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NYU's Center for Urban Science and Progress Announces Selection of Deputy Director for Research & Inaugural Executives-in-Residence

October 26, 2012
N-85, 2012-13

NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) today announced the appointment of Dr. Aristides A.N. Patrinos, a distinguished research executive who previously served as Synthetic Genomics President for Corporate Affairs, as the school's Deputy Director for Research. In conjunction with this news, CUSP also announced that Dr. Shelley A. Harrison, Senior Advisor & Head of Corporate Portfolio Ventures at Coller Capital, and Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a former IBM executive and current Citi advisor, will be named the center’s inaugural Executives-in-Residence. 

"As CUSP begins to research, develop, and implement technological solutions to the many challenges facing cities today, we recognize the importance of creating an executive team that can assist with forming these new technologies and exporting them around the world," said Steven Koonin, Director of CUSP. "That being said, I am pleased to have Drs. Patrinos, Harrison, and Wladawsky-Berger join us in this exciting endeavor. They each bring a unique body of experience that will prove instrumental as we build CUSP into what I believe will be the world’s leading authority in the emerging field of urban informatics."

Dr. Patrinos will serve as Deputy Director for Research, leading the development of CUSP’s strategy for its research program. He will be responsible for identifying projects, recruiting both faculty and researchers from CUSP’s corporate partners, and developing them into research teams. Prior to his position at CUSP, Dr. Patrinos was President for Corporate Affairs at Synthetic Genomics, where he directed research and business activity in biotechnology for renewable fuels and chemicals. His distinguished career as a research executive also includes two decades in senior leadership posts within the Department of Energy, most notably as the Director of the Office of Biological and Environmental Research.

"I am looking forward to joining Steve Koonin and the dynamic consortium of research professionals on CUSP’s executive team," said Dr. Aristides A.N. Patrinos. "The pursuit of sustainable development has been a passion of mine for many years and urban sustainability is one of the most urgent needs. CUSP is ideally designed and directed to provide rigorous answers and supply timely solutions to issues such as these."

As the inaugural Executives-in-Residence at CUSP, Drs. Harrison and Wladawsky-Berger will provide the leadership team advice on all aspects relating to the design and launch of the Center. Dr. Harrison, who also serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the NYU Stern School of Business, will draw expertise from across the NYU and NYU-Poly campuses to build CUSP’s entrepreneurship capabilities. Drawing upon his extensive corporate and academic experience, Dr. Wladawsky-Berger will focus on the education program by developing urban science case studies as well as helping CUSP to grow its partnerships.

"I look forward to an evolving role as one of CUSP’s Executives-in-Residence, working with the global industrial partners and interfacing with the Urban Sciences Research and Education Programs to develop significant technologies, talented personnel, and new enterprises," said Dr. Harrison. "A strong measure of success will be our collective ability to catalyze substantial and sustainable economic growth and job opportunities in the smart cities urban sectors."

"While much is known about urban environments, there is so much yet to learn about cities: how to improve their operations by leveraging technology and engineering; how to best manage them day-in and day-out by using all the real time information at our disposal. This knowledge will help city leadership better plan for their futures by viewing cities as systems of systems," said Dr. Wladawsky-Berger. "The challenges are enormous, but so are the opportunities. I am very excited to be affiliated with CUSP and to help build a science of cities that will be essential to our planet’s future by making our cities healthy, productive, safe, stable, sustainable, and livable."

About Dr. Aristides Patrinos

Dr. Aristides Patrinos has a distinguished career as a research executive. He comes to NYU-Poly from Synthetic Genomics where he previously served as its President and Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs. He directed research and business activities in biotechnology for renewable fuels and chemicals and led the government affairs office. Previously, Dr. Patrinos spent almost two decades in senior leadership posts within the Department of Energy (DOE), most notably as the Director of the Office of Biological & Environmental Research. In that role, Dr. Patrinos managed research programs in genomics, structural biology, nuclear medicine, environmental remediation and global environmental change. He was also instrumental in launching the Department’s part of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, establishing the Human Genome Project and building DOE’s Joint Genome Institute.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Patrinos was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Sciences at the University of Rochester and also served as a research scientist at both Oak Ridge and Brookhaven National Laboratories.

He is the recipient of several prestigious honors and awards, including three Presidential Rank Awards, two U.S. Secretary of Energy’s Gold Medals, and the ComputerWorld Smithsonian Platinum Technology Award. Dr. Patrinos earned his undergraduate degree in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Astronautical Science from Northwestern University.

In addition to his duties with CUSP, Dr. Patrinos will also be a part of NYU-Poly’s faculty in the Mechanical Engineering Department and the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department.

About Dr. Shelley Harrison

Dr. Shelley Harrison is currently Senior Advisor & Head of Corporate Portfolio Ventures at Coller Capital, a global private equity investor with $13.5 billion under management. He served as a Member of Board of Trustees of Polytechnic and its NYS Center for Advanced Telecom in the mid-1980’s through the early 1990’s.

Early in his career, Dr. Harrison was a Technical Staff Member at Bell telephone Labs (AT&T) and Professor of Electrical Sciences SUNY Stony Brook with a focus on quantum electronics, lasers and microwave communications.

Dr. Harrison was Co-Founder and first Chairman & CEO of Symbol Technologies Inc. through formative years building the business, raising capital, pioneering technology patent base and business applications utilizing laser scanning of bar codes for automatic data entry. Symbol Technologies received the National Medal of Technology Award from President William Clinton for "creating the global market for laser bar code scanning and application of mobile computing and wireless local area network technologies."

He went on to be Co-Founder and Managing General Partner of Venture Capital firms PolyVentures I & II where he successfully invested and grew over 30 high tech startups in the United States, Taiwan, and Israel generating thousands of jobs and very significant revenues while sharing profits with Polytechnic University to improve its endowment. He has continued high tech investing around the world (China, USA, Israel, Europe) through Harrison Enterprises Inc. and advises multinational corporations and governments on technology development, entrepreneurship and job creation.

Dr. Harrison became Chairman (1994) and then CEO (1996-2003) of Spacehab Inc. – the first international company supporting human activity in Space through its privately financed ($200 million) proprietary pressurized laboratory and logistics modules flown successfully aboard 18 missions of the USA NASA shuttle fleet to earth orbit, Russian MIR Station, and the International Space Station.

He earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from NYU, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrophysics from Polytechnic University.

About Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger retired from IBM after a 37-year career, where his primary focus was on innovation and technical strategy. He led a number of IBM’s companywide initiatives including the Internet and e-business, supercomputing and Linux. In his emeritus role, he continues to collaborate with the company on major new market strategies like Cloud Computing and Smarter Planet.

He later joined Citigroup as Strategic Advisor, working on innovation and technology initiatives including the transition to mobile digital money and payments. For seven years, he has written a weekly blog,, and became a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal in April 2012.

He is a visiting lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Engineering Systems
Division and an Adjunct Professor in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at the Imperial College Business School.

Dr. Wladaswsky-Berger serves on several boards and committees including the Board of Directors of Inno360, ID³ and the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, the InnoCentive Advisory Board, the Visiting Committee for the Physical Sciences Division at the University of Chicago, and the Advisory Board of USC's Annenberg Innovation Lab. He was co-chair of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, as well as a founding member of the Computer Sciences and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council.

A native of Cuba, he was named the 2001 Hispanic Engineer of the Year. Dr. Wladawsky-Berger received an M.S. and a Ph. D. in physics from the University of Chicago.

About New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress

CUSP is an applied science research institute created by New York University and NYU-Poly with a consortium of world-class universities and the foremost international tech companies to address the needs of cities. This research will make CUSP the world’s leading authority in the emerging field of "urban informatics."

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
MetroTech, Center for Urban Science and Progress, Polytechnic School of Engineering

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: Kim Alfred |

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