Standing Members

Emmanuel P. Giannelis, PhD, Chair

Vice Provost for Research/Vice President for Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Research Policy

Emmanuel Giannelis serves as Vice Provost for Research and Vice President for Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Research Policy. As Vice Provost for Research, reporting to the Provost, he leads the Research Division on the Ithaca campus. As Vice President for Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Research Policy, reporting to the President, he is responsible for technology transfer, intellectual property, and research policy across all Cornell campuses.The Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) enables and advances Cornell research priorities, including research activities of Cornell colleges, schools, and research centers, institutes, and laboratories. The office advocates for researchers within the university, working with external agencies, sponsors, and government representatives; supports specialized research facilities and services for researchers; provides campus-wide research administrative support services; and facilitates major interdisciplinary research initiatives.

In his role as Vice President for Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Research Policy, Giannelis, along with Cornell’s Center for Technology Licensing (CTL), champions entrepreneurship and technology commercialization, supporting researchers and entrepreneurs as they bring scientific discoveries, technological innovations, medical advances, and new products to the marketplace for societal benefit to foster economic development within New York State and across the nation and to further Cornell’s land grant mission.

Giannelis joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell in 1987, where he is currently the Walter R. Read Professor of Engineering. He received a BS degree in chemistry from the University of Athens (Greece) in 1980 and a PhD in chemistry from Michigan State University in 1985. His recent research focus is on design and application of nanomaterials for energy, biomedicine, and the environment. His research group is internationally recognized as one of the leading groups in nanocomposites.

Giannelis is a member of the European Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Chemical Society, and a fellow of the Polymer Materials Science and Engineering Division of the American Chemical Society. He received the Cooperative Research Award from the American Chemical Society in 2014. He was awarded a Doctorat Honoris Causa (honorary PhD) in July 2017 from the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon, Université de Lyon.

Joanne DeStephano

Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Cornell University Division of Financial Affairs (

Joanne DeStefano is the Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Cornell University. As the most senior non-academic officer for the university, the EVP is the chief financial and administrative officer responsible for directing the financial and administrative services in support of the academic mission.

Ms. DeStefano began her tenure with the university in 1990 as the general accounting manager for the contract colleges, having held a number of positions with progressive responsibility within the finance division, most recently vice president for finance and CFO. Prior to joining the university, Ms. DeStefano worked in the corporate sector.

Ms. DeStefano is a 1978 graduate of Syracuse University with a bachelor of science in accounting, and a 1997 recipient of a master of business administration in finance from the Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.

Locally, Ms. DeStefano serves as a member on the Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) board of directors and executive committees, and previously served as the chair of CMC’s patient and quality safety committee and as the chair for the Cornell 2008 United Way campaign. Nationally, she is a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), and has held board of director positions with the Kuali Foundation and the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR).

Alice Li

Executive Director of the Cornell Center for Technology Licensing (CTL)

Alice Li is the Executive Director of the Center for Technology Licensing (CTL) at Cornell University. She oversees all aspects of technology management, marketing, license negotiation, outreach, and CTL activities to facilitate new venture creation in its services to all Cornell campuses and colleges. Alice has 14 years of experience in university technology transfer.
She was the Director of Licensing of the Ithaca office from 2011 to 2014, providing mentorship for licensing professionals in intellectual property protection, license negotiation, and spearheading new commercialization initiatives. Alice joined CTL in 2002 and started with hands-on management of invention portfolios, negotiations of complex deals and engagement with startup companies.  Prior to joining CTL, Alice was an R&D manager at BioArray Solutions, a NJ biotech company in diagnostic and drug discovery. During her five-year tenure there, the company grew from a two-person startup to an enterprise of fifty people. BioArray Solutions was acquired by a publicly traded company in 2008.  Alice obtained her Ph.D. from Cornell University and B.S. from Tsinghua University. She is also an inventor and patent holder. Alice has been a Certified Licensing Professional since 2010.

Robert M. Scharf

Director, The Praxis Center for Venture Development in Engineering and the Physical Sciences, Secretary and ex officio non voting member

Bob Scharf was appointed director in June 2018 as the first Director of the Praxis Center  for Venture Development in Engineering and the Physical Sciences at Cornell University. Bob came to this role with a long track record of building and launching new products and new ventures as a Director of Marketing at Thomas & Betts,  Executive Vice President of Stratos Lightwave;  and Chief Executive Officer of Protokraft. Bob brings field specific experience in Automotive, Aerospace, Computer, Telecommunications and Medical hardware development projects.

Bob earned a BSME degree from Cornell University’s College of Engineering, and a Master of Business Administration from Youngstown State University in OH.