next up for the rice nexus
University names Houston founder to leadership role to oversee new innovation hub
Rice University’s Office of Innovation has named Houston materials scientist-turned-entrepreneur Adrian Trömel as its new assistant vice president for strategy and investments.
Trömel founded non-invasive neurostimulation medical device company CNX Medical at the Texas Medical Innovation Institute in 2019 and most recently served as chief growth officer for Hamilton Health Box, which brings an on-site care team to company offices.
In his new role, Trömel will oversee the creation of the Rice Nexus, an innovation hub within the Ion that aims to bridge the gap between the university and Houston's innovation ecosystem. He will also lead the creation of a translational research grant fund and a university-affiliated venture fund for Rice-affiliated entrepreneurs, according to the release.
“Adrian brings a broad, multidisciplinary background to the team at the Office of Innovation,” Paul Cherukuri, chief innovation officer at Rice, says in a statement. “As a materials scientist and entrepreneur, his experience can be brought to bear to help faculty and students spin out new technologies and start new ventures.”
Trömel holds a bachelor’s and master’s in materials sciences from the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the Netherlands and an MBA from Rice. He is also an angel investor and a lead lecturer for Rice's New Enterprise MBA ELab.
In addition to his professional work, he serves as the foreign trade advisor to the Ministry of Economy of Luxembourg.
Rice has been building up its Office of Innovation in the last few years. In August 2022, the university named Cherukuri as the inaugural vice president for innovation. According to Rice President Reginald DesRoches, the Office of Innovation and the Cherukuri's position were created to ensure Rice is a leader within Houston and the global innovation ecosystem.
This past March, Cherukuri announced plans to develop the Rice Nexus.
"We've got so much technology in our labs that we've never shared with the world," he said at the time. "We're going to demonstrate that in the Ion."
Click here to listen to a full interview with Cherukuri about thought leadership in Houston, Rice University, and the challenges of advancing research and technology to address society's greatest needs on the Houston Innovators Podcast.