This uniquely Houston technology is an AI program that allows scientists to understand the functions of cells by evaluating cell activation, killing, and movement. Photo via Getty Images

T-cell immunotherapy is all the rage in the world of fighting cancer. A Houston company’s researchers have discovered a new subset of T cells that could be a game changer for patients.

CellChorus is a spinoff of Navin Varadarajan’s Single Cell Lab, part of the University of Houston’s Technology Bridge. The lab is the creator of TIMING, or Time-lapse Imaging Microscopy In Nanowell Grids. It’s a visual AI program that allows scientists to understand the functions of cells by evaluating cell activation, killing, and movement.

Last month, Nature Cancer published a paper co-authored by Varadarajan entitled, “Identification of a clinically efficacious CAR T cell subset in diffuse large B cell lymphoma by dynamic multidimensional single-cell profiling.”

“Our results showed that a subset of T cells, labeled as CD8-fit T cells, are capable of high motility and serial killing, found uniquely in patients with clinical response,” says first author and recent UH graduate Ali Rezvan in Nature Cancer.

Besides him and Varadarajan, contributors hail from Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Kite Pharma, and CellChorus itself.

The team identified the CD80-fit T cells using TIMING to examine interactions between T cells and tumor cells across thousands of individual cells. They were able to integrate the results using single-cell RNA sequencing data.

T-cell therapy activates a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer cells, but not every patient responds favorably to it. Identifying CD8-fit cells could be the key to manufacturing clinical response even in those for whom immunotherapy hasn’t been effective.

“This work illustrates the excellence of graduate students Ali Rezvan and Melisa Montalvo; and post-doctoral researchers Melisa Martinez-Paniagua and Irfan Bandey among others,” says Varadarajan in a statement.

Earlier last month, CellChorus recently received a $2.5 million SBIR grant. The money allows the company to share TIMING more widely, facilitating even more landmark discoveries like CD8-fit cells.

This week's roundup of Houston innovators includes Jessica Traver Ingram of IntuiTap, Kelsey Ruger of Hello Alice, Katy Rezvani of MD Anderson Cancer Center. Photos courtesy

3 Houston innovators to know this week

who's who

Editor's note: Every week, I introduce you to three Houston innovators to know recently making headlines with news of innovative technology, investment activity, and more. This week's batch includes a podcast with a health tech founder, advice from an AI expert, and a cancer-fighting innovator.

Jessica Traver Ingram, CEO and co-founder of IntuiTap

Jessica Traver Ingram, CEO and co-founder of IntuiTap, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to share her company's latest milestone. Photo courtesy of IntuiTap

Jessica Traver Ingram has been captivated by the intersection of physics and health care for most of her life, and that passion led her to contributing to the establishment of the Texas Medical Center's Biodesign Fellowship. After helping make the program a reality, Traver Ingram then participated in it as a fellow.

The program selects fellows and then lets them explore the TMC's member institutions to find ways to innovate within unmet clinical needs, and the inefficiency and challenges with placing epidurals and lumbar punctures caught Traver Ingram and her cohort's eye. The process relies completely on the health care practitioner's ability to feel the spine with their fingers to make the injection.

"We kept watching the inefficiencies of these procedures, and everyone was like, 'you're right, we don't really know why we do it this way,'" Traver Ingram says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It's really cool to be outsiders watching and observing, because you just see things other people don't see — and that's in any industry."

With that, IntuiTap was born. Traver Ingram describes its tool, the VerTouch, as a "stud finder for the spine." After years of growing the company, she can also now call it FDA-approved. Read more.


Kelsey Ruger, chief technology and product officer for Hello Alice

AI's true potential lies in its ability to enhance human capabilities, not replace them. Photo courtesy

Ready or not, artificial intelligence is coming. In fact, it's already affecting the workforce.

"With its ability to automate tasks, analyze large amounts of data, and provide detailed insights, AI offers an enormous opportunity for businesses of all sizes," writes Kelsey Ruger, chief technology and product officer for Hello Alice, in a guest column. "However, realizing this potential requires a strategic approach that positions AI as a powerful partner, rather than a replacement for human ingenuity."

Ruger shares how business can unlock AI's full potential via automation, augmentation, and autonomy. Read more.

Katy Rezvani, professor of stem cell transplantation and cellular therapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center

At Rezvani Lab in MD Anderson Cancer Center, scientists train immune cells to fight cancer. Photo courtesy

San Diego-based Replay incorporated a first-in-class engineered TCR-NK cell therapy product company, Syena, using technology developed by Dr. Katy Rezvani at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The company has announced that its first patient has been dosed with an engineered T-Cell Receptor Natural Killer (TCR-NK) cell therapy for relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.

Rezvani, a professor of stem cell transplantation and cellular therapy, is the force behind MD Anderson’s Rezvani Lab, a group of 55 people, all focused on harnessing natural killer cells to combat cancer.

“Everybody thinks that the immune system is fighting viruses and infections, but I feel our immune system is capable of recognizing and killing abnormal cells or cells that are becoming cancerous and they're very powerful. This whole field of immunotherapy really refers to the power of the immune system,” Rezvani tells InnovationMap. Read more.

This week's roundup of Houston innovators includes Mike Francis of NanoTech Materials, Barbara Burger, and David A. Jaffray of MD Anderson Cancer Center. Photos courtesy

3 Houston innovators to know this week

who's who

Editor's note: Every week, I introduce you to three Houston innovators to know recently making headlines with news of innovative technology, investment activity, and more. This week's batch includes a one-on-one chat with an energy leader, a founder's latest milestone, and a new high-tech cancer-fighting team.

Mike Francis, CEO and co-founder of NanoTech Materials

NanoTech Materials celebrated its move into a new facility — a 43,000-square-foot space in Katy, Texas, this week. Photo via LinkedIn

A Houston startup has moved into a new space that's more than four times larger than its previous setup — a move that's setting the company up to scale its business.

NanoTech Materials celebrated its move into a new facility — a 43,000-square-foot space in Katy, Texas, this week. The materials science company currently distributes a roof coating that features its novel heat-control technology across the company. Originally founded in a garage, the company has now moved from its 10,000-square-foot space at Halliburton Labs into the larger location to support its growth.

“The new facility allows us to not just focus on the roofing, and that’s growing at a pretty rapid pace, but also stand up different production lines for our next iteration of technologies coming-out," Mike Francis, co-founder and CEO of NanoTech tells InnovationMap. Read more.

Barbara Burger, Houston energy transition leader

Houston energy leader Barbara Burger joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss the energy transition's biggest challenges and her key takeaways from CERAWeek. Photo courtesy

When Barbara Burger moved to Houston a little over a decade ago to lead Chevron Technology Ventures, she wondered why the corporate venture group didn't have much representation from the so-called energy capital of the world.

“I had no companies in my portfolio in CTV from Houston, and I wondered why,” Burger says on the Houston Innovators Podcast.

Much has changed in the ecosystem since then, she says, including growth and development to what the community looks like now.

“There are a few things I’m proud of in the ecosystem here, and one of theme is that it’s a very inclusive ecosystem,” she explains, adding that she means the types of founders — from universities or corporate roles — and the incumbent energy companies. “The worst way to get people to not join a party is to not invite them.”

“No one company or organization is going to solve this. We have to get along,” she continues. “We have to stop thinking that the mode is to compete with each other because the pie is so big and the opportunity is so big to work together — and by and large I do see that happening.” Read more.

David A. Jaffray, director of IDSO and chief technology and digital officer at MD Anderson

MD Anderson’s goal with the new Institute for Data Science in Oncology is to advance collaborative projects that will bring the power of data science to every decision made at the hospital. Photo via mdanderson.org

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is one step closer to ending cancer thanks to its new institute that's focused on data science.

MD Anderson’s goal with the new Institute for Data Science in Oncology (IDSO) is to advance collaborative projects that will bring the power of data science to every decision made at the hospital. And now, the IDSO has announced its inaugural cohort of 33 scientists, clinicians, and staff that will bring it to life, joining the already appointed leadership and focus area co-leads.

“By engaging diverse expertise across all of our mission areas, we will enhance the rich and productive data science ecosystem at MD Anderson to deliver transformational impact for patients,” David Jaffray, Ph.D., director of IDSO and chief technology and digital officer at MD Anderson, says. Read more.

MD Anderson’s goal with the new Institute for Data Science in Oncology is to advance collaborative projects that will bring the power of data science to every decision made at the hospital. Photo via mdanderson.org

Houston organization introduces inaugural cancer-fighting cohort of data sciences, experts

new to hou

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is one step closer to ending cancer thanks to its new institute that's focused on data science.

MD Anderson’s goal with the new Institute for Data Science in Oncology (IDSO) is to advance collaborative projects that will bring the power of data science to every decision made at the hospital. And now, the IDSO has announced its inaugural cohort of 33 scientists, clinicians, and staff that will bring it to life, joining the already appointed leadership and focus area co-leads.

“By engaging diverse expertise across all of our mission areas, we will enhance the rich and productive data science ecosystem at MD Anderson to deliver transformational impact for patients,” David Jaffray, Ph.D., director of IDSO and chief technology and digital officer at MD Anderson, says in a press release.

The focus areas for the IDSO are quantitative pathology and medical imaging; single-cell analytics; computational modeling for precision medicine; decision analytics for health; and safety, quality, and access.

The IDSO Affiliates, as they are known, are a mix of existing contributors to the IDSO and team members who were recruited specifically for their expertise in data science. The affiliates were chosen to fulfill a two-year term, during which they will focus on IDSO projects related to the focus areas above. The diverse roster of professionals includes:

“Our affiliates bring expertise, perspectives and commitment from across the institution to foster impactful data science in order to tackle the most urgent needs of our patients and their families,” said Caroline Chung, M.D., director of Data Science Development and Implementation for IDSO and chief data officer at MD Anderson. “People and community are at the heart of our efforts, and establishing the IDSO Affiliates is an exciting step in growing the most impactful ecosystem for data science in the world.”

Several Houston organizations have received millions from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Photo via tmc.edu

Texas organization grants $68.5M to Houston institutions for recruitment, research

Three prominent institutions in Houston will be able to snag a trio of high-profile cancer researchers thanks to $12 million in new funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

The biggest recruitment award — $6 million — went to the University of Texas MD Anderson Center to lure researcher Xiling Shen away from the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation in Los Angeles.

Shen is chief scientific officer at the nonprofit Terasaki Institute. His lab there studies precision medicine, including treatments for cancer, from a “systems biology perspective.”

He also is co-founder and former CEO of Xilis, a Durham, North Carolina-based oncology therapy startup that raised $70 million in series A funding in 2021. Before joining the institute in 2021, the Stanford University graduate was an associate professor at Duke University in Durham.

Shen and Xilis aren’t strangers to MD Anderson.

In 2023, MD Anderson said it planned to use Xilis’ propriety MicroOrganoSphere (MOS) technology for development of novel cancer therapies.

“Our research suggests the MOS platform has the potential to offer new capabilities and to improve the efficiency of developing innovative drugs and cell therapies over current … models, which we hope will bring medicines to patients more quickly,” Shen said in an MD Anderson news release.

Here are the two other Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) awards that will bring noted cancer researchers to Houston:

  • $4 million to attract David Sarlah to Rice University from the University of Illinois, where he is an associate professor of chemistry. Sarlah’s work includes applying the principles of chemistry to creation of new cancer therapies.
  • $2 million to lure Vishnu Dileep to the Baylor College of Medicine from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is a postdoctoral fellow. His work includes the study of cancer genomes.

CPRIT also handed out more than $56.5 million in grants and awards to seven institutions in the Houston area. Here’s the rundown:

  • MD Anderson Cancer Center — Nearly $25.6 million
  • Baylor College of Medicine — Nearly $11.5 million
  • University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston — More than $6 million
  • Rice University — $4 million
  • University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston — More than $3.5 million
  • Methodist Hospital Research Institute — More than $3.3 million
  • University of Houston — $1.4 million

Dr. Pavan Reddy, a CPRIT scholar who is a professor at the Baylor College of Medicine and director of its Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Care Center, says the CPRIT funding “will help our investigators take chances and explore bold ideas to make innovative discoveries.”

The Houston-area funding was part of nearly $99 million in grants and awards that CPRIT recently approved.

The National Academy of Inventors has honored four academic inventors in Houston with their annual professional distinction. Photos courtesy

4 Houston academic inventors receive prestigious national honor

major milestone

Four professors from the University of Houston and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have been admitted as fellows to the National Academy of Inventors.

From UH, Vincent Donnelly, Moores professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Christine Ehlig-Economides, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished university chair of Petroleum Engineering, received the Fellows honor, which is the highest professional distinction awarded to academic inventors.

UH now has 39 professors who are either Fellows or Senior Members of the NAI. Donnelly and Ehlig-Economides will be inducted as NAI fellows at the NAI 13th annual meeting on June 18 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“The remarkable contributions of the two new NAI Fellows from the University of Houston have left a lasting imprint, earning them high esteem in their respective fields,” Ramanan Krishnamoorti, vice president for research and technology at UH, says in a statement. “Their work stands as a testament to the extraordinary impact inventors can have, reflecting a standard of excellence that truly sets them apart.”

Donnelly, who is considered a pioneer in plasma science with applications to microelectronics and nanotechnology, was elevated to Fellow for his research on complex plasma systems used in the making of microchips. Ehlig-Economides was elevated to NAI fellow for her vital research leading to innovative solutions in the energy and industrial fields. Ehlig-Economides was also the first woman in the United States to earn a doctorate degree in petroleum engineering.

Two other Houston instructors from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center will be inducted to the program in the new year. Jeffrey H. Siewerdsen, professor within the department of Imaging Physics and the Division of Diagnostic Imaging, and Anil Sood, professor and vice chair for Translational Research in the Departments of Gynecologic Oncology and Cancer Biology and co-director of the Center for RNA Interference and Non-Coding RNA.

Some other notable Texas honorees among the 2024 appointees include:

  • Mark Benden, Texas A&M University
  • Arumugam Manthiram, the University of Texas at Austin
  • Werner Kuhr, Texas Tech University
  • Balakrishna Haridas, Texas A&M University
  • P.Reddy, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

“This year’s class of NAI Fellows showcases the caliber of researchers that are found within the innovation ecosystem. Each of these individuals are making significant contributions to both science and society through their work,” Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, president of the NAI, says in the release. “This new class, in conjunction with our existing Fellows, are creating innovations that are driving crucial advancements across a variety of disciplines and are stimulating the global and national economy in immeasurable ways as they move these technologies from lab to marketplace.

UH also ranks 60th on the National Academy of Inventors’ list of the top 100 universities for utility patents granted last year in the U.S. In 2022, UH received 32 utility patents. The university explains that utility patents are among the world’s most valuable assets because they give inventors exclusive commercial rights for producing and using their technology.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Texas profits from 4th best state economy in the U.S., report finds

report

Despite growing sentiments that the U.S. is on a path towards a recession, Texas is pulling a lot of weight as one of the best state economies in the nation, according to a new annual report from WalletHub.

Texas' strong state economy ranked No. 4, with Washington (No. 1), Utah (No. 2), and Massachusetts (No. 3) claiming the top three spots.

The study analyzed all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 28 metrics to determine the "Best & Worst State Economies" in 2024. Each state was ranked across three major categories: Economic activity, economic health, and innovation potential.

The Lone Star State earned a score of 60.08 out of 100 possible points, nipping at the heels of Massachusetts, which earned 61.52 points. For comparison, Washington claimed its No. 1 title with a score of 71.10.

Here's how Texas performed within the three major categories in the study:

  • No. 2 – Economic activity
  • No. 7 – Economic health
  • No. 24 – Innovation potential

Most notably, Texas tied with Louisiana for the No. 1 most exports per capita nationwide, according to the report's findings. Texas also had the second-highest change in GDP (gross domestic product) from 2022 to 2023.

Texas has the 10th highest amount of "startup activity," which WalletHub calculated as the rate of newly established firms. Texas also scored No. 10 in the country for its annual median household income of $75,647.

Nonfarm payrolls – defined as the number of workers employed in the U.S. (excluding those the farming, nonprofit, active military, and private household sectors) – is another indicator for measuring each state's economy. Texas had the third-highest change in nonfarm payrolls from 2022 to 2023, according to WalletHub, behind Nevada and Florida.

Although the overall state of Texas' economy may be strong, that doesn't guarantee all Texans will reap the benefits from that success. WalletHub analyst Cassandra Happe explained there's more to improving state residents' financial success than just relying on the economy.

"Factors like a low unemployment rate and high average income help residents purchase property, pay down debt and save for the future," Happe said. "The best state economies also encourage growth by being friendly to new businesses and investing in new technology that will help the state deal with future challenges and become more efficient."

On the other end of the economic scale, Hawaii and Mississippi flopped with the worst state economies in the U.S. in 2024, ranking No. 50 and No. 51, respectively.

The top 10 states with the best economies are:

  • No. 1 – Washington
  • No. 2 – Utah
  • No. 3 – Massachusetts
  • No. 4 – Texas
  • No. 5 – California
  • No. 6 – Colorado
  • No. 7 – Florida
  • No. 8 – North Carolina
  • No. 9 – District of Columbia
  • No. 10 – Arizona
The full report can be found on wallethub.com

.

------

This article originally ran on CultureMap.

Newly named CEO to lead Houston gold hydrogen biotech co. into high-growth phase

HOUSTON INNOVATORS PODCAST EPISODE 239

Using microbes to sustainably unlock low-cost hydrogen sounds like the work of science fiction, but one Houston company is doing just that.

Gold H2, a spin-off company from Cemvita, has bioengineered subsurface microbes to use in wells to consume carbon and generate clean hydrogen. The technology was piloted two years ago by Cemvita, and now, as its own company with a new CEO, it's safe to say Gold H2's on its way.

"First of all, that was groundbreaking," Prabhdeep Singh Sekhon, CEO of Gold H2, says of the 2022 pilot in the Permian Basin, "to be able to use bugs to produce hydrogen within a couple of days."

"2024 is supposed to be the year where Gold H2 takes off," Sekhon, who joined the company in April, tells the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It was one of those opportunities that I couldn't turn down. I had been following the company. I thought, 'here is this innovative tech that's on the verge of providing a ground-breaking solution to the energy transition — what better time to join the team.'"

Sekhon shares on the show how his previous roles at NextEra Energy Resources and Hess have prepared him for Gold H2. Specifically, as a leader on NextEra’s strategy and business development team, he says he was tasked with figuring out what the energy industry looks like in the next five, 10, and 20 years.

"Green hydrogen was a huge buzz, but one of the things I realized when I started looking at green hydrogen was that it's very expensive," Sekhon says. "I wanted to look at alternatives."

This journey led him to what Cemvita was doing with gold hydrogen, Sekhon says, explaining that the ability to use biotechnology to provide a new revenue stream from the mostly used up wells struck him as something with major potential.

"The idea of repurposing existing oil and gas assets to become hydrogen assets, leveraging current infrastructure to drive down overall deliver costs — to me I thought, 'wow, if they can make this works, that's brilliant,'" he says.

Now, as CEO, Sekhon gets to lead the company toward these goals, which include expanding internationally. He explains on the show that Gold H2 is interested in expanding to any part of the world where there's interest in implementing their biotech. In order to support the growth, Sekhon says they are looking to raise funding this year with plans for an additional round, if needed, in 2025.

"When we compare our tech to the rest of the stack, I think we blow the competition out of the water," Sekhon says, explaining that Gold H2's approach to gold hydrogen development is novel when you look at emerging technology in the space. "We're using a biological process — cheap bugs that eat oil for a living."

10+ can't-miss Houston business and innovation events for June

WHERE TO BE

From networking meetups to expert speaker summits, June is filled with opportunities for Houston innovators.

Here's a roundup of events you won't want to miss out on so mark your calendars and register accordingly.

Note: This post may be updated to add more events.


June 6 — Ion Block Party and Chef Showcase

On the first Thursday of each month, Block Party brings together startups, tech enthusiasts, and business visionaries in a dynamic and festive environment.

June’s special edition of Block Party will be a Chef Showcase! The District’s robust food and drink offerings showcase hyper-local concepts that reflect Houston’s reputation for having a culturally diverse restaurant industry.

This event is Thursday, June 6, from 4 to 7 pm at the Ion. Click here to register.

June 6 — Houston Blockchain Alliance Monthly Meetup

This in-person event is a great opportunity to connect with fellow blockchain enthusiasts in the Houston area. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, come and engage in lively discussions, share insights, and network with like-minded individuals. Discover the latest trends and advancements in blockchain technology while enjoying a friendly and casual atmosphere.

June's guest speaker, Alex Guerra of SYS Labs, will talk about DeFi today v. DeFi tomorrow. Alex is a business developer at SYS Labs and co-founder of Pachira Finance.

This event is Thursday, June 6, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at The Cannon. Click here to register.

June 8 — Celebration of Entrepreneurship

Head to IAG Technology for an exciting evening dedicated to all things entrepreneurship. Whether you're a seasoned business owner or just starting out, this event has networking, learning, and celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit.

Come celebrate entrepreneurship and the launch of Earn On Purpose, a business mentoring and coaching company. At Earn on Purpose, entrepreneurship is simplified through solid fundamentals and practical strategies for success.

This event is Saturday, June 8, from 5 to 10 pm at IAG Technology. Click here to register.

June 10 — 2024 Energy Drone & Robotics Summit

Connect with 1500+ global energy & industrial robotics, drone & data leaders at a time of rapid growth in the robotics sector. Hear from expert speakers on the latest ideas, use cases, best practices, tech, and trends as innovators, regulators, the most energy asset owners & service firms and more break these topics down.

This event begins Monday, June 10, from 4 to 6:30 pm at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott. Click here to register.

June 11 — Software Day at the Ion: From Seed to Success

Software Day at the Ion is a program series hosted by the Ion and Mercury, where software founders can connect with mentorship at Houston’s HQ for innovation.

This monthly series provides support, inspiration, and connections needed to help startups on their path to rapid, sustainable growth. Each month, Software Day will include office hours (by application), a keynote session, and networking.

This event is Tuesday, June 11, from 3:30 to 7 pm at the Ion. Click here to register.

June 13 — 2024 Speaker Series: Dynamic Innovations in Energy Efficiency

Co-hosted by the TEPRI, in partnership with the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice, this event will spotlight just and effective strategies to boost energy efficiency, ensuring equitable access to sustainable energy solutions for all Texans. Keynote addresses by Dr. Robert D. Bullard, renowned environmental justice advocate and recipient of the 2024 Time Magazine Earth Award, and Donnel Baird, founder of BlocPower and inaugural recipient of TIME’s 2022 “Dreamer of the Year.”

The event is Thursday, June 13, from 2 to 4 pm at Melcher Hall. Click here to register.

June 13 — Out In Tech Monthly Mixer

Out in Tech Houston is the local chapter for Out in Tech, the world’s largest non-profit community of LGBTQ+ tech leaders. Check out their relaxed social-mixer event, hosted on the second Thursday of every month.

This event is Thursday, June 13, from 7 to 8:30 pm at Second Draught. Click here to register.

June 18 — Juneteenth Journey: Bridging Past and Present Through Technology

This special presentation will offer insights into the historical significance of Juneteenth, and illuminate the evolution of technology from the 1860s through World War II to modern Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the technology of today. Experts from the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum and Emancipation Park Conservancy will illustrate how technology has evolved as well as the parallels between the innovative spirit of the Buffalo Soldiers and today’s technological advancements, emphasizing the role of diversity and inclusion in driving innovation.

This event is Tuesday, June 18, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm a the Ion. Click here to register.

June 20 — Visionary Voices: Leading Authentically with Woodside CEO Meg O’Neill

Celebrate Pride Month with a special edition of Ion’s “Visionary Voices” speaker series, featuring a powerful conversation between two leaders who’ve paved the way for LGBTQ+ representation in their respective fields – Woodside Energy CEO Meg O’Neill and former Houston Mayor Annise Parker. Attendees will gain insights into the unique experiences and milestones that have shaped both Meg and Annise’s careers, as well as the importance of visibility and representation in corporate leadership and public service.

This event is Thursday, June 20, from 3:30 to 6 pm at the Ion. Click here to register.

June 25 — State of AI: Generating Real Business Value with AI

This comprehensive one-day free event organized by the Houston-based CODE Group is designed to equip decision-makers, C-level executives, and software developers with strategies to harness AI effectively. The event kicks off with a keynote from Markus Egger, Microsoft Regional Director, on “Harnessing AI for Tangible Business Outcomes,” setting the stage by demonstrating how AI can integrate seamlessly into business applications to enhance productivity and innovation.

This event is Tuesday, June 25, from 9 am to 5 pm at the Ion. Click here to register.

June 28 — Young Professional Climate & Career Mixer

Climate Connect is a community resilience education and engagement program launching in Houston, Texas and powered by the Coalition of Community Organizations and Verizon. This meetup is for those interested in networking, learning, and exploring career opportunities in the field of climate change. The event will take place at 6500 Rookin Street, Houston, TX 77074 (Building E), where you can connect with like-minded individuals, meet industry professionals, and discover new, green career paths.

This event is Friday, June 28, from 5:30 to 7 pm at 6500 Rookin St. Click here to register.