Professional Staff

Our highly-trained staff includes:


Dr. Mark Arnold is the Edwin B. Green Chair Professor in Laser Chemistry at the University of Iowa. He started as an assistant professor at the University in 1982 after completing his doctorate degree at the University of Delaware. He was an original member of the “Biocats” and has remained a strong proponent of the Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing since its conception. 

His research centers on novel chemical sensors and he is an expert in the use of near infrared absorption spectroscopy for in situ analytical measurements in complex biological systems. Examples include the noninvasive measurement of glucose in people with diabetes and the real-time monitoring of hemodialysis during treatments for people with end-stage renal failure.  His research program also explores the analytical utility of terahertz time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS) for characterization of organic cocrystals as well as formulations to stabilize proteins.

In the spirit of translational research and economic development, Professor Arnold has teamed with others to create ASL Analytical, Inc. for the purpose of commercializing near infrared sensing technology for the real-time monitoring of targeted analytes within industrial processes. Examples include continuous, real-time monitors for tracking the concentrations of glycerol and methanol as well as the concentrations of glucose and lactate during production of biotherapeutics proteins through bioprocesses with Pichia pastoris and CHO mammalian cells, respectively.

Director of Operations

Dr. Elizabeth R. Gibson graduated from the University of Iowa in 2007 with a Ph.D. in Chemistry. She has more than a decade of laboratory and research experience in spectroscopic measurements, chemometrics, fermentation and cell culture techniques, and downstream processing. Prior to joining CBB, she worked for a biotechnology start-up where her efforts were focused on the development and application of analytical tools for real-time fermentation monitoring. She also acted as the technical manager and project coordinator for customers and R&D collaborators, and has served as the principal investigator on multiple Phase I & II SBIR grants. She joined CBB in 2017 and is currently a member of the staff, focusing primarily on downstream processes, analytical characterization, and fermentation operations in both the RPD and cGMP facilities.

Director of Quality Assurance 

Mary M. Garner earned a B.L.S. degree at Iowa State University in 2003. She gained valuable skills in both upstream and downstream bioprocessing as a Research Assistant at the CBB.  Mary transitioned into the quality department in 2007 and currently serves as the Director of the CBB Quality Team, where her efforts focus on establishing and implementing quality operations associated with Phase I cGMP manufacturing of bio-based chemicals for an array of clients. 


Microbial Biomanufacturing Facilities-Staff

Eric Brosch

Melissa Coeur graduated with a B.A. in Chemistry in 1999. Melissa works in fermentation operations at CBB. Melissa joined the staff in August 2009.

Larry Dostal received a B.A. from The University of Iowa in Food and Nutrition. He has 15 years experience as a research assistant. He also brings more than 12 years of experience in analytical instruments such as HPLC, TLC and GC.

Sarah Kasperbauer graduated with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry from Fordham University at Marymount College in 2000. She has extensive experience in bioprocessing and works in both fermentation and downstream operations at CBB. Sarah joined CBB in January 2009.

Philip Lashmit received a BS in Biochemistry with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Iowa in 1993. Philip gained a wide array of molecular biology experience in his 17 years in the UI Department of Microbiology before joining CBB in July 2011.

Deanna Lettington graduated with a B.S. in Animal Science from Iowa State University. She has more than 15 years experience in biotechnology and microbiology. At CBB she works in the areas of fermentation, purification and analytical characterization of products.

Wensheng Liu has an extensive background in analytical chemistry and more than 20 years experience in large scale fermentation and downstream processing.

Michelle Railsback has a B.S. in Chemistry from Iowa Wesleyan College. She brings more than 16 years experience in biotechnology and microbiology. This includes working for Cargill and Genencor International. Michelle's wide ranging experience and leadership skills are important assets to CBB. Michelle specializes in downstream processing at CBB.

Olga Rohner

Jingying Xu graduated with a M.S. in Analytical Chemistry from NanKai University, China in 1995. She has more than 10 years of industrial experience in analytical and downstream processing. Jingying works in downstream operations at CBB. Jingying joined CBB in August 2009.

Jiang-Rong Yao

Quality Assurance Team

Troy McCarthy has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Iowa (1991). Prior to joining the CBB staff in 2008, Troy worked for 17 years as a research scientist exploring influenza and adenovirus typing and the roles of EGF-receptor and gender in fetal lung development.  At present, he is a member of the CBB Quality Team where he specializes in stringent quality control of all materials of goods associated with cGMP manufacturing, securing certifications for all process materials, and environmental monitoring. 

 Cassandra Handley


Research Facility

Associate Director 

Dr. Maria Spies

Research Lead

Dr. Shuvendu Das holds a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry.  He is a Bio-organic Chemist having 20 years of professional experience in the areas of Microbiology, Biotechnology, and Chemistry.  He has been involved with CBB since 2003, initially as a Post-doctoral Fellow after completing his Ph.D. work.  Currently, Dr. Das is a Research Director at the CBB and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemistry, The University of Iowa.  His work involves biocatalytic synthesis, optimization, scale-up, and commercialization of pharmaceutically & industrially important molecules including cloning, expression, fermentation, purification & characterization of proteins.  Dr. Das has teaching responsibilities at both the CBB & the Department of Chemistry.  Dr. Das has discovered several novel technologies & products, which has led to several patent applications.  In fact, several products are now being sold by Sigma / Aldrich.  Dr. Das has received several competitive & prestigious awards including “Grow Iowa Value Fund Award” (State of Iowa) and “Inventor Award” (University of Iowa Research Foundation).



Administrative Staff

Mitchell Rotman joined CBB in 2010 as the CBB administrator. He also functions as the Accounting and Business Manager of the Microbial Biomanufactoring Facility.  Mitchell has Master Degrees in Chemistry, Business Administration, and Health and Hospital Management from the University of Iowa. Mitchell's previous experience includes serving as a research administrator for a clinical department, managing a customer-focused department within an academic health center as well as working in basic molecular biological research. In this position, Mitchell is integral on the business side of CBB working with all the financial and accounting issues. On the academic side, he is involved in the CBB/NIH fellowships and planning our annual conference. In additon, he maintains the website and provides support for all other business/office operations.

Christopher Evans