UTeach Advisory Council
Chair — Larry Peterson
Larry Peterson is Executive Director of the Texas Foundation for Innovative Communities, the state cluster initiative for development of Texas clean tech industry. Mr. Peterson has also been a serial entrepreneur and investor, previously building two of the largest IT companies in west Texas and New Mexico.
Mr. Peterson currently chairs the statewide Texas Lyceum Economic Growth Policy Advisory Group, focused on developing state and local policy in support of entrepreneurial growth companies, impactful tech transfer, and sustainable capital formation, and he was co-chair of the steering committee for the 2006 Texas Economic Growth Summit, the largest economic development conference in Texas history.
He has also served on the TWIG, the Texas Technologies Initiatives Working Group (founded by Dr. George Kozmetsky and co-chaired by Dr. Jane Armstrong), and the New Mexico analogous organization, the New Mexico Technology Research Corridor (now the Technology Research Collaborative).
Mr. Peterson is also a founding and current board member of the statewide Texas Capital Coalition, focused on the development of pre-seed, seed, and early stage capital resources in Texas. Mr. Peterson also chairs the El Paso Lyceum, the City of El Paso economic development advisory council, and chairs the Next Generation Economy Cabinet, one of six cabinets under the Lyceum.
In El Paso, Mr. Peterson has co-founded a number of tech-development organizations, including the Camino Real Angel Network, and the Paso del Norte Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP, now SITO). He has also served on the Steering Committee of the Greater El Paso Chamber Technology Initiatives, and chaired the regional R&D Commercialization Committee. Past projects have also included the White Sands Technology. He has been co-chair of the Texas Software and Wireless Technology Cluster initiative.
Mr. Peterson previously founded and financially supported a technology-focused education foundation, The Education Project. An accomplished software engineer, he also developed the software for the Patriot Missile Training System prototype, and a simulation language used for training Desert Storm rotary-wing aircraft pilots.
He has been active with numerous charitable and civic organizations in the west Texas region, including the boards of the United Way and American Red Cross.
Vice Chair — Caroline Joiner
Executive Director, Texas & Southeast at TechNet
Government and Public Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce
The University of Texas at Austin
Executive Director, Texas & Southeast
TechNet is the national, bipartisan network of CEOs and senior executives that promotes the growth of the technology industry by building long-term relationships between technology leaders and policymakers and by advocating a targeted policy agenda at the federal and 50-state level. TechNet’s diverse membership includes dynamic startups to the most iconic companies on the planet and represents more than two million employees in the fields of information technology, biotechnology, green tech, e-commerce, venture capital and finance. TechNet has offices in Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley, Sacramento, Seattle, Boston, and Austin.
Government and Public Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Executive Director, Trade Promotion
U.S. Department of Commerce
Chief of Staff to Deputy Chairman
Republican National Committee
Chief of Staff, U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service
U.S. Department of Commerce
Republican National Committee
Second Vice Chair — Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds
Lizzette serves as Vice President of Policy for ExcelinEd, bringing almost three decades of policy and legislative experience at both the state and federal level to the organization. In her home state of Texas, Lizzette served as deputy legislative director for then-Gov. George W. Bush and most recently as Chief Deputy Commissioner for the Texas Education Agency. Under Secretary of Education Rod Paige, Lizzette served as Special Assistant in the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs, where she guided the reauthorizations of IDEA and Head Start. She also served as the Secretary’s Regional Representative under Secretary Margaret Spellings. Her career reflects deep experience in education policy development and implementation as well as the “how-to” of legislative work needed to advance education reforms. Among her numerous appointments, Lizzette currently sits on the board of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, the Austin advisory board of IDEA Public Schools and the advisory board of UTeach. She received her undergraduate degree from Southwestern University.
She holds a bachelor of arts in political science from Southwestern University.
As CEO and Superintendent of Wayside Schools, Matt works to develop and implement strategies to ensure long-term, mission-aligned academic, financial, and operational excellence. Over the last six school years, Matt has transformed a single-campus, 240-student college preparatory public charter school into a multi-campus charter district serving more than 2,000 students in South and Southeast Austin, and manages a $20 million annual budget. Under Matt's direction, Wayside Schools will continue to grow until it serves 3,500 students, providing a comprehensive college preparatory PreK-12 education program.
As a certified Texas public educator and superintendent, Matt holds a B.B.A. in Business Management from Saint Edward's University and a M.A. in Public Policy and Public Administration from the University of York and is working toward his PhD in Education at Texas State University. He sits on the St. Edward's University School of Education Advisory Committee, the Texas Charter Schools Association Board of Directors, is a member of the Texas Association of School Administrators, and is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Austin: Essentials.
George Casey earned his B.S. in Chemistry in 1973 from Lebanon Valley College (Annville, PA); attended Iowa State University in the Physical Chemistry graduate program from 1973 to 1975, completing all course work and qualifying examinations; and graduated with an M.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1977 from Arizona State University.
He has 25 years of experience in the semiconductor industry where his most recent experience was that of Program Manager for AMD in their joint microprocessor technology development partnership with Motorola (now FreeScale). Previous contributions while assigned to SEMATECH include Associate Director of Lithography, where he had technical and operational responsibilities while representing SEMATECH in external activities, Associate Director of Materials and Bulk Processes, and Interconnect Chemical Mechanical Polishing Program Manager.
Prior to joining SEMATECH as AMD’s senior assignee, he was a Lithography Module Manager for AMD, where he led the manufacturing, maintenance, and process engineering sections to achieve their business and manufacturing metric goals. Mr. Casey also held additional managerial positions in various wafer processing disciplines and product engineering during his 15-year tenure with AMD. Previous to AMD, he held positions in device engineering, ion implantation, metallization, and process engineering with Mostek (Dallas) and Motorola (Phoenix).
He is retired and has been active, along with his wife Karen, during the past eight years in various philanthropic and volunteer endeavors. He served on his church's endowment committee and as both a board member and architectural control committee member for his neighborhood homeowners association; was a member of the United Way’s Leadership Giving Committee; and is a board member of the Boys and Girls Club. He is a member of the UTeach Advisory Council and chairs the Brackenridge Field Lab task force.
Andy Greenawalt retired in 2000 after a 24-year career in information technology. Most recently he served for seven years as IT vice president and group CIO at the Dell Computer Corporation. From 1991 to 1993 he was vice president, processing services, at the Continuum Company (now CSC Financial Services). His career began with Air Products and Chemicals in 1976, where he served for 15 years in various IT and general management roles.
Greenawalt holds a Master of Science in industrial engineering from Lehigh University and a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Millersville University, both with honors. He was born in Pennsylvania and currently resides in Austin with his wife Peggy. They have a son, Danny, and a daughter, Chrissy.
Eric Harslem, through his family foundation, supports APS and a number of other education nonprofits. He is also CEO of APS. He was Senior VP of Product Development and CTO at Dell until 2001. Prior to Dell he was general manager of desktop products at Apple; managed Star workstation development at Xerox; and worked with the ARPA Network team while at the Rand Corporation. He holds a BS in Engineering from Caltech and an MS in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin. Currently a private investor, he is the co-founder and a Board member of Motion Computing.
Gerard is co-founder and CMO of DroneSense, Inc., a software company that provides a drone platform tailored to the unique needs of first responders in public safety. He is also owner/operator of iMaerial, a fine art aerial photography studio with recent exhibits at Austin Bergstrom International Airport and Austin City Hall.
Gerard is a versatile team player with a firm understanding of design principles, branding, user interaction, and how to create captivating visual content to best achieve marketing goals. From commercial video production to UI/UX app design, his hands-on approach and strong interaction with stakeholders has been an asset to agencies, animation studios, and software companies alike. He’s garnered awards from ADDY and the CW Network and is continually recognized for both his professional and personal work.
Gerard graduated from The University of Texas with a B.A in Political Science, and proudly served as Strawboss (Vice President) of the Texas Cowboys honorary service organization. After graduating, he spent several years traveling and living abroad while developing his artistic style. He attended Vancouver Film School in 2000, obtaining a Digital Design certificate and soon after began a 15-year career in video production working in many of the top markets in the US.
Since his childhood watching shows like Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, he’s always been captivated by aerial photography and cinematography. In 2013, he became an early adopter of drones and began experimenting with aerial imaging. He quickly realized the transformative nature of drone technology and its potential to solve real-world problems. Together with his co-founder, they built DroneSense into a rapidly growing company with more than 15 employees.
Gerard enjoys the outdoors, dogs, fitness, travel, and racing. He is a dedicated fan and season ticket holder of Longhorn football and looks forward to another championship. Hook ‘Em!
Jeffrey Kodosky was born in 1949 in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up on Long Island. He earned a Bachelor of Science in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, in 1970. In July of that year he married Gail Theilmann. The couple immediately moved to Austin so Kodosky could begin graduate school in theoretical physics at The University of Texas at Austin.
In 1976, Kodosky cofounded National Instruments, where he is currently an NI Business and Technology Fellow. He has received numerous patents as principal inventor of the technology in the award-winning software package, LabVIEW.
He is past Chair of the Advisory Council for the College of Natural Sciences as well as member of the Board of Trustees of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also is a member of the Association of Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers professional societies.
Kodosky was elected to The University of Texas College of Natural Sciences Hall of Honor in 1999. He received the Rensselaer Alumni Association Fellows Award that same year. He is a trustee on the board of the Austin Lyric Opera and past governor on the board of the Austin Community Foundation. He is an enthusiastic supporter of the performing arts and a lover of classical music. The Kodoskys have two daughters, Laura and Karen, and four grandchildren.
Mary Long was one of the principals involved in the development of the UTeach program. She was a member of the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel’s (OSEP’s) Committee on Attracting Science and Mathematics Ph.Ds. to Secondary School Teaching. Ms. Long taught science for 28 years in middle schools and high schools in several states. She has served as director of the Austin Independent School District Science Academy and as manager of the district’s Science and Health Resource Center. Ms. Long received a Master’s in Education in science education from The University of Texas at Austin.
- Texas Teacher of the Year, 1986
- Austin Teacher of the Year, 1985
Harry Lucas, Jr.
Harry Lucas, Jr. was born in Beaumont, Texas, in 1932. He entered The University of Texas at Austin in 1951, studied under Professor R.L. Moore for two years, and returned to Beaumont. He graduated from Lamar University in 1955, where he taught mathematics for four years.
He returned to Beaumont after his father’s death to become more involved in the family business of Gulf Coast oil and gas leases, wildcat drilling deals, and royalty investments. He moved to Houston in the early 1960s where he worked entrepreneurially in energy-related investments, portfolio and joint ventures, and some North Sea exploration activities from London.
In 1969, he founded The Educational Advancement Foundation as a vehicle for R.L. Moore–type (inquiry-based learning) educational reform, and currently supports the following related projects:
- The Discovery Learning Project UTeach Program (original benefactor, along with Jeff Kodosky)
- The Legacy of R.L. Moore Project Five inquiry-based learning centers at five major universities, including The University of Texas at Austin Academy for Inquiry-Based Learning
Involved in several civic and charitable causes during his 35 years in Houston, he was inducted into the Hall of Honor of the UT College of Natural Sciences in 2000.
Sarah Matz is the director of state government affairs for CompTIA, the world's leading tech association. In her role, Matz is responsible for championing member-driven business and IT advocacy priorities that impact the entire continuum of information technology companies – from small IT service providers and software developers to large equipment manufacturers and communications service providers. She has extensive policy experience and deep understanding of the policy process at the federal and state levels. She’s held positions as a senior policy advisor in the U.S. House of Representatives, a liaison to Congress on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice, and a legislative affairs liaison for the state of Texas where she handled issues such as intellectual property, intelligent transportation, information sharing, and other high-tech and information technology issues. Matz holds a bachelor’s degree from West Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in communication and organizational leadership from Gonzaga University.
Cale McDowell is a partner in Jackson Walker’s Corporate & Securities group and a member of its Mergers & Acquisitions, Fund Formation, Private Equity, International, and Real Estate practices. Cale represents public and private companies, investor groups and investment fund sponsors in a broad array of engagements, including mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, the structuring and formation of investment funds, joint ventures and other entities, offerings of debt and equity securities and general corporate governance, securities and transactional matters.
Cale’s clients include private equity funds, private real estate investment funds, public and private real estate investment trusts, hedge funds and family offices, as well as large publicly traded operating companies, privately held companies and startup ventures in a wide variety of industries.
Cale is involved in both domestic and international transactions, including the representation of U.S. clients in significant cross-border transactions in the British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Germany, India, Iraq, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland.
Dr. Nan McRaven is the owner of McRaven Consulting, a Public Relations and Government Affairs firm, located in Austin, Texas. Before starting her own firm, Nan held positions in the private, non-profit, and government sectors. Her work experience includes: Texas State Director of the Trust for Public Land; Senior Director, Freescale Semiconductor; Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, Motorola Inc.; Vice President of Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce; and Personnel and Budget Director for Travis County.
McRaven holds a bachelor's degree in government from Sam Houston State University, a master's degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, and a doctorate in Higher Education from The University of Texas at Austin.
She was elected to the Austin Community College District Board of Trustees in 2001, where she has served as Vice Chair and Chair and is currently in her third term.
Nan participates in numerous community, business, and education organizations including the Breast Cancer Resource Center, Texas Society of Architects, UTeach, Organization for International Investment, Community Colleges Association of Texas Trustees, the National Association of Community College Trustees, and numerous state Chambers of Commerce.
Clients: TE Connectivity, Jobs for the Future, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Sallie Mae Corporation, Smart Horizons Career Online Education, The University of Texas at Austin, and National American University.
Tracy LaQuey Parker
Tracy LaQuey Parker was born on a U.S. Air Force Base in Newfoundland, Canada, grew up in Chicago and Fort Worth and attended The University of Texas at Austin, where she received a bachelor of arts in Computer Science. She is currently Senior Vice President of Business Development for Parker Solutions Group. She is also active in the community and is a member of several boards, including the Texas Tribune, the Texas Foundation for Innovative Communities, the Austin Film Society, and the Advisory Councils for UTeach and the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas, where she serves on the executive committee.
Before her current position, Tracy was Director of the UTeach Institute at The University of Texas at Austin, which she founded in 2006 to replicate the nationally recognized UTeach math and science teacher preparation program that began at UT in 1997.
Prior to her successful tenure with the UTeach Institute, Tracy worked in the Chief Technology Office of Cisco System, where she founded Cisco’s Worldwide Education focus and Cisco’s Advanced Internet Initiatives team in the early 1990s. She also founded a research and development imprint of the Chief Technology Office, partnering with Addison-Wesley. Additionally, she managed Cisco’s participation in worldwide K–12 educational Internet programs, including the Global Schoolhouse Project, and she initiated and managed Cisco’s extensive participation in various Internet Society activities internationally. During this time, she participated in the Federation of American Research Networks (FARNET), serving as Treasurer, and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), serving as chair of several working groups.
In addition to conference papers and journal and magazine articles, Ms. LaQuey Parker is the author of two best-selling books, The User’s Directory of Computer Networks (Digital Press) and The Internet Companion: A Beginner’s Guide to Global Networking (Addison-Wesley). The Internet Companion was the first trade book on the Internet, published in 1992, and featured a foreword by Vice President Al Gore. At one time, it was number one on Publisher’s Weekly best-selling computer books nationally and was a best-seller worldwide, translated into Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Polish, French, and Indonesian, in addition to being adapted for the European Community (The European Internet Companion). Also notably, The Internet Companion was a pioneer in online publishing, the first commercial book to be made available for free on the Internet in 1993 while simultaneously being sold in hardcopy in bookstores. During the intense growth of the Internet in the 1990s, Tracy frequently gave keynotes, seminars, and presentations in the U.S. and internationally. She was profiled in On the Internet (a publication of the Internet Society), The Australian (Australia's national newspaper), and Tecno 2000 (a Spanish technology publication) and was featured on the cover of the Japanese Asahi Pasocon technology magazine.
Mary Ann Rankin
Mary Ann Rankin, Professor of Biology, became Senior Vice President and Provost of the University of Maryland, College Park on October 1, 2012. Prior to assuming this position, Rankin was CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) in Dallas. NMSI is a public-private partnership dedicated to expanding the pipeline of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) graduates and STEM K-12 teachers.
Previously, she spent 36 years at The University of Texas (UT) at Austin, where she served for six years as chair of biological sciences and for nearly 17 years as Dean of the College of Natural Sciences.
As Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at UT, Rankin created, with her administrative team, numerous highly successful programs for undergraduates, including the UTeach program for math and science teacher preparation and the Freshman Research Initiative.
As Dean, Rankin also led the launch of new interdisciplinary research initiatives, the construction of new, world-class science buildings, and the growth of existing and the establishment of new research institutes at UT. She raised over $800 million in private funding for academic programs, research centers, and academic buildings, including the new $120M Gates Computer Science Complex. Under her leadership, the number of women science faculty grew from 15 to 30 percent, and gender parity in salaries was established. In her last three years, she managed strategically the state-imposed budget cuts.
Rankin's research focuses on studies of the physiologic relationships governing the evolution of insect life history strategies. She is a member of the American Entomological Society, the Royal Entomological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She serves on several nonprofit boards, including the Southwest Research Institute (one of the nation's premier, nonprofit R&D firms in engineering and space sciences) and the Science Education Advisory Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, as well as the Advisory Committee for the Division of Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation.
Rankin received her bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from Louisiana State University, was a National Science Foundation pre-doctoral fellow at the University of Iowa and Imperial College Field Station, Ascot, England, and earned a doctorate in physiology and behavior from the University of Iowa in 1972. She was a National Institutes of Health post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University until joining The University of Texas at Austin in 1975 as an assistant professor of zoology.
Drew Scheberle is Senior Vice President for Policy & Advocacy Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce
Drew supports Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce volunteer executives who work hard to improve short- and long-term talent, regional mobility, and to advocate at the federal, state, and regional levels for policies that will improve employment, economic diversification, and a predictable regulatory climate. In short, we are working with a lot of partners to build the Austin we all want to live in.
Drew provides staff leadership for the Chamber:
- Federal advocacy with the Administration, seven Congressional and two U.S. Senate offices on innovation, transportation, education, and immigration;
- State engagement with agencies, commissions, and the Central Texas delegation on protecting economic development, increasing Austin's share of state transportation dollars and reducing the state property taxes on taxpayers;
- Regional efforts to deepen the hiring pool for talent;
- Initiatives to increase Metro Austin direct-to-college enrollment rates to 70% for the high school class of 2018.
- Smart local advocacy to reduce congestion through transit and innovation and improved capacity on MoPac, I-35, 360, 183, and other corridors; adopt a simple City of Austin planning code; ensure Austin Energy is in line with its affordability goals; and reshape local economic development policy.
Richard P. Schmerbeck
Richard P. Schmerbeck retired as Manager of the Global Operations Division of ExxonMobil, which has responsibility for the computer center and network services for the Company, in June 2006.
Mr. Schmerbeck received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Houston in 1968. Prior to beginning his career with the company in 1983, he had various assignments in the oil and refining industry.
In 1983, Mr. Schmerbeck joined Mobil Corporation as a System Manager. In 1986, he occupied the position of Administration Manager for U.S. Marketing & Refining in Chalmette, Louisiana. Over the next several years he held positions of increasing responsibility with Mobil in the Marketing and Refining Department.
In 1996, he was named Manager of Mobil Global Data Services in Dallas, Texas. He moved to Singapore in 1997 as Manager of Mobil Asia Pacific IT Operations and then returned to Fairfax, Virginia as Global System Manager.
In 1999, he served on the merger and transition team for ExxonMobil. At the completion of the merger in 2000, Mr. Schmerbeck was named America Operations Manager, Global Information Systems Infrastructure & Regional Services, in Houston, Texas. In 2001, he became Manager, Global Infrastructure Operations. In 2003, with restructuring within the organization, Richard became Manager of the Global Operations Division. Since 2003, Mr. Schmerbeck has been serving on the Hughes Network Services Executive Advisory Council.
Richard lives in Austin, Texas and is married with two children, both of whom are University of Texas graduates. In his spare time, Richard enjoys reading and golf and is an amateur economist.
Margaret “Meg” Dippel Voelter
Meg Voelter was born and grew up in Brenham, Texas. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a B.B.A. in Finance. She earned her J.D. from Baylor Law School in 1999. Mrs. Voelter practiced litigation and regulatory law in Austin for the firm of Cantey, Hanger, Roan and Autrey. Additionally, she taught Family Rights Practice and Procedure at Baylor Law School for eight years as an adjunct professor instructing students in content as well as advocacy.
While at Baylor Law School, she competed on teams that went to Nationals in Client Counseling and Trial Advocacy and now volunteers her time to teach and coach Mock Trial at Regents School of Austin in state and national competitions in Texas, California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. In 2012, she was elected to serve on the Regents School of Austin Board of Directors and served for four years. Regents School of Austin is a K-12 institution with an enrollment of approximately 1,000 students.
Mrs. Voelter has been involved in many other volunteer activities in Austin and statewide, including the National Charity League, Dell Children's Women's Trust, Washington on the Brazos State Park Association, and Texas Lyceum among others. She has previously served as President of the Pi Beta Phi Austin Alumni Club and Co-Chaired the American Cancer Society's Holiday Shopping Card fundraiser.
Mary Walker worked with the initial team of teachers who envisioned and developed key components of the UTeach program in 1997. Her work as the Administrative Supervisor for Science and Health programs for the Austin Independent School District helped to establish the UTeach field experiences in the first years of the program. In the past, Mary has developed, taught courses in and/or directed the University of Texas UTeach undergraduate program, Master Teacher Summer Institutes, the UTeach Summer Master’s program as well as facilitated Advanced Placement Math and Science sessions.
Mary has co-developed the UTOP – the UTeach Observation Protocol – and continues to work with local school districts such as Manor and AISD on research and professional development projects utilizing this tool for measuring and improving teaching practices in secondary classrooms.
Mary earned a B.S. in Science Education and an M.S. in Biochemistry from North Carolina State University. Mary’s PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin was completed under the guidance of Boyd Hardesty. Her past work in biochemical research focused on protein chemistry, tumor cell growth and identification. She has been a high school chemistry teacher, science department chair and professional developer.
Mary worked with the UTeach Institute to provide technical assistance and advice to 44 UTeach partner programs in various stages of implementation across the nation and retired in spring of 2015. Mary Walker currently serves on the UTeach Advisory Council.
Parisa Fatehi-Weeks is the Head of Community Impact Strategy at Google Fiber. The community impact team develops a range of social impact investments and community engagement strategies. Prior to this position, Parisa was the Head of Community Impact Programs and Investments, working with local nonprofits, public and affordable housing partners, schools, and others to bridge the digital divide in underserved communities.
Parisa also worked as a Management Fellow with the City of Austin, and Staff Attorney for Public Advocates in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Parisa has a J.D. in Public Interest Law from UT Law School; an M.P.Aff., Public Affairs from the LBJ School; and a B.A.. , Plan II from UT Austin, where she was the Student Body President.
Parisa is on the Board of Directors for the Workers Defense Project and an Advisory Council Member for University Unions.
Matt Winkler is Founder and Chairman of Asuragen and Founder and board member of Mirna Therapeutics.
Asuragen is a growing (2014 $31M revenue) global in vitro diagnostic product provider, with on-market tests serving unmet medical needs primarily in oncology and genetics, particularly in leukemia and Fragile X syndrome.
Mirna is a biopharmaceutical company developing microRNA-directed oncology therapies. Mirna has identified numerous tumor suppressor miRNAs that play key roles in preventing normal cells from becoming cancerous or inducing cell death of cancer cells. Mirna’s lead therapeutic product, MRX34, is presently in first phase of clinical testing in patients with advanced solid tumors and blood-borne cancers.
Matt received a B.S. in Genetics and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of California at Berkeley. He joined the Zoology Department of the University of Texas in 1983. In 1988, as an Associate Professor, he started Ambion, Inc., a molecular biology “tools” company.
He is the author of over 30 publications and has 19 issued patents. Ambion became the preeminent ”molecular biology tools company” focused on RNA with almost 400 employees located in Austin, Cambridge (England), and Tokyo. In March of 2006, he sold the research products division of Ambion to Applied Biosystems, and with about 100 employees started Asuragen, a molecular diagnostics product company. The high quality of its scientific environment has allowed Asuragen to be one of the largest recipients of National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) in Texas and State of Texas grants as well as developing highly innovative commercial products.
In December of 2007, Asuragen created Mirna Therapeutics to develop cancer therapeutics based on miRNA. Mirna has been the recipient of a Texas Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) investment in 2009 and is the only company to be approved twice for significant CPRIT grant awards (2010 and 2015). Mirna went public in September 2015 (MIRN).
- Greg Fenves
- Larry Abraham
- Kim Hughes
- Michael Marder