar Eleryan

Founder & CEO, Cleo Robotics

New England Innovation Award Winner 2020

Omar Eleryan is an inventor and entrepreneur with a deep passion for hard tech and all flying things. He is the founder and CEO of Cleo Robotics, a Boston company on a mission to revolutionize drones through their Dronut technology. Unlike traditional drones, Cleo's ultra compact Dronuts can safely operate near people and indoors, thus unlocking several markets that traditional drones haven't been able to address.


Kezia Fitzgerald 

Co-Founder, CEO & Chief Innovation Officer, CareALine Products

Robert J. Crowley - Spirit of Innovation Award Winner 2019

Kezia discovered a need for change in how vascular access lines were being managed during her daughter Saoirse’s treatment for Neuroblastoma. Seeing the impact of this problem on her daughter and her family, she created and iterated the design of the CareAline® Sleeve for PICC Lines and the CVC Wrap for Central Lines while Saoirse was in treatment. Kezia did this while she was battling her own cancer at the same time. After Saoirse’s death, Kezia and her husband Mike started CareALine Products LLC, and brought her innovations to market. Knowing how they had helped their daughter get through treatment more safely and comfortably inspired Kezia and Mike to make them available to all children and adults with PICC and Central Lines. CareAline® Sleeves and Wraps are supported by evidence, FDA registered medical devices used by hospitals, and loved by thousands of patients and caregivers worldwide.
Kezia’s unique, proactive view of healthcare and talents for continuous innovation have spurred the creation of new products and designs to improve quality of life for patients and caregivers that also meet the needs of ever-changing hospital staff workflows and hospital safety protocols.
Kezia has won multiple awards and is on the board of advisors for AI in Medicine and the International Society for Pediatric Innovation (iSPI). She is an Alumni in Residence and a Healthcare Industry Mentor for the 2018 MassChallenge Cohort, where she also drove CareAline to a Gold Winner Award in the 2017 MassChallenge. Kezia is a developer and leader of the Young Innovators Workshop for iSPI’s Pediatric2040 conferences 

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Ray Hamilton

Co-Founder & CTO, invisaWear

New England Innovation Award Winner 2020

Ray graduated from UMass Lowell with a degree in electrical engineering. His background mainly consists of hardware design, system applications and mobile app development. Currently, Rayis the CTO & Co-founder of invisaWear which creates discreet devices disguised as jewelry and stylish accessories that are equipped with advance safety technology. Ray is passionate about helping others and committing with the best effort to make a difference in society.


Lisa Harvey

Managing Editor, MathWorks

New England Innovation Award Winner 1996

Lisa Harvey is the Managing Editor at MathWorks, the leading developer of mathematical computing software and a NE Innovation Award Winner in 1996.

In her role as Managing Editor, Lisa works to promote MathWorks customers' most compelling products and projects. "The coolest thing about our products is what our customers can accomplish with them". From developing algorithms for vehicle perception to medical device companies that are creating products to improve cancer treatments and surgical outcomes, MathWorks customers are accelerating the pace of engineering and science. These customer stories include past winners of the New England Innovation Award, such as VocaliD. Lisa started her career as a hardware designer and chip designer in Silicon Valley and has decades of experience working with technology-based companies. Lisa is a graduate of the University of Akron and Santa Clara University with degrees in electrical engineering, computer engineering, and engineering management.


Alex Kambanis

President & Managing Director, GET Group North America

Alex is an Identity Solutions expert and for over 15 years has enabled Governments around the world implement new technologies around secure Government Credentials (National IDs, Driver’s Licenses and Passports).  Alex is President & Managing Director of GET Group North America based in Waltham MA,which was recently awarded a contract by the US Department of State for the implementation of the Next Generation US Passport. Alex believes that mobile identity is the foundation of any effective digital security strategy and has recently directed the company’s efforts towards the development of its new globally interoperable mobile drivers’ licenses technology. Alex serves on the Board of the Document Security Alliance, an association of government, industry and academia dedicated to securing the production, issuance, and authentication of identity, credentials, and currency.


Pamela Layton

CEO, 4Immune Therapeutics

New England Innovation Award Winner 2012

Nhat Le
COO, Office of Business Development - Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Pamela Layton is a founder, CEO and board member of 4Immune Therapeutics, a pre-clinical biotech company that is developing a  CAR T cell therapy platform that allows antigen-specific killing of autoreactive T cells that cause autoimmune disorders. The companies lead candidate targets Type 1 diabetes, with follow-on therapies for celiac disease and vitiligo. Prior to 4Immune, Pamela was the CEO and a member of the Board of XenoTherapeutics Foundation, responsible for bringing the first live cell pig graft into the clinic through a three-phase clinical trial treating patients with severe burns. Prior to XenoTherapeutics, she was President and a member of the Board of Directors of Bioarray Genetics, Inc., a breast cancer molecular diagnostics company, where her role spanned the acquisition of capital, operations, reimbursement, regulatory path and partnerships. Prior to Bioarray, Mrs. Layton was the Founder and CEO of Parcell Laboratories, and responsible for taking the first pure stem cell product from bench to bedside for spinal fusion surgery. She holds multiple U.S. and European patents for the ELA® cell and its applications. Mrs. Layton is a Certified Tissue Bank Specialist as designated by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). In addition to mentoring young companies in the U.S. and abroad, she is a member of the Board of the Pioneer Institute, a non-partisan public policy institute in Massachusetts, as well as a member of the board of the Massachusetts Innovation Network, a member of the Mass General Hospital Corporation and a long-standing Judge for the New England Innovation Awards. Mrs. Layton is a longstanding member of SkyVentures, as well as an individual Angel Investor.



Nhat Le is the Chief Operating Officer of the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD); she was appointed to this role in 2015.  Nhat’s  principal function is to connect businesses with available state resources, to help them grow and succeed; her understanding of economic development, knowledge of available funding, and relationship-building skills have created numerous opportunities for growth and success in a wide variety of business sectors. Before joining the MOBD team, Nhat was at State Street Corporation, as an Officer in the Institutional Investor Services Accounting Operations Team; there, she oversaw a team providing the daily and monthly valuations of clients’ portfolios, trained personnel, and instituted procedural and infrastructural protocols for all processes. 

ctively involved in her community.

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Dr. Val Livada

Executive Director, Boston Center of the EU ENRICH Program;

Research Affiliate, MIT Materials Research Laboratory; Founder, Corporate Entrepreneurship Network; Advisor, MassRobotics; Advisor, Greentown Labs; 

Director, Built Environment Coalition.

Dr. Livada has been active in the innovation/entrepreneurship ecosystem for over 35 wars. He has advised Global 300 type companies, research universities, regional organizations and startups on commercializing technology. Presently Val leads the Boston Center of the EU Enrich program, connecting European ventures to the US, and is working with MIT's Materials Research and Deshpande Centers to better connect. academia and industry. He is founder of the Corporate Entrepreneurship Network, sits on the Board of Directors of Aphios Corporation, The Built Environment Coalition, AutoHarvest Foundation and Monarch Antenna. He is also advisory board member for Greentown Labs, Mass Robotics, NU's Advanced Manufacturing Group, and Portugal's. BGI Incubator.  Dr. Livada holds degrees from MIT and Tufts' Fletcher School and has taught at the Sloan School of Management at MIT and the Questrom School at BU. 


David Morczinek

Co-Founder & CEO, Airworks

New England Innovation Award Winner 2020

David Morczinek is the Co-Founder and CEO of AirWorks where he spearheads the development of AirWorks’ autonomous drafting technology to advance the application of aerial intelligence and transform the engineering and construction industries. AirWorks won the NE Innovation Award in 2020. Previously David had a successful career with Airbus in both France and Spain, David has a proven track record with innovation, contract negotiation and, program management. David holds an MBA from MIT Sloan, as well as M.S. in aerospace engineering from Hamburg University of Technology.


Dr. Alexander Margulis 

Chief Operating Officer, Mansfield Bio-Incubator

Dr. Margulis has more than 20 years of science and business development experience in the Life Science industry. Trained as a cellular and molecular biologist, his accomplishments include a dozen authored scientific papers and numerous abstracts. In business development, Dr. Margulis increased sales by 200% within two years in the US and Canada, placing the Capital Equipment instruments into world-class academic and biotech/pharma accounts in the Boston area. He is currently building a world-class life science innovation ecosystem in the Southeastern Massachusetts through Mansfield Bio-Incubator serving as a centerpiece. Margulis has served as a Judge for International BioGENEius Challenge for the past three years.


Cathy McGrath

Founder, A Little Easier Recovery

New England Innovation Award Winner 2014

Cathy McGrath Is the inventor of the Jacki recovery jacket;  the Jacki program is  part of the non-profit organization A Little Easier Recovery. It was designed to best manage post- surgical drains after a mastectomy. The Jacki restores dignity and control, and was named along the lines of “ What would Jackie O wear?” if she had to endure breast cancer treatment. The Jacki has directly helped over 25,000  amazing women across the country.  A Little Easier Recovery recently obtained a health-code to receive insurance reimbursement, thus, allowing thousands more patients to obtain the jacket without financial burden. Cathy is a graduate of Salem State College and has 15 years in national sales in direct mail marketing and specialty print prior to founding A Little Easier Recovery. She is the Commercial Officer of Neurometrix, where he is leading the commercialization of a class of wearables with the launch of Quell™ Wearable Pain Relief Technology (NE Innovation Award Winner  2017), an FDA cleared, 100% drug free alternative for managing chronic pain. Cathy, the Jacki recovery jacket, and A Little Easier Recovery won the New England Innovation Competition in 2014.

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Mark Munroe
Vice President, Strategic Projects & Mobile Solutions, STERIS
New England Innovation Award Winner 

Mr. Munroe brings more than 20 years of healthcare sales and manufacturing experience to the industry. Mr. Munroe is a senior executive with expertise in national start-up organizations, strategic/relationship sales, and distribution development.  He is responsible for establishing consistent sales and marketing processes, tools and techniques.  Mr. Munroe’s background includes experience in outsourcing strategy development, organizational leadership, market analysis and sales force training and development. Mr. Munroe currently serves as the Vice President of Strategic Projects and Mobile Solutions at STERIS Corporation.  He has also served as General Manager of STERIS HSS business.  In his Strategic Projects role, he sets strategic direction for STERIS’s Off Site Reprocessing solutions in North America and in his Mobile Solutions role, he oversees the growth and development of STERIS’s mobile business.  Historically, in his GM role he managed an outsourced relationship with Sterilmed, a division of Johnson & Johnson.Mr. Munroe’s healthcare career began with the Medical Manager Corporation prior to its 1997 initial public offering.  Mr. Munroe holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Northeastern University.

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Christopher Mutti
Founder & CEO, SmartDiiet
New England Innovation Award Winner 2019

Christopher graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology with multiple Engineering degrees. He holds multiple United States and International utility patents focused on Artificial Intelligence and Multispectral camera imaging systems for smartphones and IoT devices, his most recent patent granted in 2019. His early career in engineering began with United Engineers and Craig Systems in the fields of design and mechanical engineering. He continued his career with Digital Equipment Corporation where he was principal engineer in worldwide environmental field support. After Digital, he was president and owner of numerous companies securing over $50 million in financing, mainly in the field of residential and commercial site engineering and development. Mr. Mutti’s new venture is in the Health and Nutrition monitoring technology field, which he has been involved with, for over 10 years. He is founder and CEO of SmartDiiet, responsible for driving all aspects of product development, strategy, business planning and investor funding for the company. He won the 2019 New England Innovation Award in “Wellness” and the the 2019 InnoStars World Grand Finals competition in Changsha, China. He has won numerous pitch competitions including The Venture Forum at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2017 and 2018 and was awarded first place in the TechSandBox Pitch contest in 2014. He also won the Audience Choice Award at the annual TechSandBox Pitchfest in 2015. Mr. Mutti is a life member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

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Dr. Rupal Patel

Founder & CEO, VocalID

New England Innovation Award Winner 2017

Dr. Patel is a professor at Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences. In addition, Dr. Patel is Chief Executive Officer of VocaliD, a Belmont, MA, company that custom-builds voices for the speech-impaired; she is dedicated to developing new technologies to assist people with speech difficulties or impairment. Dr. Patel has been the driving force behind other such initiatives such as the Human Voicebank database. Dr. Patel, a speech scientist and technologist with over 15 years of clinical and research experience in assistive technology, is considered the hope of assisted speech. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and is a speaker for TED.  Dr. Patel serves as a Member of the Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Innovation Network.


Kyle Rand

Co-Founder & CEO, Rendever

New England Innovation Award Winner 2020

Kyle grew up volunteering in a senior living community, and went on to study cognitive decline in the aging population. His neuroscience research was largely focused on the link between functional structural changes in the brain that happen as you age, and the associated deficits in economic-based decision making. He also studied neuroprosthetics and has been published for his work linking reward-based behavior coding with motor area activation in monkeys. Since joining the tech world, he has led the development of a niche research-based social network, created a crowdfunding platform for ecological conservation, and architected a grassroots initiative focused on increasing healthcare access in populations-in-need, which was eventually recognized by the Obama administration. After having a negative personal experience moving his grandmother into a senior living community, he realized the severe impact of social isolation on seniors, and cofounded Rendever to use new virtual reality technology to build communities and increase resident engagement through positive shared experience. 


Cait Reimers Brumme

Managing Director, MassChallenge Boston

New England Innovation Award Winner 2012

Caitlin Reimers Brumme is the Managing Director of MassChallenge Boston. Prior to MassChallenge, Caitlin led the Impact Collaboratory at the Harvard Business School, a multi-faceted effort to develop world class academic leadership on the topic of “Investing in the 21st Century” including sustainable, ESG and impact investing. Caitlin holds an MBA with high distinction from Harvard Business School, where she was a Baker Scholar, and a B.A. with honors from The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. 


Tom Ryden

Executive Director, MassRobotics

Thomas Ryden is the Executive Director of MassRobotics. MassRobotics is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help grow the next generation of robotics companies. Prior to joining MassRobotics Thomas was the founder and CEO/COO of VGo Communications, Inc. While at VGo Mr. Ryden oversaw the development and launch of the VGo telepresence robot. The VGo is used by hospitals, eldercare facilities, schools and other organizations to help people stay better connected, allowing users to essentially be in two places at once. Previously, Thomas was the Director of Sales & Marketing at iRobot Corporation. Under his leadership iRobot secured over $300M in contracts and revenue from its government and industrial products increased from $2M to over $80M annually. In addition Thomas held roles in program management, overseeing the development of some of iRobot’s most successful products. Mr. Ryden serves as the co-chairman of the robotics cluster of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council and is on the board of directors of AUVSI New England and the Robotics Technology Advisory Panel for ASME. Mr. Ryden has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Vermont and an MBA from Bentley University.

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Dr. Jack Salerno
Consultant, Advisor - Innovation & Technology Commercialization
New England Innovation Award Winner 2008

Jack Salerno is a consultant and advisor for Innovation and Technology Commercialization.  He has over 30 years executive and operational experience in start-up and rapid-growth enterprises and developing and transitioning emerging technology to successful commercial products, with innovations generating $100M’s revenue and employed in smartphones, optical communication systems, AR/VR displays, and defense systems. His previous positions include Founder and Business Development Officer of Sensera (ASX:SE1), EVP of Triton Systems, CEO of Agiltron Inc., and Vice President of Kopin Corporation (Nasdaq:KOPN).  He brings technical, go-to-market, and company-building experience in Internet of Things platform and sensors, semiconductor and photonic materials and devices, and display systems. Dr. Salerno has authored more than 50 technical papers and is an inventor on over 30 U.S. patents. He has served as principal investigator for numerous R&D programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Commerce.  He holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT.


Dr. David Tabatadze

President & CEO, Zata Pharmaceuticals

New England Innovation Award Winner 2019 - Life Sciences

Dr. Tabatadze possesses an MS in organic chemistry, a PhD in bioorganic chemistry, and has received post-doctoral training in nucleic acid chemistry at Worcester Foundation for BioMedical Research (Shrewbury, MA). He has also co-published over 3 dozen of peer-reviewed papers, patent applications and patents. In 2009, Dr. Tabatadze cofounded ZATA in partnership with Dr. Paul Zamecnik (1912-2009) and has been serving a the President and CEO since then. At ZATA, he recently led the development of donated blood purification closed systems intended for transfusion, ZATA's systems enable the inactivation of all blood borne pathogens in donated blood, that allows the elimination of the currently used, costly, and not 100%-safe blood tests. Dr. Tabatadze has also consulted several medical device companies in the the development and clearance of commercially available light-based medical devices. His 30+ years of R&D experience includes drug candidate and diagnostic probes development, business development and management, execution of IP portfolio and regulatory submission; he has cultivated extensive business and collaborative relationships with several reputable biotech and academic institutions locally and internationally.

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Dr. Diana Yousef

CEO, change:WATER-Labs

New England Innovation Award Double Winner 2020

Dr. Diana Yousef, PhD, MBA, MA is Founder and CEO of change:WATER Labs, a mission-driven cleantech venture to extend safe water and sanitation access to poor and vulnerable communities around the world. Diana’s career spans the arenas of academic life sciences research, international economic development, strategy consulting, finance and venture capital/private equity investing. She co-founded the Life Sciences Investment Group of the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank, investing in growth-stage biotech and agritech companies in India, China and other emerging markets. She also co-founded the United Nation’s Inclusive Markets incubator, to help companies develop innovative products and services for the base-of-the-pyramid. As a consultant with McKinsey and Company, Diana worked with clients across several sectors and functions. She was a seed-stage venture investor with Battelle Ventures and Kidd and Company, investing in and catalyzing companies around emerging technologies in the cleantech, biotechnology, and IT. As an entrepreneur, she founded and co-founded a number of cleantech and social ventures, including: WeCyclers (social venture to clean up urban slums and create recyclables supply chain linkages in Nigeria), Immerse Global (Stanford-spin out to develop atmospheric water capture technologies), SachSiSolar (MIT-spin out to develop revolutionary new materials to lower the cost of solar energy); and her current venture, change:WATER Labs (to commercialize frugal yet disruptive innovations to expand access to safe water and sanitation in the developing world). She is a former protein biochemist (B.A., Harvard; Ph.D., Cornell), and holds an MBA and an MIA in International Affairs (Columbia). She was an inaugural member of TED Fellows Advisory and Selection Committee, a Founding Council Member for NASA/USAID’s LAUNCH Accelerator, and a 2017-8 Inventor Ambassador for the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences and the Lemelson Foundation. She was a 2018 finalist for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award; one of 5 Global Winners of the 2018 Chivas-Regal Venture Competition; and currently a 2018-9 Top 10 Finalist for the African Innovation Prize. Her work and the work of change:WATER Labs have been recognized globally. She was invited to speak at the 2019 UN Climate Summit on Private Sector Innovations to address the SDGs. In 2018, her venture was announced as one of a select group of global awardees of the inaugural Humanitarian Grand Challenges Awards (funded by USAID, DFID and the Dutch Foreign Ministry). The work of Diana and her team has been covered such publications as Forbes, Fast Company, BOSS Magazine (on the cover of April 2018 issue), Bloomberg, the Discovery Channel, The Daily Beast and the Boston Globe.