Master of Science in Biotechnology Program, UW-Madison

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Tom Burke, Ph.D.

Tom Burke is currently the Director of Genome Engineering at Cellular Dynamics International Inc. (CDI, Madison, WI). CDI is a world's largest producer of fully functional human cells derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, including iCell® cardiomyocytes. Duties include the design and implementation of numerous assays for pluripotent and differentiated cells. The assays are used by customers in basic research, drug discovery programs, and toxicology and efficacy screening.

Dr. Burke has worked as a biotechnology consultant, providing technology assessment, business development and new product development services to companies. From 2006 to 2009, Dr. Burke was CEO and Chief Technical Officer of Primorigen Biosciences, a biotechnology company focused on developing protein detection microarrays to support cell therapy research. Dr. Burke was the Principal Investigator for NIH funding for studying protein markers in human stem cells, pancreatic beta cells, and hepatocytes.

From 1992 to 2003, he worked in biotechnology management and executive administration at PanVera, LLC in Madison, WI. As a co-founder of the company in 1992, he was responsible for PanVera's scientific operations, especially the new product pipeline. His diverse duties also included working very closely with PanVera's Sales, Marketing, and Business Development staff to secure contractual agreements with PanVera's large pharmaceutical customers. PanVera, LLC was sold to Aurora Bioscience (San Diego, CA) for $87M in 2001, which was then sold to Vertex Pharmaceuticals in 2002. The Madison site in the University Research Park was then sold to Invitrogen, which was subsequently sold to Applied Biosystems.

PanVera's main products were human recombinant proteins that are therapeutic drug targets for screening chemical libraries. The proteins were often configured into fluorescent high-throughput screening assays using fluorescence polarization (FP) or fluorescent resonance energy transfer (FRET). The assays were mainly configured with nuclear receptors, kinases, or proteases. PanVera was also a supplier of drug metabolism enzymes which are used by the pharmaceutical industry to profile chemical compounds based on their metabolism in the liver. PanVera also supplied contract cloning and protein purification services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry and has worked with hundreds of proteins covering all the major therapeutic target areas.

From 1988 to 1992, Dr. Burke worked at Promega Corporation in Manufacturing and Process Development and was the Director of Manufacturing. Dr. Burke is a founding board member of Kegonsa Seed Fund, a venture capital fund supporting funding to technology based start up companies in the Madison area, and he also is on a Technical Advisor Board for Madison Development Corporation, which supplies loans to small companies in Dane County.

Tom Burke
Tom Burke, Ph.D.
Director of Genome Engineering
Cellular Dynamics International Inc.