Appointment helps strengthen university, Department of Defense ties

The U.S. Department of Defense’s National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) appointed Jake Laktas university program director for Washington University in St. Louis.


Laktas is housed on the Danforth Campus, within the Office of Research Development under the Vice Chancellor for Research. In his new role, he will work to help solve Department of Defense problems across a wide range of areas, including geospatial, biomedical, and cybersecurity technologies.

“We are thrilled to build productive connections to the DoD and NSIN.  We are looking forward to working closely with Jake and developing effective collaborations,” said Jennifer Lodge, vice chancellor for research at Washington University.

Laktas has been active in the St. Louis innovation, entrepreneurship and tech ecosystems for a decade. He co-founded a nonprofit med-tech incubator as well as nanoMetallix, a startup that provided high-energy materials for civilian and military applications.

“By creating a direct link from the DoD to WashU and the broader region, we can better leverage the talent in this community to help solve critical national defense challenges,” Laktas said.

Laktas reports to leadership at both Washington University and NSIN, headquartered in Washington, D.C. His appointment is the first for the NSIN Midwest region, which includes Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.

In addition to Washington University, NSIN has program directors on the campuses of five other top-tier research universities: the University of Virginia, the University of Colorado-Boulder, Arizona State University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Indiana University.

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