- 2003-2008 – Postdoctoral Research in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Wisconsin
- 2003 – PhD in Biomolecular Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin
- 1996 – BS in Biochemistry, BS in Biological Sciences, BA in Chemistry at North Carolina State University
Dr. Thomas-Virnig has almost 15 years of experience working in between academia and industry translating human cell-based therapeutics into the clinic. She has a strong understanding of the stages of therapeutic development from inception to clinical testing and hopes to bring these years of experience to the visual sciences. The path toward development can be complex and Dr. Thomas-Virnig provides guidance to navigate the translation of innovative ideas into the clinic for our faculty, staff and learners. She recognizes the importance of effective communication, and facilitates collaboration amongst DOVS faculty, in addition to promoting interdisciplinary partnerships with other campus faculty and resources. She is highly motivated to ensure that the development and translation of ideas generated in the vision science community advance forward.
Previously, Dr. Thomas-Virnig was part of the team at the Madison-based start-up, Stratatech, a regenerative medicine company purchased by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals in 2016. She is an inventor on various patents and led many of the efforts there to develop genetically modified skin-substitute therapeutic products. A highlight of her career thus far has been directing the first-ever genetically modified tissue placement on a subject in 2018 as part of a phase I safety trial.