Stephen Fleming, PhD

Co-Founder and President

Stephen found his roots first in psychology and later as a neuroscientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Discovering the potential of nutrition to promote brain development led to the formation of Traverse Science. Stephen combines a passion for data science, tech transfer, and entrepreneurship to help accelerate research.

Ryan Dilger, PhD

Co-Founder and Vice President
As a trained animal scientist and nutritionist, Ryan Dilger has long recognized the value of the pig model. An active scientist in nutrition for humans and agricultural species, Ryan has been a key leader in engineering solutions for using the pig in neuroscience. Ryan combines a passion for nutrition, engineering, and industry experience to Traverse.

Kimberly Lackey, PhD


Kimberly is a nutrition and infectious disease expert from Washington State University. She specializes in human milk and parasitology, especially disease transmission between breastfeeding mothers and their infants. Kimberly loves all things human health, but never turns down an opportunity to explore a new pathogenic condition!

Vinh Vu, PhD

Vinh is a Biochemist and Statistician specializing in the use of biophysical techniques such as single-cell manipulation, quantitative fluorescence imaging, and computational modelling to understand membrane bound proteins. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of his research, he has gained a wealth of experience in chemistry, immunology, statistical analysis, and computing.

Karin Biggs, PhD

Marketing Specialist
Karin has a PhD in biology from Washington State University, where her research work spanned immunology, evolutionary biology, and virology. After completing her degree, she spent several years developing her skills as a communicator and storyteller through teaching pre-health students in anatomy, physiology, and women’s health as adjunct faculty. Karin loves scientific communication, knowledge translation, and breaking down complex topics into digestible pieces. She brings her expertise as a communicator to our inbound efforts as a marketing specialist.

Tristen Paul, MSc

Research Consultant
Tristen received her MSc in Animal Science from Stellenbosch University where she performed meta-analyses on the reproductive physiology of various species. She specializes in organizing and administrating client projects related to scientific substantiation and literature review. In almost everything she does, she simply gets it done.

Sharon Donovan, PhD, RD

Sharon is a Professor and the Melissa M. Noel Endowed Chair in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois, a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and member of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee. Her laboratory conducts basic and translational research in the area of pediatric nutrition, focusing on optimizing intestinal, microbiome, and cognitive development of neonates through dietary interventions.

Christine Pelkman, PhD

Christine is a nutrition scientist with a unique skill set that includes a deep understanding of the science of nutrition combined with pragmatic business acumen and excellent teaching and communication abilities. She has decades of experience from her roles at Ingredion and Campbell Soup managing clinical research programs and navigating the regulatory environment. She brings a keen eye for leveraging the science with regulatory precedence while keeping business goals at the forefront.

Kelly Swanson, PhD

Kelly is a Professor and the Kraft Heinz Company Endowed Professor in Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Kelly is an expert in human and companion animal nutrition, nutrigenomics, and microbiomics. His research is focused on the effects of nutritional intervention on gastrointestinal microbiota, host gene expression, and host physiology, with a primary emphasis on gastrointestinal health and obesity.

Robbie Burns

Dr. Robbie Burns is an Adjunct Professor of Practice at the Indiana University Bloomington School of Public Health, where he assists with strategic planning and development. His past career has spanned Vice President for Health and Nutrition Policy at Grocery Manufacturers Association, Global Head of Nutrition and Scientific Affairs at Cadbury Schweppes, and Director of Nutrition Science and Policy at Mead Johnson Nutrition.

Our Roots

Our journey began when co-founders Ryan Dilger and Stephen Fleming began pioneering the use of cognitive tasks and magnetic resonance imaging to understand early life brain development.
In 2015, together they created a dedicated, high- throughput piglet rearing facility for the testing of nutritional products. What started as in interest in infant formula and brain development led to a broader interest in the role of nutrition and health. We created Traverse to get science out of the lab and on the market.
We like science and it doesn’t have to be hard. Let’s get science done, together.

Are you ready to Traverse Science®?

Let's Chat