Leadership and Staff

Leon Sandler

Executive Director
Drawing on expertise acquired in corporate, academic and entrepreneurial settings, Leon Sandler is responsible for guiding the Deshpande Center’s strategic direction and the execution of its mission.  He also oversees daily operations and manages the center’s key relationships. 
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Tim Swager

Faculty Director
With the Executive Director, Professor Tim Swager defines the Deshpande Center’s strategy and plays a central role in the grant selection process. He interfaces with the MIT academic community and senior leadership.
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Karen Golmer

Innovation Manager
As Innovation Manager, Karen manages the Deshpande Center Grant  and Catalyst programs and corporate relationships. She directs the grant selection process and guides project teams on their path to commercialization.    
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Shirley Goh

Marketing and Communications Manager
Shirley Goh manages communications and marketing for the Deshpande Center, and executes the logistical coordination for all events including IdeaStream and the Innovation Showcase. She produces written and multimedia content for the website, authors the newsletter, and manages social media channels.
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Eric Olivieri

Administrative Assistant
Eric provides administrative support as the first line of communication for MIT’s Deshpande Center, and ensures all office operations run smoothly by using his knowledge of the Institute. He supports event coordination, as well as assisting with marketing and communications.
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Steering Committee

  • Hillel Bachrach

    Hillel Bachrach is Founder and Managing Partner of 20/20 HealthCare Partners.
  • Michael Cima

    Dr. Michael J. Cima is the David H. Koch Professor of Engineering at MIT.
  • Charles Cooney

    Dr. Charles Cooney is Robert T. Haslam Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering at MIT.
  • Hemang Dave

    Hemang Dave is an entrepeneur and investor.
  • Desh Deshpande

    Dr. Desh Deshpande, an MIT Corporation member, is an entrepreneur-philanthropist. 
  • Mark P. Gorenberg

    A venture investor, Mark Gorenberg is also a member of the MIT Corporation.
  • Helen He

    Helen He is a Founding Partner of New Wheel Capital.
  • Paul Jansen

    Paul Jansen is a medical device executive. 
  • Robert S. Langer

    Robert S. Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT.
  • Lesley Millar-Nicholson

    Lesley Millar-Nicholson is Director of the MIT Technology Licensing Office (TLO).