Meet the Smart Fabrics Summit 2023 Speakers! 

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Emcee: Dr. Amanda C. Mills

Assistant Research Professor, Wilson College of Textiles at NC State University.
Dr. Amanda C. Mills is an Assistant Research Professor at the Wilson College of Textiles at NC State University. Her focus is on developing innovative methods for electronics integration into textiles. She creates full system demonstration platforms to examine the impact of the textile on the device and vice versa. For example, this has included system level electronic designs and knit structure designs for human energy harvesting and physiological sensing. Dr. Mills also studies textile simulation for digital design and virtual reality applications.
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Dhruv Agarwal

Vice President-Sustainability, Innovation, Development, Kontoor Brands (Wrangler & HD Lee)
Dhruv is a versatile leader with more than 20 years of experience in textiles and apparel; industry. In his current role as Vice President – Global Sustainability, Innovation, Development at Kontoor Brands (Lee and Wrangler), his primary focus is building and implementing the sustainability strategy, sustainable innovations, and developments for denim and lifestyle apparel. He was recognized as a global influencer in the denim industry in the year 2021 by Rivet Magazine. He has been championing decarbonization, freshwater and chemical reduction, circularity, etc. in the complete value chain. He is also promoting regenerative agricultural practices in cotton, hemp, and other natural fibers for the textile and denim industry. He has versatile experience including sustainable innovations, product development, process development, process engineering and optimization, enterprise-wide quality, enterprise & process excellence, and "end-to-end" project ownership. He has led global projects driving strategic innovations and transforming high-performance product lines. He has experience in various industries including – Fibers and Polymers, Textiles, Fashion & Apparel, Denim, Technical &Industrial Textiles, Paper Industry, Aerospace, and Consulting. He holds multiple patents and patent applications. Many of his innovations have been awarded including Fast Company Annual Innovations.
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Rakkiyappan Chandran, PhD

Principal Scientist, Supreme Corporation
Rakkiyappan Chandran is the Principal Scientist at Supreme Corporation with more than 8 years of diversified experience and specialized training from Harvard-MIT research laboratories. His strong background in polymeric biomaterials science and engineering has allowed his research to be particularly unique, with applications such as novel nanostructured polymeric surfaces, nanotechnology, and treatments for disease. His expertise is in the field of nano-polymeric biomaterials and encapsulation formulation, photodynamic therapy, polymer processing & characterization, composite fibers, and smart textiles. At Supreme Corporation Dr. Chandran leads the R&D to new product and process development, quality improvement, and cost reduction. He undertook many industrial and academic projects for execution and management, from technology transfer to commercialization of new products.

Rakkiyappan Chandran hold a Ph.D. from Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) affiliated to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He also holds a MS degree in Nanoscience with his thesis project from Department of dermatology at the Photomedicine lab in MGH hospital affiliated to Harvard Medical School. Dr. Chandran is a highly qualified scientist with extensive experience in Nano-polymer Technology. Dr. Chandran has an extensive documented record of authorship in his field of endeavor. As evidence of this research success, Dr. Chandran’s work has resulted in more than 20 peer-reviewed scientific articles, one book, one book chapter, and one monograph with more than 1500+ citations. Dr. Chandran’s work has been consistently published in top-ranked journals and demonstrates that it has been recognized as some of the best in the field.
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Dr. Ravi Chilukuri

Innovation Ecosystem Director, Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) at NC State
Dr. Ravi Chilukuri is the Innovation Ecosystem Director at the Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) at NC State. He has 25+ years of global microelectronics experience, developing and marketing innovative products in both early stage and multinational companies. Prior to ASSIST, he was the Director of Business Development at Micross. He co-founded and served as COO and board member for VitalFlo, a medical device start-up. As the VP of Product Development at Phononic, he led R&D, NPI (New Product Introductions), Business Development and bring-up of thermoelectric device manufacturing in Durham, NC. At Amkor, Dr. Chilukuri managed P&L for WLCSP and drove multiple product development programs from pathfinding to high volume manufacturing in USA, Europe and Asia. He has also developed BiCMOS technology platforms for power management ICs at ON Semiconductor, vertical power MOSFETs at Silicon Semiconductor, and flip-chip/bumping technologies at Unitive. His graduate school research included GaN epitaxy and SiC power devices. Dr. Chilukuri has authored 5 patents and 60+ publications.
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Dr. Jessica M. Gluck

Assistant Professor, Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, PhD (2013), University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Jessica M. Gluck works in the area of tissue engineering, specifically studying how the microenvironment influences cellular differentiation and function. She received her BS in Textile Technology (2005) and MS in Biomedical Textiles (2007) from NC State University. She received her MS in Biomedical Engineering (2008) and PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology (2013) from UCLA, which was supported by a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA predoctoral fellowship in Vascular Biology. She was a postdoctoral fellow for three years at the University of California, Davis in the Cardiovascular Medicine division of the Internal Medicine Department working on developing a biopacemaker using biomaterials and stem cells. Her postdoctoral work was supported by fellowships in Stem Cell Biology (California Institute of Regenerative Medicine) and Cardiovascular Medicine (NIH postdoctoral fellowship). Following her postdoctoral work, she worked on a short-term grant-funded contract position with Discovery Place Science, a science center in Charlotte, NC, to develop the content and curriculum of their human health-focused exhibit and teaching classroom. Prior to joining the NC State faculty in August 2019, she was a research scientist at Precise Bio, a biotech startup focusing on 3D bioprinting corneal tissue located in Winston Salem, NC.

Currently, her research focuses on how the microenvironment influences cellular differentiation and function. She is continuing her research into cardiac tissue engineering using electrospun nanofibrous scaffolds and human induced pluripotent stem cells. She is also investigating tissue engineering strategies to combat limbal stem cell deficiency to treat vision loss. Both areas of research involve scaffold/substrate fabrication and characterization, as well as evaluating the cell-material interaction and cellular function. Science communication and community outreach are very important to her and she hopes to continue volunteer work with local museums and area schools to encourage K-12 students to enter STEM fields.
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Carlos Jimenez

Technical Sales Director, Fashion, Lectra
Carlos Jimenez is a fashion and apparel professional with more than 18 years of experience in digital solutions to improve design, product development and manufacturing. Throughout his career, Carlos has been able to combine his degree in International Business with his education in fashion design to analyze and implement projects with customers in different product areas, such as lingerie, sportswear and ready to wear. He is a true believer that technology is not used to replace people, but is a tool to boost creativity and productivity for a more efficient end-to-end product experience.
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Jesse Jur

Director of Technical Program Development, Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA)
Dr. Jesse S. Jur is the Director of Technical Program Development at the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), a Manufacturing USA Innovation Institute located in Cambridge MA. In this role, he leads efforts to discover and foster US-based advances in textile technologies. From 2021-2022 Dr. Jur held a position of Professor of Textile Engineering Chemistry & Science at NC State University’s Wilson College of Textiles.
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Matt Kolmes

CEO, Supreme Corporation
Matt Kolmes is the CEO of Supreme Corporation. Supreme develops highly technical yarns, fabrics, and wearable technology. Supreme is currently a Licensee of NASA and uses their SansEC technology to detect vital signs on fabrics using our conductive yarns. Matt coordinates a team of internal R&D specialists and utilizes a network of outsourced developers that spans the globe. Matt's recent projects include Heated Gloves for the Military, Medicine Releasing yarns and fabrics, Anti-viral finish that kills viruses on contact, Geo-location and impact sensing, with vital sign monitoring for Soldiers, First Responders, Police and Athletes. Matt's focus has been on developing platforms of products that improve health and well-being, or lead to intervention and prevention of fatalities.
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Dr. Braden Li

Materials Research Engineer, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center & Air Force Research Laboratory
Braden Li received his B.Sc degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida (2017) and his Ph.D. in Fiber and Polymer Science from the Wilson College of Textiles at North Carolina State University. He is currently a SMART scholar and federal employee with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). His role focuses on collaborative acquisition and development efforts towards next-generation electronic textile technologies with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
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Michelle Lishner

Lead Development Engineer, Cortland Biomedical
Michelle Lishner is a Lead Development Engineer at Cortland Biomedical with a B.S. in Medical Textiles from North Carolina State University. She is a subject matter expert in medical textile product development and engineering. She has industry and academic experience in tissue engineering and material-based medical devices with awards in leadership, project management, innovation and product design.
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Dr. Jack Martin

Faculty-Sustainable Technologies, Appalachian State University
Dr. Martin of Sustainable Technologies; Appalachian State University, has been a consultant to several major organizations and business/industries promoting the Solarization of Smart Fabrics. He is the CEO of Himcen Battery, provider of small scale solar solutions. His major emphasis has been in disaster recovery and the difficult marine environment. Printed solar onto a smart fabric hold great potential for opening new opportunities. The future looks golden- like the sun.
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Steve McManus

Innovation Advisor, RTI Innovation Advisors
Mr. McManus is an experienced technology commercialization professional. Before joining RTI, Mr. McManus held the General Manager position with CS Medical LLC, a medical device manufacturer, where he managed sales, marketing, product development, and operations. Prior to his tenure at CS Medical, he worked in business development roles with BP Amoco Fabrics and Fibers (later Propex) and LORD Corporation, establishing markets and applications for new material innovations. His current focus at RTI is serving National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers across the US by providing technology and market intelligence consulting services to manufacturing startups and established small- and medium-size firms, and by participating in programs funded by NIST MEP, the US Department of Defense, US Department of Energy, Small Business Administration, and Federal and State agencies.

Mr. McManus has a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science in Management degree with a concentration in technology commercialization, both from North Carolina State University.
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Dr. R. Bryan Ormond

Assistant Professor, TECS/TPACC, Wilson College of Textiles, North Carolina State University
As a researcher at NC State University's Textile Protection and Comfort Center (TPACC), Dr. Ormond has focused on developing test methods, standards, equipment, and ensembles for first responders and military personnel to address protection from chemical, particulate, and thermal hazards. His most recent research has centered on reducing firefighter exposure to toxic chemicals and particulates through developing particulate-blocking turnout gear, evaluating on-scene decontamination methods, and investigating the impacts of PFAS and PFAS-free finishes PPE performance. During the pandemic, Dr. Ormond focused on developing an articulated, breathing headform test method to assess the total filtration efficiency of cloth and barrier face coverings and medical masks.
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Emil Runge

Director of Programs, First Flight Venture Center
Emil Runge has the phenomenal pleasure of getting to work with entrepreneurs and ecosystem partners on an array of efforts to improve the probability of success of early-stage science startups. He leads the First Flight BARDA DRIVe Accelerator focused on national health security, facilitates Propeller Ideation Trainings, manages the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) with Hangar6, works with our awesome Navigators and lines up our great companies to present at Itineraries (our nerdvana sessions where our companies can geek out on their science). He also led the effort to launch Test Flight Pitch Practices to help our companies better prepare themselves to pitch to investors.

In 2022, Emil helped launch the Wheels UP Accelerator, comprehensive 12-week, cohort-based, sector-focused accelerator for science/technology startups. Working in collaboration with BARDA, the first Wheels UP cohort in summer-fall 2022 accelerated the ability of entrepreneurs to scale disruptive biotechnology and health security/pandemic preparedness solutions. BARDA provided $100,000 in prize money as well as technical expertise for this first cohort, which had its Demo Day (accelerator graduate presentations to potential investors and industry/government experts) on November 3, 2022. For over two decades, Emil has consulted, advised and assisted elected and appointed officials in capacities at the federal, state and local level. Since 2001, he focused primarily on improving his region, state and nation through innovative public policy solutions and strategic initiatives in the political, governmental, innovation and entrepreneurial arenas. For over a dozen years, he has focused on growing Startup Communities and improving Innovation & Entrepreneurial Ecosystems.
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Glenn Saunders

Senior Research Engineer, Manufacturing Innovation Center (MIC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Glenn Saunders is a Senior Research Engineer with the Manufacturing Innovation Center (MIC) at Rensselaer where he has been conducting industrially relevant, applied research for 24 years, specializing in robotics, manufacturing processes and new product development. Prior to that, he spent 15 years in industry, where he worked in machine tools, automation systems, robotics, manufacturing and machine design. He has an M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering and is a licensed Professional Engineer. He is President and founder of the Upstate New York Laboratory Robotics Interest Group, a 501(c)(3) non-profit industry advocacy organization.
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Cory Schug

Law Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson LLP
Cory Schug practices Intellectual Property (IP) law with a focus on patent procurement and management with the international law firm of Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP. He has worked with clients in a broad range of industries and technologies to manage IP matters. He currently has several clients in the textile and fabric industry. He has worked with textile clients on applications from awnings to radomes and from industrial fabrics for EV batteries to apparel. Cory’s textile clients include large international manufacturers and some of the apparel industry’s most recognizable brands.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Cory received a degree in Mechanical Engineering and worked in the field of computer and consumer electronics installation, service, and support.