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September 29, 2014

Grand Challenges in Science

The Illuminate Grand Challenges in Science discussion focused on three challenges in the scientific fields – the BRAIN initiative, NASA’s Asteroid Challenge, and the IBM Watson Challenge. Experts from each of these diverse challenges came together to discuss and explain each specific situation and the measureable steps that are being taken to solve the challenge at hand.

Doug Rand is the Assistant Director for Entrepreneurship at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where his work focuses on the Startup America initiative and efforts to promote entrepreneurship across the country. Prior to working at the White House, Doug served as co-founder and CEO of the innovative publishing company Playscripts, Inc., as well as a co-founder of the review aggregator StageGrade. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Yale School of Management, and received Master’s and undergraduate degrees from Harvard, where he studied evolutionary biology. As a writer, Doug’s plays have been performed worldwide, and he has published numerous articles covering subjects from theater to politics to insects.

Doug Rand

Doug Rand is the Assistant Director for Entrepreneurship at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where his work focuses on the Startup America initiative and efforts to promote entrepreneurship across the country. Prior to working at the White House, Doug served as co-founder and CEO of the innovative publishing company Playscripts, Inc., as well as a co-founder of the review aggregator StageGrade. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Yale School of Management, and received Master’s and undergraduate degrees from Harvard, where he studied evolutionary biology.

Doug Rand is the Assistant Director for Entrepreneurship at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where his work focuses on the Startup America initiative and efforts to promote entrepreneurship across the country. Prior to working at the White House, Doug served as co-founder and CEO of the innovative publishing company Playscripts, Inc., as well as a co-founder of the review aggregator StageGrade. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Yale School of Management, and received Master’s and undergraduate degrees from Harvard, where he studied evolutionary biology. As a writer, Doug’s plays have been performed worldwide, and he has published numerous articles covering subjects from theater to politics to insects.

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Dr. Justin Sanchez joined DARPA as a program manager in 2013 to explore neurotechnology, brain science and systems neurobiology.

Before coming to DARPA, Dr. Sanchez was an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience at the University of Miami, and a faculty member of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. He directed the Neuroprosthetics Research Group, where he oversaw development of neural-interface medical treatments and neurotechnology for treating paralysis and stroke, and for deep brain stimulation for movement disorders, Tourette’s syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Dr. Sanchez has developed new methods for signal analysis and processing techniques for studying the unknown aspects of neural coding and functional neurophysiology. His experience covers in vivo electrophysiology for brain-machine interface design in animals and humans where he studied the activity of single neurons, local field potentials and electrocorticogram in the cerebral cortex and from deep brain structures of the motor and limbic system.

He is an elected member of the Administrative Committee of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.

He has published more than 75 peer-reviewed papers, holds seven patents in neuroprosthetic design and authored a book on the design of brain-machine interfaces. He has served as a reviewer for the NIH Neurotechnology Study Section, DoD’s Spinal Cord Injury Research Program and the Wellcome Trust, and as an associate editor of multiple journals of biomedical engineering and neurophysiology.

Dr. Sanchez holds Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Engineering degrees in Biomedical Engineering, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Science, all from the University of Florida.

Dr. Justin Sanchez

Dr. Justin Sanchez joined DARPA as a program manager in 2013 to explore neurotechnology, brain science and systems neurobiology.

Dr. Justin Sanchez joined DARPA as a program manager in 2013 to explore neurotechnology, brain science and systems neurobiology.

Before coming to DARPA, Dr. Sanchez was an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience at the University of Miami, and a faculty member of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. He directed the Neuroprosthetics Research Group, where he oversaw development of neural-interface medical treatments and neurotechnology for treating paralysis and stroke, and for deep brain stimulation for movement disorders, Tourette’s syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Dr. Sanchez has developed new methods for signal analysis and processing techniques for studying the unknown aspects of neural coding and functional neurophysiology. His experience covers in vivo electrophysiology for brain-machine interface design in animals and humans where he studied the activity of single neurons, local field potentials and electrocorticogram in the cerebral cortex and from deep brain structures of the motor and limbic system.

He is an elected member of the Administrative Committee of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.

He has published more than 75 peer-reviewed papers, holds seven patents in neuroprosthetic design and authored a book on the design of brain-machine interfaces. He has served as a reviewer for the NIH Neurotechnology Study Section, DoD’s Spinal Cord Injury Research Program and the Wellcome Trust, and as an associate editor of multiple journals of biomedical engineering and neurophysiology.

Dr. Sanchez holds Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Engineering degrees in Biomedical Engineering, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Science, all from the University of Florida.

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Lea Shanley directs the Commons Lab within the Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) of Woodrow Wilson Center. The Commons Lab seeks to advance research and independent policy analysis on emerging technologies that facilitate collaborative, science-based and citizen-driven decision-making, with an emphasis on their social, legal, and ethical implications.

In 2010, Lea was a Postdoctoral Fellow on the Mapping Science Committee of the National Academy of Sciences, where she co-directed two reports: Precise Geodetic Infrastructure: National Requirements for a Shared Resource; and New Research Directions for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. These reports recommended strategic science and technology priorities for geodesy, hazards monitoring, and national security.

In 2009, Lea was an American Association for the Advancement of Science/Agronomy Society of America-Crop Science Society of America-Soil Science Society of America Congressional Science Fellow and primary science adviser to the Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space. She managed the Senator's priorities for federal R&D and crafted and negotiated legislation addressing earth observation, oceans issues, and hazards research and mitigation.

Previously, Lea conducted community-based participatory action research in geographic information science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This research engaged local and tribal communities in the development and use of GIS-based decision support systems, enabling collaborative decision-making for improved land use planning, natural resource management, coastal management, precision agriculture, and emergency management.

Lea Shanley

Lea Shanley directs the Commons Lab within the Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) of Woodrow Wilson Center. The Commons Lab seeks to advance research and independent policy analysis on emerging technologies that facilitate collaborative, science-based and citizen-driven decision-making, with an emphasis on their social, legal, and ethical implications.

Lea Shanley directs the Commons Lab within the Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) of Woodrow Wilson Center. The Commons Lab seeks to advance research and independent policy analysis on emerging technologies that facilitate collaborative, science-based and citizen-driven decision-making, with an emphasis on their social, legal, and ethical implications.

In 2010, Lea was a Postdoctoral Fellow on the Mapping Science Committee of the National Academy of Sciences, where she co-directed two reports: Precise Geodetic Infrastructure: National Requirements for a Shared Resource; and New Research Directions for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. These reports recommended strategic science and technology priorities for geodesy, hazards monitoring, and national security.

In 2009, Lea was an American Association for the Advancement of Science/Agronomy Society of America-Crop Science Society of America-Soil Science Society of America Congressional Science Fellow and primary science adviser to the Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space. She managed the Senator's priorities for federal R&D and crafted and negotiated legislation addressing earth observation, oceans issues, and hazards research and mitigation.

Previously, Lea conducted community-based participatory action research in geographic information science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This research engaged local and tribal communities in the development and use of GIS-based decision support systems, enabling collaborative decision-making for improved land use planning, natural resource management, coastal management, precision agriculture, and emergency management.

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Rob High is an IBM Fellow, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Watson Group. He has overall responsibility for the Watson technical agenda and thought leadership in cognitive computing. He has published several white papers and video blogs on the role of Watson in the emerging era of cognitive computing.



Rob has 37 years of programming experience and has worked with distributed, object-oriented, component-based transaction monitors for the last 21 years, including SOMObject Server, Component Broker, and most recently the WebSphere Application Server. Rob previously served as Chief Architect of the IBM SOA Foundation, and prior to that as Chief Architecture for the WebSphere foundation with architectural responsibility for the WebSphere Application Server and the related products integrated on that core runtime.

Rob High

Rob High is an IBM Fellow, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Watson Group. He has overall responsibility for the Watson technical agenda and thought leadership in cognitive computing. He has published several white papers and video blogs on the role of Watson in the emerging era of cognitive computing.



Rob High is an IBM Fellow, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Watson Group. He has overall responsibility for the Watson technical agenda and thought leadership in cognitive computing. He has published several white papers and video blogs on the role of Watson in the emerging era of cognitive computing.



Rob has 37 years of programming experience and has worked with distributed, object-oriented, component-based transaction monitors for the last 21 years, including SOMObject Server, Component Broker, and most recently the WebSphere Application Server. Rob previously served as Chief Architect of the IBM SOA Foundation, and prior to that as Chief Architecture for the WebSphere foundation with architectural responsibility for the WebSphere Application Server and the related products integrated on that core runtime.

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