Vanessa Z. Chan headshot

Dr. Vanessa Z. Chan is the Chief Commercialization Officer for the Department of Energy and Director of the Office of Technology Transitions. In this role she is responsible for all commercialization activities across DOE, the 17 National Laboratories, and the Department’s other research and production facilities across the country. This includes advocating and advancing clear pathways for the commercialization of innovative technologies, ensuring that the taxpayer-funded discoveries happening at our world-class facilities are making their way out of the labs and into the commercial marketplace.

Dr. Chan is an innovator who has worked across a wide range of ecosystems, from academia to Fortune 1000 companies to startups. She has two decades of experience helping organizations grow at the interface of technology and business, across a diverse set of industries.

Chan is currently on a leave of absence from her position as Undergraduate Chair of the Materials Science & Engineering department and the Jonathan and Linda Brassington Professor of Practice in Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. At Penn she was redesigning how engineers are being educated by formally incorporating real world skills (understanding of supply chains & ecosystems, presentation skills, etc.) to better prepare her students to have an impact when they graduate. 

She is a former McKinsey & Company partner, experienced Venture Board Director for Vanguard and United Technology Corporation, and a board member at multiple startups. Chan was the first woman and the first East Asian elected partner in McKinsey’s North American Chemicals practice. She is a nationally respected educator who is the first Practice Professor at Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, awarded an endowed scholarly chair.

Chan earned her Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her B.S.E. in Materials Science & Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

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