Isthmus Project, a subsidiary of UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, works like a traditional business incubator or accelerator, where entrepreneurs approach the program with an idea, but need help bringing their idea to reality. Isthmus Project offers services such as business planning, instruction on how to access seed funding and assistance making connections with industry leaders.

We have six primary partners that provide services: the School of Medicine and Public Health, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, WiSolve and the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic; but we are always seeking additional partners to support the unique needs of UW Health’s entrepreneurial talent.

How we see ourselves
Embedded within University Hospital, Isthmus Project is a front door for health-system innovators – whether they be faculty physicians or scientists, residents or science trainees, nurses, staff or others.

What we do
Provide support for creative ideas and projects that aim to achieve better health outcomes or to solve problems facing UW Health patients, providers and the health system.

Where we are going
Our projects are scalable to create value beyond UW Health and UW-Madison. We also work with those in the healthcare industry outside of our walls who want to work with UW Health and UW medical innovators.

Address: K6/110, 600 Highland Ave., Madison, WI 53792


Elizabeth Hagerman, Ph.D.
Isthmus Project, Executive Director

Hagerman is a national biotechnology industry expert, academic-industry liaison and innovation leader. She joins Isthmus Project from her most recent position as the chief innovation and strategy officer at Conexus Indiana, where she led innovative collaborations among industry, academic and public partners.

As director, Hagerman is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Isthmus Project, which includes duties like meeting with potential innovators and partners, identifying projects with potential for growth and seeking funding for projects, as well as helping to develop and manage a long-term vision for growing Isthmus Project.

She started her career with Baxter Healthcare in California, and for a time in Vienna, Austria, in a variety of roles related to product development, and later brand development, product launch and systems integration.

In 2012, Hagerman returned to Rose-Hulman as vice president of Rose-Hulman Ventures, a product design, rapid prototyping and development firm providing experience for student interns as they help external partners develop products and ideas.

Hagerman earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2000, and both master’s and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering from the University of California-Los Angeles.