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Announcing the 2022 Research Park at FAU Award Recipients

Since its thirtieth anniversary in 2015, the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University® has been celebrating distinguished contributors to its mission of promoting scientific research and development in affiliation with Florida Atlantic University and fostering economic development in Palm Beach and Broward counties.

Each year, we see more impactful contributions and greater promise for the future: South Florida has a vibrant, diverse economy ahead, driven by the work of all our distinguished recipients and more.

2022’s awards are made as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, with hope in technology’s ability to enable access to better healthcare and more predictable, positive outcome; they are made as more people recognize the virtue and strength of diversity in our society and economy. These things are occurring in society at large, and we are proud that they have been developing at the Research Park at FAU for many years.

The 2022 Research Park at FAU Awards are presented to:

Distinguished Leader              Robert Weinroth, Mayor, Palm Beach County

Distinguished Entrepreneur    James Farese, Founder & CEO ReachLink & Bond Energy

Distinguished Researcher      Dr. Benhaz Gohraani, Associate Professor & I-SENSE Fellow

Distinguished Organization    Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative

May contain: tie, accessories, accessory, person, human, suit, clothing, coat, overcoat, apparel, and face

                           JOIN US IN HONORING AND CELEBRATING. Click HERE for tickets.

Wednesday, October 12 - 6:00PM ~ 9:00PM - THE ADDISON - 2 East Camino Real - Boca Raton


Distinguished Leader Robert Weinroth has been a fixture of public policy in southern Palm Beach County for many years now, and has developed a reputation as a reasonable, consensus building pragmatic leader. It was while serving on the City Council of Boca Raton that Weinroth enthusiastically embraced the technology-focused economic development initiatives of the Research Park at FAU and helped ensure the City invested in our efforts to diversify and strengthen the economy.

Since that time and after becoming a County Commissioner and now Mayor, Weinroth has remained a stalwart supporter, increasing the investment the County makes in our initiatives when we announced the creation of Global Ventures. Thanks in part to Mayor Weinroth’s confidence in the Research Park at FAU team, companies representing ten countries are now expanding their businesses here in Boca Raton, adding jobs for local residents and creating new opportunities for FAU’s research faculty to work on smart cities technologies, for example.

Beyond his support of the direct work of the Research Park at FAU, Weinroth understands that economic development is an all-encompassing discipline: an effective strategy requires resilient infrastructure, strong education, robust civic institutions and a responsive government. Mayor Weinroth has demonstrated his commitment to a holistic approach to economic development so that our Palm Beach County economy can continue to scale-up second stage companies, creating jobs for our residents, it can commercialize new technologies from FAU and support large corporations as they evolve.

Mayor Weinroth continues to strive for reasonably priced housing, quality education and a diverse, resilient economy and so, the Research Park at FAU is proud to name Mayor Robert Weinroth its 2022 Distinguished Leader.

Distinguished Entrepreneur James Farese is the founder and CEO of ReachLink. Farese founded the evidence-based, cost-effective teletherapy company in 2019 aiming to provide discrete, convenient therapy for substance abuse patients, however the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic fueled a wave of acceptance of telehealth and teletherapy for many other needs, including depression and anxiety as well as recovery. The company has grown steadily, adding therapists across the US and technology support, training and compliance at its Global Ventures HQ. ReachLink’s genius is found in its use of artificial intelligence that can help  ensure long term recovery in patients and efficacy in therapists.

James is a product of Boca Raton, having attended school here and taking classes at FAU. James’ vision and success got him noticed by Forbes Next 1000:  the upstart entrepreneurs redefining the American Dream in 2021. Forbes recognized what we already knew: that James’ passion, determination have helped made telehealth a mainstay of the healthcare landscape post-pandemic. His technology, partially funded by local investors, is improving people’s lives not just in South Florida but across the United States. ReachLink was recognized by GrowFL as a finalist of its Florida Companies to Watch Award this year and is continuing to grow. James and his team hire heavily from FAU’s School of Social Work and other units of the University.

A typical entrepreneur, James’ mind never stops creating. He’s already working on the next venture and had his concept of extracting lithium as more sustainable energy source from ocean water, accepted by FPL’s 35 Mules as part of its second cohort of innovators.

The Research Park at FAU is proud to name James Farese its 2022 Distinguished Entrepreneur.

Distinguished Researcher Behnaz Ghoraani, Ph.D. is a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE), one of the principal pillars of the University’s Race to Excellence strategic plan. Dr. Ghoraani is the founder and director of the Biomedical Signal and Image Analysis Lab at FAU. The multidisciplinary research of her lab focuses on applying novel engineering techniques and machine learning to find solutions for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of illness, particularly those that occur more frequently with age, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cardiovascular disease. Ultimately, she hopes her work can lead to more individually targeted treatments. The National Science Foundation awarded her an early career grant to study advanced data analytics for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease using wearables and smartphones.

Ghoraani’s journey to studying biomedical sensors and Alzheimer’s disease first began with her work as an engineer. She earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the Sharif University of Technology and her master’s degree from the AmirKabir University of Technology, both in Tehran, Iran.

It wasn’t until her doctorate degree that Ghoraani discovered she could combine her passion for engineering with her interest in human health. During that time, she said, “I realized I wanted to be able to implement my own ideas in the lab and use those ideas to help people to receive better healthcare.”

Ghoraani frequently consults with the Research Park at FAU on technology its companies are developing, or on new initiatives and her work has resulted in numerous patents, grants and relationships that enabled new entities to move to the Research Park at FAU to pursue better health outcomes.

The Research Park at FAU is proud to name Behnaz Ghoraani its 2022 Distinguished Researcher.

Distinguished Organization Upon its launch, the Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative (HEI) instantly became a strategic partner for the Research Park at FAU and Global Ventures, especially. HEI offers training to entrepreneurs in Latin America who are thinking of expanding their offerings to the US and some of those end up being candidates for Global Ventures. It works with Hispanic entrepreneurs already in the US who are in need of some guidance and helps them find resources, creating a pathway to success for them and a more vibrant economy for all of us. The upcoming Hispanic Impact Symposium promises to be a rich agenda of ways Hispanic entrepreneurs and businesses community can contribute to the tapestry of South Florida’s diverse economy for individual and societal benefit. Founders Mary Sol Gonzalez and Yulimar Trumbo have exemplified the entrepreneurial spirit and created a valuable resource for the community: the Research Park at FAU looks forward to a long, mutually beneficial relationship with HEI.

The Research Park at FAU is proud to name the Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative its 2022 Distinguished Organization.

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