Vinayak P. Dravid is the Abraham Harris Chaired Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at Northwestern University. He is the founding director of the NUANCE Center and an NSF Center of Excellence called SHyNE Resource. Vinayak is one of the highest cited researchers in the field of nanotechnology, a winner of numerous awards and fellowships to professional societies and author of 520+ journal publications and more than two dozen filed/issued parents. Several of his patents are licensed to commercial entities, including start-up companies. On a personal note, Vinayak is an avid chess fan with numerous personal contacts with GMs and world chess champions. One of his passions is to enhance the societal and global appreciation for science and technology, through the beauty, complexity and elegance of microscopy & materials science.

Vikas Nandwana is an award winning researcher/inventor in the field of functional nanomaterials. With more than 40 journal articles, book chapters, and 7 patents under his belt, Vikas has been invited to speak at various international conferences and symposiums and his work as been cited all around the world in more than 50 countries. He serves as a reviewer, panelist, judge, and mentor of various scientific societies, science clubs, and international scientific journals. Vikas is particularly interested in applied research-led entrepreneurship that can convert laboratory bench invention into commercialized technologies. Vikas is deeply committed and involved in various mentoring and outreach activities.