Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Dr. Mary Napier named Kenan Institute executive director

9/21/2012

Award-winning chemist and project leader Dr. Mary Napier has been named executive director of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.

Mary Napier

Napier will manage operations at the institute and work with director Joseph DeSimone to develop and implement the institute’s strategic plan and vision. She will also lead the effort to identify and secure sources of funding to achieve a growth model for the institute.

“We are fortunate to have someone with Dr. Napier’s academic credentials as well as her prolific organizational skills and expertise in managing entrepreneurial ventures to help further the institute’s new collaborations and projects,” DeSimone said.

Napier, a 2012 Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award winner and research associate professor in biochemistry and biophysics, most recently worked with DeSimone as manager of the DeSimone Research Group, which is affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Department of Chemistry and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The 35-person team focuses on learning how to bring aspects of nanotechnology into the field of medicine.

The Massey award recognizes “unusual, meritorious or superior contributions” by university employees. Colleagues said Napier’s “presence and commanding capabilities serve as the glue that holds many collaborations together, and she is the compass that keeps each project on track to yield significant research outcomes.”

Napier brings 14 years of industrial research experience at G.D. Searle, Xanthon Inc. and RTI International working in such areas as analytical methodology for pharmaceutics, nucleic acid biosensors and thermoelectric materials development for biological application.

She brings extensive experience working with entrepreneurial technology ventures, such as UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp’s Xanthon and DeSimone’s Liquidia and Synecor, and she continues to consult at Liquidia Technologies.

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.

Napier will manage operations at the institute and work with director Joseph DeSimone to develop and implement the institute’s strategic plan and vision. She will also lead the effort to identify and secure sources of funding to achieve a growth model for the institute.