By: Shelby Lawson
James Sharp, one of the industry’s leading authorities in microscopy and former President and CEO of Carl Zeiss Microscopy, has accepted a role as a Distinguished Senior Advisor to the IGB Core Facilities.
Sharp obtained his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering before starting his long career at Carl Zeiss Inc. There, he was involved with producing the world’s first electron scanning microscope, as well as installing and calibrating many of the electron and industrial light microscopy instruments currently in use today. Sharp has had numerous management positions in Zeiss microscopy across the world, from Canada, to the United States, to Germany. During these stints he helped coordination acquisition, development, and integration of microscopy businesses and technologies. After this he worked as head of the U.S. based Zeiss Microscopy, where he convinced ZEISS to invest in innovative companies like Cellomics and Atto Instruments, and served as board members for these and other operating companies under ZEISS.
In addition to industry connections, Sharp has also networked with many science leaders, including Joe Gray, Lans Taylor, Gary Borsiy, Doug Melton, John Sedat, Jeff Lichtman, and Nobel Laureates Martin Chalfie, Eric Betzig, Guenter Bloebel, Stefan Hell, Harald Hess, and Roger Tsien. Working with these scientists helped Sharp improve light, electron, and x-ray imaging for applications with specific results. Additionally, he was the NA Board Chairman of the German Center for Research and Innovation in New York and is currently a trustee emeritus of the Marine Biological Laboratory.
Sharp retired as President and CEO of Carl Zeiss Microscopy, LLC, and served as a ZEISS Senior Advisor, where he provided insight into the MicroImaging Market and the commercialization of microscopy. However, his enthusiasm for the sciences has never wavered, and thus he has agreed to bring his talents to Illinois and to the IGB. Sharp’s ties to the institute date back to 2017, when, as President of ZEISS, he started a partnership between the company and the Core Facilities at the IGB. This prestigious partnership allowed the IGB to access state of the art microscopy instruments from ZEISS before others in the field, along with receiving valuable training from ZEISS personnel. Now, as Distinguished Senior Advisor, Sharp will use his intricate knowledge of industry and business surrounding microscopy to help Illinois commercialize system development of microscopy applications, and enhance microscope optics and usage. He will also collaborate with industry representatives and introduce them to Illinois, helping to broaden our reach into the world of industry and beyond. He plans to provide guest lectures for the summer microscopy course, which will hopefully inspire students to consider the wide world of industry as a career path.
By: Shelby Lawson
Photos By: Kathryn Faith