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Governor names new USTAR acting executive director

Governor Gary R. Herbert has named Barbara Araneo, Ph.D., to be the new acting executive director for the Utah Science and Technology Research initiative (USTAR). Araneo assumed the role as of Jan. 25.

“Barbara Araneo’s expertise and insight in the worlds of science and technology will be instrumental in her service in this new role,” said Gov. Herbert. “I’m grateful for her leadership, and look forward to working with her.”

Araneo has been serving as the senior director of scientific affairs and emerging technologies for USTAR. While at USTAR, Araneo has overseen the direction and development of programming around the agency’s industry clusters, which currently include aerospace and defense, automation and robotics, big data and cybersytems, energy and clean tech, and life sciences.

“Barbara brings extensive experience in technology commercialization to further support USTAR’s core mission of promoting the growth of Utah’s deep technology and science clusters,” said Susan Opp, chair of the USTAR Governing Authority. “Additionally, her familiarity with USTAR programs will help build on the success of our outstanding performance metrics.”

Prior to USTAR, Araneo served Novo Nordisk, Inc. as a director of external innovation sourcing for the company’s Global Research Unit. She also served as the vice president of development at StemCells Inc., where she was responsible for directing the effort to bring the company’s neural cell-based product candidate from the exploratory and preclinical proof of principle stages into clinical development under the FDA regulatory process. Prior to joining StemCells, Araneo was a scientific co-founder and senior vice President of research and development at Pharmadigm, a privately held biopharmaceutical company with several products discovered at the company and developed for various stages of clinical development for inflammatory conditions.

In addition to her impressive technology commercialization career, Araneo has served on the faculty of the University of Utah’s Department of Pathology as Associate Professor. She obtained her doctorate in Cellular Immunology from the University of Rochester and completed postdoctoral training at Washington University School of Medicine and the Department of Microbiology at UCLA. In addition to a doctorate degree, Araneo holds certification in U.S. Regulatory Affairs.

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