NSF I-Corps Learning Sessions | December 2022

What is NSF I-Corps?

The NSF Innovation Corps. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the I-Corps™ program helps researchers quickly evaluate the commercial potential of a scientific discovery or technology that could lead to a path for startup success.


Is I-Corps for me?

If you’re a UW–Madison faculty member, staff researcher, postdoctoral researcher, graduate student, or undergraduate student with a STEM-based discovery or technology and you want to explore possible pathways to entrepreneurship, the UW-Madison I-Corps program is for you!

Logo for the national NSF Innovation Corps

Learn more!

Join one of four I-Corps Learning Sessions to discover how the UW–Madison I-Corps program can meet you where you’re at on the innovation spectrum:

  • Explore pathways to launching a start-up.
  • Evaluate the potential of your research discovery or technology.
  • Discover how your innovation can impact society as a usable technology.
  • Strengthen your next research proposal to secure funding.

Attend to Learn More

Logo for the Great Lakes Region NSF I-CORPS HUB

Attend a Learning Session


Attending a learning session can help you decide if the NSF I-Corps program is right for you and your team. Past I-Corps participants will be on hand to answer questions and Bonnie Bachman, Director of the Technology Entrepreneurship Office (TEO), will provide an overview of the local, regional and national I-Corps programs. TEO is home to the NSF I-Corps programs associated with the Great Lakes NSF I-Corps Hub.

  • In-Person: Tuesday, December 6 | 12:00-1:00 PM | Room 2401, Chemistry Building, North Tower (1101 University Ave.)
  • In-Person: Wednesday, December 7 | 12:00-1:00 PM | Room 1240, Computer Sciences Building (1219 W. Dayton St.)
  • Virtual: Tuesday, December 13 | 12:00-1:00 PM | Zoom (Link will be emailed following registration)
  • In-Person: Wednesday, December 14 | 12:00-1:00 PM | Room 1163, Mechanical Engineering Building (1513 University Ave.)

Sandwiches and refreshments will be served following each in-person learning session.


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Giri Venkataramanan - Dec. 6

Giri Venkataramanan


Giri Venkataramanan  is the Keith and Jane Morgan Nosbusch Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Additionally, he is currently the Director of the Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium (WEMPEC). His current research interests include power electronics with educational activism both inside and outside the classroom, developing hands-on student projects aimed at increasing learning effectiveness and addressing energy development issues. His research program covers the major aspects of electrical power conversion systems in different application areas including solar energy, wind energy, battery energy storage, transportation systems, industrial drives and processes, microgrids and utility power distribution. He focuses on pragmatic design and practice-oriented analytical studies coupled with experimental work that is rooted in the Wisconsin Idea with a deep commitment to technology equity.

Andreas Velten - Dec. 6 and 13

Andreas Velten

Lab Website

Andreas Velten is Assistant Professor at the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics and the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and directs the Computational Optics Group. He obtained his PhD with Prof. Jean-Claude Diels in Physics at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and was a postdoctoral associate of the Camera Culture Group at the MIT Media Lab. He has included in the MIT TR35 list of the world’s top innovators under the age of 35 and is a senior member of NAI, OSA, and SPIE as well as a member of Sigma Xi. He is co-Founder of OnLume, a company that develops surgical imaging systems, and Ubicept, a company developing single photon imaging solutions.

Dawei Feng - Dec. 7

Dawei Feng

Lab Website

We design and synthesize inorganic-organic hybrid solid state materials at the molecular level. The research will utilize the versatility of coordination and organic chemistry syntheses to develop novel materials with targeting chemical and physical properties.

We currently focus on the development of metal-organic electronic materials (e.g., metal-organic frameworks (MOFs)) for energy conversion/storage and electronic devices, as well as solid state ion conductors for rechargeable ion batteries.


Shinye Kim - Dec. 7

Shinye Kim

Lab Website

Dr. Kim is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Licensed Psychologist. Her research focuses on the contextual understanding of chronic pain and opioid use: she examines the intersection of social, cultural, linguistic, and psychological factors on the pain experienced by ethnic and linguistic minorities. The goal of her research is to better analyze and form policies to improve not only our understanding, but also improve equity in the delivery of pain health care. She is on the editorial board of Health Psychology, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Psychology of Men and Masculinities, the Journal of Career Assessment and Frontiers in Psychology: Cultural Psychology Section.


Laura Simdon - Dec. 7

Laura Simdon


Laura Simdon is the Culture Development Group Manager at International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) in Madison, Wisconsin. She received her B.S. in genetics and cell biology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and received a Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute for Technology. At IFF, she leads a team of scientists developing new and improved microorganisms for use as bacterial starter cultures in industrial dairy manufacturing and works with global teams to innovate and implement new health & biosciences products to meet demand. She was the principal Investigator for NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, evaluating the commercial viability of a bioprocess involving strain design, metabolic engineering, and microbial fermentation converting agricultural waste streams into sustainable materials.

David Ertl - Dec. 7, 13, and 14

David Ertl

David is a seasoned product management leader with a passion for new product introduction and rapid growth. In his most recent role at UW-Madison, he coupled extensive business experience with university innovations to bring new products to market via startup companies founded by UW faculty and students. David’s primary expertise is software and information technology-based innovations. He has industry experience in product management leadership at IBM, Metavante, and Sage Software. David served as an industry mentor for NSF i-Corps project teams from UCLA and University of Washington.

Buzz Rankouhi - Dec. 7 and 14

Buzz Rankouhi


Behzad “Buzz” Rankouhi is a scientist with the materials science and engineering department at UW-Madison. He earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at UW-Madison in 2021 with a focus on 3D printing of hybrid materials. In 2020, he co-founded Dastan Technologies, an early-stage deep tech startup with a mission to fundamentally change how electric motors are made. Currently he is leading a $0.5 million project to de-risk his technology by 2024. He describes his job as balancing on a unicycle at the intersection of materials science, electric machine design, and entrepreneurship.

Bu Wang - Dec. 7 and 14

Bu Wang


Dr. Bu Wang is an Assistant Professor and Grainger Institute for Engineering Fellow in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He leads the Sustainable Materials Innovation Lab in the CEE department (SMIL-CEE). The lab’s mission is to develop innovative and interdisciplinary technological solutions to address the urgent need for sustainable civil engineering materials. His current projects include the development of carbon negative concrete, the direct air capture and utilization of CO2 using industrial alkaline wastes, the creation of green cement using low-temperature manufacturing of calcium hydroxide, the utilization of CO2 to produce precipitated calcium carbonate, and research into the fundamental behaviors of glassy materials.

Mikko Lipasti - Dec. 13

Mikko Lipasti

PHARM website

Mikko Lipasti is the Philip Dunham Reed Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prof. Lipasti is an established expert in the design of high-performance, low-power, and reliable processor cores; networks-on-chip for many-core processors; and fundamentally new, biologically-inspired models of computation. In 2012, he co-founded Thalchemy Corp, a venture-funded startup company that is developing novel algorithms and accelerators to enable ultra low-power continuous sensory processing in energy-limited, internet-connected platforms. Further, He leads the PHARM research team, which is part of the UW-Madison Computer Architecture Group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Maitreyee Marathe - Dec. 13

Maitreyee Marathe

Maitreyee is a PhD student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. She is advised by Prof. Giri Venkataramanan and Prof. Line Roald. She completed her undergraduate studies in India, where she worked with grassroots organizations for rural electrification. Her graduate work involves designing energy access and management frameworks for low-income households and remote off-grid communities.

Frank Pfefferkorn - Dec. 13 and 14

Frank Pfefferkorn

Lab Website

Dr. Frank Pfefferkorn is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Director of the Manufacturing Systems Engineering Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His core expertise is in temperature measurement, fabrication of thin-film temperature sensors on cutting tools, heat transfer modeling, solid-state joining processes (e.g., friction stir welding, friction surfacing), and experimental observation of manufacturing processes. In 2021, Dr. Pfefferkorn, was elected to Fellow of the International Academy of Production Engineering where he is serving as the Vice-Chair of Scientific Technical Committee “E” (Electro-Physical & Chemical Processes). Additionally, from September 2015 through August 2016, Dr. Pfefferkorn served as the Assistant Director for Research Partnerships in the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office in the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Guelay Bilen-Rosas - Dec. 14

Guelay Bilen Rosas

Lab Website

Gueley Bilen-Rosas, MD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Further, she is the CEO and Founder of AyrFlo, which is developing an intelligent respiration monitoring system to provide healthcare workers with real-time, continuous and quantifiable data for fast and patient-centric decision support – providing precision medicine in monitoring. She is one of the inventors of AyrFlo’s core technology, which was developed in her lab at the University of Wisconsin, where she has been working on cutting-edge research and inventions of novel technologies for airflow quantification. Dr. Bilen-Rosas earned a medical degree from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany and completed a residency at Barnes Jewish Hospital, Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Bilen-Rosas also completed a fellowship at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Xudong Wang - Dec. 14

Xudong Wang

Lab Website

Dr. Xudong Wang is the Professor and Associate Chair of Named Materials Science Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering at Jilin University, his M.E. in Chemical Engineering at Hunan University, and his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2005. Wang’s current research interests include studying the nanometer scale piezoelectric properties; understanding the coupling effect between piezoelectric polarization and semiconductor functionalities; and investigating the growth mechanisms and developing assembly techniques of oxide nanostructures for mechanical and solar energy harvesting.

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