San Diego Innovation Council Board

About The Board

The Board is composed of volunteers including professionals from regional technology transfer offices as well as from private and public organizations that support the growth of research-based enterprises.

Zac Dobbin

Board Chair


Zac Dobbin is the Program Director of Cleantech San Diego’s Southern California Energy Innovation Network (SCEIN), a California Energy Commission funded program that provides innovative energy startups in San Diego, Imperial, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties with access to commercialization services. The program has helped over 58 companies bring their energy innovations to market. Prior to joining Cleantech San Diego, Zac worked with the Port of San Diego’s Aquaculture and Blue Economy Incubator.

Zac holds an MBA from the University of San Diego and a Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurship from Dalhousie University.

Abu Jalloh



Abu Jalloh is Associate Director of Corporate Development at Scripps Research, where he is responsible for early stage technology diligence and facilitating introductions between funders and founders. 

Prior to his role at Scripps Research, Abu worked as bench scientist and team lead on early-to-mid stage projects at Cue Biopharma ($CUE), Gritstone Bio($GRTS), and Fate Therapeutics ($FATE).

Abu received a BS in Biological Sciences from Cornell University in Ithaca NY and a PhD in Glycobiology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx NY. As a COVID Era San Diegan, he cherishes the time spent in the garden and the canyons abound, experimenting with composting as well maintaining and propagating native and naturalized plants.

Christie Marcella

Vice President


Christie Marcella is COO of Connect, a non-profit serving San Diego for over 30 years to grow and support the region’s innovation ecosystem. She is a passionate practitioner of inclusive economic development, being a first-generation American herself. Prior to joining Connect she was executive director of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation as well as the economic development manager for the City of Carlsbad. Christie has a love for transportation and its role in supporting thriving communities. She holds her Master’s in Urban Planning and always looks at the intersection of physical and social systems to improve quality of life equitably and sustainably. She enjoys cooking, traveling (particularly to Spain) and spending time with family. 

Ha Nguyen



Ha is the Senior Director of the Office of Technology Development at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies where she leads a team dedicated to the translation and commercialization of scientific innovations of Salk researchers, aligning with Salk’s vision to be Where Cures Begin®.    Ha is a seasoned technology commercialization professional in the life sciences, leveraging 20 years of experience in IP management, technology transfer, licensing, business development, and supporting new company formation.

Prior to joining Salk, Ha was with ThermoFisher Scientific, Inc. (formerly Life Technologies Corp.) in licensing and business development roles where she was responsible for managing patented product portfolios and expanding partnerships in the applied markets for human/animal diagnostics and forensics.   Prior to that, she spent many years in academic technology transfer at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was responsible for IP protection and commercialization of a range of life science technologies. 

Ha received her Ph.D. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology from the University of California, San Francisco and B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Irvine; and is a registered patent agent with the USPTO. 

Margaret Hing



Margaret Hing oversees all aspects of La Jolla Institute’s patent portfolio and technology agreements, and supports business development functions. In addition, she is active in drafting and prosecuting patent applications to issuance. Margaret works with scientific personnel on a daily basis to support their research activities by facilitating access to research tools and technologies, and ensuring intellectual property protection of research discoveries.

Prior to joining the Institute, Margaret was an attorney with Smart & Biggar, Fetherstonhaugh, a leading intellectual property and technology law firm. She advised clients on patent prosecution matters with a focus in the area of biotechnology. Margaret obtained a Master of Science in Molecular & Medical Genetics and J.D. from the University of Toronto, Canada.

Tommy Martindale



As Director of the Technology Transfer Office for the SDSU Research Foundation, Tommy Martindale is responsible for the protection and commercialization of innovations and creative works developed through the research endeavor at SDSU. Tommy also serves as a member of the teaching team for the NSF funded CSU Biological Sciences I-Corps Site program, which provides education to researchers in lab to market commercialization. Additionally, Tommy is Past President of the San Diego Innovation Council (2018-2019) and past Chairman of the SDIC board of directors. Tommy is a USPTO registered patent attorney with over a decade of innovation management, technology commercialization and licensing experience gained in a variety of capacities.

Mysty Rusk



Mysty Rusk is the Executive Director of the USD Knauss School of Business Free Enterprise Institute (FEI). Having served 3 years as the Director of the Brink SBDC at the University of San Diego (USD), Rusk helped to establish USD’s role as a contributor in San Diego’s innovation ecosystem. Under her leadership, the Brink has served over 1,100 innovation-based companies, representing 15% of all startups in the San Diego region. Those companies have added jobs, increased sales, and taken on $180M in funding (angel, venture, grants, loans).

As part of this effort Rusk also founded the San Diego Angel Conference (SDAC), which aims to activate new investors in a learn-by-doing series that invests at least $200,000 in the winning company each cycle. With a focus on supporting values-driven free enterprises, the FEI provides consulting services, access to angel and venture capital, and support for family-owned businesses with an eye on stewardship, as a path to the greater good. To date, the SDAC has invested $2.8M directly and $100M indirectly.

Before coming to USD in 2017, Rusk served as the Associate State Director for Program Innovation and Technology Commercialization with the Central California SBDC. Supporting scalable innovation-based businesses has been her primary focus since 2004. Rusk comes to the FEI with experience in building innovation ecosystems, developing the human, physical and sustainable infrastructure needed to support growth-oriented entrepreneurship.

Victoria Cajipe



Victoria Cajipe is Associate Director of Physical Sciences Innovation at the Office of Innovation and Commercialization of the University of California San Diego. She first joined the UC San Diego Technology Transfer Office in 2008 as a senior licensing officer, managing a large and diverse portfolio of physical science and engineering inventions and facilitating several startup licenses through the years.

Before then, Victoria was Vice President for Operations with NOVA R&D which was acquired by Kromek, a leading supplier of advanced radiation detection components and devices.

Her career in business and applied innovation was preceded by many years in the research enterprise, principally at the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter of the University of Pennsylvania, and the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique laboratories of the Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel in Nantes.

Victoria has a PhD in experimental solid-state physics from the University of Pennsylvania and a post-doctoral Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches from the Université de Nantes. 

Vanessa Scott 



Vanessa Scott leads industry and innovation initiatives at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego and has supported Scripps research innovations, spin outs, and industry collaborations including the Scripps Corporate Alliance since 2019. She also leads the StartBlue Accelerator from Scripps Institution of Oceanography & Rady School of Management that supports the formation of advanced science and engineering startups tackling ocean-focused challenges and solutions integrated into science, industry, investment, and government networks. Launched in 2020 through the Build to Scale Industry Challenge grant from the Economic Development Administration, StartBlue has supported 2 cohorts of blue economy startups including 14 teams with 42% female founders that raised $8.3 million collectively. Her background is in business development, marketing and communications in the biotech industry with over a decade and a half of experience cultivating strong industry partnerships and facilitating opportunities for collaboration and growth. She also has extensive experience working in non-profit fundraising and marine conservation organizations. Vanessa completed a Masters in Advanced Studies in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography where she developed a business and marketing plan for Smartfin, an ocean-focused startup, to support the launch from lab to market. Her passion and expertise is at the intersection of climate and ocean science, innovation and industry with the goal to identify, develop and support the commercialization of solutions that improve the health of people, the ocean and the environment.

Martin J. Machniak



Marty focuses on the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific’s developed and developing technologies that are proceeding down the Innovation Pipeline. These technologies are in various stages of technology readiness for transition and transfer for acquisition and dual use. He does this by proactively engaging lab researchers, creating, and facilitating technical engagements, analyzing, and promoting internal technologies to accelerate Navy, DOD, and National Security agencies mission solutions through acquisition offices and partnerships with other public and private entities. He began his professional career with Motorola Inc. and later joined the Naval Engineering Center in Vallejo, CA that merged and relocated to San Diego and is known today as NIWC Pacific. He brings a diverse background of science, engineering, and Naval acquisition experience leveraged from numerous positions at the lab and Program Executive Office (PEO). While as head of the Lab’s Advanced Systems and Applied Sciences Division for well over a decade, he led scientists and engineers in robotics, unmanned systems, autonomy, applied non-linear dynamics, energy, and environmental sciences. Mr. Machniak earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and his Master of Science, with distinction, in Software Engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA. Marty is also a new professional recruiter and active in STEM educational outreach initiatives, focusing on cyber, environmental science, and robotics.

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