2018 Facilities Days Open House – Speaker Bios

Sue Babcock

Susan E. Babcock, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, UW-Madison

Susan Babcock earned her Ph.D. in Materials Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987. She did her postdoctoral work in the UW-Madison Applied Superconductivity Center before joining the faculty in 1990.  Her research has centered on characterization of defect microstructures, evolving from the study of dislocation structures in metal grain boundaries to defect structures in high-Tc superconducting materials to epitaxial compound semiconductors, semiconductor alloys and complex oxides. Her work relies on applications of electron microscopy and atom probe tomography techniques. She served as chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 2004-2012. She teaches or has taught courses in structure of materials, structure-property relationships, and experimental methods for characterization of structure and microstructure. She is the current co-faculty director of the UW-Madison Women in Science and Engineering Learning Community.

Dr. Scott Bryan, President of Physical Electronics

Scott’s career in surface analysis began in 1980 as an undergraduate in Chemistry at the University of Minnesota.  After graduation in 1982, he went to graduate school at The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and received his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry in 1986.  He joined BP Research in Cleveland, Ohio as team leader of Surface Analysis where he characterized ceramics, catalysts, polymers, and minerals.  In 1993, he joined Physical Electronics to work on the commercialization of TOF-SIMS.  In 2008, he was appointed Vice President and then in 2010 promoted to President of PHI responsible for the US operations.  Scott has published 45 peer-reviewed papers and made numerous presentations at both national and international conferences.

Jerry Hunter, Director, Shared Instrument Facilities

Jerry Hunter obtained a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in 1991 and was a Postdoctoral Researcher at North Carolina State University until 1992, and is now the-director of the University of Wisconsin – Madison College of Engineering Shared Research Facilities.  Prior to his current position, Dr. Hunter was Associate Director of the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratories at Virginia Tech and Research Professor in the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Geosciences.  He also spent 15 years in Silicon Valley where he had management and technical positions at Philips Semiconductors, Intel, Accurel Systems and Evans Analytical Group.

Dr. Sergey Mamedov, Applications Scientist II, HORIBA Scientific

Sergey Mamedov received Ph.D. in Chemistry from St. Petersburg State University, Russia, where he also worked as a senior research scientist for several years. Later, Dr. Mamedov took a research position at the Department of Physics at the Free University of Berlin, and followed up with two post-doctoral stints, one at the University of Akron and the second at the University of Cincinnati. In 2004, he left academia and joined HORIBA Scientific’s Microscopy and Microanalysis Division where he currently working as Applications Scientist II. Dr. Mamedov is the author of 50+ publications in scientific journals, and over 30 presentations at international and national conferences.


Douglas Stauffer, PhD, Senior Manager for Applications Development, Bruker

Douglas’ current research is focused on developing instrumentation and coupling that with new techniques for understanding structure and processing relationships with regards to nanomechanical performance. These relationships and techniques can then be applied to a wide range of applications that include both applied and fundamental studies for assessing component and microstructure capabilities to resist failure.  These techniques include in and ex situ testing and the development of in operando type experiments, to gain insight into the role that plasticity and fracture play in the varying failure regimes under operating conditions. He joined Bruker in 2011, after receiving his Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Minnesota.  Prior to graduate school, Douglas was an engineering supervisor at Ecolab.


John Thornton, Senior Applications Engineer, Bruker

John Thornton is a Senior Applications Engineer at Bruker who has over 20 years of experience in the AFM field.  He learned AFM at North Carolina State University in the 1990’s under Prof. Phil Russell, where he earned a M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering.  Afterwards he moved to CA to join Digital Instruments, a pioneer company in early AFM development.  Today, he continues to work in the AFM field from his home base in the Philadelphia region, primarily running the instruments and working with customers.

Brandon Van Leer, Global Business Development & Product Marketing Engineer, ThermoFisher Scientific

Brandon Van Leer joined Thermo Fisher Scientific in late 2004 and has held various positions including Senior Applications Engineer, Applications Manager, and Product Marketing Manager.   Currently, he is the Global Business Development & Product Marketing Engineer for DualBeam and SEM instrumentation. Brandon’s professional background has focused largely on materials characterization and development of electronic materials and polymers. He has over 20 years experience in various analytical techniques and over 15 years exploring SEM and FIB. Brandon’s current research interests are in nanoscale fabrication of 3D structures using FIB technology. Brandon received his BS in Physics (1988) and his MS in Electrical Engineering (2002) from Oregon State University. He is a member of MSA, MRS and IEEE.


Desirée Benefield, Faculty Manager, UW-Madison Cryo-EM Facility

Desirée Benefield is the recently appointed manager of the new UW-Madison Cryo-EM Facility. She received her Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology from Vanderbilt University in 2014. It was there that she began using transmission electron microscopy techniques, with an emphasis on cryo-EM, to study the molecular assembly of clostridial toxins. She came to Madison as a post-doctoral researcher at the Morgridge Institute to continue using cryo-EM to study viral replication. In August, she began working for the UW-Madison Biochemistry department to facilitate education, outreach, and assistance to researchers on campus interested in using cryo-EM in their research projects.

Philippe Hunault, Product Specialist at HORIBA Scientific

GD-OES product specialist at HORIBA Scientific in Edison, NJ – USA for 13 years. In the spectroscopy world for 37 years and more specifically involved in Glow Discharge Spectrometry for 30 years.


Julie Last, Instrument Manager, UW-Madison

Julie is an Instrument Manager in the Materials Science Center for the nanoindenter, the atomic force microscope (AFM) and the confocal and light microscopes.  She received her B.S. Electrical Engineering from UW-Madison and her Ph.D in Materials Science from the University of Minnesota.  She did her postdoctoral work at Sandia National Laboratories studying the formation of lipid bilayers with AFM.  She has over 20 years of experience in AFM and specializes in the characterization of biological materials.

don savage

Don Savage, Ph.D. Scientist and Instrument Innovator, UW-Madison

Don Savage is a Ph.D. Scientist and Instrument Innovator with the University of Wisconsin.  He has over thirty years of experience with high-resolution x-ray diffraction and x-ray scattering.  He has been in charge of the x-ray facilities in the Materials Science Center since 2006.


Yong Sun, Product Manager, SEMTech Solutions

A dedicated and driven scientist by training, with 15 years of hands-on nanofabrication experience in the semiconductor field, Yong Sun has worked both in academia and in industry, with research interests spanning across a variety of subjects, including sensors, microfluidics, metamaterials, Li-Ion battery and energy converters, to name a few. Yong Sun is currently the Product Manager at SEMTech Solutions, collaborating with a group of dedicated engineers to advance the Elionix ebeam technology. Before joining the Elionix team, Sun worked as a cleanroom manager at Princeton University, instructing users on the operation of many lithography tools, including Elionix ELS-F125.


Robert M. Ulfig, EIKOS™ Product Manager, CAMECA

Robert M. Ulfig joined Imago (Now CAMECA Instruments Inc.) in 2001 and has worked in hardware and software development and as the Applications Lab Manager for the Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP®).  He now works as CAMECA’s EIKOS™ Product Manager integrating the activities and requests from internal and external customers into the latest and greatest of CAMECA’s software and hardware.  Robert previously worked at Advanced Micro Devices’ sub-micron development center in Sunnyvale CA, and graduated from The University of Wisconsin-Madison with Materials Science and Engineering and Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics degrees and was a Reactor Operator at the department’s 1MWt nuclear reactor.


Paul Voyles, Professor and Chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Beckwith-Bascom Professor, UW-Madison

Paul Voyles’ research specialty is the structure of materials, investigated primarily with electron microscopy, supplemented by simulations and data science. He has worked in materials for microelectronics and spintronics, superconductors, and amorphous materials and glasses. He co-leads the interdisciplinary research group Stability in Glasses in the UW-Madison NSF MRSEC. He has published over 150 journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings.