Connie Lebakken, Ph.D.

Founder & President

Connie Lebakken is a cross-disciplinary trained scientist with extensive experience in product development and manufacturing. She received a B.S. in Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota, Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin, and postdoctoral training in Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Iowa. Her research interests have been focused on cellular signaling complexes and pathways. She has held roles in Manufacturing and Operations at PanVera and Invitrogen and most recently in Research and Development at Life Technologies. Dr. Lebakken has deep experience in Stem Pharm’s fields: the development of high-throughput biochemical and cell-based drug discovery assays, and tools and protocols to improve stem cell workflows.


William L. Murphy, Ph.D.

Founder & Chief Science Officer

Bill Murphy is the Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation, and Co-Director of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center at the University of Wisconsin. He received his B.A. in Physics from Illinois Wesleyan University, Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and postdoctoral training in Chemistry at the University of Chicago. His research interests focus on creating new biomaterials inspired by the materials found in nature. Dr. Murphy’s research group is using new biomaterials to understand stem cell behavior and to induce tissue regeneration. He has published more than 120 scientific manuscripts, filed over 30 patents, co-founded start-up companies, and received awards that include the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Wisconsin Vilas Associate Award, and induction as a Fellow in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.


Steven R. Visuri, Ph.D.

V.P. Business Development

Steven Visuri has over 25 years experience in development and commercialization of medical devices and therapeutics. He is active in mentoring and supporting the start-up community in Wisconsin and is Chair of the Healthcare Committee for the Golden Angels Investors. Prior to Stem Pharm, Dr. Visuri was co-founder of FloraSeq LLC, which successfully developed microbiome treatments for gastrointestinal diseases. Previously he held senior roles (CSO/ VP of Business Development/Sr. Dir of R&D) at a series of clinical diagnostic companies (Prodesse, Gen-Probe, Hologic) where he led the development and commercialization of several FDA cleared diagnostic assays for infectious diseases. In addition to leading technical teams he also had responsibility for Clinical and Regulatory Affairs and oversaw marketing efforts. Steve started his career in applied research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, responsible for developing technologies in clinical medicine and national security. Steve obtained his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Marquette University and his M.S./Ph.D. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University.