Madison, Wisconsin – A national biotechnology industry expert, academic-industry liaison and innovation leader has been selected as the first dedicated Isthmus Project executive director.
Elizabeth Hagerman, Ph.D., from Indianapolis, will join Dr. Thomas “Rock” Mackie, UW Health’s chief innovation officer, at the reins of UW Health’s innovation initiative.
Mackie acted as director since Isthmus Project formally launched in early 2019 and led the national search resulting in Hagerman’s hiring.
She was most recently the chief innovation and strategy officer at Conexus Indiana, whose mission is to lead innovative collaborations among industry, academic and public partners.
“From her early days in product development and research to her external and academic partnership experience at Rose-Hulman, and most recently being a chief innovation officer herself, Dr. Hagerman is ideally suited to lead the Isthmus Project,” Mackie said. “Looking at the vision of where we want to be, she is the perfect person to take us there.”
Located at University Hospital in Madison, Isthmus Project provides a place for UW Health physicians, pharmacists, residents, nurses, staff, School of Medicine and Public Health faculty or others to seek support for their ideas and projects that aim to achieve better health outcomes or to solve problems facing UW Health patients, providers and the health system. Isthmus Project also seeks to work with outside entities or entrepreneurs with innovations that could benefit the health system.
As director, Hagerman will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of Isthmus Project, which includes duties like meeting with potential innovators and partners, identifying projects with potential for growth and seeking funding for projects, as well as helping to develop and manage a long-term vision for growing Isthmus Project.
“Isthmus Project feels like a natural fit because it combines so many of my experiences from academia and industry in the areas of research, prototyping, product development and commercialization,” she said. “Crossing boundaries between science and business, academia and industry, and research and application is critical to innovation, and there isn’t a more exciting place to build those bridges than the healthcare field.”
Hagerman earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2000, and both master’s and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering from the University of California-Los Angeles.
She started her career with Baxter Healthcare in California, and for a time in Vienna, Austria, in a variety of roles related to product development, and later brand development, product launch and systems integration.
In 2012, Hagerman returned to Rose-Hulman as vice president of Rose-Hulman Ventures, a product design, rapid prototyping and development firm providing experience for student interns as they help external partners develop products and ideas.
Hagerman starts her position at Isthmus Project on Nov. 18.