This special message is dedicated to an amazing, intelligent, and unbelievably talented woman, Cathy Rasmussen, who passed away on October 21st—a life that has been silenced much too soon.

Cathy was the executive director of the Forward BIO Institute Her career spanned over 20 years in regenerative medicine and translation biomanufacturing research. Cathy was a key team member in the early stages of Stratatech, later purchased by Mallinckrodt, helping direct the preclinical studies program and product development for the company’s genetically-modified product line.

Cathy impacted so many individuals during her lifetime and her career. She was committed to elevating our community, inspiring our entrepreneurs, and as a role model for how strong women can bring about change and advance society, she uplifted women in our Madison biohealth community. She was instrumental in supporting and building our Women in Biohealth (WiB) community, believing in women and pushing them to do more, when others tried to put up barriers in front of them, she taught them how to break them down.

She adored her family and her friends, she loved to garden finding peace in the earth, and she graced us with her intelligence as the rest of us followed behind her.

Her voice no longer speaks for us to hear, but her words and presence in our lives will carry on.


There will be a Celebration of Life on November 5 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at her family’s residence- 147 County Rd BB, Marshall, WI 53559 (additional parking can be found across the street at the Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church) The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to her alma mater, Macalester College.

In fond remembrance of Cathy Rasmussen.

Lisa Johnson

CEO, BioForward

My favorite piece of advice came from my college’s small ensemble choir director Kathy Saltzman Romey. While I was a great vocalist, I had little confidence during that first year. After a particularly stressful rehearsal I asked her to move me from one position to another in the group saying, “If I stay where I am at, people will hear me.” She simply replied, “I chose you for that reason. You belong in this group and you are meant to be heard.” Over three decades later, that advice still resounds. Imposter syndrome is insidious and confidence-eroding, undermining success and calling into doubt my own abilities. Whenever I feel it rear its head, I can take a deep breath and recall that moment. And so I try to convey this to my colleagues and trainees, “You belong in this group and you are meant to be heard.

Cathy Rasmussen