Meet the Faculty of the UW Master’s in Applied Biotechnology

UW Extended Campus August 11, 2022
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The Master of Science in Applied Biotechnology faculty are either faculty at one of the UW partner campuses or are biotechnology industry experts serving as adjunct faculty. Specialty areas include: bioinformatics, bioorganic chemistry, biotechnology, intellectual property, international management, microbiome, product development, professional communication, project management, quality control, regulatory affairs, regenerative medicine, and supply chain management.

The program is a partnership of UW Extended Campus and UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Whitewater.

Meet the Faculty

Malek Alkasrawi, PhD | UW-Platteville

Malek Alkasrawi is an adjunct faculty member at UW-Platteville.

Dr. Alkasrawi earned his MS in Biotechnology and his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Lund University, Sweden.

Aaron Almeida, PhD | UW-Madison

Aaron Almeida, PhD, is an adjunct faculty member in the Cellular and Regenerative Biology, School of Medicine and Public Health at UW-Madison.

Dr. Almedia has more than 10 years in the biotechnology industry across a wide spectrum of stages in the product lifecycle including early product identification, early and late-stage process development, and operations management at current Good Manufacturing Principles (cGMP) and ISO 13485 facilities. He is passionate about using a risk-based approach to product development by employing modern statistical approaches for identifying and implementing process improvements. He enjoys teaching about these strategies, both to learn from other perspectives, and also as a way to enable people to achieve their goals in the biotechnology industry, which can often be a difficult field to navigate due to the necessary stringent regulations and technical complexity of the products.

Almeida earned his bachelor’s degree from Union College in New York and his PhD from UW-Madison.

Natalie A. Betz, PhD | UW-Madison

Dr. Betz serves as academic director for the MS in Applied Biotechnology and Graduate Certificate in Applied Bioinformatics at UW-Madison.

Natalie A. Betz, PhD, is the associate director in the Cellular and Regenerative Biology, School of Medicine and Public Health at UW-Madison.

She worked in the biotechnology industry for ten years, then accepted a teaching position at UW-Madison and has been instructing master’s students in biotechnology for the last 20 years, including designing and instructing hands-on laboratory courses. She coordinates and assists in teaching three courses for the master’s in Applied Biotechnology: ABT 735 Quality Control and Validation, ABT 740 Regulatory Affairs and Compliance, and ABT 770 Product Development. She is passionate about teaching non-traditional students and helping them advance their careers in biotechnology. In addition, she is the associate director of the face-to-face MS in Biotechnology at UW-Madison.

Dr. Betz earned her BS in Life Sciences from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University or Nebraska Medical Center. She completed post-doctoral fellowships at Kansas State University and UW-Madison.

Steve Caldwell | UW-Madison

Steve Caldwell is an adjunct faculty member in the Cellular and Regenerative Biology, School of Medicine and Public Health at UW-Madison.

He is an Associate Director of Validations at Illumina, and has more than 25 years of experience in pharmaceutical, medical devices, and biotechnology industries. Since 2016, he has taught an online career development course for undergraduate biology students at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC). Caldwell has participated in the ABT 735 Quality Control and Validation course for the last two years. He is excited to teach industry practices and how to apply them to unique situations.

Caldwell earned his BS degree in Microbiology from UIUC, his MS in Microbiology from UIUC, and his MA in Training and Development from Roosevelt University.

Ilirian Dhimitruka, PhD | UW-Parkside

Dr. Dhimitruka serves as academic director for the MS in Applied Biotechnology and Graduate Certificate in Applied Bioinformatics at UW-Parkside.

Ilirian Dhimitruka, PhD, is an assistant professor of organic chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at UW-Parkside.

Dr. Dhimitruka has more than 15 years of experience working in biotechnology research. His research focuses on the development of molecular sensors and related spectroscopic protocols for the assessment of cellular acidity, oxygenation, and reactive oxygen species. Such parameters are important toward elucidating the connection between oxidative stress and various pathologies. He worked as senior research scientist and adjunct assistant professor at the Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Center.

Dr. Dhimitruka completed his undergraduate studies in Industrial Chemistry at the University of Tirana, Albania. He earned his PhD in Chemistry from Wayne State University, and completed his post-doctoral training at Ohio State University.

Peter Fuhrken, PhD | UW-Madison

Peter Fuhrken, PhD, is an adjunct professor in the Cellular and Regenerative Biology, School of Medicine and Public Health at UW-Madison.

Dr. Fuhrken has served in various roles in research & development and operations at FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics, Inc., a leading developer and manufacturer of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-based products, including his current role of Vice President, Technical Operations.

Fuhrken earned his PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Northwestern University.

Lisa Grubisha, PhD | UW-Green Bay

Dr. Grubisha serves as academic director for the MS in Applied Biotechnology and Graduate Certificate in Applied Bioinformatics at UW-Green Bay.

Lisa Grubisha, PhD, is an associate professor of biology in the Natural & Applied Sciences Department at UW-Green Bay.

Dr. Grubisha teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in microbiology, environmental microbiology, and mycology. Her research interests are in molecular microbial ecology, mycorrhizal symbioses, and molecular ecology of orchids and their mycorrhizal fungal symbionts, wild rice, and common reed grass.

Dr. Grubisha earned her BS in Zoology from UW-Milwaukee, her MS in Botany (mycology concentration) from Oregon State University, and her PhD in Plant and Microbial Biology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Matthew S. Hanson, PhD | UW-Madison

Matthew S. Hanson, PhD, is an adjunct professor in the Cellular and Regenerative Biology, School of Medicine and Public Health at UW-Madison.

Dr. Hanson is the manager of the Quality Control Department at Promega, Inc., a life science biotechnology company with headquarters in Madison, WI. Prior to Promega, he spent 15 years working as a scientist in the areas of molecular biology and immunology. Throughout his science career, he has enjoyed teaching and sharing the science of biotechnology.

In 2003, he returned to the UW-Madison Department of Surgery, Division of Transplantation to assist in the implementation of an FDA regulated experimental trial in human pancreatic islet transplantation as a curative therapy for patients with Type I diabetes. The focus of research during this time was the development of in vitro diagnostic quality control assays that would provide sensitive and specific data relevant to the viability and functional potency of human islet cells.

Dr. Hanson earned his PhD from UW-Madison. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Nancy Ruddle in the Immunobiology Section at Yale University, working on the developmental expression of lymphotoxin in mice. After completing his post-doctoral fellowship, he accepted a faculty position teaching biology and immunology at Wittenberg University.

Peter Knight, PhD | UW-Parkside

Peter Knight, PhD, is a professor of marketing in the School of Business at UW-Parkside.

Dr. Knight has 25 years of corporate and SME experience as a marketing generalist, 20 years of experience in higher education, and wide-ranging teaching and research interests in the field of marketing including: digital marketing, multi-cultural and global marketing, sports and event marketing, technology and healthcare marketing, sales, flexible learning methods, community-based, competency-based and online learning. He is director of the UW-Parkside Sales Center and online business programs.

Dr. Knight earned his BS in Commerce-Marketing from the University of Calgary, his MBA in Marketing from McMaster University, and his PhD in Management with a marketing emphasis from Carleton University.

Jim Lawrence, PhD | UW-Stevens Point

Jim Lawrence, PhD, is a professor of chemistry in the Chemistry Department at UW-Stevens Point.

Dr. Lawrence has worked extensively in academic and industrial positions over the past 35 years. His current research involves using mass spectrometry to identify individual proteins as well as rapid, accurate identification of whole organisms.

Dr. Lawrence earned his BS in Chemistry from Bemidji State University and his PhD from Purdue University. Dr. Lawrence served as a senior research fellow at the Mayo Clinic, and he is an educational fellow of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Mark Levenstein, PhD | UW-Platteville

Dr. Levenstein serves as academic director for the MS in Applied Biotechnology and Graduate Certificate in Applied Bioinformatics at UW-Platteville.

Dr. Mark Levenstein is an associate professor of molecular biology and biotechnology at UW-Platteville.

Dr. Levenstein’s recent honors include being named 2022 UW Regent Scholar, 2022 UW-Platteville College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture Employee of the Year, and 2021 WiSys Innovator of the Year. Prior to joining the UW-Platteville Biology Department, Dr. Levenstein worked at multiple start-up ventures and taught in the biotechnology program at Madison Area Technical College.

Dr. Levenstein earned his BA in Biology from Johns Hopkins University, and his PhD in Biology from the University of California at San Diego. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. James Thomson at UW-Madison, where he discovered the mechanism controlling self-renewal in human embryonic stem cells. Dr. Levenstein was awarded a patent for the current system used to culture stem cells.

Josh Morelock | UW-Green Bay

Josh Morelock is a faculty member at UW-Green Bay.

Morelock earned his BS in Biology from Suffolk University and his MS in Biotechnology from UW-Madison.



Kiel Nikolakakis, PhD | UW-Green Bay

Kiel Nikolakakis, PhD, is an assistant teaching professor in the Chemistry Department at UW-Green Bay.

Dr. Nikolakakis spent several years working with Dr. Edward Ruby at UW-Madison, where his post-doctoral research focused on understanding the interactions between bacteria and eukaryotic tissue during symbiotic colonization. He has taught at UW-Green Bay since 2019, and his research focuses on the impacts of microbial communities on plant growth.

Dr. Nikolakakis earned his BS in Biochemistry and PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

David Rozema, PhD | UW-Madison

David Rozema, PhD, is an adjunct faculty member in the Cellular and Regenerative Biology, School of Medicine and Public Health at UW-Madison.

Dr. Rozema has worked more than 22 years in the Madison, WI biotechnology community specializing in the development of nucleic acids as drugs. At MirusBio, he developed techniques to facilitate intracellular delivery, which helped lead to the discovery of polymer-based delivery vehicles called dynamic polyconjugates (DPCs). DPC technology was acquired by Roche Pharmaceuticals and then Arrowhead, where Dr. Rozema led the discovery and development efforts for clinical programs based upon DPC technology. Since 2018, he has been the head of therapeutic chemistry at Empirico, a venture-backed startup with headquarters in San Diego and a lab in Madison.

Dr. Rozema earned his MBA and PhD in Chemistry from UW-Madison.

Maryam Sayadi, PhD | Michigan State University

Maryam Sayadi, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Michigan State University.

From 2018 to 2021, Dr. Sayadi worked in the Genome Informatics Facility at Iowa State University. Her research interests include bioinformatics fields such as transcriptomics, metagenomics, proteomics, microbiome and their combination with AI and machine learning. She is also interested in developing free online tutorials for bioinformaticians.

Dr. Sayadi earned her PhD in Computational Chemistry from Michigan State University.

Christine Storlie, PhD | UW-Platteville

Christine Storlie, PhD, is an assistant professor in the School of Business at UW-Platteville.

In the early 90s, Dr. Storlie began her career as an ecological research scientist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. While serving as a project manager for two multi-million-dollar federal grants over a 10 year period, her duties became increasingly administrative. After realizing that her interests had shifted from ecology to management, she pursued a PhD in Business Organization and Management from Capella University. Since 2005, she has been teaching on-campus and online management courses for the School of Business at UW-Platteville. In addition, she served as the distance learning program coordinator for the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program from June 2008 to August 2022.

Dr. Storlie is a member of the Academy of Management, the Project Management Institute, the American Society for Quality, and the Decision Sciences Institute. She has also been a member of the Board of Directors for the Platteville Area Optimist Club since 2009 and served as President for five-years (2012-14 & 2016-2019).

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Programs: Applied Bioinformatics, Applied Biotechnology