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Degree/Class Programs

Tobin Eppard

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Beverage Analysis Lab

Katie Strain

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Faculty & Staff

Tobin Eppard

Tobin Eppard, BA, BS, MBA, DB, DMB, IBD Fellow

Lecturer – Brewery Operations

Specialty: Application of the technical scientific approach of brewing/manufacturing to Operations Management, Engineering and Brand Marketing. Particular fondness to biochemistry and behavior of yeast and other organismal fermentation processes

Courses: Applied Brewing Operations, Beers of the World, Brewery Mechanics, Brewery Operations, Homebrewing & Fermentation

Toby has been tenured at Coors Brewing Company since 1986 where he started in the Quality Control – Microbiology Department. He has worked in many technical disciplines in the areas of Quality Management, Production, Research Pilot Brewing, Brewing Technology Training, Research and Development, Product Development/Innovation, Corporate Brewing and is frequently consulted within the international community with regard to Yeast and Fermentation processes.

Toby has earned undergraduate degrees in Biology/Microbiology and Chemistry and also has earned graduate degrees in Operations Management and Marketing. He has also completed the Master Brewer’s program under the tutelage of Dr. Michael Lewis at the University of California at Davis successfully completing the IBD (Institute of Brewing and Distilling) Diploma and Master Brewer qualifications.

He has been recognized by IBD council election as a Fellow of the IBD, the highest membership class within the organization. Toby remains actively involved with the IBD in the UK as a result, as a member of the Board of Examiners and currently fulfilling the role of senior examiner for Diploma in Brewing Paper II. He is frequently consulted with regard to the development of in-house and blended learning approaches for the course materials and objectives for all IBD examinations.

In addition, Toby was the President of the American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC) “The Wild West” Local Section 8 from 1998 to 2003, and served on the Executive Board for the Rocky Mountain Section of the Master Brewers’ Association of the Americas (MBAA) as co-technical chair from 2004 to 2010. Toby also serves on the MBAA Higher Education Committee, and Executive Board as current past Executive President of the MBAA.

After 33 years of industry service at MillerCoors, Toby retired in January of 2019 from MillerCoors. Currently he lectures at Metropolitan State University of Denver within the Brewery Operations Major, and he will be assisting as a Lecturer in the Brewery Operations Program.

Helene Ver Eecke

Helene Ver Eecke, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Biology

Specialty: Extreme Microbiology, Fermentation

Courses: Brewing Fermentation

Helene Ver Eecke, Ph.D. teaches biology and is a founding member and intercollege-liaison of the Beer Industry Program at MSU Denver. Ver Eecke has been involved in the programs’ conceptualization and actualization, including co-developing the fermentation science course curriculum. To further prepare for these tasks she has shadowed at various fermentation facilities and quality assurance laboratories including Avery Brewery, Breckenridge Brewery, New Belgium Brewery, and UC Davis. As an avid home-brewer, she’s excited to further foster collaborations with the brewing community and expand brewing operations programs at MSU Denver.  She also actively runs biological QA/QC for Tivoli Brewing Company on the MSU Denver Campus.

As a specialist in extreme microbiology, her work has been featured in NASA Magazine, Science Daily and PNAS. Ver Eecke served as senior microbiologist for an industrial fermentation company where her skills of screening, cultivating, and optimizing microbes were expanded to large scale processes. Ver Eecke has been a professor of biology at numerous institutions and is currently a tenure-track professor at MSU Denver. She teaches General Microbiology, Microbial Ecology, and Fermentation Science, and is the faculty coordinator of General Microbiology. Ver Eecke’s research lab at MSU Denver is used to study various projects including brewing, bioremediation and extremophiles.


Katie Strain

Katie Strain, M.S., C.B.S., T.T.B.

Lecturer, Beer Industry Program

Specialty: Brewing Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Homebrewing

Courses: Brewing Quality Analysis, Beers of the World

Katie Strain came to MSU Denver in the Fall of 2018 with over 15 years of laboratory experience. She runs the Beverage Analytics QA/QC Laboratory | Powered by The Siebel Institute of Technology here at MSU Denver. She is one of only seven triple-TTB Certified Chemists in the country, and is qualified for the analysis of Beer, Wine, and Spirits.

Check out this awesome article from Company Week on Katie and the Beverage Analysis Labs she manages!

Previously, Katie earned her M.S. from Southern Illinois University- Carbondale in Zoology, with an emphasis in Ecotoxicology and Analytical Chemistry.  Her thesis project followed the fate and transport of the insecticidal Bt Cry1Ab protein derived from the soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, in a large-scale corn field located in central Illinois. After she graduated from SIU, she started working for the newly-developed SIU Fermentation Science Institute. She helped design and managed the Service Laboratory, and managed the day-to-day operations of the Institute, all while snacking on malt.

She earned a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2005, where she worked in a cancer research lab. When she left Nebraska, she worked at Colorado State University under Dr. Karen Dobos, isolating and generation materials for Tuberculosis research. Starting in Fall of 2020, Katie will be teaching as a full time faculty member in the Beer Industry Program here at MSU Denver.

Katie is married to her husband, Ryan, who is the head baseball coach at MSU Denver. Get Rowdy!


Michael B. Jacobs

Michael B. Jacobs, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Specialty: Physical, Analytical, Brewing, and Applied Chemistry

Courses: Brewing Science

Michael B. Jacobs is an assistant professor and teaches several chemistry courses within the Chemistry Department as well as Brewing Science within the Beer Industry Program. Before teaching he had several of years of industrial experience as a chemist in Food Science. 

Jacob’s undergraduate research lab focuses on fundamental and applied spectroscopy research, energy/sustainability biofuel research, and quantitative and qualitative research in brewing science. Jacobs has participated in developing curriculum for the brewing science course and the brewing program as a whole. He has also been active in the planning for the new beer labs to be built at MSU Denver. 

In addition, he has consulted in the food and beverage industry extensively. He is part of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), has home brewed for 11 years and made wine for five years. He is excited and happy to continue developing collaborations with the craft brewing industry and co-developing a strong brewing program involved in brewing science operations and research at MSU Denver.  He teaches Physical Chemistry I/II, Survey of Physical Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Instrumental Analysis Lab, General Chemistry I/II, Principles of General Chemistry, and Brewing Science.


Andrew J. Bonham

Andrew J. Bonham, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Chemistry                                        

Specialty: Biochemistry

Courses: Brewing Science

Andrew Bonham has experience in grant administration, curriculum development, biochemistry research, and biochemistry teaching. Bonham is the department chair in the MSU Denver Department of Chemistry, where he is an associate professor. He is co-PI on an active NSF-funded educational grant, Denver Metro Chem Scholars, which provides financial support and cohort-building activities for financially-limited students who intend to pursue graduate careers in chemistry. Bonham has an educational career focus on both biochemistry and effective pedagogy.

Bonham regularly teaches courses in biochemistry, senior experience in chemistry, and biological chemistry. Bonham maintains and leads an active research program at MSU Denver, currently with 6 undergraduate students engaged in bio-sensory design and optimization experiments. As a seasoned home-brewer, Bonham has provided input in the design and structure of fermentation courses for brewing operations programs at MSU Denver.