How Technology & Creativity Are Advancing the Industry

Thank you to those that attended the 2019 Wisconsin Biohealth Summit!  We hope you enjoyed the event and we look forward to seeing you next year.  We will post the event date as soon as we can, but know that it will be in early October, so keep your calendar open

BioForward’s annual Biohealth Summit serves as Wisconsin’s platform to highlight our diverse biohealth community, collaborate on new challenges and opportunities, and forge our path to continued leadership and growth. In 2019 we had over 520 attendees, representing 250+ industry-leading organizations, welcomed over 35 speakers specializing in different aspects of the biohealth industry, strengthened our Women in BioHealth and talent initiatives, and had the honor of awarding two amazing and innovative leaders in our community. We’re in the works of planning another exciting event to connect biohealth companies statewide.


Hear from Industry & Research Leaders

Keynote & panel presentations from experts in the biohealth field spoke on technology and creativity in healthcare.

Dedicated Networking

Dedicated coffee & networking breaks, lunch, as well as our exclusive afternoon reception provided opportunity to meet industry peers, executives, investors, and researchers.

Afternoon Career Fair

11 companies were available to talk about career opportunities in Wisconsin’s biohealth industry.

Global Biohealth Trends

Attendees gained insight into where the biohealth industry is going next through the lens of technology and creativity.

Wisconsin's Largest Biohealth Event Explored the Transformation of Biohealth


10:15-10:45 AM Networking & Coffee Break
10:45-11:45 AM Morning Panel Discussions

Technology/Science Track Panel Discussion

10:45-11:45 AM – Overture Hall Theatre

Understanding the Brain: How New Technology Enhances our Understanding of Neurological Diseases and Brain Health

In this dicussion, subject matter experts described new technologies and research initiatives from Wisconsin universities and companies tackling brain diseases, with emphasis on Alzheimer’s Disease. They also explored how this work will bring a better understading of Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases and how that will lead to new therapies and preventative measures.


Sterling Johnson, Associate Director of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, and Principal Investigator of the WRAP Study

Cynthia M. Carlsson, Professor of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Heath-Madison, and Director, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute

Su-Chun Zhang, Founder of BrainXell and Professor, Neuroscience and Neurology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Waisman Center


Daniel Sem, Dean, Business & Legal Studies, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Director of Technology Tranfer at Concordia University Wisconsin and VP for Business Development at Estrigenix Therapeutics

Business Track Panel Discussion

10:45-11:45 AM – Promenade Hall

Showcasing of Young Wisconsin Biohealth Companies Followed by a Moderated Discussion


Tobias Zutz, CEO/Founder at Gregor Diagnostics
William Kohl, COO at JangoBio
Sanjay Mohan, President & CEO, Healthio
Tiffany Mullen, CEO/Cofounder at WellnessScript
Gunner Lyslo, CEO of Surfacide


Andrew DeMarco, Principal, SVA Consulting, LLC

11:45 AM-12:00 PM Break
1:15-1:30 PM Break
1:30-2:05 PM Afternoon Fireside Chats Session 1

Technology/Science Track Fireside Chat

1:30-2:05 PM – Overture Hall Theatre

RNAi and CRISPR: What Can the Platforms Learn from Each Other and What Opportunities Are There?

In the wake of the Human Genome Project, two methods to experimentally change gene expression and interrogate gene function, RNA interference (RNAi) and CRISPR-Cas, have emerged at the forefront of scientific discovery. Experts in the two fields discussed what the two technologies can learn from each other, how they can collaborate and what kinds of opportunities await their respective platforms.


Bruce Given, Chief Operating Officer, Arrowhead Research

Peter Newman, Vice President for Research, Versiti

Business Track Fireside Chat

1:30-2:05 PM – Promenade Hall

Center for Technology Commercialization SBIR Advance & SBIR Awardee Recognition

WEDC created the SBIR Advance program to provide state match funding, training, and other resources to Wisconsin businesses to advance the commericalization of SBIR/STTR-funded technology and expedite economic and job creation impact in Wisconsin. The administrator of this program, Center for Technology Commercialization, discussed its novel approach in delivering matching grant funds with two companies who have benefited from the SBIR Advance program.


Idella Yamben, Business Development Consultant, Center of Technology Commercialization

Jean Brittain, CEO, Calimetrix

Lisa Dotzler, Director of Operations, Semba Biosciences

Professional Development Fireside Chat- Women in Biohealth

1:30-2:05 PM – Wisconsin Room

Women in Biohealth Presents: Allies in the Workplace

Building allies in the workplace can be critical to career advancement. An ally can act as your workplace advocate and contribute to your overall career satisfaction. By engaging men as allies for women’s career development, we are creating better leaders, stronger businesses and more fulfilling careers. The chat focused on the benefits of allies for underrepresented groups, and also explored how to select and engage allies.


Virginia Amann– CEO & Founder of Entente, Inc.
Binnu Palta Hill– Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion of UW-Madison School of Business
Ana Hooker– Senior Vice President, Operations of Exact Sciences

2:05-2:30 PM Networking
2:30-3:05 PM Afternoon Fireside Chats Session 2

Technology/Science Track Fireside Chat

2:30-3:05 PM – Overture Hall Theatre

How Will Science Change the Way We Eat & the Benefits We Get From Our Food

The way we approach food and nutrition is getting more personal. As science gains a better understanding of how our genome and microbiome affect the way we process nutrients, innovative companies are developing products and services tailored to the individual. Two experts in the field discussed how their biohealth companies are forging new paths into the rapidly changing nutrition industry.


Sherry Zhang, Genopalate Founder & CEO

Wesley Morovic, Scientist at Dupont

Chat Leader: 

Mike Harrison, Business Development Manager at BioForward

Business Track Fireside Chat

2:30-3:05 PM – Promenade Hall

Healthcare Policy and Legislative Analysis: Perspectives on Healthcare and Drug Discovery and Pricing

Healthcare is a major focus of debate from political standpoints to R&D through treatments and cures. What is the future of our healthcare market, healthcare services and how is drug discovery evolving?  A major pharmaceutical company and one of Wisconsin’s local healthcare service providers provided their perspectives and insight.


Robert Popovian– Vice President of US Goverment Relations at Pfizer
Michelle Mettner– Corporate Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Chat Leader:

Jenny Malcore– Public Affairs Director with Foley & Lardner LLP

Professional Development Fireside Chat

2:30-3:05 PM – Wisconsin Room

How Millenials and Generation Z Will Change the Workplace

In this fireside chat with keynote speaker, Ryan Jenkins, he focused on the future of the workplace geared towards students and those who will be hiring young professionals.


Ryan Jenkins, internationally-known keynote speaker and author

Chat Leader:

Mary Jo Spiekerman, Vice President of Human Resources at Hausmann-Johnson

3:05-3:15 PM Break


2019 Summit Photo Highlights

Questions on the 2019 Summit or Sponsorship for 2020? Contact Rissa Guffey at [email protected].

Contact BioForward: