I-Corps™ Leadership Team

Dunbar P. Birnie, III

Professor & Corning/Saint Gobain/ Malcolm G. McLaren Chair Materials Science Engineering
Phone: 848-445-5606

Dr. Birnie is the Faculty Lead for Rutgers for the NE Region I-Corps Hub and was the PI for Rutgers I-Corps Site Grant. Dunbar has participated as an academic lead for a National I-Corps team and has gone through the regional program numerous times with various innovations. He received his BS and PhD degrees from MIT and is deeply involved in solar innovation at many levels. His class on “Solar Cell Design and Processing” integrates innovation and practical engineering knowledge to help students evaluate new solar technologies as daily class discussion topics. Prof. Birnie has been modeling and measuring how solar power overlaps with the emergence of electric transportation through his “Solar-2-Vehicle Project”. Through various NSF funding he has worked extensively on dye sensitized solar cells and improving the nanoporosity channels that are important for enhancing efficiency. Present device-level work is aimed at wide-band-gap thin-film semiconductors to pair with silicon for application in 1-sun tandem architecture modules. The Birnie group is also actively involved in entrepreneurship related to renewable energy research and actively working to translate in-the-lab discoveries to commercial success.

Lori Dars

Associate Director, Office of Economic Development & Innovation
Phone: 848-932-4481 

Lori Dars is a Regional Instructor Trainer and Diversity and Inclusion Lead for the Northeast Region I-Corps Hub. Previously, she was the Director of Rutgers NSF-funded I-Corps Site, overseeing all aspects of the program including recruiting, marketing, program design, and resources for teams upon completion of I-Corps. She is also a co-founder of the I-Corps Fellowship program. Lori’s passion for I-Corps began in 2014 when she recruited Rutgers teams for the National I-Corps program while a member of the Technology Transfer Office’s New Ventures and Entrepreneurship Team and saw how impactful the program could be. She is also a Senior Adviser for the Masters in Business and Science Externship Program, guiding student project teams, teaching leadership labs and recruiting organizations. Lori has active roles on committees within the New Jersey Big Data Alliance. She is the founder of Rutgers Entrepreneurship Coalition which promotes and organizes events and opportunities for students including Rutgers Innovation and Entrepreneurship Expos, UPitchNJ and others. Prior to joining Rutgers, Lori worked in various industry positions in corporate communications, marketing, and business development overseeing activities for a variety of products and services.  She holds a BA in Communications from the University of Delaware and an M.B.A. from Rutgers University.

    Mark DeGuzman

    Manager, New Ventures
    Phone: 973-353-1310

    Mark DeGuzman is the Manager for the Northeast I-Corps Hub and is the Co-founder of the I-Corps Fellowship. Previously, he was the Manager for the Rutgers I-Corps Site where he developed the program curriculum, did recruiting, interviewing, trained and mentored teams, and handled financial management and program evaluation, among other activities.  His instructional focus is on Customer Discovery activities and skills-based training.  He participated as the Entrepreneurial Lead for the National I-Corps Teams Program under Dr. Murnick in the development of a Laser-based Radiocarbon Analyzer for Pharmaceutical and Environmental Monitoring applications. He is based in the Physics Department in Rutgers-Newark and Materials Science Engineering Department in Rutgers-New Brunswick.  Mark completed a BS in Materials Science Engineering from Rutgers College of Engineering and an MBA at the Rutgers Business School studying wealth creation through technology commercialization and management.

    Mark’s I-Corps experience sparked his passion to support and develop the Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) Ecosystem at Rutgers.  He is currently working to plan, manage, and expand the NSF-funded Rutgers I-Corps Site to all Rutgers campuses and Hispanic/Minority Serving Institutions with a focus on Diversity & Inclusion to help support innovators that might not otherwise have access to innovation resources and funding.

    Dan Benderly

    Associate Director, Manager, Office of Research Commercialization
    Phone: 732-277-0127

    Dan.Benderly@rutgers.edu, Phone: 732-277-0127

    Dan Benderly is an Adjunct Instructor for the Northeast Region I-Corps Hub. Previously, he was the I-Corps Site Liaison with the Technology Commercialization Office. Dan he has more than 25 years of management and entrepreneurial experience in commercializing innovative technologies with both small and large companies across the world.  As a member of Rutgers Office of Research Commercialization, he is focused on software and copyrighted works.  In addition to consulting with various companies over the course of his career, Dan has held positions with the College Board in their Digital Solutions group developing strategic partnerships, at NICE systems, as part of the Corporate Development team focusing on strategy, alliances, and mergers and acquisitions primarily for their financial crime software business, and at EMC, responsible for Strategy and Corporate Development for RSA’s identity and access assurance portfolio. He has held senior positions at Cyota (sold to RSA), The BCS Group, a consulting firm in the telecommunications and homeland security, and Global Wireless Holdings, a wireless data operator in Latin America and Asia which he also co-founded.  In addition, he served as Corporate Development Director at Global TeleSystems Group, a start-up European voice and data telecommunications operator, and assistant GM of Hungaro Digitel, a start-up Hungarian data service provider. Dan holds a B.E. in Electrical Engineering from Cooper Union and an MBA from the Columbia Business School.