Jesko von Windheim Named Gorguze-Peters Professor of Environmental Entrepreneurship

June 29, 2017

Contact: Tim Lucas, 919/613-8084,

DURHAM, N.C. – Jesko von Windheim has been named the inaugural Lynn Gorguze-Scott Peters Professor of the Practice in Environmental Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. He will assume the professorship July 1.


Dr. Jesko Von Windheim (Photo: Duke University Photography)

A faculty member at the Nicholas School since 2012, von Windheim is widely respected both as an educator and as a technology entrepreneur focused primarily on early-stage innovations in the physical sciences. He holds eight patents; has published numerous peer-reviewed papers in the fields of solar cell research and diamond thin film materials; and has played a key role in the creation or development of numerous manufacturing companies based on new materials, processes and functionality.

He directs the Nicholas School’s Environmental Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program (EIE) in addition to teaching graduate-level courses on entrepreneurship, and mentoring undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students.

He recently received a $996,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund the development of a smart, flexible large-scale sensing technology to detect underground oil leaks. Doctoral and masters students in the EIE program will work with von Windheim and his partners to develop and commercialize the new technology.

Lynn Gorguze, chief executive officer and president of Cameron Holdings of LaJolla, Calif., and her husband, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters, who represents California’s 52nd District, endowed the new professorship that von Windheim will hold. Gorguze is a past chair of the Nicholas School’s Board of Visitors.

“Training students to be leaders in environmental innovation is a distinctive program of the Nicholas School and a cornerstone of our new Master of Environmental Management degree concentration in Business & Environment . We are fortunate to have a faculty member as experienced and widely respected as Jesko to lead our efforts. We are equally fortunate that we have friends like Lynn Gorguze and Scott Peters, who share our commitment,” said Jeffrey Vincent, Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School.

In addition to his academic responsibilities at Duke, von Windheim also is chief executive officer at Zenalux Biomedical, Inc., a biomedical diagnostics start-up company that develops novel biophotonic-based tools to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other diseases.

Prior to his posts at Duke and Zenalux, he served as chief executive officer at Nextreme Thermal Solutions, vice president for commercialization at the Research Triangle Institute, vice president and general manager at JDS Uniphase, and vice president of marketing at Cronos Integrated Microsystems, Inc.

He holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and chemistry from McMaster University, an MBA from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, and a master’s degree and PhD in chemistry from the University of Guelph.