Executive Leadership Team
Leading-edge science meets seasoned corporate leadership
President & Chief Executive Officer
Lee has more than 15 years of executive leadership in corporate, government and regulatory affairs; marketing and communications; fundraising; and human resource functions. Prior to joining Recombinetics, Lee served as Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Carlson, a global hospitality and travel company; Vice President of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the University of Minnesota Foundation; and Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Delta Air Lines.
Mitch Abrahamsen, PhD
Executive Vice President, Chief Commercial & Scientific Officer
Previously to joining Recombinetics, Dr. Abrahamsen was the Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Cobb-Vantress for Tyson Foods, Vice President of Research at Hill’s Pet Nutrition for Colgate-Palmolive, Vice President of Research and Development, Chief Scientific Officer of Pyxis Genomics, Inc, and a professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology and Director of Graduate Studies, Molecular Veterinary Biosciences at University of Minnesota. Dr. Abrahamsen received a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Washington.
David Aberle, MBA
Chief Financial Officer & Vice President of Finance
Aberle comes to Recombinetics with 20 years of experience in financial and strategic management including six years in the medical device industry at AGA Medical Corporation (now part of St. Jude Medical) where he served as Interim Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Controller, Treasurer and other key financial leadership roles. His expertise includes leading implementation of financial, operational and human capital systems during times critical to a company’s success. He earned a Masters of Business Administration and a Mini Masters of Medical Technology from the University of St. Thomas, and has. obtained his CPA and CTP credentials.
General Manager of Acceligen
With 35 years of experience in the agriculture and food ingredient industry, Erdmann has demonstrated excellence in leading operations, strategy and sales in a variety of executive roles with Cargill’s Food and Trading businesses. In addition, Erdmann was instrumental in developing strategic partnerships and alliances with biotech and food technology organizations. He has engineered numerous customer centric growth strategies for engaging global food companies. As the General Manager of Acceligen, Erdmann will join Chief Scientific Officer Tad Sonstegard, in the pursuit of developing and delivering genetic innovations that improve animal health and welfare and deliver productivity traits to animal agriculture globally.
Doug Kern, DVM, MS
General Manager of Surrogen
With more than 20 years experience in the animal health industry and business development, Doug has held several executive roles in life science and animal health companies, most recently as VP of Global Clinical Development with Plumbline Life Sciences. In the last 15 years, he has developed and registered pioneering DNA therapies for food and companion animals. As General Manager of Surrogen, Kern will apply his wide-ranging expertise in the pursuit of groundbreaking genetic technologies and large animal models to greatly accelerate the discovery of new drugs and medical devices that eliminate human diseases and improve the quality of health. Kern earned his DVM from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s Degree at the University of Illinois in the Integrated Food Animal Management Systems and a Certificate in Business Management from the Harvard Business School.
Tad Sonstegard, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer of Acceligen
Dr. Tad Sonstegard is an internationally recognized leader in livestock genetics with more than 20 years of experience in the field. Tad has made seminal contributions to the sequencing of livestock genomes, development of industry-standard genetic diagnostic platforms and elucidation of the genetic basis for traits impacting food animal health, production and well-being. Prior to joining the Recombinetics team, Tad developed and led federally funded projects in applied genomics for ruminant genetic improvement at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Animal Genomics & Improvement Laboratory. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Biochemistry from Iowa State University and a PhD in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics from the University of Minnesota.
David A. Largaespada, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer of Surrogen
Dr. Largaespada is a leading authority on mouse genetics, gene modification, cancer genes and disease models. His expertise guides the science behind Recombinetics’ biomedical subsidiary, Surrogen. He is currently a Full Professor in two departments at the University of Minnesota, where he earned the prestigious American Cancer Society Research Professor Award in 2013. Additionally, he is Associate Director for Basic Research in the University’s Masonic Cancer Center. Dr. Largaespada has published over 135 scientific articles, many in the world’s highest-impact journals such as Science, Nature and Nature Genetics
Walter Low, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer of Regenevida
Dr. Walter Low is a leader in neuroscientific research and bioengineering. He’s a professor and Director of the Research Laboratories in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota. He earned his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Michigan, and was a National Science Foundation/NATO Fellow in Neurophysiology/Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge in England.
Dr. Low was formerly on the faculty at Indiana University School of Medicine where he was the Director of the Graduate Program in Physiology and Biophysics. He has served as a member of numerous grant review study sections for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Veterans Administration Medical Centers.
Dan Carlson, PhD
Senior Vice President of Research and Development
Dr. Carlson is a “farm kid” from southwestern Minnesota who took an interest in biotechnology when his family began planting GM crops in the 90’s. In pursuit of this interest, Dr. Carlson attended the University of Minnesota where he earned a PhD in Animal Sciences with an emphasis in biotechnology and molecular genetics. The focus of his research is the refinement and application of methodology for genetic engineering in livestock. Through his 13 years in biotechnology research, Carlson has led the development of transposon systems and gene-editing technology in livestock. At Recombinetics he directs the application of gene-editing to develop products while continuing to innovate in the field of genome engineering and develop intellectual property.
Justin Zenanko, CPA
Senior Vice President of Corporate Development
Zenanko is an established CPA with expertise in tax accounting and investment funding. Justin began his accounting career with Myslajek, Ltd., where he practiced in the areas of audit, review, compilation, and taxation. He holds multiple Bachelor of Arts degrees in Accounting, Economics, and Marketing.
John Burtis, JD
Vice President of Legal
Burtis has more than 20 years of experience representing clients in complex transactional, corporate, litigation and intellectual property legal matters. Prior to joining Recombinetics, Burtis held senior in-house legal positions with Medtronic, 3M, Ecolab and Imation, and practiced with the law firms of Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP and Fish & Richardson P.C. Burtis received a Bachelor’s of Chemical Engineering degree and a Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota.