Our Board of Directors

David Nelson, Board President

David Nelson is Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin and President of the Board of the Wisconsin Science Museum. He earned his undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry at St. Olaf College, and his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the Stanford Medical School. After post-doctoral work at the Harvard Medical School, he joined the UW-Madison Department of Biochemistry in 1971. His research concerned the mechanism by which living organisms detect signals (touch, taste, etc.) from the outside world and respond. He was for eight years Director of the UW Center for Biology Education, and he served for seven years as faculty representative on the board of Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association (WALSAA). For about ten years, Nelson led a West High School group (SMART; Students Modeling a Research Topic) that met after school and presented their work at national science meetings.

For thirty years he has co-authored a textbook of biochemistry published in twelve languages. Nelson retired in 2014 and immediately began to pursue his second love, the history of science. With a group of retired CALS faculty he organized an undergraduate course about historical research contributions from CALS, and he was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Science Museum in Madison.

Sharyn Gardill

Sharyn is one of the founding members of the Wisconsin Science Museum. Sharyn received her BS in Biochemistry from the Pennsylvania State University and her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked in the pharmaceutical industry serving as CEO for Midwest Monitoring Inc, a research and development consulting firm for 20+ years. Currently she works for PRA in clinical research and drug development. Sharyn lives with her husband and 3 children in Waunakee,WI where she spends a fair amount of time attending soccer practice and dance rehearsals. Sharyn is passionate about promoting scientific literacy. She has mentored many young people through teaching, coaching and general scientific cheerleading. She is proud to live in the great state of Wisconsin, where the “Wisconsin Idea” is embraced by all!

Thomas "Rock" Mackie

Thomas “Rock” Mackie is Professor Emeritus of medical physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his undergraduate degree in Physics from the University of Saskatchewan in 1980 and earned his doctorate in Physics at the University of Alberta in 1984. Dr. Mackie's career has been focused on planning and delivery of radiation therapy to cancer patients. His group developed the 3-D treatment planning system that became the Philips Pinnacle treatment planning system, the most widely used radiation therapy treatment planning system in the world. His group was also the developer of tomotherapy, which is the marriage of a linac and a CT scanner. More recently, Rock has been active in development of a compact proton therapy machine for treating cancer.

Brian Moeller

Brian Moeller is Operations Manager at BioForward. He received his undergraduate degree in Business Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Previously, Brian worked with Wisconsin Department of Commerce’s Global Ventures group to provide in depth research for state trade missions and in UW-Madison’s Office of Risk Management.  Currently, he plays a crucial role in BioForward’s mission to provide resources to grow Wisconsin companies developing integrated health solutions that are defining the future of healthcare. Brian is passionate about his support of the sciences in Wisconsin and currently lives in Fitchburg, WI with his wife and daughter.

Dan Norton

Dan Norton is a founding partner and CCO at Filament Games. He specializes in crafting educational game design documents and storyboards that originate from learning objectives. Dan sees Filament as an opportunity to merge his life long love of games with his incessant quest to learn about new and interesting things. Aside from games and game design, he enjoys bicycling, motorcycling, and drones.

Arjun Sanga

Arjun Sanga, president of WiSys, is an expert in technology transfer, intellectual property management and commercialization. Sanga has more than 20 years of experience leading research collaborations, managing intellectual property, closing licensing deals and fostering startup companies. He spearheaded major deals and sought to balance the needs of different stakeholders, including faculty, state government, industry and investors. A registered patent attorney, Sanga has been involved in every aspect of research administration and technology transfer, from operations to management. He has a background in chemistry and computer science.

Ahna Skop

Ahna is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Genetics and an affiliate faculty member in Life Sciences Communication and the UW-Madison Arts Institute at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She mentors both scientists and art students in her lab, and also serves on the board of the Wisconsin Science Museum, where many of her art-science collaborations are on display. In 2008, she was awarded an honorary doctorate of science from the College of St. Benedicts and was named a Remarkable Women in Science from the AAAS. In 2015, she was honored as a Kavli Fellow from the National Academy of Sciences. Her science and art have been featured by Apple, The Scientist, USA Today, Smithsonian, PBS.org, NPR and Science magazine. One of her great hobbies is cooking/baking (including scientific cakes!) and she manages a foodblog, foodskop.com, in her free time.

Tom Still

Tom Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council and a senior lecturer in the Department of Life Sciences Communication in the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. The Wisconsin Tech Council is the non-profit, bipartisan science and technology policy advisory board to the governor and the Legislature. Its programs include the Tech Council Investor Networks, the Tech Council Innovation Network, the Governor’s Business Plan Contest and regular events that connect entrepreneurs, investors, researchers and others with a stake in the tech-based economy.


Kate VandenBosch

Kathryn VandenBosch is currently the dean of the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Prior to that, VandenBosch was a professor of plant biology at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. Her research focused on the genetics of plant-microbe interactions and nitrogen fixation in legumes, a family that includes several agriculturally important species. In 2009 VandenBosch was named a fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists. Prior to her tenure at the University of Minnesota, VandenBosch was a faculty member at Texas A&M University for 12 years. She holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in botany from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and spent time at both UW-Madison and the John Innes Institute in Great Britain as a postdoctoral associate.

Alex Vodenlich

Alex is a business executive with over 20 years of experience in venture formation, commercialization, sales and marketing, business management, corporate organization, and governance. Currently, he leads Lucigen's marketing, commercial sales, and business development functions. He has provided leadership to many organizations including Cellera, LLC, KromaTiD, Inc, Gentel Biosciences (Intuitive Biosciences) and PanVera Corporation (Thermo Fisher Scientific) by developing compelling business plans, commercializing products and services, raising private equity funding, securing small business innovation research (SBIR) grants, and recruiting top talent. He is also a co-founder and president of the Wisconsin Biotech Happy Hour, LLC, a networking group for life science professionals.

Tom Zinnen

Tom Zinnen is a Biotechnology Specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Extension and with the Biotechnology Center of UW-Madison.  He studied biology at UW-Platteville, received an MS in Plant Pathology at the University of Illinois, and got his PhD in Plant Pathology at UW-Madison.  In 2003, he helped to launch the annual UW-Madison Science Expeditions campus open house, co-founded the UW Science Alliance, and aided in starting the science.wisc.edu science outreach portal.  In 2006 he co-founded the Wednesday Nite @ The Lab public science series. He has also served as a speechwriter for the director of the National Science Foundation. The leading themes of his work include welcoming the public to visit & connect with the university,  a focus on epistemology and the ways science is different from other ways of knowing, and an emphasis on helping people develop their own science savvy.