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Our Team

Lisa Dhar, PhD

Lisa Dhar, PhD

Associate Vice President of Innovation and New Ventures


Lisa Dhar oversees Northwestern's Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO)which includes The Garage and The Querrey InQbation Lab. Previously at INVO, she was the Director of New Business Ventures and the Interim Executive Director of the Querrey InQbation Lab. In addition to her work at INVO, she has taught in the McCormick School of Engineering and Kellogg School of Management.

Prior to joining Northwestern in 2016, Dhar held various leadership roles in the Office of Technology Management at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign starting in 2009. Prior to joining technology transfer, she was co-founder and vice president of media development for InPhase Technologies, a Bell Labs/Lucent Technologies startup that raised more than $90 million in total funding. There, she led a team of chemical engineers, chemists and optical engineers to commercialize high-performance recording media for holographic data storage. Dhar has been awarded nearly a dozen patents, has coedited a book on holographic data storage and has authored or coauthored more than 25 journal articles.

Dhar earned her BS in Chemistry from University of Chicago and her PhD in Physical Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sonia Kim, PhD

Sonia Kim, PhD

Executive Director


Sonia oversees the Querrey InQbation Lab, which includes both the management of the 15,000sf physical space as well as programming efforts in entrepreneurship education, venture creation, mentorship engagement and community support. She develops a collection of resources that support translational efforts prior to new venture formation as well as those that support startup leadership and activity. Sonia also manages the selection of Q resident startups as well as general operations and communications at the incubator to grow the startup ecosystem at The Q. Sonia founded the INVO Practicum, an internship for Northwestern scientists interested in developing technical adjacent skills, like assessing technologies for patentability and marketability. Prior to joining INVO, Sonia worked for the Office of Technology Licensing at Stanford University for four years as a science writer and marketing consultant. She is also a former entrepreneur.

Sonia earned her SB in Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a MEd from Harvard School of Education, and a PhD in Cell Biology from Harvard University.

Alexandra de Paz, PhD

Alexandra de Paz, PhD

Associate Director of New Ventures


As part of INVO and the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS),. Alexandra supports faculty-led startups and commercialization of university research. She also manages the N.XT Fund, Northwestern’s $10M gap fund, which provides pre-seed and seed funding to promising early-stage Northwestern faculty-based startups. Prior to joining INVO, she interned at INVO as a N.XT Associate where she performed due diligence on potential N.XT investment opportunities. Prior to N.XT, she completed the INVO Practicum where she evaluated patentability, marketability, and commercialization potential for new Northwestern technologies.

Alexandra obtained a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Florida. She completed her synthetic biology-focused Ph.D. at Northwestern. Alexandra also received a Kellogg Management for Scientists and Engineers Certificate.