WARF Ambassador Program

Connecting UW–Madison researchers to technology transfer

WARF’s graduate student and postdoc Ambassadors share information about WARF’s role in technology development and entrepreneurial resources with campus departments. Their on-the-ground experience helps inform new initiatives and enhance communication between WARF and the campus community. 

Encouraging collaboration across campus

The Ambassadors plan and host the annual Discovery Challenge spring research symposium. This event encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration and helps develop partnership teams that can then compete for a research award competition in the fall. 

Interested in becoming a WARF Ambassador?

Ambassadors are creative and energetic graduate students and postdocs from scientific or technical disciplines who are interested in the technology transfer process. They spend up to 10 hours per month enhancing WARF's engagement with campus researchers through departmental seminars, informal contacts and more. 

  sign up   We'll notify you when the application period opens.

Contact us at ambassador@warf.org with questions.

Current Ambassadors

Shane Bernard

Department: Bacteriology
Major Professor: Jean-Michel Ane
Email: smbernard@wisc.edu
Background: Researches the molecular tools used by plants and microbes to communicate; learned about WARF as part of the Integrated Program in Biochemistry.

Wendy Boehm

Department: Biomedical Engineering
Major Professor: Kreg Gruben
Email: wlboehm2@wisc.edu
Background: Studies the mechanical and neurological aspects of human walking; part of a team funded by the D2P program.

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Francesco Carotti

Department: Engineering Physics
Major Professor: Raluca Scarlat
Email: carotti@wisc.edu
Background: Studies the chemistry of high temperature molten salts used for clean energy applications; attended the Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Bootcamp and participated in the WARF Discovery Challenge.

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Lukas Duddleston

Department: Mechanical Engineering
Major Professor: Tim Osswald
Email: lduddleston@wisc.edu
Background: Studies various polymer (plastics) engineering problems ranging from plastic pipe extrusion to 3-D printing with an emphasis on supporting industrial partners.

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Amy Jancewicz

Department: Cellular & Molecular Biology
Major Professor: Patrick Masson
Email: jancewicz@wisc.edu
Background: Researches plant genetic response pathways to the polyamines cadaverine and putrescine using genetic and biochemical approaches.

Margaux Kenwood

Department: Psychiatry
Major Professor: Ned Kalin
Email: kenwood@wisc.edu
Background: Studies how gene expression changes in the brain predict anxious behaviors with the goal of identifying novel therapeutic targets for treating anxiety-related disorders.

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Niyanta Kumar

Department: Pharmaceutical Sciences
Major Professor: Robert Thorne
Email: niyanta.kumar@wisc.edu
Background: Researches intranasal delivery to target antibody-based therapeutics to the brain while bypassing the blood-brain barrier; previous winner of the WARF Discovery Challenge (2014).

Justin Mobley

Department: Biochemistry/Wisconsin Energy Institute/Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
Major Professor: John Ralph
Email: jmobley2@wisc.edu
Background: Studies the chemical breakdown of native and designer lignins and biomass to develop upgrading techniques for renewable chemicals and pharmaceuticals; submitted two invention disclosures to WARF.

Jake Olson

Department: Animal Sciences
Major Professor: Mark Cook
Email: jmolson22@wisc.edu
Background: Studies dietary fatty acids for reducing chronic inflammation; participated in the WARF Discovery Challenge.

Will Olson

Department: Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Major Professor: Laura Knoll
Email: wolson3@wisc.edu
Background: Researches the host-parasite metabolic interactions that define Toxoplasma gondii infection; heard about WARF at a professional development panel.

Nicholas Riley

Department: Chemistry
Major Professor: Joshua Coon
Email: nicholas.riley@wisc.edu
Background: Develops new instrumentation and methodology for proteomic analyses; served on the Graduate Student Faculty Liaison Committee (GSFLC) in the department of chemistry.

Heather Schmitt

Department: Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Major Professor: Robert Nickells
Email: hmschmitt@wisc.edu
Background: Studies the role of histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3) in nuclear atrophy and apoptosis in retinal ganglion cell death; previously submitted a disclosure to WARF.

Katharine Shulz

Department: Biomolecular Chemistry
Major Professor: Melissa Harrison
Email: knschulz@wisc.edu
Background: Studies the chromatin regulation that accompanies genome activation in the Drosophila embryo.

Akire Trestrail

Department: Medical Physics
Major Professor: Bruce Thomadsen
Email: trestrail@wisc.edu
Background: Researches directional brachytherapy; attended the Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Bootcamp.

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Sandy Tseng

Department: Biochemistry
Major Professor: Aseem Ansari
Email: sctseng@wisc.edu
Background: Studies how gene expression is regulated via modifications of RNA Polymerase II; participated in the WARF Discovery Challenge.