Management Team

Elizabeth L.R. Donley, JD, MBA, MS


Ms. Donley brings a unique combination of business and legal experience to Stemina. She has more than twenty years of experience in intellectual property, law, and business management. Ms. Donley served as General Counsel and Director of Business Development for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) for more than eight years.

During those eight years, Ms. Donley negotiated hundreds of licenses and sponsored research and collaboration agreements between industry and WARF, the intellectual property management organization for the University of Wisconsin. Ms. Donley also served as Managing Director of both WARF subsidiaries: WiSys Technology Foundation (WiSys) and WiCell Research Institute (WiCell).

WiCell distributes human embryonic stem (hES) cells, trains researchers worldwide and conducts important research involving many aspects of hES cell research. In 2005, WiCell was awarded a $16 million contract by the National Institute of Health to serve as the National Stem Cell Bank.

Prior to joining WARF in 1998, Ms. Donley practiced law with the law firm of Quarles & Brady in the areas of intellectual property law, business transactions, securities, and corporate law.

Elizabeth L.R. Donley, JD, MBA, MS		 Chief Executive Officer, Member of the Board of Directors

Elizabeth L. R. Donley, JD, MBA, MS

Chief Executive Officer, Member of the Board of Directors




Robert E. Burrier, Ph.D.


Robert E. Burrier, Ph.D.

Chief Operations Officer, Vice President of Research and Development, Member of the Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Burrier is a career technology executive with experience in pharmaceutical research, ‘biosupplier’ product development, and biotech services. While working in pharma, he participated and led programs resulting in drugs currently on the market including Zetia, Vytorin, and others.

He is very experienced in assays and paradigms used for drug discovery having participated in over 150 drug discovery programs while working for Schering-Plough, Eli Lilly, GelTex, and Genzyme. In the Biosupplier arena, Dr. Burrier led teams to innovate on an ongoing basis in the areas of cell biology, cell media development, assay development, and workflow improvements with companies including Invitrogen, and EMD Millipore (Merck). The markets around which these programs were based include academic and industrial cell biology research, stem cells, and regenerative medicine, as well as biotherapeutic protein production.

Dr. Burrier joined Stemina to bring his expertise of cell biology, assay development, scientific operations, program management, and organizational effectiveness to facilitate success and to continue to fulfill his interest of continually improving human health.

Learn more about Dr. Burrier’s research at PubMed.


Fred R. Kirchner, Ph.D.

Dr. Kirchner has over 33 years of work in the field of Toxicology in the pharmaceutical industry, consumer product development, and environmental assessment for the Department of Energy. He obtained his PhD in Radiation Biology from the University of Iowa in 1979, and received postdoctoral training at Argonne National Laboratory assessing the toxicology of fossil fuel by-products. In 1984 he joined the Colgate Palmolive Co, conducting GLP consumer product safety testing. In 1988 he joined Ciba-Geigy, as a study director and eventually manager of Toxicologists, conduction GLP safety assessments of new drug candidates. In 1992 he served as Associate Director of Toxicology with SmithKline-Beecham, overseeing the Study Directors and the technical group. Dr. Kirchner conducted environmental toxicology assessments for DOE’s Argonne National Lab in 1995. He then joined American Home Products (Wyeth) in 1998, where he served as Director of Toxicology until 2007. His most recent position was as Executive Director of Toxicology at Covance Laboratories, where he supervised the Toxicology, Pathology, and Safety Pharmacology departments. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Toxicology from 2006 to 2010. Dr. Kirchner joined Stemina to bring his expertise of drug development and management of programs to continue to help bring the miracles of modern medicine to the public.

Fred R. Kirchner, Ph.D.

Director of Toxicology



Jessica Palmer, MS

Jessica Palmer, MS

Associate Director of Toxicology

Ms. Palmer joined Stemina in 2011 and is the Associate Director of Toxicology. Her research interests are focused on the development and commercialization of in vitro models for predictive toxicology that utilize human pluripotent stem (hPS) cells and their derivatives combined with metabolomics-based biomarker identification.

Ms. Palmer has over 10 years of experience in stem cell biology and application of pluripotent stem cells for toxicity testing. Prior to joining Stemina, she was a researcher and laboratory manager in Dr. Gabriela Cezar’s laboratory at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, which focused on using stem cells and their derivatives to study toxicology.

Ms. Palmer received her MS degree in Endocrinology and Reproductive Toxicology from UW – Madison. While working on her MS degree, she was an integral part of Dr. Cezar’s pioneering research in developing the application of metabolomic analysis of hES cells for studying developmental toxicity and identifying metabolic pathways targeted in birth defects that arise early in human development.



Alan Smith, Ph.D.


Dr. Alan Smith is the Associate Director of Bioinformatics at Stemina Biomarker Discovery. His current research involves the development of computational procedures and experimental designs for identification of predictive metabolic signatures for applications in predictive toxicology and clinical diagnostics. Dr. Smith developed Stemina Biomarker Discovery’s non-targeted discovery metabolomics pipeline that incorporates a unique array of proprietary data processing algorithms.

Dr. Smith has utilized the metabolomics platform to create predictive metabolic models of developmental toxicity utilizing human pluripotent stem cells, cardiotoxicity in induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes, and identified biomarkers related to metabolic subtypes of autism spectrum disorder.

Dr. Smith completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Biology at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics.

Alan Smith, Ph.D.

Associate Director of Computational Biology




Daniel Braas, Ph.D.

Daniel Braas, Ph.D.

Associate Director of BioAnalytical Technology

Dr. Daniel Braas’ area of expertise is analytical chemistry and bioinformatics, with a focus on experimental design and analysis of mass spectrometry-based assays. He received degree in chemistry and molecular biology from the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany and did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), studying chromatin modification in primary macrophages. A second postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA attracted him to quantitative metabolomics analysis.

As Scientific Director and in collaboration with Dr. Thomas Graeber (Director), Dr. Braas established the UCLA Metabolomics Center, where he developed the experimental as well as bioinformatics pipelines to perform targeted and untargeted mass spectrometry-based metabolomics assays, including experiments using stable isotope tracing. In 2017, he became an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA. Dr. Braas joined Stemina Biomarker Discovery in 2018 to bring his expertise in mass spectrometry-based metabolomics to help identify the metabolic signatures of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).