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Management Team

Ralph Kauten, M.B.A.
Ralph KautenMr. Kauten, Lucigen's CEO, has served as co-founder and leader in a number of biotechnology companies, including Promega Corporation, PanVera Corporation, Mirus Corporation, and Quintessence Biosciences, Inc. Designated as an Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young, Mr. Kauten serves on boards of directors and advisory boards for companies in the biotechnology, healthcare, banking, and manufacturing industries. Mr. Kauten holds a B.B.A. from the University of Iowa and an M.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Holly Backhaus

Holly BackhausMs. Backhaus, Chief Financial Officer, joined Lucigen in February 2016 with management responsibilities over the finance and administrative areas of the business, including human relations, legal, tax and treasury functions. Prior to joining Lucigen, Ms. Backhaus was CFO of a manufacturer of highly engineered steel fabrications in Janesville, WI. She has fifteen years' experience in large, growth-oriented, manufacturing companies, including five years at the senior executive level. Ms. Backhaus has particular expertise in implementing strong financial management, manufacturing control and quality assurance systems, achieving operational efficiencies, and leading highly effective teams—in addition to respected work with boards of directors and investor communities. Ms. Backhaus holds a B.B.A. in finance from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Ray Bandziulis, Ph.D.
Ray BandziulisDr. Bandziulis, Vice President of Quality Assurance & Regulatory Affairs, joined Lucigen Corporation in December 2012. Before joining Lucigen, he served as director of quality systems at Exact Sciences, where he created and implemented the company's first policies and procedures for product development, management reviews, product risk management, document control, training, clinical protocol approval, corrective and preventive action, and validation. Before his tenure with Exact Sciences, Dr. Bandziulis worked for Promega Corporation. While there, he held positions of increasing responsibility and complexity over twenty years in quality and regulatory affairs, building the quality assurance, safety, regulatory affairs and export control functions. Dr. Bandziulis received his B.A. with honors in biological sciences from Northwestern University and his Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from Yale University.

Julie Kramer, M.S.
Julie KramerMs. Kramer, Director of Marketing, joined Lucigen in August of 2016. Prior to joining Lucigen, Ms. Kramer was product management director at Clontech Laboratories, where she managed Clontech's largest product line and led the company's initiative to expand its market position in diagnostic and translational research. Before her position at Clontech, Ms. Kramer was director of marketing at Takara Bio USA, where she managed an expanding marketing group; developed marketing, brand, and channel strategies; and was integral in the development of multiple key customer bulk and OEM supply partnerships. Julie has over twenty years of experience marketing in the life science and diagnostic supply markets, and prior to Takara Bio USA held positions of increasing responsibility at Epicentre Technologies, PanVera Corporation, Aurora Biosciences, and Mirus Corporation. Ms. Kramer received her M.S. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her B.A. from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.

Dipankar Manna, Ph.D.
Dipankar MannaDr. Manna, Director of Research & Development, joined Lucigen Corporation in 2013. At Lucigen, Dr. Manna has served as a senior scientist, then principal scientist, before becoming the director of research and development in 2017. Prior to joining Lucigen, he held many senior-level positions in both academic and commercial organizations. At the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he was an assistant professor, with a research focus in genomics, in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. He joined MicroPhage, a diagnostic company, in 2008. At MicroPhage, Dr. Manna led product development and later managed multi-site clinical trials for diagnostic tests. Subsequent to his tenure at MicroPhage, he became the manager of research at Sharklet, a biotechnology company, where he led assay development and oversaw medical device development. In addition to his duties as director of R&D at Lucigen, Dr. Manna is the principal investigator on multiple NIH-funded studies. Dr. Manna has published numerous high-impact research articles and has received several awards for his work, including the Young Scientist Award from the Indian National Science Academy in 1995. He has a B.S. in physics, an M.S. in biotechnology, and received his Ph.D. in life sciences in 1995.

Glaselyn Miller, M.B.A.
Glas MillerMs. Miller, Director of Global Business Development & Partnerships, joined Lucigen Corporation in January 2014 and currently leads the Company's global business development efforts towards expanding Lucigen’s OEM & custom businesses, liaising with strategic partners, and supporting Lucigen’s global distribution network. Prior to Lucigen, she served as the Americas business manager for Gilson, Inc., where she was responsible for growing sales of manual and automated liquid handling instruments, including HPLC and SPE systems, in the Americas region. A Venezuelan native, Ms. Miller started her career at Promega Corporation as a foreign exchange student in the marketing department. She went on to serve at Promega for over fifteen years and held various positions of increasing responsibility in the international sales department. During this period, she was responsible for sales to Latin America, including management of the field applications specialists in this region, as well as support of the sales operations of Promega's distribution networks in Asia and Europe—taking an active role in the establishment of the company's branch offices in Spain and Brazil. Ms. Miller received her B.A. in business management from Universidad Metropolitana in Venezuela and has an M.B.A. in international business from Edgewood College.

Jay Schiestle, M.B.A.
Jay SchiestleMr. Schiestle, Vice President of Operations, joined Lucigen in April 2015. Prior to joining Lucigen, he was vice president of operations for Exact Sciences. At Exact, he led the team responsible for establishing all supply chain, manufacturing and distribution for a novel colorectal cancer screening test, managing operations from clinical trial through FDA approval and a successful product launch. Prior to Exact, Mr. Schiestle held positions of increasing responsibility in operations, product development and manufacturing with Roche Diagnostics, Corning, and the U.S. Navy. Mr. Schiestle holds a B.S. degree in biomedical engineering from Marquette University and an M.B.A. from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

Alex Vodenlich, M.S.
Alex Vodenlich.jpgMr. Alex Vodenlich, Vice President of Marketing & Sales, joined Lucigen Corporation in 2017 to lead the company's overall marketing, commercial sales, and business development functions. Prior to joining Lucigen, he held executive positions at several life science companies, where he led commercialization, sales, marketing, and business development efforts. Mr. Vodenlich previously served as CEO and vice president of business development at Cellara, LLC; CEO of KromaTiD, Inc.; president and CEO of Gentel Biosciences, Inc. (now Intuitive Biosciences, Madison, WI); and vice president of sales and marketing for PanVera Corporation (now Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, MA). Mr. Vodenlich has served on the boards of directors for multiple life science organizations and is currently on the boards of the Wisconsin Science Museum and Cellara, LLC. He is also a co-founder and president of the Wisconsin Biotech Happy Hour, LLC, a networking group for life science professionals. Mr. Vodenlich holds a B.S. in medical microbiology and an M.S. in bacteriology, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he occasionally lectures at the Master of Science in Biotechnology program.

Jeffrey Williams, Ph.D.
Jeff WilliamsDr. Williams, President, joined Lucigen Corporation in 2009. Prior to joining Lucigen, he held senior-level positions at several life science and diagnostic companies. At Ambion, and later Asuragen, he was general manager, diagnostics, and vice president of operations and product development, where he was responsible for the diagnostic business and the successful commercialization of several diagnostic products. Before joining Ambion, Dr. Williams spent over ten years at Roche Diagnostics, during which time he held several senior-level positions. From 1998 to 2002, he was vice president and general manager at Roche Applied Science, during the launch of the LightCycler and many new PCR-based products for the life science and diagnostic markets, before that he was director of operations at Roche Molecular Systems and was responsible for the production of all diagnostic and research PCR products. Prior to Roche, Dr. Williams spent six years as director of operations at Promega Corporation. Dr. Williams received both his B.S. in biochemistry and Ph.D. in pharmaceutical biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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