Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Meet the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s
Ophelia Venturelli
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
College of Agricultural & life Sciences 


Research area Exploring how interactions at different scales of biological complexity combine to generate systems-level behaviors, aiming to understand, predict and design the spatiotemporal behaviors of microbiomes using tools from systems & synthetic biology and computational modeling.

What excites you about your work? 

“We aim to identify control knobs for precisely steering microbiomes to desired states and develop the capabilities to build microbiomes from the bottom up with desired functions. We aim to apply these frameworks for precision and personalized medicine by targeting the microbiome, produce valuable industrial compounds from waste streams and renewable resources and promote sustainable agriculture to meet the needs of our growing population and changing climate.”

What do you hope to achieve? 

“My longer term vision is to engineer microbiomes to address grand challenges facing human society. For example, a future vision for precision medicine could use information about key host biomarkers, human gut microbiome composition and gut microbial metabolites to inform the design of next-generation therapies that will modulate the gut microbiome to our benefit. Building data-driven computational models that link the activities of gut microbiota to host phenotypes will ultimately enable precise manipulation of the microbiome to treat multiple different diseases and enhance human performance.

Ophelia is discovering effective and efficient ways to influence the human gut microbiome, an incredibly complex system that we have so much more to learn about.

– Jennifer Gottwald, WARF, Director of Licensing

Want to learn more?

Jennifer Gottwald, [email protected], 608.960.9854