Editor's note: In this week's roundup of Houston innovators to know, I'm introducing you to three local innovators across industries — from medical device innovation to energy tech— recently making headlines in Houston innovation.
Isabella Schmitt, director of regulatory affairs at Proxima Clinical Research and principal at M1 MedTech
A Houston life science expert shares what she thinks Houston needs to work on to continue growing as an health care innovation ecosystem. Photo courtesy
Houston is home to the world's largest medical center, but it still tends to fall behind other metros when it comes to life science innovation hub rankings. Isabella Schmitt, director of regulatory affairs at Proxima Clinical Research and principal at M1 MedTech, writes in a guest column for InnovationMap about why this is — and what can be done to change that.
"Houston's life sciences sector holds immense growth potential, but addressing funding, talent recruitment, regulatory navigation, and collaboration challenges is needed for continued success," she writes. "By tackling these issues and leveraging its unique strengths, Houston can establish itself as a significant player in the global life sciences arenas. If we wait too long, we won’t be able to truly establish the Third Coast because another player will come into the mix, and we’ll lose companies like BioMatrix to their golden shores." Read more.
Rob Schapiro, Energy Acceleration Program director and Houston site leader for Microsoft
Rob Schapiro of Microsoft joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss DEI initiatives, translating between the tech in the energy sectors, AI, and more. Photo courtesy of Microsoft
At a glance, Rob Schapiro admits his resume might not make the most sense. A trained geologist with decades of experience in the energy sector, Schapiro made the move to Microsoft three years ago.
"I saw this disconnect between technology companies and energy companies — they didn't really speak the same language," he says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "I thought I could help potentially solve this problem and work between the two as a sort of translator."
Now, as Microsoft’s Energy Acceleration Program director and site leader for the company’s Houston office, which is located in the Ion, Schapiro is deeply embedded in Houston's innovation ecosystem and is dedicated to helping advance Houston's role energy transition in a sustainable and equitable way. Read more.
Lara Cottingham, vice president of strategy, policy, and climate impact at Greentown Labs
Greentown Houston is asking its current and potential members what they want in a wet lab. Photo via GreentownLabs.com
Greentown Labs is in the early stages of building out a wet lab for its members. But first, Lara Cottingham, vice president of strategy, policy, and climate impact at Greentown Labs, says they want to know what their members actually want.
"We want to announce to the community that this is something we're going to build — but we still need a lot of feedback and input from startups so we can learn what exactly they need or want to see from the wet lab," Cottingham tells InnovationMap. "No two wet labs are the same."
Right now, there aren't any details available about timeline or specifics of the new facility. Greentown is prioritizing getting feedback from its members and having conversations with potential sponsors and corporate partners. Read more.