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Tory Schaaf, Postdoctoral Associate

Tory M. Schaaf                                                                                Curriculum Vitae

Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics 312 Church Street SE, 6-155 Jackson Hall

Minneapolis, MN 55455





University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN                                    2012-2017

Ph.D., Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics


University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN                                    2007-2009

BS, Neuroscience

BS, Biochemistry


University of Wisconsin River Falls, WI                                        2005-2007



Adjunct Faculty,

Saint Paul College (SPC), Saint Paul, MN                                                                                                 Summer 2020

Chem 1711 – General Chemistry I with Lab (online course)


North Hennepin Community College (NHCC), Brooklyn Park, MN                                                         Spring 2020

Chem 1010 – Introduction to Chemistry with Lab

Biol 1030 – Introduction to Human Biology with Lab


Postdoctoral Fellow, Adviser Carrie Wilmot, Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate Education,

University of Minnesota (UMN), Minneapolis, MN                                                                                  2017 – Present                                                                                                                             

  • Perform research and teach undergraduate level biology courses.
  • Publish scientific articles and write research grants to secure funding for lab projects, collaborative projects, and industrial focused research.
  • Prepare tutorials, protocols, and help documents.
  • Assist, train, and mentor high school, undergraduate, and graduate students from multiple departments at the UMN and local community colleges.
  • Research mentor for underrepresented students from local community colleges.
  • Assist and collaborate with UMN researchers to develop new drug discovery assays and technologies.
  • Present research at international conferences and publish or patent research methods.



BIOL 1130 Human Biology with Lab (North Hennepin Community College)             Fall 2019

Taught entire semester lab sections, created lab experiment activity for each lab, wrote student hand-out for each weekly lab activity, created syllabus and schedule, wrote online quiz for each weekly lab activity, lecturer for a few units for all course sections.

HHMI BioInteractive Training in active classroom learning strategies                          2018

Preparing Future Faculty Certificate, University of Minnesota                                      2018

BIOL 1125 Sex and Human Diversity (Normandale Community College)                    Fall 2018

Cotaught in every class, created new course materials using an opensource text book with focus on active learning strategies, wrote assessments, quizzes, and exams, implemented the use of new anatomy and physiology models for course, created syllabus and schedule, and had very positive reviews from students.

BIOL 1100, Intro to Genetics (TREM Scholar at Normandale Community College)    Spring 2018

Designed and taught 3 lectures as part of my preparing future faculty certificate.

BIOC 4125, Laboratory in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology                                Summer 2015

Graduate TA

BIOC 4125, Laboratory in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology                                 Fall 2014

Graduate TA

Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Minnesota                                          2008-2009

Performed undergraduate research in the neuroscience laboratories of Mark Thomas and Jonathan Gewirtz. Funded through undergraduate research award.



PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE                                                                               2018-May 2020

Screening Operations Manager (Consultant),

Biophysical Technology Core, University of Minnesota, MN & Photonic Pharma, Minneapolis, MN

  • Supervised, mentored, and advised junior scientists.
  • Prepared weekly reports for Bristol Myers Squibb project related to my thesis work.
  • Proactively identify problems and troubleshoot solutions.
  • Write grant applications including NIH R01s, STTRs, SBIRs.
  • Perform quality control experiments to optimize performance of instrumentation and data analysis practices.
  • Oversee operation of fluorescence spectroscopy instrumentation.
  • Train fluorescence instrument users.
  • Coordinate service and maintenance of instrumentation.
  • Develop assays and plans for industrial clients.
  • Analyze and evaluate preclinical data.
  • Participate in multiple weekly meetings to support operations at UMN core facilities or for Photonic Pharma team.
  • Develop standard operating procedures for internal and external users.


Scientist (Part-time consultant), Fluorescence Innovations Inc., Minneapolis, MN           2016-2018

  • Part time position at Fluorescence Innovations, a small company that develops and builds novel fluorescence plate reader technology.
  • My role was to evaluate their new technologies, optimize novel screening assays, and coordinate large group efforts for a NIH-sponsored STTR phase II grant.
  • Consulted on new projects to help gauge the likelihood of success, decide project tangibility, and aid in experiment design. These projects require a high-level of coordination between cell biologists and engineers.
  • Involved in the training of techniques, concepts, data acquisition, and data analysis.
  • Other responsibilities included preparing weekly progress reports, writing grants, and effectively communicating ideas across groups of professors at the University of Minnesota.


Research Associate, R&D Systems, Minneapolis MN.                                                          2011-2013

  • Performed tissue culture.
  • Transfected expression constructs for stable clone development.
  • Screened for recombinant protein expression utilizing western blot, fluorescence microscopy, and flow cytometry.
  • Utilized DNA cloning techniques for gene-isolation and VersaClone cDNA vectors.
  • Effectively planned, organized, and multi-tasked to complete assignments in an efficient manner.
  • Interacted positively with flow cytometry, cell culture, protein purification, antibody, and assay development group.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and with teams to complete objectives and goals.


Junior Scientist, University of Minnesota. Minneapolis. MN.                                                   2009-2011

Laboratory of Dr. Rita Perlingeiro. Lillehei Heart Institute

  • Performed gene therapy preclinical trials.
  • Expressed micro-utrophin in human or mouse induced pluripotent stem cells lacking the dystrophin gene, which were then differentiated into skeletal muscle myoblasts and transplanted into animal models of muscular dystrophy.
  • Performed molecular biology to generate new cell lines with cre-recombinase, retroviral, lentiviral, and sleeping beauty transposon systems.
  • Performed RNA and protein analyses utilizing qRT-PCR and western blotting.
  • Problem solved and developed new protocols for lentiviral production and cell sorting using FACS.
  • Presented data and results bi-weekly to large groups.
  • Aided in animal husbandry for an SPF animal colony with over 1,500 animals.


Junior Scientist, University of Minnesota. Minneapolis. MN.                                                     2009

Laboratory of Dr. Keli Hippen. Dept. of Bone Marrow Transplantation.

  • Performed preclinical trials in the involving the suppression of Graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) by regulatory T-cell transplantation.
  • Performed flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry to document disease progression and treatment in xenogeneic model of GVHD.
  • Performed large-scale cell culture experiments; Assessed and graded severity of disease using cell staining and imaging software.
  • Isolated regulatory T-cells from peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
  • Optimized multiplexed FACS analysis using up to eight different antibodies.




NIH K12 Training Research Educators in Minnesota Postdoctoral Scholar


NIH T32 Minnesota Muscle Postdoctoral Fellow


Ross A. Gortner Award


NIH Chemistry-Biology Interface Training Grant


3M Graduate Fellowship


Arnold H. Johnson Graduate Fellowship


Charles Carr / William Peterson Award


Undergraduate Research Grant (UROP)




Tory Schaaf, Kurt Peterson, Benjamin Grant, David Thomas, and Greg Gillispie. 2017. High Precision FRET Assays. U.S. Patent Application 62450188. Filed on Jan. 25, 2017, Utility Patent Pending.



Schaaf TM*, Kleinboehl Evan*, Samantha L Yuen, Lauren N Roelike, Bengt Svensson, Andrew R Thompson, Razvan L Cornea, David D Thomas. 2020 Live-Cell Cardiac-Specific High-Throughput Screening Platform for Drug-Like Molecules That Enhance Ca 2+ Transport. Cells, in press.


Lo, CH, TM Schaaf, DD Thomas, and JN Sachs. 2020. Fluorescent TNFR1 biosensor for monitoring receptor structural and conformational dynamics and discovery of small molecule modulators. Methods Mol Biol, in press.


Lo CH, TM Schaaf, BD Grant, CKW Lim, P Bawaskar, CC Aldrich, David D Thomas, Jonathan N Sachs. Noncompetitive inhibitors of TNFR1 probe conformational activation states. Science signaling 2019 July 30;12 (592).


Schaaf TM, Li A, Grant BD, Peterson K, Yuen S, Bawaskar P, Kleinboehl E, Li J, Thomas DD*, Gillispie GD*. Red-Shifted FRET Biosensors for High-Throughput Fluorescence Lifetime Screening. Biosensors. 2018 Oct 24;8(4).


Stroik D, S.Yuen, K Janicek, T Schaaf, J Li, D Ceholski, R Hajjar, R Cornea, and D Thomas. Targeting protein-protein interactions for therapeutic discovery via FRET-based high-throughput screening in living cells. Nature Scientific Reports. 2018 Aug 22;8(1):12560.


Lo, CH, N. Vunnam, AK Lewis, TL Chiu, BE Brummel, TM Schaaf, BD Grant, P Bawaskar, DD Thomas, and JN Sachs. An innovative high-throughput screening approach for discovery of small molecules that inhibit TNF Receptors. SLAS Discovery, Published online May 22, 2017.


Schaaf, TM, KC Peterson, BD Grant, P Bawaskar, S Yuen, J Li, JM Muretta, GD Gillispie, and DD Thomas. 2017. High-throughput spectral and lifetime-based FRET screening in living cells to identify small-molecule effectors of SERCA. SLAS Discovery 22:262-273. PMC5323330.


Schaaf, TM, KC Peterson, BD Grant, DD Thomas, and GD Gillispie. 2017. Spectral unmixing plate reader: high-throughput, high-precision FRET assays in living cells. SLAS Discovery 22:250-261. PMC5323330.



Tory M. Schaaf, KC Peterson, BD Grant, J Li, P. Bawaskar, S Yuen, GD Gillispie, and DD Thomas. Spectral unmixing plate reader: High-throughput FRET-based screening in living cells to identify small- molecule effectors of SERCA. Biophysical Society 61th Annual Meeting, February 14, 2017. New Orleans, Louisiana.


Tory M. Schaaf, Ji Li, Rocio Foncea, Simon J Gruber, Kurt C Peterson, Karl J Petersen, David A Bernlohr, Gregory D. Gillispie, and David D. Thomas. 2015. A two-color non-muscle SERCA FRET sensor for diabetes drug discovery using fluorescence lifetime detection. Chemistry-Biology Interface Career Development Workshop. August 10, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee.



Evan Kleinboehl*, Tory Schaaf*, Samantha Yuen, Lauren Roelike, Bengt Svensson,

Andrew Thompson, Razvan Cornea and David Thomas. SERCA-phospholamban intramolecular FRET biosensors for high-throughput fluorescence lifetime screening. Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA) 2019 NIH K12 Conference. July 1, 2019, Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Tory M. Schaaf, Ang Li, Benjamin D. Grant, Prachi Bawaskar, Evan Kleinboehl, Ji Li, Gregory D. Gillispie and David D. Thomas. Red-shifted FRET biosensors for high-throughput lifetime screening. Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA) 2019 NIH K12 Conference. July 1, 2019, Ann Arbor, Michigan.



  1. Carrie Wilmot, University of Minnesota, , (612) 624-2406


  1. Tinna Ross, North Hennepin Community College, , 763-488-0271


  1. Carrie Ketel-Opheim, Normandale Community College, , 952- 358-9201.