Sharlini Sankaran, Ph.D., is Duke I&E as Director of Translational Programs. She has over ten years’ experience leading programs at the intersection of science, engineering, innovation, and commercialization. Sankaran has a track record of partnering with public, private, nonprofit, and academic stakeholders to successfully launch and lead complex, multidisciplinary initiatives.

Most recently Sankaran is the founding Executive Director of Duke University’s Regeneration Next Initiative, which she has grown to include nearly 70 faculty members from Schools of Medicine, Engineering, and Arts and Sciences. She previously served as Executive Director of the REACH NC statewide expert systems portal housed at UNC Chapel Hill, which at its peak connected over 15,000 research experts from 20 universities and research institutions with industry, government agencies, and economic development organizations. REACH NC was a winner of the University Economic Development Association’s National Award of Excellence in Leadership and Collaboration and was recognized by the United Kingdom’s Centre for Universities and Business as an exemplary case study. Earlier, Sankaran was Assistant Director of the North Carolina Office of Science and Technology where she oversaw state- and federally-funded programs aimed at commercialization of research and technology. She has also held positions at Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research society, taught electronics and computer science at Durham Tech community college, and served as a visiting scientist and consultant in data science at the NIEHS and Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

Sankaran holds a Ph.D. In Biomedical Engineering from UNC Chapel Hill, and the Masters and Bachelor degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Ohio University, Athens Ohio. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering at organizations that encourage increased participation in STEM fields. She is an avid hiker, dancer, and cook. A native of Malaysia, she lives with her family in Durham. More details at: