Speaker Profiles

Keynote Speaker

Erik Iverson, Managing Director, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
Erik Iverson is Managing Director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. He brings to his role over 20 years of executive experience leading organizations committed to entrepreneurial efforts that positively impact people worldwide. He assumed the lead of the investment and nonprofit patent and licensing organization in July 2016. For more than 90 years, WARF has invested in scientific research and education at the UW-Madison stewarding the cycle of research, discovery, commercialization and investment.

Prior to joining WARF, Iverson was the President, Business & Operations, of the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), a nonprofit global health organization in Seattle, WA, focused on research and product development for infectious diseases of global importance. Iverson led IDRI’s Executive Team in making critical business and strategic efforts relating to IDRI’s internal preclinical and clinical R&D programs, coordinating contract development and manufacturing services, technology/product in-licensing and acquisition, and technology out-licensing and partnering. He was also responsible for structuring international joint ventures and collaborative relationships aimed at the formulation, development and production of vaccines and vaccine technologies, including within emerging markets. For full bio click here.

Morning Speakers

Professor Nicholas Abbott, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Director, Wisconsin Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC)

Professor Abbott received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University. Dr. Abbott's technical interests revolve around colloidal and interfacial phenomena. They span fundamental issues related to the origins of colloidal interactions through to the application of chemically tailored interfaces in chemical and biological sensors, biomedical devices and separations processes.

Professor Thomas Kuech, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Co-Director, Wisconsin Materials Institute (WMI)

Thomas F. Kuech is the Shoemaker Professor of Chemical Engineering and the UW-Beckwith University Chaired Professor. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Physical Society, IEEE, Materials Research Society, and AAAS. He has received several honors including a Humboldt Research Award, the American Institute of Chemical Engineering Stine Award, and the American Association for Crystal Growth Award. His research has focused on the study of the chemical and physical processes underlying the synthesis of semiconductor materials and structures as well as battery and complex oxides. He is currently the vice-president of the International Organization for Crystal Growth and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Crystal Growth.

Professor Dane Morgan, Materials Science and Engineering
Co-Director, Wisconsin Materials Institute (WMI)

Dane Morgan obtained a Ph.D. in Physics from U.C. Berkeley in 1998, was a Postdoctoral Researcher and Research Scientist at MIT until 2004, and is now a Professor in Materials Science and Engineering and co-director of the Wisconsin Materials Institute at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His work combines thermostatistics and thermokinetics analysis with atomic scale calculations to understand and predict materials properties. A major focus of Morgan’s work is materials informatics and energy applications, including fuel cells, batteries, and nuclear materials, but he also works in the areas of high-pressure geoscience and defect properties in semiconductors. Morgan has done extensive consulting work for industry and in 2011 served as vice president of research at Pellion Technologies, a startup energy technology company. Morgan has graduated/trained over 50 students and postdocs. He is the Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Engineering and a University of Wisconsin Vilas Scholar, has won multiple top paper awards, and has published over 180 papers in materials science.

Dr. Felix Lu, Faculty Associate, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Co-Director, Advanced Materials Industrial Consortium (AMIC)

Felix has worked at the Boeing Satellite Development center, as a research scientist at Duke University, and co-founded a startup company (AQT) in Durham, North Carolina doing high performance MEMS processing and system integration. At UW-Madison he co-directs the AMIC, where helps coordinate outreach among the MRSEC, WMI, and the Grainger Institute, is an assistant research scientist and a faculty associate in ECE.

Dr. Erin Gill, Administrative Director, Wisconsin MRSEC
Co-Director, Advanced Materials Industrial Consortium (AMIC)

Erin has worked as scientific director at a startup company (INphoton, LLC), as proposal writer and editor at IUPUI and IU School of Medicine, and as technology manager at WiSys Technology Foundation. At UW-Madison she co-directs the AMIC and is administrative director of the Wisconsin Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

Dr. Jerry Hunter, Director, Shared Instrument Facilities

Jerry Hunter obtained a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in 1991 and was a Postdoctoral Researcher at North Carolina State University until 1992, and is now the-director of the University of Wisconsin – Madison College of Engineering Shared Research Facilities.  Prior to his current position, Dr. Hunter was Associate Director of the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratories at Virginia Tech and Research Professor in the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Geosciences.  Dr. Hunter also spent 15 years in Silicon Valley where he had management and technical positions at Philips Semiconductors, Intel, Accurel Systems and Evans Analytical Group.  He has published over 40 papers on characterization of a broad range of materials.

Professor Doug Dunham, Materials Science and Engineering, UW-Eau Claire
Director, Materials Science and Engineering Center, UW-Eau Claire
Director, Regional Materials and Manufacturing Network (RM2N)

Doug Dunham is the current Director of the Regional Materials and Manufacturing Network (RM2N). The RM2N consists of nine UW-System universities with a mission to promote the collaboration of industry with these universities for access to expertise and instrumentation. Dunham has been the Director of the Materials Science and Engineering Center at UW-Eau Claire (MSEC) since 2004. The mission of the MSEC is outreach to industry and educational outreach to K-12 institutions and the community. Dunham works with companies needing help with materials related issues and does presentations and hands-on activities at K-12 schools and in the community. Dunham is a Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Program and in the Physics and Astronomy Department at UW-Eau Claire. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from UW-Milwaukee in 1995. His primary research area is nanomaterials.

Dr. Dan Thoma, Director, Grainger Institute for Engineering

Dr. Dan J. Thoma is the Director of the Grainger Institute for Engineering (GIE) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW). The GIE thrust areas are Advanced Manufacturing and Accelerated Materials Discovery. Prior to UW, he was the Deputy Division Leader for the Materials Science and Technology (MST) Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). His technical efforts have been devoted to new manufacturing methods and materials by design, with a particular focus on property response as a function of microstructural evolution during phase transformations. Dr. Thoma has been active within materials professional societies, where he was the president of The Minerals, Metals, Materials Society (TMS) in 2003, the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME) in 2008, and the Federation of Materials Societies (FMS) in 2009-2010. His expertise in materials and manufacturing was recognized in 2008 by being elected as a Fellow of ASM International.


Industry Presenters

Eric Apfelbach, Vice-Chairman, Ensync Energy Systems
Mr. Apfelbach is currently the Vice Chairman of Ensync Energy Systems (NYSE:ESNC). Prior to that, Eric was CEO and Director of the predecessor company, ZBB Energy. EnSync Energy Systems, is a leading developer of energy management systems for the utility, commercial, industrial and multi-tenant building markets. Prior to ZBB, Mr. Apfelbach led the start-up of multiple technology companies. As founding CEO of Virent, Inc, he attracted strategic partners Shell, Cargill, Honda and Coca-Cola to position the company as a top advanced biofuels/biopolymers company. Before Virent, Apfelbach co-founded Alfalight, Inc., where he grew the high power diode laser company into the telecom, defense and industrial markets. Mr. Apfelbach has also held senior management positions at Planar Systems, Inc. and Applied Materials. Apfelbach received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1984. He is on the Board of the Wisconsin Technology Council and also the Board of visitors for the UW Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

 

Amir Mashal, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Amir Mashal is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, minoring in Materials Science and Engineering. He also works in the Research and Advanced Development division of Thermo Fisher Scientific. Mashal received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His advisor is Professor Michael Arnold of the Materials Science and Engineering Department. The major focus of his research is on carbon nanomaterial electronics, working on projects ranging from multilayer graphene energy storage to graphene photodetectors to the characterization of aligned carbon nanotubes. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Faculty Moderators in Technical Sessions

Professor Nicholas Abbott, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Session 1a: Materials and Microbial Systems, 10:20 - 10:40 pm, Howard Auditorium

Professor Abbott received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University. Dr. Abbott's technical interests revolve around colloidal and interfacial phenomena. They span fundamental issues related to the origins of colloidal interactions through to the application of chemically tailored interfaces in chemical and biological sensors, biomedical devices and separations processes.

Professor Dane Morgan, Materials Science and Engineering

Session 1b: Computation and Data Analytics, 10:20 - 10:40 am, Classroom 219

Dane Morgan obtained a Ph.D. in Physics from U.C. Berkeley in 1998, was a Postdoctoral Researcher and Research Scientist at MIT until 2004, and is now a Professor in Materials Science and Engineering and co-director of the Wisconsin Materials Institute at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His work combines thermostatistics and thermokinetics analysis with atomic scale calculations to understand and predict materials properties. A major focus of Morgan’s work is materials informatics and energy applications, including fuel cells, batteries, and nuclear materials, but he also works in the areas of high-pressure geoscience and defect properties in semiconductors. Morgan has done extensive consulting work for industry and in 2011 served as vice president of research at Pellion Technologies, a startup energy technology company. Morgan has graduated/trained over 50 students and postdocs. He is the Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Engineering and a University of Wisconsin Vilas Scholar, has won multiple top paper awards, and has published over 180 papers in materials science.

Professor Frank Pfefferkorn, Mechanical Engineering

Session 2a: Manufacturing Process R&D at UW-Madison, 1:30 - 1:50 pm, Howard Auditorium

Frank Pfefferkorn is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 2002 and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois–Urbana Champaign in 1994. Frank’s goals are to: (1) educate manufacturing engineers, and (2) conduct research that helps move friction stir welding, laser polishing, cryogenic machining, additive-subtractive manufacturing, and micro end milling from industrial arts to science-based technologies. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, the State of Wisconsin, and industry. Frank is an associate member of the International Academy of Production Engineering, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Last year, he was an ASME Foundation Swanson Fellow in the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO). Frank is currently the director of the Manufacturing Systems Engineering Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Professor Tim Osswald, Mechanical Engineering

Session 2b: Polymer Engineering, 1:30 - 1:50 pm, Classroom 219

Tim Osswald is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Polymer Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Originally from Cúcuta, Colombia, he received his B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the field of Polymer Processing. He spent two and one half years at the Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV) in Aachen, Germany, as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow. He received the National Science Foundation's Presidential Young Investigator Award, as well as the 2001 VDI-K Dr-- Richard-Escales- Preis. In 2006 he was named an Honorary Professor at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany and in 2011 he was named Honorary Professor at the National University of Colombia. Professor Osswald teaches polymer processing and designing with polymers and conducts research in the same areas, in particular in the area of fiber orientation, fiber density and fiber length distributions. His fiber research relates to composites as well as paper industries. Professor Osswald has published over 300 papers, the books Materials Science of Polymers for Engineers (Hanser, 1996, 2003, 2012), Polymer Processing Fundamentals (Hanser 1998), Injection Molding Handbook (Hanser, 2001, 2007) Compression Molding(Hanser, 2003), Polymer Processing Modeling and Simulation (Hanser 2006), International Plastics Handbook (Hanser 2006), Plastics Testing and Characterization (Hanser, 2008), Understanding Polymer Processing (2010) and Polymer Rheology (Hanser 2015). His books have been translated into Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Russian. Professor Osswald is also the series editor of Plastics Pocket Power (Hanser, 2001), which currently includes 6 books, is the Editor for the Americas of the Journal of Polymer Engineering and the English language Editor for the Journal of Plastics Technology. Professor Osswald has been consulted by several industries, is one of the co-founders of The Madison Group, and is in the Technical Advisory Board of several companies.

Technical Session Speakers

Dr. Paul Gramann, President, The Madison Group

Paul received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1995. He is currently the President of The Madison Group, a consulting company to the plastics industry, which is in its 23nd year of business. He served as an Adjunct Professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department of the University of Wisconsin from 2003 to 2013. He is a past-Chair of the Failure Analysis and Prevention Group of the Society of Plastics Engineers. He has over 50 papers published in a variety of journals, and has several patents in the field of plastics. He is a co-editor of the Injection Molding Handbook, which has been translated to Chinese and Russian. He is a contributing author of the book Plastic Failure Analysis and Prevention. He currently serves on the ASTM plastics subcommittee D20 and serves on the Underwriter Laboratories Standard Technical Panel (UL 94, UL 746, UL 1692 and UL 1694).

Dr. Rishabh Jain, Bemis Company

Rishabh Jain obtained a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from UW-Madison in 2014 before joining Bemis Company. He is a Research Scientist in the Technology and Platform Development group in Bemis Healthcare Packaging. His research interests include packaging and polymer science, surface and interfacial chemistry and vibrational spectroscopy.

Professor Sangkee Min, Mechanical Engineering

Sangkee Min earned his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley with manufacturing major in 2001. After his Ph.D., he went to Japan as a special assistant professor at Keio University where he expanded his industrial connection to many Japanese industries; automotive, machine tool, tool makers, oil refinery, etc. He returned to the US for a venture opportunity that was to fabricate a customized knee surgery assistive device in 2005. He was working as a manufacturing director where he developed a traceable manufacturing system for high mix low volume medical device production. He left the company for another challenge, ultra-precision nano-machining that he considered as emerging and enabling technology. He joined DTL Corporation (Mori Seiki’s US R&D) in 2009 where his team developed an ultra-precision 5-axis nano machine and machining technology. He worked for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to assist its manufacturing strategy as a staff scientist in 2012. He started working at UW from fall of 2015 as an assistant professor with three major research focuses: ultra-precision machining, manufacturing for demand, and smart manufacturing.

Dr. Justin Morrow, Postdoctoral Fellow, Mechanical Engineering

Justin Morrow is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher and Lab Manager for the Laser-Assisted Multi-Scale Manufacturing Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He obtained a Masters in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Materials Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Justin’s Ph.D. research was focused on the surface properties produced by pulsed laser micro polishing steel. He is actively publishing in the areas of laser surface polishing, surface alloying, friction stir welding of dissimilar materials, additive-subtractive manufacturing, and micro end milling. His current technical focus is in creating physics-based predictive models of surface laser remelting outcomes including surface smoothing, controlled surface structuring, and geometry change of remelted edge features.

Dr. Tom Mulholland, Mechanical Engineering

Tom Mulholland obtained a B.S. and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He then worked for two years at an institute in Colombia that developed applied research and consulting projects for the plastics and rubber industry there. During this time, he worked on a variety of projects, from energy efficiency in injection molding to novel techniques for foamed structures, product development, and technology analysis using world patent databases. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. under Professor Natalie Rudolph at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in the area of additive manufacturing with thermally conductive materials. He also helps to advise, organize, and support the different projects in the research group as the Chief Engineer.

Mr. Benjamin Ortiz Cardona, Ph.D. candidate, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Benjamin J. Ortiz Cardona received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez in 2014. After completing his degree, Benjamin decided to begin a direct Ph.D. track in Chemical and Biological Engineering with a minor in pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, under the direction of Prof. David Lynn. At UW-Madison, he is currently a trainee in the chemistry-biology interface program and a graduate engineering research scholar (GERS). Benjamin’s current work is influenced by his previous experiences designing stimuli-responsive polymeric materials in the context of drug delivery systems. He has been now designing and developing soft materials and polymeric thin films with tailored chemistries to intercept bacterial communications. Broadly, his work is centered on the fabrication and characterization of macromolecular assemblies, nanoscale materials and interfaces with the aim to develop solutions to problems of biomedical and biotechnological relevance.

Professor Natalie Rudolph, Mechanical Engineering

Natalie Rudolph received her diploma (2004) in Textile Engineering, Hf, Germany, and her doctorate (2009) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg,Germany. Her Post-Doc was spent at the PEC in Madison, followed by a position as Division Head at the Fraunhofer Institute of Chemical Technology in Augsburg. Now she is an Assistant Professor here at UW-Madison. Rudolph’s research focuses on additive manufacturing with functionalized polymers for improved mechanical and thermal properties as well as manufacturing of continuous fiber reinforced composites for high volume/high precision applications. Her work has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed proceedings and journals, and she recently co-authored two Hanser Publishers Books: “German Plastics Handbook” (2013) and “Polymer Rheology” (2015). She is one of the recipients of the 2015 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers award.

Mr. Christopher B. Smith, Wolf Robotics

Christopher Smith is a Project Manager at Wolf Robotics (Fort Collins, CO), specializing in advancing the state-of- the-art for automatic robotic solutions. He has been with Wolf Robotics since 2013. From 2001 to 2013, Chris was Co-Founder and Vice President of Engineering of Friction Stir Link, Inc. (Brookfield, WI). Prior to that he developed new robotic processing technologies at A.O. Smith Automotive Products Company. Throughout his career, Chris has lead the development and integration of new automated technologies and has been involved with friction stir welding, arc welding, machining, and material handling technologies. He developed the first production capable industrial robotic system for friction stir welding. Chris has a B.S. from the University of Colorado-Boulder and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UW- Madison. Chris has authored over 30 technical papers, has two patents, and is co-chair of the American Welding Society’s C6 Committee on Recommended Practices for Friction Stir Welding.

Professor Krishnan Suresh, Mechanical Engineering

Krishnan Suresh is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He graduated in 1998 from Cornell with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. He later served as an Engineering Manager at Kulicke and Soffa Industries, Philadelphia from 1998 through 2002. He has received numerous peer-reviewed grants, including the prestigious NSF Career award in 2007. His research interests are in topology optimization, additive manufacturing, finite element analysis and high-performance computing. He has co-authored over 90 technical papers, and received best-paper awards from ASME. He is also a co-founder of SciArt, LLC, a Madison-based start-up company that creates and supports high-performance engineering software solutions.

Mr. Rishi Trivedi, Ph.D. candidate, Biophysics

Rishi Trivedi is a Biophysics graduate student in laboratory of Prof. Doug Weibel. He is a student leader for the MRSEC IRG3 and co-founder of a student organization ‘Future Science Leaders’. He is very much interested in the business of science and is pursuing Ph.D. minor in Business from the Wisconsin School of Business. He has worked on a variety of cutting-edge applied scientific projects that span the areas of biochemistry, microbiology, materials science, chemical engineering, and physics. Specifically, he established that the stiffness of the bacteria is regulated by various biochemical pathways. These findings will generate new opportunities for rewiring cellular mechanical properties and novel targets for antibiotic chemotherapeutics. In another project, he has investigated how the properties of the environment control the dynamic behavior of bacteria. Exploiting directed motion of bacteria in liquid crystals, he has developed a cargo-transport mechanism using bacteria.

Professor Rebecca (Becca) Willett, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Rebecca Willett is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Harvey D. Spangler Faculty Scholar, and Fellow of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She completed her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University in 2005 and was an Assistant then tenured Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University from 2005 to 2013. Willett received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2007, is a member of the DARPA Computer Science Study Group, and received an Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program award in 2010. Willett has also held visiting researcher or faculty positions at the University of Nice in 2015, the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at UCLA in 2004, the University of Wisconsin-Madison 2003-2005, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in 2003, and the Applied Science Research and Development Laboratory at GE Healthcare in 2002.

Mr. Liam Witteman, undergraduate student 

Liam Witteman is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison studying chemical engineering. He has a strong interest in the intersection of chemical and materials engineering and machine learning. He worked as part of the Informatics Skunkworks in 2015-2016. In June Liam started a 6 month internship at the Fisher Barton group, a world-leading manufacturer of machine components. Liam’s focus at Fisher Barton is integrating machine learning tools into their data analysis.