Northeastern Recruits Top Cybersecurity Expert from Google to Lead New Institute

Northeastern has recruited a top cybersecurity expert from Google to lead the university’s new institute for cybersecurity and privacy research and education.

John Manferdelli, engineering director at Google, will head the Northeastern University Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute, which will leverage the leading expertise of College of Computer and Information Science faculty members.

“John has the perfect combination of practical and theoretical knowledge across all areas of cybersecurity and privacy, experience leading a large industry security group, and deep knowledge of government priorities to lead the new institute,” said Carla Brodley, dean of the College of Computer and Information Science.

Bucking convention

Manferdelli—whose move from industry to academia bucks convention—brings a bold vision, a wealth of leadership experience, and expertise in developing systems and software that protect product services and customer data.

“The sustained and explosive period of growth of digital technology has made cybersecurity foundational to continued progress throughout science, commerce, and society,” Manferdelli said. “The best cybersecurity research will benefit from the scale, scope, and diversity of emerging applications in industry, government, and scientific research. Northeastern’s strong record of research and its history of close industry and government partnerships offers an exceptional opportunity for impactful, important contributions, and I feel lucky to be a part of it.”

Manferdelli, who has been at Google since 2014, serves as a member of the Defense Science Board in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He has also served on a group that advises the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, on information technology and conducts study panels.

Prior to Google, Manferdelli was a senior principal engineer and co-principal investigator at the Intel Science and Technology Center at the University of California, Berkeley. He spent 16 years working at Microsoft in top research and management positions, and also co-founded and served as vice president and president of Natural Language Incorporated.

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