Dr. John Main




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DARPA, Defense Sciences Office (DSO)

Dr. John Main

Dr. John Main has spent his career developing new technologies and businesses. He is currently a Program Manager in the Defense Sciences Office at DARPA where he is responsible for initiating new DARPA programs in the physical sciences and fostering the R&D communities that will support those programs. This is Dr. Main’s second tour as a DARPA Program Manager. His first tour at DARPA began in 2002 and resulted in programs in a broad range of technical areas including biologically inspired materials, fast and efficient human-powered swimming, rapid rooftop access, small-scale power generation, GPS-denied underwater navigation, and human exoskeletons for increased warfighter endurance.


After his initial DARPA tour of duty, Dr. Main worked at technology startup Intific Inc., initially as an Executive Producer developing software products and ultimately as the company’s first Chief Operating Officer. In the COO role he led teams performing general business operations, initial design of software products, proposal development, and contracting. He served in this role through Intific’s merger with Cubic Corporation and after the merger took on the role of Vice President and Chief Scientist.


Earlier in his career he was an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maine and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kentucky where he started research laboratories devoted to precision control of adaptive optical systems.


Dr. Main founded Precision Systems and Instrumentation LLC in 2001, which is a company that designs, manufactures, sells, and supports instrument systems used in spinal cord and head trauma injury research.


Dr. Main received his Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in physics and mathematics from Western Kentucky University. Career accomplishments include over 75 technical articles, three edited volumes, nine invited lectures, six awarded patents, and 32 externally funded research efforts. In 2008, Dr. Main was awarded the Office of Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.