After receiving two graduate degrees in physics (Portland State Univ., Portland, OR and Univ. of Konstanz, Germany) Mense received his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Physiology from Yale University in 2000. The next six years he spent at Rockefeller University (New York, NY), applying molecular biology and biochemistry tools as well as electrophysiology to elucidate structure-function relationships of CFTR. Many mutations in this protein can cause the cystic fibrosis (CF) disease. After a one year stint at Synta Pharmaceuticals (Lexington, MA) as an electrophysiologist on the CRAC channel inhibitor program Mense joined Epix Pharmaceuticals (Lexington, MA) in 2007 as the Head of CF Biology for a CFTR small molecule modulator program funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics (CFFT). When Epix went out of business in 2009, Mense took the role of Principle Scientist for Drug Discovery at the CF Foundation. He is on the joint scientific advisory committees for many of the CF Foundation's partnered therapeutics discovery programs. After closely working with the Flatley Discovery Lab (Charlestown, MA), in 2011 Mense was charged with establishing an independent and fully CF Foundation-operated and -funded laboratory, which he has been heading since 2012.