People

  • Edward Seidel

    Interim Director, Discovery Partners Institute

    Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation, University of Illinois System

    U of I System Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation, Edward Seidel, will serve as the interim director of Discovery Partners Institute during a national search for a permanent director. Dr. Seidel will lead the development of an implementation plan that involves input and suggestions from key stakeholders on the development of the institute and its programming.

    Seidel is an award-winning researcher with a long record of leadership experience that includes three years as director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Urbana-Champaign, where he was among the original co-principal investigators for Blue Waters, a federally funded project that brought one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers to Urbana-Champaign.  He is also a Founder Professor in the Department of Physics and a professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Computer Science, and at the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) at Urbana-Champaign.

    Prior to returning to the University of Illinois, Seidel served as the senior vice president for research and innovation for the MIT Skoltech Initiative at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow. Previously, he directed the Office of Cyberinfrastructure and served as assistant director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the U.S. National Science Foundation.  He also led the Center for Computation and Technology at Louisiana State University and directed the numerical relativity group at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Germany.

    Seidel is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. His research has earned a number of awards, including the 2006 IEEE Sidney Fernbach Award, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Gordon Bell prize, and the Heinz Billing Prize of the Max Planck Society. He received his PhD in relativistic astrophysics from Yale University, earned a master’s degree in physics at the University of Pennsylvania, and received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from the College of William and Mary.

  • TJ Augustine

    Associate Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation, University of Illinois System

    Key areas of responsibility:

    • Regional hub development
    • Site planning

    The Discovery Partners Institute will serve not just Chicago, but the entire state of Illinois through the Illinois Innovation Network. TJ is providing leadership in the development of the hubs of the Illinois Innovation Network that are being created across the state to virtually connect other universities and businesses with the Discovery Partners Institute to pursue research and educational collaboration. In addition, TJ is coordinating efforts with Related Midwest, the Chicago-based developer that has agreed to partner with the U of I to establish the institute in The 78, the 62-acre parcel of land along the Chicago River just south of downtown.

    Previously, TJ was a Technology-to-Market Advisor and Acting Deputy Director for Commercialization at the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) and also served as a Special Assistant to Secretaries Steven Chu and Ernest Moniz at the Department of Energy. Prior to working for the Department of Energy, TJ was an OSA/SPIE/AAAS Science and Technology Fellow in the Office of Senator Richard Durbin. He began his career with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he worked with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He also assisted in development of the Obama Administration’s Advanced Manufacturing Initiative.

    TJ is an alumnus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (BS in Chemistry), and he earned both a Master’s in Public Policy and PhD in Chemistry at Stanford University.

  • Pradeep Khanna

    Interim Associate Vice President for Corporate and International Engagement, Discovery Partners Institute

    Associate Vice Chancellor for Corporate Relations and Economic Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Key areas of responsibility:

    • Corporate partnerships
    • International engagement

    Pradeep is developing corporate and international engagement strategies that will grow the Discovery Partners Institutes’ global profile and maximize private sector partner opportunities. His efforts will focus on developing strategic plans to support our emerging partnerships.

    Prior to joining the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as Associate Vice Chancellor for Corporate Relations and Economic Development to lead corporate relations and economic development activities for the campus, Pradeep served as the Associate Director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES).

  • Kristy Kuzmuk

    Assistant Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation, University of Illinois System

    Key areas of responsibility:

    • Budget & Finance
    • Communications
    • Governance structure

    Kristy is overseeing budget planning and leading the development and implementation of a communications strategy for the Discovery Partners Institute and the Illinois Innovation Network. She is helping to identify the people, business processes, and systems needed to enable good governance.

    Prior to returning to the University of Illinois, Kristy was the Vice President of Operations at Precision Graphics and also served as the Vice President of Operations for GrafixMD, a software startup company.

    Kristy received her PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009, where she conducted research aimed at creating a genetically malleable porcine cancer model. While working on her PhD, Kristy obtained her MBA and completed an internship at the life science venture capital firm Burrill and Company in San Francisco. She was a Senior Manager with Illinois Business Consulting and earned a Graduate Certificate in Strategy and Technology Management through the College of Engineering. Prior to this, she conducted nutritional genomics research while working towards a Master’s of Science degree and earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Phyllis Baker

    Special Assistant to the President, University of Illinois System

    Key areas of responsibility:

    • Academic programs

    The Discovery Partners Institute will connect top research faculty in agriculture, healthcare, computing, and other critical fields with businesses and students to address real-world challenges, while also providing hands-on experiences for students and nurturing a skilled workforce for the city and state. Phyllis is coordinating efforts to define the initial academic programming at the institute and is overseeing the Academic Executive Committee, which is composed of University of Illinois faculty from across the System’s three universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield.

    Prior to joining the Office of the President of the University of Illinois System, Phyllis was a Teaching Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is professor emeritus from the University of Northern Iowa where she held positions of Department Head of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology, Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies, and Associate Dean in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Phyllis received her PhD in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego.

  • Jennifer Creasey

    Senior Director of State Relations, University of Illinois System

    Key areas of responsibility:

    • Governmental Relations & Advocacy

    Jennifer will work closely with the Illinois General Assembly and local officials to promote the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) and Illinois Innovation Network (IIN). She will represent the DPI and IIN in both the Capitol and the community to solicit feedback and garner support.

    As part of the Office of Governmental Relations, she is responsible for outreach and state legislative advocacy on behalf of the University of Illinois System. She manages relationships across the state and works closely with the University of Illinois legislative caucus and university alumni.

    Before coming to the University of Illinois, Jennifer was with AARP Illinois, and previously served as Deputy Director of Boards and Commissions/Agricultural and Environmental Affairs in the Office of the Governor. She has also worked in a number of political internships in both Washington D.C. and Springfield.

    She has a BA in both Political Science and Speech Communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was selected for the Dunn Fellowship program after graduation in 2004. Jennifer went on to complete a M.S. from the University of Illinois at Springfield in Political Science.

  • Kandace Turner

    Project Manager, University of Illinois System

    As Project Manager, Kandace utilizes project management tools and methods to plan, direct, and coordinate activities for the Discovery Partners Institute and the Illinois Innovation Network.

    Prior to joining the Office of the President of the University of Illinois System, Kandace managed advanced data projects at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Kandace earned a B.S. in Organizational Leadership from Millikin University. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Information Management from the iSchool at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.