Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
Founder of Tiny Earth
Dr. Jo Handelsman is the Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Vilas Research Professor, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. She previously served as a science advisor to President Barack Obama as the Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and was on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin and Yale University before that. Tiny Earth as we know it was launched in June of 2018, but it truly began six years earlier when Jo Handelsman founded a course—then called “Microbes to Molecules”—at Yale University with the goal of addressing both the antibiotic crisis and the shortage of science trainees.
Executive Director of Tiny Earth
Sarah Miller was trained in microbiology, plant pathology, and botany and has since dedicated her career to transforming STEM education for a better, more equitable future. Her work focuses on advancing student access to learner-centered education through faculty development, curricular transformation, and institutional power dynamics. Most recently before becoming the Executive Director of Tiny Earth, she oversaw two services in Academic Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison: Faculty Engagement and Strategic Learning Technology Consulting. These two services are designed to scale transformation of UW courses to include active and blended learning. She also led REACH, a Provost-level initiative to redesign UW-Madison’s highest-enrollment courses to be more active and inclusive.
Nichole Broderick, PhD
Science & Training Director, Tiny Earth
Assistant Professor, University of Connecticut
Dr. Broderick taught the introductory biology course Microbes to Molecules, which is the core curriculum for Tiny Earth, at Yale University and continues to teach it at the University of Connecticut. Nichole received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Microbiology and Entomology and conducted her postdoctoral research in the lab of Bruno Lemaitre at the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. Her research focuses on gut microbiota and their impact on host physiology and susceptibility to disease.
Lieutenant Governor, State of Wisconsin
Mandela Barnes, a Milwaukee native, was born in the city’s poorest and the nation’s most incarcerated zip code. The difference for him was opportunity. He was raised in a middle class union household and learned the value of hard work early in life. Having attended both public and private schools, education has always been important to him, and making sure that every child in our state has a fair shot remains a top priority.
Greg Bleck, PhD
Global Head of R&D, Biologics, Catalent Biologics
Dr. Bleck has overall responsibility for development and acquisition of new products and technologies. Greg was an original employee of Gala Biotech (acquired by Catalent), where he used his knowledge of gene expression and transgenic systems to develop and optimize retrovector expression systems and the proprietary GPEx® process. Prior to joining Gala, Greg performed postdoctoral work at the University of Illinois-Urbana working in the areas of gene regulation and expression. He holds a B.S. and a Ph.D. in Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Greg has published over 60 research papers, co-authored three book chapters, and is an inventor or co-inventor on eight issued patents.
Pieter C. Dorrestein
Professor at the University of California, San Diego
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Departments of Pharmacology and Pediatrics
Director, Collaborative Mass Spectrometry Innovation Center
Co-Director, Institute for Metabolomics Medicine
Dr. Pieter Dorrestein studies how microbes use chemistry to interact with the world around them, using mass spectrometry to “eavesdrop on the molecular conversations between microbes and their world.” Read more…