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 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 manages communications and marketing for the Deshpande Center, and will execute the logistical coordination for all events including IdeaStream and the Innovation Showcase. She produces written and multimedia content for the website, authors the quarterly newsletter, and manages social...
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Steering Committee

  • Charles Cooney

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

    Hemang Dave is an entrepeneur and investor.
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  • Desh Deshpande

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

    A venture investor, Mr. Gorenberg is also a member of the MIT Corporation.
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  • Lesley Millar-Nicholson

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

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

    The most cited engineer in history, Professor Langer, has helped start 25 companies.
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  • Michael Cima

    Dr. Michael J. Cima is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT.
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