Our

Story

Next Stage Labs was founded in November 2019. We are a plant tissue culture lab and contract service provider serving the ornamental plant industry with passion, commitment, and dedication to quality plant breeding. 

Next Stage Labs serves as an integral connection in the international supply chain to help independent plant breeders move their stock to worldwide markets and suppliers. Most micropropagation labs are focused on scaling up production and don’t have an interest in maintaining or shipping small quantities of elite stock. We know the importance of preserving a disease-free, accessible repository of your proprietary varieties or key breeding lines and we’re ready to help your business. 

As trusted experts with over 16 years of experience, we lead the industry in tissue culture expertise and analytical services. Whether you have one variety or one hundred, we want to work with you.  Learn more about the Next Stage Labs difference and how we can help by contacting us today.

Our

Team

We’re plant nerds, and we love what we do! With over 16 years of experience in the horticulture industry, Next Stage Labs is ready to make your business our business.

Kelly Elsworth

President

Kelly earned a Bachelor of Science in horticulture from Virginia Tech and a Master of Science in plant breeding and genetics from North Carolina State University. Kelly has over 16 years of experience in the horticulture industry.

Kelly started her career focused on perennial container production and IPM at Monrovia Nursery in Oregon. She moved on from there to serve as interim general manager of the Monrovia Nursery in Ohio, where she managed the closure of the 280-acre farm in 2008. Kelly returned to her passion for horticulture science in 2009, spending two years under the tutelage of Dr. Tom Ranney at North Carolina State University. Upon completing her master’s degree, Kelly worked at Walters Gardens in Zeeland, MI, serving as both a plant breeder and ultimately, director of the plant tissue culture lab. Kelly left Walters Gardens in 2018 for a once in a lifetime opportunity to start a brand new tissue culture lab and serve as a plant breeder with Chris Hansen at Garden Solutions.

In the fall of 2019, Kelly took the plunge and decided to start her own company, Next Stage Labs. She bought out the lab from Garden Solutions, which has stayed on as a key client. Since November 2019, Next Stage Labs has partnered with ornamental plant breeders around the globe to safely move clean stock globally and hold a clean repository of their proprietary genetics in our lab. 

Cindy Wolfe

Senior Research Scientist

At Next Stage Labs, Cindy performs research and development and is developing our in-house virus testing services. She also performs flow cytometry and has helped to develop our inventory management system from an excel spreadsheet to the robust database it is today. Cindy graduated from the Honors College at Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in chemistry. She has developed her molecular biology expertise over 30 years of laboratory research while contributing to a wide variety of scientific disciplines. She is experienced in PCR and molecular cloning, assay development and design, and in the identification and characterization of microorganisms including bacteria and fungi. She has collaborated on the design and implementation of a natural products screen for chemotherapeutics and a successful CRISPR-Cas9 gene knock-out. Cindy has been cited in over 20 publications, posters, and presentations including a U.S. Patent. 

Casey Cole

Research Scientist

Casey has a Bachelor of Science in biology from Kalamazoo College. She is the author of or major contributor in 96 international technical reports, and she has over 30 years of experience in planning, conducting, and reporting preclinical pharmacokinetics, safety, and carcinogenicity studies. Before joining Next Stage Labs, she was part of a small start-up lab developing new insulin sensitizing compounds. At Next Stage Labs, Casey initiates new plant varieties and species into the lab, as well as performs flow cytometry, specialized media preparation, and research and development.

Joy Kantz

Lab Technician

Joy has over 15 years of experience in plant tissue culture. Before joining Next Stage Labs, Joy worked in the laboratory at Walters Gardens in Zeeland, MI. At Next Stage Labs, Joy maintains plant cultures and prepares cultures for shipping. Her experience with a wide array of plant genera has been invaluable as we continue to grow the lab. 

Stacy DeVisser

Lab Technician

Stacy has a Bachelor of Science in agriscience from Michigan State University. She has over 7 years of experience working with the USDA through Van Buren, Allegan, and Ottawa County Farm Services Agencies. At Next Stage Labs, Stacy maintains plant cultures and initiates new varieties and species into the lab. She prepares and organizes domestic and international shipments. She also implements practices to improve efficiency and streamline worklists around the lab.