How UW-Madison’s Collaborative Innovation Culture Helped OnLume Blend Science With Business

The genesis of OnLume’s revolutionary fluorescence-guided surgery technology stemmed from the desire to bring fluorescence imaging out of the dark, literally. Only in that way, in the ambient light of the operating room (OR), could FGS reach its full life-saving potential, reasoned OnLume co-founder Adam Uselmann, PhD.

Dr. Uselmann is a medical physicist, engineer and entrepreneur with over ten years of experience in academia and the medical science industry. Dr. Uselmann’s expertise – and the inspiration for OnLume – – were nurtured at the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison and, in particular, at the world-renowned Morgridge Institute for Research in the Medical Engineering Lab, led by Thomas “Rock” Mackie, PhD.

“OnLume is definitely a product of the encouraging environment that exists here at the UW – Madison,” said Mackie. “One of the most unique aspects of this truly extraordinary place is how it supports diversity of discovery. When I was leading Medical Engineering and the Fab Lab at the Morgridge Institute with Kevin Eliceiri, we were given carte blanche to be creative and collaborative. That’s the way the University works in the broader sense, as well. The UW has more than 100 departments and about 250 institutes or centers – all encouraged to work together. The OnLume team, which I am very proud to have helped assemble and be a member of, is a natural outgrowth of the University figuring out how to accelerate and amplify innovation.”

In addition to OnLume and Tomotherapy, among Mackie’s other entrepreneurial accomplishments stemming from his own UW academic collaborations were helping launching Asto CT, a developer of rugged, standing CT devices for use in the equine veterinary industry and Linectra, a high-throughput, high-resolution metal 3D printer.

“It’s true that I invest in companies that grow out of the innovation ecosystem that exists here,” Mackie continued. “That’s me expressing confidence in the talented, deeply committed people whose educations we nourish at UW-Madison – people like Adam Uselmann.”

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