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Battelle Health & Analytics Newsletter

Battelle Health & Analytics Newsletter

Featured Expert

Steve Risser

Steve Risser, Senior Research Leader

Steve Risser is always working to make medical devices and other products stronger, smaller, safer or more functional. Over his 30-year career in materials science, he has been instrumental in the development of dozens of innovations across a diverse range of industries. Since joining Battelle in 1999, Steve has worked on projects spanning electromagnetics, electrochemical properties and biomolecular interfaces for medical, defense and industrial clients. As part of the Battelle NeuroLife™ team, he helped to develop a flexible sleeve attached to a neural implant that allowed a paralyzed man to regain conscious control of his hand and fingers. More recently, he has been focused on designing the next generation of batteries for wearable medical devices and other consumer products. Over the years, Steve has worked on more than 250 projects, led and supported five strategic initiatives, helped spin off a company and assisted in monetizing close to a dozen inventions. His work has earned several R&D 100 Awards and resulted in 26 U.S. patents and more than 30 refereed journal publications. Earlier this year, he was recognized as a Battelle Distinguished Inventor and Battelle’s Inventor of the Year for 2017. In recognition of these contributions, Steve was promoted in October 2017 to Senior Research Leader.


Tesfa N. Alexander, Ph.D.

Tesfa N. Alexander, Ph.D., Health Communications Director

Tesfa N. Alexander, PhD, brings more than 13 years of experience leading communication science projects for federal and non-profit organizations. Throughout his career, he has been recognized as an expert in the fields of health communication science, public relations and advertising for his contributions to the development and evaluation of impactful health education initiatives. Prior to joining Battelle, he led a multidisciplinary team of researchers at the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). In this role, he was responsible for all formative research and outcome evaluation activities for FDA’s award-winning national youth and young adult campaigns: The Real Cost, Fresh Empire and This Free Life. Tesfa currently serves as formative research senior advisor for the CDC National Tobacco Education Campaign. He also serves as an adjunct professor in health communication at the University of Memphis.

Erica Peters, Ph.D.

Erica Peters, Ph.D., Principal Research Scientist

Erica N. Peters, Ph.D., focuses her research on substance abuse and health behaviors, specifically tobacco and marijuana use, misuse and treatment. She has published more than 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals on the interaction of tobacco and marijuana use, predictors of response to tobacco and marijuana treatment, and tobacco assessment and cessation in cancer clinical trials. Prior to her position at Battelle, she worked as Assistant Research Scientist at Friends Research Institute and served as a member of the Vermont Tobacco Evaluation and Review Board. Erica is a lecturer at the Yale University School of Medicine, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and a licensed psychologist in Maryland.

Michael Schwemmer, Ph.D.

Michael Schwemmer, Ph.D., Research Scientist

Michael Schwemmer is making medical devices and healthcare systems a whole lot smarter. A Research Scientist and Statistician on the Battelle Health Analytics team, he applies advanced machine learning methods to solve complex problems in neurotechnology, quality measure development, and other aspects of healthcare. He is an applied mathematician with six years of experience in applying computational and mathematical techniques to problems in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and physics. He is an expert in modeling complex systems and has published scientific papers in mathematics, physics, neuroscience, engineering, psychology, and neuroscience journals. At Battelle, his current work is focused on utilizing deep learning neural network tools.

Jeffrey Geppert

Jeffrey Geppert, Senior Research Leader

Jeffrey Geppert believes in the power of analytics to make a difference in the world. As a Senior Research Leader on the Battelle Health and Consumer Solutions team, Jeffrey is working to make that goal a reality. He heads up Battelle’s work on hospital and physician quality measures for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In this role, he leads the team responsible for maintaining the CMS measure inventory and the blueprint that defines the processes and decision criteria that are used to develop new quality measures. In addition, Jeffrey and his team use analytical engines to scan hundreds of thousands of updates and articles posted in the biomedical literature each month. Using a tool such as Battelle Sematrix™, they are able to analyze very large data sets to find meaningful information that could potentially impact CMS measure development.