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Laing Christopher James

Associate Professor

Vice Dean, Innovation and Entrepreneurship


Contact: 66012089

From 2017 to 2019, Chris was the inaugural executive director of Capital City Innovation, an organization that is coordinating the stakeholders of the innovation district emerging around Austin’s new health complex. Anchored by the new collaboration among The University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School, Ascension Seton, and Central Health, and supported by the Downtown Austin Alliance, Opportunity Austin, and community stakeholders, Austin’s innovation district is committed to health innovation, inclusive place-making and healthy community. It has been recognized as an up-and-coming innovation district by the National League of Cities and the Association of University Research Parks.

Previously, Chris was a member of the senior management team of Philadelphia’s University City Science Center, the country’s oldest and largest urban innovation hub, where he managed relationships between the innovation district and more than 30 academic institutions and had specific oversight of commercialization programs, startup investment, and business incubation/acceleration. His programs engaged more than 300 academic, company, and investment innovators and projects.

He became an Eisenhower Fellow in 2015, through which he had the opportunity to engage with government, academic, and business leaders in China’s emerging urban innovation centers. He is a member of the Philadelphia College of Physicians, and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Prior to joining the Science Center, Chris worked for a number of biomedical start-up companies, ran a research program at the University of Pennsylvania, and was a practicing companion animal veterinarian in the United Kingdom.

He completed his veterinary training and his PhD (in endocrinology) at the University of Sydney, and his post-doctoral training (in molecular biology) at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine.