Michael Westphall

Distinguished Instrument Innovator

hailing from

Fort Atkinson, WI

  • B.S. – University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, WI (1985)
  • Ph.D. – Washington University – St. Louis, MO (1995)


Measurement forms the foundation of the scientific method. Scientific theory may be validated through accurate measurement of physical and biological phenomenon; however, it is not possible to measure everything which theory predicts. This limitation has always motivated my research and has led to a lifelong career pursuing new techniques and instruments to perform measurements which currently cannot be made. This interest guided the selection of my first job after obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in Physics, where I developed instruments to measure color. It further influenced my choice of discipline in graduate school. I received a Ph.D. in astrophysics, not because of my interest in astrophysics, but because of the difficulty in making the desired measurements and lack of instrumentation to do it. My career at the University of Wisconsin has been guided by the same principle; however, my research now focuses on the development of techniques and instrumentation for measurements in biotechnology.

“Measurement forms the foundation of the scientific method.”

What is my role in the Coon Lab?

I work closely with Professor Coon to maintain the research directive of the lab. Overseeing many of the labs research projects and collaborations. I am fortunate to work with many very talented graduate students developing new technologies for mass spectrometry.

Earn your Ph.D. with us

The Coon Group is always on the lookout for new members.  Professor Coon accepts students from several UW-Madison doctoral programs including Chemistry, the Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), and Cellular & Molecular Pathology.