Director of Entrepreneurship & Commercialization
Nikki is the Director of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization for the UCLA California NanoSystems Institute, overseeing the Magnify Incubator. Nikki works with partners within and outside UCLA to coordinate and integrate CNSI’s entrepreneurship activities, fostering the development of Magnify’s innovation and startup ecosystem. She also oversees the operations of the Magnify program, facilities management, business development, and implementation of best practices.
Nikki holds over 18 years of experience in the world of higher education, 16 of them facilitating scientific research. Previously, she served in the Samueli School of Engineering’s Department of Bioengineering and Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy. Nikki earned a BA from Loyola University in Chicago and an MBA from the University of Southern California.
Lab Manager for Magnify & Technology Centers
Anne received her BS in Microbiology and MS in Plant Pathology from the University of Florida. She worked for the UF in the Plant Diagnostic Lab in Gainesville, FL before transferring to California. She has worked in several fields, including environmental, health (diabetes) research, food microbiology, and plant pathology. In 2016 she began working with UCLA Environmental Health & Safety as an Assistant Biosafety Officer where she supported High Containment Labs (BSL3 facilities) as an Alternate Responsible Official (ARO).
Building & Incubator Specialist
Frank Alcala is the Building and Incubator Specialist at the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI). In addition to working with CNSI’s overall building operations, he oversees facility management and administrative operations for the Magnify incubator. Frank has worked with the CNSI since its doors first opened in 2007, and is one of the original members of Magnify’s founding team.
Frank has over 20 years of experience on the UCLA campus having previously supported the Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry as supervisor of research and chemical storerooms. In addition, he is experienced in inventory management and logistical support having previously worked at BioHorizon Medical, a compression therapy and wound care supplier.
Business Operations Specialist
Emily recently graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB). Emily served as Magnify’s Business Operations intern for nearly 2 years before stepping into her full time position. Her goals include streamlining company metric analyses, promoting interdepartmental discourse, and optimizing Magnify’s intersectional accessibility. Emily’s passion for innovation can be traced back to her time as a molecular imaging assistant for CNSI’s Electron Imaging Center for Nanomachines (EICN), where she spent significant time working on 3D protein structural studies and figure videography.
Leonard H. Rome
Associate Director of Facilities Management, CNSI
Dr. Leonard H. Rome is a cell biologist, biochemist and part-time dean involved in research, teaching and administration at the University of California, Los Angeles. He earned his undergraduate degree (B.S. in Chemistry) and graduate degrees (M.S. and Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health, where he worked on lysosome biogenesis.
Dr. Rome has been on the faculty of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA since he joined the Department of Biological Chemistry in 1979. He became a full Professor in 1988 and has been Senior Associate Dean for Research in the School of Medicine since 1997. Since 2005 he has been the Associate Director of the California NanoSystems Institute. Dr. Rome has served as the elected Chair of the School of Medicine Faculty Executive Committee and he is actively involved in Graduate and Medical Education. In 1991 he received a UCLA School of Medicine Award for Excellence in Education.
Sonia J. Luna
Senior Executive Director, CNSI
With 25 years of experience on the UCLA campus, Sonia Luna serves as Executive Director of the UCLA California NanoSystems Institute. She oversees the administrative and financial staff at the Institute and works closely with Director Jeff F. Miller in formulating the strategy and direction of the CNSI. She holds an MBA from the University of Southern California with a dual concentration in corporate finance and strategic management. She completed the Executive Leadership Program at the Wharton School in October, 2014.
Prior to her current role with the CNSI, her other positions at UCLA have included service as the Director of Planning and Program Analysis in the Office of Academic Planning and Budget, the Assistant Dean of the School of the Arts and Architecture, and the business services manager of the multi-location University Library. Prior to coming to UCLA Ms. Luna had thirteen years of corporate experience in various financial and strategic planning positions including oversight of the production budget for NBC in Burbank and as Director of Mergers and Acquisitions for Pinkerton Security.