Walter H. Colsman : Chief Executive Officer

Walter H. Colsman

Chief Executive Officer

Walter serves as BrightSpec’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  Mr. Colsman has over 30 years of business experience including over 15 years in the life sciences field.  Walter has most recently been advising startups and investors in the healthcare field and served as CFO of CereVasc LLC, a development stage medical device company.  Walter was a senior equity analyst at Columbia-Threadneedle Investments, where he followed the life science tools sector for 12 years. Prior to Columbia, Walter worked at Standard Pacific Capital and Palo Alto Investors, hedge funds in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before working in the investing field, Walter gained business experience as a founder and executive at several internet startups.  Walter also advised businesses on strategy at Bain & Company and the Lucas Group, as well as an analyst in financial planning for Pepsi-Cola International. Walter earned his bachelor’s degree (engineering) at Dartmouth and his M.B.A from Harvard Business School.

Dave McDaniel : Co-founder, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Software Architect

Dave McDaniel

Co-founder, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Software Architect

Dave concentrates on operational and technology platform development for BrightSpec, including algorithm development, information architecture, and mechanical engineering and design. Before co-founding BrightSpec, Dave spent nearly a decade in key roles at early stage companies in medical devices, distributed power generation, finance, and web applications development. Dave has extensive experience in virtual product design and optimization through computer-aided-engineering utilizing CAD, finite element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). He has also served in experiment design and manufacturing roles for viscoelastic material characterizations used in vehicle crash worthiness design, precision manufacturing and metrology work in a clean room environment for assembly of metal-ceramic alloys. Dave was introduced to large data sets and numerical methods as part of the Computational Group at UVa’s Center for Applied Biomechanics. BS in Mechanical Engineering and Masters in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia.

Contact Dave: dave.mcdaniel(at)

Matt Muckle, MS : Co-founder, Software Developer and Applications Scientist

Matt Muckle, MS

Co-founder, Software Developer and Applications Scientist

Matt is responsible for project management and for software development. His responsibilities include specifications management, component design, experiment design, and critically, the user interface development for Edgar, the BrightSpec software suite for instrument control, analysis, and spectral library management. He received his MS and BS in Chemistry from the University of Virginia, where his research work was in the design and implementation of microwave and millimeter wave instruments.

Contact Matt: matt.muckle(at)

Justin Neill, Ph.D. : Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer

Justin Neill, Ph.D.

Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer

Justin brings substantial experience in applied spectroscopy to BrightSpec. He completed his PhD in the Pate Lab at the University of Virginia in 2011 and spent the following 2 years as a postdoctoral researcher at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor analyzing interstellar spectra from the Hershel Space Telescope. As a co-inventor on one of the BrightSpec instrument patents, Justin has an in-depth knowledge of product design for both microwave and millimeter wave spectrometers and how to deploy them to solve new analytical challenges.

Contact Justin: justin.neill(at)

Roger Reynolds : Director of Instrument Production

Roger Reynolds

Director of Instrument Production

Roger is responsible for engineering and building BrightSpec microwave instruments, including design alternatives, implementation and debugging of new mechanical, chemical and electrical systems. Prior to joining BrightSpec, Roger held Senior Scientist roles at the University of Virginia in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and was a Product Engineer at General Dynamics/Veridian Advanced Information Systems. At Avir Sensors, Roger coordinated R&D, management, and contract manufacturing partners to design, produce, and test a novel open-path infrared gas detection product for life-safety applications. State University of New York at Alfred, AAS, Chemical Technology and University of Minnesota, Aerosol and Particle Measurement.

Contact Roger: roger.reynolds(at)

Alex Mikhonin, Ph.D. : Senior Application Scientist

Alex Mikhonin, Ph.D.

Senior Application Scientist

Alex is responsible for driving development and optimization of the BrightSpec industrial applications product portfolio. This includes identifying analytical needs of BrightSpec customers; improving the existing products, applications, and/or analytical methodologies; performing technology and economic evaluations of new commercial applications including business case development; developing and implementing analytical method validation metrics; as well as providing a general technical and marketing support for BrightSpec products. Alex completed his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, PA. Prior to BrightSpec, he worked 9+ years as an industrial analytical scientist at BioTools and Alcoa.

Contact Alex: alex.mikhonin(at)

Brooks Pate, Ph.D. : Co-founder

Brooks Pate, Ph.D.


Brooks H. Pate is a William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Chemistry at the University of Virginia, and co-founder of BrightSpec. His group's research focuses on the development of instrumentation for molecular rotational resonance (MRR) spectroscopy in analytical, physical, and astronomical applications. He developed the chirped-pulse Fourier transform (CP-FT) technique, which dramatically increased the speed and sensitivity with which MRR spectra could be measured and has reinvigorated the field of molecular rotational spectroscopy. Professor Pate was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2001, is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and was named the University of Virginia Licensing and Ventures Group's Innovator of the Year in 2017. He has authored five patents on MRR instrumentation and measurement techniques.

Advisory Board

B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D. : Scientific Advisory Board

B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisory Board

Chair and Professor, Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering
Virginia Commonwealth University

Frank Gupton has more than 30 years of senior executive experience in pharmaceutical science and process development. At VCU, his research group is focused on the development and application of new technologies that will streamline organic synthesis through process intensification. The goal of process intensification is to increase the overall efficiency and selectivity of chemical reactions by using novel chemistry and/ or running reactions under more extreme process conditions (temperature and pressure). They are interested in applying these principals towards the development of new catalyst systems that can be used in concert with continuous chemical processing (flow reactor technology) to streamline the synthesis of pharmaceutical active ingredients (API’s).

Prior to taking his current role at VCU, Frank was Executive Director, Process Development for Boehringer Ingelheim Chemicals, Inc. and previously held senior management roles at Hoechst Celanese. In his current role at VCU, Frank collaborates with researchers at the University of Washington, Florida State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the Medicine for All Initiative. His work is funded by a $4.4mm grant in January 2015 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with the Clinton Health Access Initiative. The grant supports the Gupton Group’s work to reduce the manufacturing cost of nevirapine, a first-line therapy for the treatment of AIDS. In June, the initiative was awarded a further $5mm grant to find ways to drive down the costs of manufacturing the AIDS drugs tenofovir and darunavir. Darunavir is known as a second-line therapy and is often prescribed once a patient develops a resistance to first-line therapies.