Our Team

Barbara Nelsen

“Barbara offers a wonderful combination of strategic perspective and a strong work ethic.”

Jessica Zeaske
Lemhi Ventures

Barbara Nelsen, PhD MBA

Barbara is the founder of Nelsen Biomedical, a consulting firm serving the life sciences industry. She brings over 20 years experience working on research, R&D management business and strategic development challenges within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
Barbara has deep experience working with early stage technologies, start-up companies, and company founders who are researchers. She has strong ties throughout the Midwest and nationally to technology transfer offices, extensive experience in licensing of academic-based technology, and success in developing strategic partnerships for early-stage technologies and companies.

Previously in her career, Barbara was a partner in Northern Lights Seed Fund, a new venture initiative focused on seeding life science companies in Minnesota. Prior to this she was the Associate Director of Business Development for MGI Pharma, Inc. In this role, she was responsible for licensing activity and strategic partnerships. Prior to this, she was the Director of the Cancer Therapeutics Group at the Austin Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, leading a team focused on developing novel diagnostics and therapeutics for cancer.

Barbara holds both a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.B.A. She serves on the board of SpineThera, a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on drug delivery. She is an active angel investor individually, and as part of the Sofia Angel Fund. She also is an advisor to life science start-ups at iPROPEL, part of the Illinois Biotechnology Institute, the Minnesota Angel Network, and the Venture Center at the University of Minnesota.

John MacDonald

John R. MacDonald, Ph.D., DABT

John has had over 25 years of experience in all aspects of pharmaceutical drug development and licensing.  He led the preclinical and clinical R&D efforts at MGI Pharma, a Twin Cities based oncology-focused company, from 1996 until retiring as Senior VP R&D at the end of 2005.  At MGI John oversaw the FDA approval of several new drug candidates for the treatment of cancer, supportive care of cancer patients and patients with autoimmune disease.  He served as a member of the MGI corporate management team that built the company through product and company acquisitions that culminated in the acquisition of MGI by Eisai, Inc.  

John is a board certified toxicologist and prior to joining MGI worked in pathology and experimental toxicology in the Parke-Davis Research Division of Warner-Lambert participating in the early development of numerous well known therapeutics.  He is currently active in drug development as the CEO of PepTx, Inc., a startup company founded on novel antiangiogenic drug candidates discovered at the University of Minnesota and as a consultant to pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions as the founder of Ridge Road Consulting.  John earned a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Arizona, a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Michigan, and held postdoc and research faculty positions in the Department of Pathology, University of California San Francisco, School of Medicine.    

Amy Moore

Amy H. Moore, PhD, MBA

Amy utilizes her 15 years of experience as a biomedical scientist and clinical educator to bring perspective to a broad range of projects and clients within life sciences. With a passion for the life sciences industry and experience in education and communications, Amy leads our EmergED© initiative. The training of academic scientists for academic jobs has ignored the laws of supply and demand. The number of out of work, or underemployed scientists is at an all time high in the US. Nelsen Biomedical has developed simple training and tools for scientists interested in transitioning from academia. Implemented as workshops initially, we continue to work to make these programs widely available for those scientists needing to develop a blueprint for advancing their careers.

In addition to leading our EmergED© programs, Amy is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology at Carleton College. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA and her MBA with specializations in Medical Industry and New Business Development from Carlson School of Management at University of Minnesota.

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Our Affiliations

As part of our commitment to support innovative growth in the life sciences, we provide advisory services and domain expertise pro bono to the following incubators, government agencies and start-up organizations:

The Minnesota Angel Network

The Minnesota Angel Network

The Minnesota Angel Network was founded to accelerating the growth of emerging companies in Minnesota by educating entrepreneurs, connecting capital with investments, and catalyzing entrepreneurial success statewide. http://mnan.org

The Capital Network

The Capital Network

The Capital Network is a non-profit organization that provides extensive financial education alongside an engaged community to help early-stage entrepreneurs in Boston. http://www.thecapitalnetwork.org

The Illinois BIO (iBIO) Institute’s PROPEL Center

The Illinois BIO (iBIO) Institute’s PROPEL Center

The Illinois BIO (iBIO) Institute’s PROPEL Center's mission is to increase the number and success rates of life sciences start-ups in Illinois. http://www.ibiopropel.org

Carlson School of Management

The Medical Industry Leadership Institute

University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, driving innovation through cutting-edge leadership education, research, market development, industry-related experiential learning and partnerships with national health care and life science organizations. http://www.csom.umn.edu/medical-industry-leadership-institute/

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