Areas of Expertise:
Chemistry/Biochemistry • Entrepreneurial technology ventures • Innovation • Nanomedicine and medical device development • Technology transfer and commercialization • Research grant funding
Award-winning chemist and project leader Dr. Mary Napier was named executive director of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise in September 2012. She manages operations at the institute and works with director Joseph DeSimone to develop and implement the institute’s strategic plan and vision. She also leads efforts to identify and secure sources of funding to achieve a growth model for the institute.
Napier, a 2012 Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award winner and research associate professor in biochemistry and biophysics, previously worked with DeSimone as manager of the DeSimone Research Group, a research team affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Department of Chemistry and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center that focuses on learning how to bring aspects of nanotechnology into the field of medicine.
Napier brings 14 years of industrial research experience, serving as research analytical chemist for G.D. Searle and Co., research and development manager for Xanthon Inc. and research engineer at RTI International’s Center for Thermoelectrics Research. Her work with these companies focused on such areas analytical methodology for pharmaceutics, nucleic acid biosensors and thermoelectric materials development for biological application.
She also brings extensive experience working with entrepreneurial technology ventures, such as UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp’s Xanthon and DeSimone’s Liquidia and Synecor.
Napier holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Northwestern University. She completed postdoctoral research at Harvard University under the direction of Cynthia Friend and at UNC under the direction of Thorp. She has published more than 40 papers and 20 issued and filed patent applications.