Photo of An Evening With Biotech’s Best at USC
Unscripted Series

An Evening With Biotech’s Best at USC

Join us on March 21, 2018, for a conversation with pioneers and experts of biotechnology!

February 23, 2018

On March 21, 2018, the National Science and Technology Medals Foundation will host An Evening With Biotech’s Best at the University of Southern California. The event will feature National Medal of Science Laureates and pioneers of the biotechnology industry Marvin Caruthers and Leroy Hood. The Laureates will be joined by Dr. Andrea Belz, Vice Dean for Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship at USC, and Dr. Andrea Armani, the Ray Irani Chair of Engineering and Materials Science at USC.

The conversation will focus on recent developments in biotechnology and their applications from personalized medicine to public health, as well as, the panelists’ experiences working in academia and industry. Following the panel discussion, the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers. The program will conclude with a short reception for all.

This event is free and open to the public. If you cannot join us in California, please tune into the live webcast on our Facebook page.

Andrea Belz


Andrea Belz is the inaugural Vice Dean for Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. She serves as the Director of the NSF Innovation Corps (“I-Corps”) funded Innovation Node – Los Angeles and has served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence, with faculty appointments in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering; the Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation; and the USC Marshall School of Business. She also currently serves as Visiting Professor of Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on modeling technology-based entrepreneurial ecosystems, and she has published research in optical systems, nuclear physics, geomicrobiology, and systems engineering with an emphasis on NASA SBIR program. She is the founder and chair of the Technology Transfer and Infusion session at the IEEE Aerospace Conference.

Andrea Armani


Andrea Armani received her BA in physics from the University of Chicago (2001) and her Ph.D. in applied physics with a minor in biology from the California Institute of Technology (2007), where she continued as the Clare Boothe Luce post-doctoral Fellow in biology and chemical engineering.  She is currently the Ray Irani Chair in Engineering and Materials Science and Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science in the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California.  The over-arching mission of her research is to develop novel nonlinear materials and integrated optical devices that can be used in portable disease diagnostics and telecommunications.  As part of this research, her group investigates a wide range of topics including materials synthesis, integrated optics, and instrument development and collaborates with researchers from a wide range of backgrounds.

Marvin Caruthers


Marvin H. Caruthers is a Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  A Guggenheim Fellow, Dr. Caruthers received his B.S. in Chemistry from Iowa State University, his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Northwestern University, and completed his post-doctoral studies with H. G. Khorana at The University of Wisconsin and MIT.

Professor Caruthers interests include nucleic acids chemistry and biochemistry. Approximately 35 years ago, the methodologies that are used today for chemically synthesizing DNA were developed in his laboratory and incorporated into so-called gene machines for the purpose of synthesizing DNA used by biochemists, biologists, and molecular biologists for many research applications. More recently his laboratory has developed methods for RNA chemical synthesis and the synthesis of DNA/RNA on chips. His laboratory has also pioneered the synthesis of many new nucleic acid analogs that have found applications in the nucleic acid diagnostic and therapeutic areas. He is the recipient of several academic and research awards including The National Academy of Sciences Award for Chemistry in Service to Society and the National Medal of Science for 2006, the nation’s highest distinction honoring scientific achievement. Dr. Caruthers is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, The American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a Corresponding Member of the German Academy of Science Gottingen. One of the co-founders of Amgen and Applied Biosystems, Dr. Caruthers remains active in the Biotechnology arena – most recently as a co-founder of Array BioPharma and miRagen Therapeutics.

Dr. Leroy E. Hood


Dr. Leroy E. Hood graduated from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1964 with an MD and from Caltech with a Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1968. After three years as a Senior Investigator at NIH, his began his academic career at Caltech, where he and his colleagues developed the DNA gene sequencer and synthesizer, and the protein synthesizer and sequencer–instruments that paved the way for the successful mapping and understanding of the human genome. Since then, Dr. Hood has played a role in founding fifteen biotechnology companies including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Integrated Diagnostics and Arivale. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine – one of only fifteen people nominated to all three. Dr. Hood has co-authored textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology and genetics, as well as a popular book on the human genome project, The Code of Codes. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including the Lasker Award for Studies of Immune Diversity (1987), the Kyoto Prize in advanced technology (2002), the Heinz Award for pioneering work in Systems Biology (2006), and the coveted NAE 2011 Fritz J. and Delores H. Russ Prize for developing automated DNA sequencing. Dr. Hood has received 17 honorary degrees from prestigious universities in the United States and abroad, published over 750 peer-reviewed articles and currently holds 36 patents. He received the National Medal of Science from President Obama in 2013.