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Meet The Faculty

Academic Directors

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Robson Capasso, MD

Professor of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery (OHNS) and, by Courtesy, of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Sleep Medicine)

Robson Capasso is a Professor of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Associate Dean at Stanford University School of Medicine and Advisor to the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign. He has done research and published extensively on pre-treatment evaluation and surgical treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, clinical utilization of smartphone applications and consumer-based devices for sleep disordered breathing and real world evidence in sleep. The local and international recognition of this work is often associated with one of his favorite tasks: lecturing and trading knowledge nationally and internationally. He has been a mentor or supervisor to hundreds of medical students, residents, fellows or visiting scholars from more than 30 countries, and dozens of Stanford students who developed healthcare projects and companies in the Bay Area, Japan, Brazil and Singapore. As an advisor to Global Biodesign he aims to foster health innovation training of multidisciplinary teams and engineers with broad impact globally. He is a member of the Stanford Medical Leadership Academy, an initiative aiming to foster the development of innovative leadership across and outside departments at the School of Medicine. He is a consultant, founder, advisor and investor in digital health and medical device companies.

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Thomas W. Kenny

Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Richard W. Weiland Professor, School of Engineering, Stanford University

CEO, Applaud Medical

Dr. Thomas Kenny is Professor and Senior Associate Dean of Engineering at Stanford University. He is also CEO of Applaud Medical. He was the Founder and CTO of Cooligy (now a division of Emerson), a microfluidics chip cooling component manufacturer, and Founder and a Board Member of SiTime Corporation (now on the Nasdaq : SITM), a market leader in timing references for consumer electronics using MEMS resonators. He is founder and CEO of Applaud Medical, which is developing non-invasive therapies for kidney stones, and currently sponsoring a Pivotal US Clinical Trial on its first product.


His group in the School of Engineering is researching fundamental issues and applications of micromechanical structures. These devices are usually fabricated from silicon wafers using integrated circuit fabrication tools. Using these techniques, the group builds sensitive accelerometers, infrared detectors, and force-sensing cantilevers. This research has many applications, including integrated packaging, inertial navigation, fundamental force measurements, experiments on bio-molecules, device cooling, bio-analytical instruments, and small robots. Because this research field is multidisciplinary in nature, work in this group is characterized by strong collaborations with other departments, as well as with local industry.


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Bill Burnett

Executive Director of the Life Design Lab; Adjunct Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University

Bill Burnett is an Adjunct Professor and the Executive Director of the Life Design Lab at Stanford. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering - Product Design at Stanford and has worked in industry and academia ever since.  He teaches in the undergraduate and graduate program in Design as well as classes at the  In addition, he has worked in startups and Fortune 100 companies, including seven years at Apple designing award-winning notebook computers and several years in the toy industry designing Star Wars toys at Hasbro.  He advises several startup technology companies started by his students.


Bill is also the co-author of Designing Your Life, a book that captures the lessons from 14 years of teaching the Stanford class of the same name and Designing Your Work Life, a book that helps you reimagine your job. Both books are based on design thinking and positive psychology and attempt to help people answer the age-old question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

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Pedram Mokrian

Adjunct Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University

Visiting Instructor, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley 

Principal, Mayfield Fund 

Pedram is driven by re-imagining how digital technologies will help address the challenges of global urbanization. He is an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University and a Lecturer at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley where he teaches and advises entrepreneurs and global 1000 companies alike on the topics of entrepreneurship, business model disruption, and technology innovation strategy. He was previously a Principal at Mayfield, one of Silicon Valley's most storied venture capital firms, where he was part of the investment team with over $3.5B assets under management.


Pedram is a founding Partner of the Ratio Academy, New Line Ventures, and an Entrepreneur in Residence at General Electric. In his various roles, he focuses on accelerating the development of new venture efforts, seeking out entrepreneurs who are equally passionate around the applications of machine intelligence, connected systems, data analytics, and the internet of things (IOT). He serves as a mentor or advisor to a number of start-ups, innovation incubators, including the Texas Medical Center Innovation Center and Innovation Labs, and serves on the advisory board of Phillips66. He received his Ph.D. in Engineering from Stanford and had a brief and exciting stint in the Commodities Trading Group at Credit Suisse.

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Jeremy Utley

Adjunct Professor and Director of Executive Education at the

Jeremy illuminates the routine practices of history’s most prolific innovators. He studies invention, discovery and entrepreneurship, and demystifies the counter-intuitive techniques that drive productive creativity.


As the Director of Executive Education at the Stanford, Jeremy’s blend of on-your-feet thinking and penetrating insight have earned him a reputation as a go-to advisor for CEO’s and start-up founders alike. He teaches two celebrated courses at Stanford, d.leadership, and LaunchPad, which are focused on creating real-world impact with the tools of design. He is also on the teaching teams of, an organizational design course, and Transformative Design, a course that turns the tools of design onto graduate students’ lives. One of the most prodigious collaborators at the, Jeremy has taught alongside the likes of Lecrae, Dan Ariely, Laszlo Bock, and Greg McKeown.


On his 10th birthday, his father asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. Jeremy replied, “One of the people who carry boxes with handles.” Jeremy is a recovering investment analyst and management consultant who does not try to hide his love of spreadsheets. He came to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business with his heart set on leveraging his experiences in Africa and South America to pursue a career in economic development, but an unexpected encounter with the while working at a start-up in India changed his trajectory. His time as a post-graduate design fellow showed him that how he worked was more important than what he did. Today, Jeremy helps people change their deeply ingrained beliefs about themselves and discover, as he did, that it is possible to make a creative contribution to the world. He does this through teaching as well as by growing alongside his students to become better in his own life and work every day.


Jeremy is the Director of Executive Education at the, and an Adjunct Professor at Stanford’s School of Engineering, where he has earned multiple “favorite professor” distinctions from graduate programs. He holds a BBA with Honors in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin (2005) and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business (2009). He is the co-author of the book ideaflow, coming from Penguin Portfolio fall 2022, and co-host of the popular Paint & Pipette Podcast. He shares insights on creative action every day at

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Lynda Kate Smith

Adjunct Lecturer, Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University


Lynda Kate Smith brings over 35 years of experience in marketing, sales and general management across a diverse set of industries and has spent the last 25+ years working in the area of high technology products and services. In her capacity as Chief Marketing Officer for a number of industry leading companies including Twilio, Jive, Genpact, Nuance and Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Lynda owned go-to-market strategy as well the full responsibility for the marketing organization. She has successfully driven product marketing, product management, corporate marketing, field marketing, demand creation, channel marketing, developer outreach, marketing research, strategy development and M&A. She is currently working as a consultant, advisor and/or Board member for a variety of companies ranging from gaming (Unity Technologies) to low code development platforms (Wayscript) to blockchain/smart contracts (Chainlink).  She has experience in business-to-business, consumer and developer/platform-focused companies.  Her global background is extensive with hands on work in the US, Europe, India, China and other major markets. Lynda has an undergraduate degree in liberal arts from Simpson College and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked with Stanford University for over fifteen years serving as adjunct lecturer in Global Entrepreneurial Marketing in the Engineering School and diverse programs for the Stanford Center for Professional Development.  

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