About ACIR

Learn more about the Alliance for Commercialization and Innovation Research

At the Alliance For Commercialization and Innovation Research, we recognize that innovation is hard and bringing that innovation to the market and successfully commercializing it is harder still.

Unfortunately there is no one “magic bullet” that drives commercialization, much less one that guarantees success in the marketplace.  However, we have found that there are many companies, organizations and individuals that have shown that by asking the right questions and consistently using the right tools, innovators can reduce the technical and economic risk of commercialization and increase the chances for success. Bringing those voices and that experience together for the greater good is what ACIR is all about.

ACIR is a 501 c-3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting economic development and growth through practical commercialization, entrepreneurship and innovation.  Our Alliance is made up of organizations and individuals from both the private and public sectors who share our goals of promoting entrepreneurship, commercialization and innovation worldwide.

Our mission is to promote best practices in innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization, whether in tech transfer offices, techno-parks, incubators, government agencies or by directly assisting startups to successfully enter the market.  Please see “Our Work” for a review of the services we provide.

// Our Team

Erik Azulay


Erik Azulay is a technology commercialization expert specializing in startups and international market strategies. He has worked as a technology analyst for numerous organizations including the state of Texas’ Emerging Technology Fund, the U.S. Department of State, the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the World Bank and has served as a commercial reviewer on numerous National Science Foundation SBIR panels.

A serial entrepreneur, Erik started up and ran a transportation/logistics company based in the Russian Far East port of Vladivostok, handling everything from live tigers to oil drilling platforms.  Later he set up the Technology Commercialization Center for the Ministry of Education in Kazakhstan, and founded and operates the Nexus incubation center and startup hub for the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India.

Erik has worked on commercialization projects in Hungary, Mexico, India, Chile, Korea, Portugal, Israel, Kazakhstan and Egypt, as well as technology transfer and commercialization strategies for countries of the Former Soviet Union.  He has a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Technology Commercialization from the University of Texas. Erik speaks Russian and Spanish.

Linda Wheeler


Linda Wheeler is a retired finance executive of a multi-national Fortune 500 corporation where she was responsible for accounting and regulatory compliance. During her 23-year career with this corporation and its predecessors, she was involved with operation start-ups, domestic and foreign joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions. Linda was also the leader of a process improvement program utilizing workforce teams to analyze, streamline and incorporate best practices in operation and support business segments.

Since retirement, Linda has served as a volunteer advisor to small business entrepreneurs. She has sponsored a free community English language school and educational scholarships for young women in Mexico. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from West Texas A & M University.

Sameer Malik

Director of Operations

Sameer is an innovation expert, whose core experience is in designing and implementing innovation programs for early-stage ventures, corporate, and universities. He has designed and led start-up programs as an organizer across India, and South Asia. He also led innovation programs as a trainer in Dubai, Germany, U.S., and most recently in China where he was a facilitator for Unleash, an innovation program for 1000+ entrepreneurs working on SDGs.

Sameer is also a business generalist, with a unique combination of work experience. He has worked as an entrepreneur, a corporate employee, a U.S. government employee, mentor, incubator director, and most recently as an independent contractor. As an independent contractor, he led AISEA, an accelerator program for social ventures by IIT Hyderabad, a renowned institution in India.

He spearheaded Nexus as its first employee, for the U.S. government for two years, before starting up on his own again. Prior to Nexus, Sameer was the co-founder and managing partner of Galaxy Exports, a manufacturer of home décor products. The startup currently clocks over $500k in yearly revenues.

Sameer is a post-graduate of Delhi School of Economics, and a qualified Company Secretary (CS).

John Smith

Affiliation here

Bio goes here, Erik. Don’t forget to check Show this team member below to display this on the About page!

John Smith

Affiliation Here

Bio goes here, Erik. Don’t forget to check Show this team member below to display this on the About page!

John Smith

Affiliation Here

Bio goes here, Erik. Don’t forget to check Show this team member below to display this on the About page!

John Smith

Affiliation Here

Bio goes here, Erik. Don’t forget to check Show this team member below to display this on the About page!

// Advisors

Dr. Ronald Landes

President, Solving Organ Shortage

Mr. Landes founded and led Landes Bioscience, publisher of 50 peer-reviewed life science journals, for 20 years. He is president of the nonprofit Solving Organ Shortage and currently serves on the board of directors and scientific advisory boards for several organizations, including Quantitative Insights, Oncoceutics, p53 Therapeutics and the Georgian Telemedicine Association. He has experience in technology commercialization and has invested in 20 early-stage life science companies in the US, Europe and Israel. Mr. Landes earned a BS in biochemistry from the University of Chicago, an MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin and trained in surgery at the University of Minnesota

Christy Lauridsen

Christy Lauridsen is a business and technology consultant committed to working with governments and firms to overcome innovation hurdles and promote economic growth, education, and employment opportunities in the developing world. Currently with McKinsey & Co. in Silicon Valley, Christy formerly served as a Sr. Business Development M&A Specialist at IBM, where she was also designated a Master Inventor.  She has worked with multiple international innovation programs and in public-private collaboration settings in research, engineering, and business roles.  Christy holds a Master of Public Administration in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government where her policy research focused on innovation in Colombia. Christy also earned a M.S. in Technology Commercialization from the University of Texas and a M.S. in Computer Science from Columbia University.

Dr. Lara Campbell

Dr. Lara Campbell has been working to promote scientific development and innovation around the world for almost twenty years. She is passionate about helping creative people acquire the resources, understanding and connectivity needed to turn great ideas into innovations with real commercial potential.

In addition to her work with ACIR, Lara serves as the Program Director for the Middle East and Africa in the US National Science Foundation’s Office of International Science and Engineering where she is responsible for facilitating international collaboration by the Foundation and the scientists it supports across her portfolio regions. Prior to joining NSF, Lara was Director of the CUBRC Center for International Science and Technology Advancement (CISTA), where her responsibilities include developing, managing and assessing international research collaborations, especially efforts focused on scientific and economic growth in the developing world. Prior to joining ACIR, Lara was a Senior Program Associate at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) where as part of the Research Competitiveness Program she provided programmatic peer review advice and guidance.

Lara has a particular interest in promoting regional and local networks and collaborations that lead to innovation growth and spent a year (2008-2009) as a Fulbright scholar in the Middle East investigating the factors that will promote dynamic innovation ecosystems in the region.

Lara holds a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Rice University in Houston, Texas and a Ph.D. in synthetic organic and bio-organic chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin. Lara conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Texas and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the US National Institutes of Health.