UNM Rainforest Innovations

The 2024 Innovate New Mexico® Technology Showcase brought together the leading research institutions in the state to highlight their latest research and technology advancements. There were over 135 attendees which included investors, entrepreneurs, industry reps, local start-up companies, and local business members.

The showcase, which took place March 5th at the Sandia Event Center in Albuquerque, included ten technology pitch presentations, keynote speaker Doug Campbell, a lunchtime panel with local company CEOs, and breaks throughout for networking opportunities.

View the video recordings of the event here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLk_NMEbD1Ez8FLXREzAbgH_oP5DmO9aej

Welcome and Keynote Speaker

Welcome remarks were given by Mark Roper, Acting Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Economic Development Department followed by keynote speaker Doug Campbell.

Doug has been named Most Admired CEO by the Denver Business Journal, Cleantech Innovator of the Year by the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association, and Distinguished Alumni by the University of New Mexico’s School of Engineering. He is a seasoned entrepreneur having guided multiple startups from inception through exit and an active investor in the Colorado and New Mexico startup ecosystems.

Research Capabilities in New Mexico Presentations

The first round of presentations included speakers Miguel Maes, WSTF Associate Director for the NASA White Sands Test Facility; Francisco Pallares, Director of Business Development at Spaceport America; Jan Hickey, RAC, CQE, Chief of Clinical Manufacturing at the VA Clinical Research Pharmacy Coordinating Center.

Technology Presentations

Throughout the day there were ten technology pitch presentations by researchers from the University of New Mexico (UNM), Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Sandia National Laboratories, and New Mexico State University (NMSU). A panel of sharks were also invited to provide clarifying questions during each technology presentation.

The sharks included:

  • Chuck Call, PhD, CEO, Integrated OffGrid
  • Ward Hendon, JD, General Partner, Dangerous Ventures
  • Nicole Johnny, MBA, Investment Associate Raven Capital
  • Abhi Mukherjee, Operating Partner, Cerracap Ventures


The first round of technology presentations was moderated by Candice Siebenthal, Program Manager at the Feynman Center for Innovation at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The presentations included:

  • “EcoVer: Clever solutions to enabling eco-friendly technologies,” by Tanya Agarwal, PhD, Entrepreneurial Postdoc Fellow, LANL
  • “Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation (CAMINO),” Erica Douglas, PhD, Senior Manager, R&D Science and Engineering, Sandia
  • “Microfluidic Fabrication of Silica Microspheres Infused with Positron Emission Tomography Imaging Agents,” Nick Carroll, PhD, Associate Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering, UNM

Next was a lunchtime panel discussion moderated by Michael Doyle, PhD, Vice President of Research at New Mexico Tech. Members on the panel included:

  • Yun Li, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, Filtravate
  • Dex Halpin, Vice President and General Manager, High Altitude Platform Stations, AeroVironment
  • Tom Chepucavage, CEO, Flow Aluminum Inc.
  • Michele Ostraat, COO, Pajarito Powder

The next round of technology presentations was moderated by Patricia Knighten, Director of Innovation Commercialization, Arrowhead Center at NMSU. The presentations included:

  • “Quantum United – Photonic Encryption and Interconnect for Quantum Computing,” Vigneshwaran Chandrasekaran, PhD, Researcher, LANL
  • “EcoCFTrack: Advanced Diagnostic, Monitoring, and Tracking Device for Affordable Cystic Fibrosis Care,” Gloria Zhang, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering and Roshira Premadasa, PhD, Graduate Research Assistant, NMSU
  • “Photo-Reforming of Waste Plastics Under UV and Visible Light for H2 Production using Nanocomposite Photocatalysts,” Huiyao Wang, Pei Xu, PhD, and Thiloka Edirisooriya, PhD, NMSU

The next group of presenters was moderated by David Kistin, Manager, Technology and Economic Development at Sandia National Laboratories. The presentations included:

  • “Developing vaccines for mosquito-borne diseases,” Bryce Chackerian, PhD, Regents’ Professor & Vice Chair, Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, UNM
  • “ARCUS Floating Offshore Vertical-Axis Wind Turbine,” Brandon Ennis, PhD, R&D S&E, Aeronautical Engineering, Sandia

The final group of presentations was moderated by Oscar Martinez Jr., Enterprise Internship Coordination Lead at the Air Force Research Laboratory. The presentations included:

  • “Photoconductive Semiconductor Switches for Fly-By-Light and Pulsed Power,” Joseph “Dana” Teague, Power, Thermal, and Energy Storage Lead, AFRL
  • “Precision Optical Alignment with Risley Prisms,” Matthew Squires, PhD, Scientist, Space Vehicles Directorate, AFRL


Closing Remarks 

The day wrapped up with closing remarks by Melinda Allen, President & CEO of New Mexico Partnership followed by a networking reception for attendees.

Innovate New Mexico would like to thank the sponsors of the event including the Air Force Research Laboratory, Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico Economic Development Department, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Tech, Sandia National Laboratories, and Spaceport America.

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