Proto Ventures Team

Venture Builders

Venture Builder

Luis Soenksen

Luis R. Soenksen is a serial entrepreneur and medical device expert currently acting as MIT’s first Venture Builder in Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare. Luis holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from MIT as well as a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the Monterrey Institute of Technology, and a Master’s of Science in Bioengineering from Johns Hopkins University. His training includes medical device design, development and manufacturing, as well as clinical testing and deployment of healthcare ventures. More fundamentally Luis has made significant contributions to the fields of bio-design education, bioengineering, tissue engineering, synthetic biology and artificial intelligence. Luis work has been published in various high impact journals such as Science, research that has also led to several patented biomedical technologies and collaborated in the creation of 4 start-up companies internationally.

Faculty Leads

Co-Director, MIT Innovation Initiative, Associate Dean for Innovation

Fiona Murray

Fiona Murray is the Associate Dean of Innovation at the MIT Sloan School of Management, William Porter (1967) Professor of Entrepreneurship, and an associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. She is also the co-director of MIT’s Innovation Initiative.  

She serves on the British Prime Minister’s Council on Science and Technology and has been awarded a CBE for her services to innovation and entrepreneurship in the UK.

Murray is an international expert on the transformation of investments in scientific and technical innovation into innovation-based entrepreneurship that drives jobs, wealth creation, and regional prosperity. She has a special interest in the commercialization of science from idea to impact and the mechanisms that can be effectively used to link universities with entrepreneurs, large corporations, and philanthropists in that process. 

Through her leadership role in the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program, Murray engages many global regions in designing and evaluating the policies and programs that shape vibrant innovation ecosystems: prizes competitions, accelerators, and proof of concept funding programs. She is particularly interested in new organizational arrangements for the effective commercialization of science, including public-private partnerships and patient capital/venture philanthropy.

In her recent scholarship and writing, Murray has emphasized the ways in which women and under-represented minorities are engaged in innovation ecosystem, and the ways in which different approaches to evaluating early-stage ideas can overcome the unconscious bias that she has documented in entrepreneurial funding. Her work is widely published in a range of journals, including Science, Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Biotechnology, American Journal of Sociology, Research Policy, Organization Science, and the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

She brings her deep appreciation of R&D to an understanding of global innovation economy and to the ways in which the next generation of global innovators should be educated. She teaches IDEA Week (Innovation-driven Entrepreneurial Advantage) to the MIT Sloan Executive MBAs and recently started the REAL course – Regional Entrepreneurial Acceleration Lab – which gives students practical and academic insights into the design and development of innovation ecosystems around the world.  These courses encourage cross-campus collaborations that move scientific discoveries closer towards marketable products and allow for students from different stakeholder perspectives to understand the broader ecosystem. She also has a particular interest in the entrepreneurial education of scientists and engineers, and in the role of women in entrepreneurship.

Murray received her BA ’89 and MA ‘90 from the University of Oxford in Chemistry. She subsequently moved to the United States and earned an AM ’92 and PhD ’96 from Harvard University in applied sciences.

Co-Director, MIT Innovation Initiative, Associate Dean for Innovation

Michael Cima

Prof. Cima is author or co-author of over two hundred peer-reviewed scientific publications and forty-five patents, and is a recognized expert in the field of materials processing. Prof. Cima is actively involved in materials and engineered systems aimed at improving human health such as treatments for cancer, metabolic diseases, trauma, and urological disorders. Prof. Cima’s research includes advanced forming technologies for complex macro and micro devices, such as colloid science, MEMS and other micro components for medical devices that are used for drug delivery and diagnostics, as well as high-throughput development methods for formulations of materials and pharmaceutical formulations. He is a coinventor of MIT’s three-dimensional printing process. His research has led to the development of chemically derived epitaxial oxide films for HTSC coated conductors. He and collaborators are developing implantable MEMS devices for unprecedented control in the delivery of pharmaceuticals and implantable diagnostic systems.

Executive Team

Executive Director, MIT Innovation Initiative

Gene Keselman

Gene R. Keselman is the Executive Director of the MIT Innovation Initiative. In this role he works to develop overall strategy and to pilot new programs to meet the Initiative’s goal of enhancing innovation and entrepreneurship across the MIT campus and around the world through evidence-based educational programs, infrastructure, and communities.

Gene has held leadership positions in a range of start-ups: he is the co-Founder of Esports One, a esports analytics and data startup originating at MIT and using advanced machine technologies to impact the esports industry. He is also the co-Founder, and now a Board Director, of the Foundation for Innovation and Discovery (FINND), a non-profit organization working to bring innovation and collaboration to the Defense and Intelligence communities. He was also a space and defense industry consultant supporting numerous corporate stakeholders and advising C-suite decision makers.

As a military officer in the Air Force Reserves, Lt. Colonel Keselman continues his role as the Chief of Technology Development of the Joint Reserve Directorate serving the Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Research and Engineering at the Pentagon. He provides critical future technology and engineering bridges between commercial development and military capitalization. Lt. Colonel Keselman was commissioned through Officer Training School and spent 12 years on Active Duty. Throughout his military career he’s held a variety of positions such as Director of Missions, Branch Chief, Chief, Flight Commander, Evaluator, and Combat Crew Commander. His career has spanned military fields including nuclear operations, space operations and acquisition and he has stood up and run numerous operational and R&D programs in the Intelligence Community. He is published in Space journals, is U.S. Government CIO certified and fluent in Russian.

Gene graduated from the University of Michigan with Bachelor’s of Arts degrees in Economics and Political Science and also earned a Master’s of Science degree in Information Systems from the George Washington University. More recently he earned a Master’s of Business Administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While at MIT, Gene was also an Associate Investigator in MIT Sloan Operations Management performing research for the Study on Wearable Biosensors and Performance in Multiplayer Games.

Gene is a recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the NOAA Corps Commendation Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal and numerous other awards.

Senior Program Manager

Thomas Luly

Program Director

Tim Miano

Communications Director, MIT Innovation Initiative

David Sweeney

Senior Administrative Assistant

Danielle Tarpley