Michelle is co-founder and CEO of Tinctorium, a seed-stage color startup using synthetic biology and microbial fermentation technology to create more sustainable sources of dyes and pigments for the fashion industry and beyond, starting with indigo for blue jeans. With a background in operations and strategy and a family business in denim and apparel wholesale, Michelle runs Tinctorium’s business functions and supports her co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Tammy Hsu to commercialize the biotechnology solution, which was originally developed as part of Tammy’s doctoral thesis work at UC Berkeley. Michelle completed her undergraduate studies at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.
The Honorable Paul M. Dabbar, Under Secretary for Science, serves as the Department’s principal advisor on fundamental energy research, energy technologies, and science, driving this mission through programs including nuclear and high energy particle physics, basic energy, advanced computing, fusion, and biological and environmental research, and direct management over a majority of the Department’s national labs and their world-leading user facilities. In addition, Mr. Dabbar manages the environmental and legacy management missions of the Department, addressing the U.S. legacy of nuclear weapons production and government-sponsored nuclear energy research. In addition, Mr. Dabbar is the lead for technology commercialization activities for the Department and its 17 national labs.
Prior to confirmation as Under Secretary for Science, Mr. Dabbar worked in operations, finance, and strategy roles in the energy sector. As a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan, leading various energy business areas, he has over $400 billion in investment experience across all energy sectors including solar, wind, geothermal, distributed-generation, utility, LNG, pipeline, oil & gas, trading, and energy technologies, and has also led the majority of all nuclear transactions. In addition, he had a senior leadership role for the company’s commodity trading business, including power, oil and gas.
Before joining J.P. Morgan, Mr. Dabbar served as a nuclear submarine officer in Mare Island, California, and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, including deploying to the North Pole where he conducted environmental research. He also served on the Department of Energy Environmental Management Advisory Board. He has been a lecturer at the U.S. Naval Academy, and conducted research at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Mr. Dabbar received a B.S. degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, and a masters degree from Columbia University. Mr. Dabbar and his wife, Andrea, are the parents of two children.
Michael Witherell is Lab Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He was named to this position by the University of California Regents with the concurrence of the Dept. of Energy in January 2016.
Witherell has had a distinguished career in science, academia, and the National Lab system prior to coming to the Lab. He spent six years as the director of DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in northern Illinois, which is dedicated to high-energy physics. There, he led an upgrade to the Tevatron accelerator, the highest-energy collider then operating, and also completed a $150 million project to build a long-baseline neutrino facility, which sent a beam of neutrinos 450 miles underground to a detector built at the Soudan Underground Laboratory in northern Minnesota.
He was the Presidential Chair in Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), where he was also vice chancellor for research. His responsibilities included supervising interdisciplinary research institutes in marine science, earth science, neuroscience, social sciences, and ethnic studies, in addition to the California Nanosystems Institute and six sites of the UC Natural Reserve System.
Witherell’s primary research interest is in studying the nature of dark matter. He was a contributor to the LUX experiment, which in 2016 published the most sensitive search for interactions of dark matter particles with normal matter. He is now part of an international research team that is building a successor to LUX, known as LZ, which will be three orders of magnitude more sensitive. The experiment is expected to start taking data in 2020.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He sits on the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy at the National Academies and serves on the board of directors for the University of California Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science.
Witherell has been awarded the W.K.H. Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics from the American Physical Society for his work with charmed particles observed with a silicon microstrip vertex detector. Witherell is the 2004 recipient of the Energy Secretary’s Gold Award.
He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1973 and his B.S. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1968.
Dr. Chris Fall serves as Director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the lead federal agency supporting fundamental scientific research for energy and the nation’s largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences. He oversees the Office’s two principal thrusts: direct support of scientific research, and development, construction, and operation of unique, open-access scientific user facilities that are made available to external researchers. The Office of Science also is responsible for stewardship of 10 of the Department’s 17 national laboratories.
Before joining the Office of Science, Fall served as a Senior Advisor to the Undersecretary for Energy and as Acting Director of DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Fall came to DOE from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), where he served for more than seven years in a variety of roles including Acting Chief Scientist and Lead for the Research Directorate, Deputy Director of Research, Director of the International Liaison Office, and the ONR Innovation Fellow. While on loan from ONR, Fall served for three years in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as Assistant Director for Defense Programs and then as Acting Lead for the National Security and International Affairs Division. Before government service, Fall was a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and he completed postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California at Davis Institute for Theoretical Dynamics and the New York University Center for Neural Science.
Fall earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia. He also holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
In his role as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Daniel Simmons leads EERE to promote affordable and reliable energy to enhance America’s economic growth and energy security. He oversees technology development in the energy efficiency, renewable power and sustainable transportation sectors.
Before joining the U.S. Department of Energy, Daniel served as the Institute for Energy Research’s Vice President for Policy, overseeing its energy and climate policy work at the state and federal level.
He previously served as the director of the Natural Resources Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council, was a research fellow at the Mercatus Center and worked as professional staff on the Committee on Resources of the U.S. House of Representatives.
He is a graduate of Utah State University and George Mason University School of Law.
As an early pioneer in the high-throughput synthesis and sequencing of DNA, Dr. Leproust is disrupting the process of gene synthesis to enable the exponential growth of synthetic biology applications in multiple fields including medicine, DNA data storage, agricultural biology, and industrial chemicals. In 2015, she was named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers for fast-tracking the building blocks of life, and Fast Company named her one of the most creative people in business for synthesizing DNA faster than ever. Prior to Twist Bioscience, she held escalating positions at Agilent Technologies where she architected the successful SureSelect product line that lowered the cost of sequencing and elucidated mechanisms responsible for dozens of Mendelian diseases. She also developed the Oligo Library Synthesis technology, where she initiated and led product and business development activities for the team. Dr. Leproust designed and developed multiple commercial synthesis platforms to streamline microarray manufacturing and fabrication. Prior to Agilent, she worked with Dr. X. Gao at the University of Houston developing DNA and RNA parallel synthesis processes on solid support, a project developed commercially by Xeotron Corporation. Dr. Leproust has published over 30 peer-reviewed papers—many on applications of synthetic DNA, and is the author of numerous patents. She earned her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Houston and her M.Sc. in industrial chemistry from the Lyon School of Industrial Chemistry in France.
Dan Widmaier is the CEO of Bolt Threads, a biotechnology company creating the next generation of materials that raise the bar for sustainability through an intentional design for reduced environmental impact. Widmaier earned his PhD in Chemistry and Chemical Biology from UC San Francisco, where his graduate research involved designing genetic circuits to control microbial organelles. In 2009, he co-founded Bolt Threads to address the growing need for high-quality sustainable materials. The company’s first material, Microsilk™, launched in 2012, is a fiber produced from spider silk protein through fermentation. In 2016, Widmaier led the creation of Mylo™, a revolutionary material made from mycelium, the underground structure of mushrooms, that is capable of replacing animal and synthetic leather. Harnessing his experience in both science and business development, Widmaier has scaled Bolt Threads from an incubator startup to a biomaterials platform with 100+ employees with over $200 million of investor capital. He has led Bolt Threads through multiple fundraising rounds, created lasting partnerships with brands like Stella McCartney, and launched an increasing number of commercially available products using Bolt Threads materials.
Mr. Watson is the Assistant Director for Biotechnology and Biosecurity at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President (EOP) whose mission is to ensure America is the world leader in science and technology. To that end, OSTP’s work focuses on unleashing discovery and innovation across the Research and Development (R&D) enterprise, building the workforce of the future, and advancing American values at home and abroad.
Mr. Watson leads a large biologically-related portfolio to include OSTP’s National Bioeconomy Initiative and co-chairs the Biodefense Research and Development Subcommittee (BDRD), Biological Sciences Subcommittee (BSSC), Research and Development Infrastructure Subcommittee, and Scientific Collections Interagency Working Group under the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) for the President. Additionally, Mr. Watson is responsible Bioeconomy policy development, Planetary Protection policy development, and National Resilience and Critical and Emerging Technology (C&ET) work with National Security Council (NSC) counterparts.
Mr. Watson is detailed to OSTP from the Department of Defense, where he has previously served in multiple positions as a leader for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction research, development, implementation, policy; and managing and developing interagency and international relationships. Mr. Watson’s graduate background includes degrees in international relations, biodefense, and public health.
As the CEO of Lygos, Dr. Steen’s primary responsibilities include establishing a strategic vision, managing partnership and customer development, process commercialization, product development, and fundraising. Under his leadership, Lygos has secured a strategic investment from LG Technology Ventures and been awarded several research grants from the United States Department of Energy, United States Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation. The company’s innovative work has been consistently recognized by leading industry influencers, such as BioFuels Digest, SynBioBeta and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. Dr. Steen is an expert in optimizing sugar to produce conversion efficiency and has been covered by The New York Times, Nature, TechCrunch, and Biomass Magazine. Prior to co-founding Lygos, he led efforts to engineer yeast for the conversion of sugars into fuels and chemicals at the Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute; these technologies resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications and patents, which are in various stages of commercialization. Dr. Steen earned a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University in Providence, RI and a PhD in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco. While in graduate school, Dr. Steen completed a program in Management of Technology at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
As CTO, Solomon’s responsibilities include Agilent Research Laboratories which focuses on high impact, longer range research in support of Agilent’s sustained business growth, and Agilent’s programs in university relations, external research and venture investment. In her leadership role, she works closely with Agilent’s businesses to define the company’s technology strategy and R&D priorities.
She joined Hewlett-Packard Laboratories as a research scientist and soon moved into leadership as the R&D manager for the Chemical and Biological Systems Department. When Agilent Technologies was spun out from H-P in 1999, she became responsible for R&D/Technology for Agilent’s Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis business. She was promoted to VP and Director, Agilent Laboratories in 2003, and has been Agilent’s CTO and VP since 2006.
Solomon earned her BS in chemistry from Stanford University and a doctorate in bioinorganic chemistry from MIT and completed Stanford’s Executive Development Program. Solomon serves on the board of directors at Materion Corporation and participates in multiple academic and government advisory and review boards. Amongst the recognition for her accomplishments, Solomon was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, received the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Daniel J Epstein Engineering Management Award, and named by Healthcare Technology Report to its Top 25 Women in Biotech.
Justin Skoble is the Vice President of Technical Operations at Caribou Biosciences, Inc., where he is responsible for producing the Company’s GMP materials. Caribou is a leading company in CRISPR genome editing and is developing a pipeline of off-the-shelf CAR-T cell therapies, other gene-edited cell therapies, and engineered gut microbes. Before joining Caribou in 2019, Justin was most recently Chief Development Officer at Actym Therapeutics Inc. where he lead the development of microbial therapeutics for oncology. Prior to Actym, he served in various positions of increasing responsibility in immuno-oncology and vaccine development at Aduro Biotech, Anza Therapeutics, and Cerus Corporation. Justin has authored over 12 publications in peer-reviewed journals and is an inventor on numerous U.S. and foreign patents and patent applications. Justin earned his undergraduate degree in Biology from Vassar College and his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. He did his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Sean Simpson is a Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of LanzaTech, a global leader in gas fermentation. Since its founding LanzaTech has developed and commercialized a gas fermentation process technology and established a broad and unique patent portfolio covering all areas of gas fermentation, including fermentation processes and microbes, new chemical production. Dr. Simpson has over 20 publications and 300 patents. He has received a number of awards including the 2015 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Presidential Green Chemistry Award, the 2014 Sanitarium, NZ Innovator of the Year Award, the 2013 Kea NZ World Class New Zealander in Science Award.
Reshma Shetty co-founded synthetic biology Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc. in 2008. Spun out of MIT, Ginkgo’s mission is to make biology easier to engineer. Started in a Cambridge, MA apartment, Reshma has helped to grow the company to 200 people and raised $450M in financing. In October 2018, Ginkgo launched Bioworks4, its fourth generation facility for design, fabrication and testing of custom designed microbes. Ginkgo is concurrently engineering more than 50 organisms to spec for customers including Ajinomoto, Cargill and ADM.
Reshma has been active in the field of synthetic biology for 10+ years and co-organized SB1.0, the first international conference in synthetic biology in 2004. In 2005, Reshma and colleagues founded OpenWetWare.org, a wiki for the free sharing of information among biological and biological engineering researchers. In 2006, she was an advisor to the international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition where she was best known for engineering bacteria to smell like bananas and mint. In 2008, Forbes magazine named Reshma one of Eight People Inventing the Future and in 2011, Fast Company named her one of 100 Most Creative People in Business. In 2014, Ginkgo became the first biotech company to participate in YCombinator. In 2018, Business Insider named her one of the most powerful female engineers.
Reshma Shetty has a B.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Utah and a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from MIT. As a graduate student, Reshma’s research was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the Whitaker Graduate Fellowship in Biological Engineering and the Andrew and Edna Viterbi Fellowship in Computational Biology. As an undergraduate, Reshma was supported by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the Beckman Undergraduate Research Fellowship, the Pfizer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and the University of Utah Presidential Scholarship.
Smita Shankar is VP of Research and Development at Impossible Foods. In this role, she oversees the various R&D teams. Prior to this role at Impossible, Smita led Microbial Strain and Fermentation Development. As an early hire at Impossible Foods, Smita established the yeast strain development program in early 2014, after Impossible Foods identified Soy Leghemoglobin as its key ingredient. This involved bringing on new technology, setting up a laboratory from scratch, developing new workflows and most importantly, identifying exceptional scientists and engineers to work on the problem. This work resulted in a patent covering the methods Impossible Foods uses to produce its heme.
Smita played a key role during the company’s scale-up process, which drove her personal growth into leadership. Successful scale up to the manufacturing phase for Impossible Foods required extremely close collaboration between the scientists and engineers, and a clear understanding of the company’s business needs. These successes enabled the rapid commercialization of the Impossible Burger, and supported the company’s expansion to where it is today.
Prior to Impossible Foods, Smita’s first experience with industrial biotechnology was at Codexis, where she worked on engineering microbes to make sustainable bio-based detergent alcohols.
Smita came to the United States from India for graduate school in 2001. She got her Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology at Cornell University, where she worked in the field of bacterial and phage gene expression. Following her Ph.D., Smita pursued post-doctoral work at University of California, San Francisco, where she learned the skill of yeast strain manipulation.
Smita earned her Bachelor’s in Science in Human Biology and Biophysics from All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India. Following that, she received her Masters’ Degree in Biotechnology from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
Zach is a Co-Founder of Zymergen and responsible for our overall scientific direction. Zach has 17 peer-reviewed publications in journals including Cell, Science and JACS, seven issued patents. He has served as Principal Investigator on multiple DARPA contracts developing advanced tools for bioengineering and rapid prototyping novel biomolecules to generate innovative polymers and materials. Previously, he was the Director of Biology at Amyris and worked as a research fellow at Stanford University Medical School. He has a PhD in biophysics from UCSF, an MSc in neuroscience from the University of Edinburgh and a BA from Columbia University.
Larisa Rudenko is at the Program on Emerging Technologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she studies the governance of emerging biotechnologies focusing on science- and values-based concerns. The technical areas on which she concentrates include genome editing, gene drives, biosecurity, and novel foods, including cell cultured meat. Prior to her appointment at MIT, she spent 15 years at the Food and Drug Administration, developing and implementing the agency’s policy for the regulation of the products of animal biotechnology, including primary authorship of the animal cloning risk assessment, and overseeing the first FDA approvals for genetically engineered animals including the world’s first approval of food from a genetically engineered animal. Prior to her government service, she worked in the consultancy and for VC to perform due diligence on various products and processes, as well as developing risk/safety assessments for products from microorganisms through complex mammals. Dr. Rudenko is internationally recognized for successful leadership and collegial collaboration in developing coordinated strategies and harmonized consensus documents. She serves on science and technology advisory boards for the products of emerging biotechnologies, including alternative sources of protein and cellular agriculture, and sits on several domestic and international grant reviews. Dr. Rudenko is a frequent invited speaker on governance and regulatory issues, public perception, and on the status of emerging biotechnologies, including podcasts and various media interviews. She has frequently addressed National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine working groups, and the NIH NExTRAC on issues associated with governance and regulation of emerging biotechnologies. As a founder of BioPolicy Solutions, LLC, she assists investors with due diligence reviews in the emerging biotechnology space, and assists companies in planning product development and regulatory strategies. She received her PhD in Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology from Stony Brook University after completing her doctoral work in DNA damage and repair at the Brookhaven National Laboratory; she is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology.
Dr. Molly Morse is a biopolymers and biocomposites engineer with experience in construction management and past experience consulting in venture capital. She has contributed to multiple patents in the bioplastics and biocomposites industry. Dr. Morse received her Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, with an emphasis on anaerobic biodegradation of biocomposities for the building industry. She received her B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University. At Mango Materials, Molly leads financing efforts through both public and private entities as well as coordination with various strategic partners. She travels extensively to attend conferences and events to publicize the Mango Materials technology.
John Melo has 30 years of combined experience as an entrepreneur and thought leader in developing and growing technology companies and as a senior executive in the Oil & Gas industry. As President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Melo has led Amyris through successful technology development, industrial start up, product development and commercialization and a series of funding rounds, including the initial public offering. Before joining Amyris in 2007, Mr. Melo served in various senior executive positions at BP Plc (formerly British Petroleum) most recently as President of U.S. fuels operations where he successfully led a business transformation and significantly improved the financial performance. During his tenure at BP, Mr. Melo also served as Chief Information Officer of the refining and marketing segment; Senior Advisor for e-business strategy to Lord Browne, BP group chief executive; and Director of global brand development. In this last role, he helped develop the “Helios” re-branding effort.
Before joining BP, Mr. Melo was with Ernst & Young. Mr. Melo currently serves on the board of directors of Renmatix Inc., serves on the board of directors of BayBio, serves on the Bio Industrial and Environmental section governing board, is a member of the Council for the Portuguese Diaspora and is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). He was formerly an appointed member to the U.S. section of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum. When not working on the mission of making sustainable chemistry mainstream or championing the eradication of malaria, John enjoys skiing, reading and time with his family on the island of Pico in the Azores, his childhood home.
Hendrik Meerman is Vice President of Process Development at Perfect Day, a food company on a mission to create and commercialize delicious animal-free dairy products, while leaving a kinder, greener footprint on the planet. In his current role, Hendrik oversees the development and scale-up of fermentation and downstream purification processes for the production of animal-free dairy proteins and lipids. He brings over 20 years of expertise in bioprocess technology development, scale-up and economic manufacture of commercial bioproducts to his work at Perfect Day, having built and managed teams at multiple organizations including Genencor International, Cobalt Technologies, OPX Biotechnologies, and Nucelis.
Hendrik earned his bachelors from MIT and doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin, both in Chemical Engineering. Originally from upstate New York, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1996 and currently resides in Encinitas, CA with his wife and two children.
Mr. McAfee is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist and philanthropist. Mr. McAfee has founded and funded more than thirty companies in renewable energy, oil & gas, networking equipment, enterprise software, medical devices and agriculture through McAfee Capital, Cagan McAfee Capital Partners and Berg McAfee Companies. He has founded seven companies that were taken public, including Aemetis (Nasdaq: $170 million revenues), Pacific Ethanol (Nasdaq: $1.5 billion revenues), Evolution Petroleum (NYSE) and Procera Networks (Nasdaq – sold).
Mr. McAfee was appointed in 2012 as a GlobalScot by the First Minister of Scotland, advising Scotland on renewable energy and economic growth. In 2013, he was appointed to the University of California Merced School of Engineering advisory board. Mr. McAfee has served since 1993 as an elected member of the Board of Directors of the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, one of the oldest and most influential business organizations in California, representing more than 500 technology, petrochemical, automobile, aerospace, food and other manufacturing companies.
In 2017, Mr. McAfee was ranked #36 of the “Top 100 People in the Advanced BioEconomy” and has been ranked in the top 100 globally for the past five years. He is a regular speaker at advanced bioeconomy and startup company events worldwide, including the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Summit, the Global Startup Summit (Edinburgh) and the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference (San Francisco and Washington DC). In 2015, Mr. McAfee was appointed to the Editorial Board of Ethanol Producer Magazine and is one of the three panelist experts on the BioChannel.TV television show “The New Voices”. In 2019, he was selected as an independent merit reviewer for the Technology Commercialization Fund of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Mr. McAfee is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis (Nasdaq: AMTX), a $170 million revenues (2018) Silicon Valley-based bioproducts company that developed and is commercializing technologies to produce advanced fuels and chemicals from renewable feedstocks. With several granted patents and 150 employees, Aemetis owns and operates a 60 million gallon ethanol plant near Modesto, California; built/owns/operates a 50 million gallon biodiesel and glycerin refinery plant in India; is building a $30 million renewable natural gas digester, pipeline and gas cleanup/compression project; and is building a $175 million plant to convert orchard waste wood into cellulosic ethanol. The Aemetis advanced biofuels plant was selected as the “#1 Waste-to-Value Project in the World” in 2018 by Biofuels Digest.
Aemetis has been funded with more than $200 million of debt and equity funding at an average equity valuation of more than $200 million. In 2019, Aemetis received a $125 million loan guarantee from the USDA, and has been awarded $25 million of grant funding from California agencies to support Aemetis projects.
In 2016, Aemetis obtained certain exclusive California rights to the patented Lanzatech syngas-to-ethanol production process. Lanzatech has invested more than $300 million and ten years in technology development, including the operation of six demo plants and a full-scale commercial plant in China.
Founded in 2006 and taken public via merger in early 2009, Solargen Energy is a vertically integrated large-scale solar farm company that successfully earned the county environmental and development permits for a 400 megawatt, $1.2 billion solar project on 26,000 acres of project and mitigation land in the Panoche Valley of Central California at an initial permitting cost of $12 million. Mr. McAfee founded Solargen, served as founding Chairman/CEO and serves on the board of directors. Solargen sold a controlling stake in the Panoche Valley project to a private equity firm in 2011, which received project funding from Duke Energy and ConEdison, while retaining an ongoing financial interest in the project. The first phase of the solar project has been completed and is producing low carbon energy for the California grid.
In late 2006, Mr. McAfee co-founded Pacific Asia Petroleum (NYSE: CAK), subsequently acquiring Inner Mongolia Production Company and its producing wells in Central China. Led by the former head of Texaco International, Pacific Asia went public via merger in May 2007 and grew to a $500 million market value in 2009. Pacific Asia also acquired and developed offshore oil fields in Africa in cooperation with the Nigerian national oil company.
Co-founded by Mr. McAfee in early 2003 and taken public in March 2005, Pacific Ethanol (Nasdaq: PEIX) is now a $1.5 billion revenues biofuels supplier that raised $21 million in an institutional private placement prior to going public. In 2005, Pacific Ethanol raised an $84 million investment at a $260 million valuation from Bill Gates through his $50 billion investment firm, Cascade Investments. In April 2006, Pacific Ethanol raised $145 million at a $1.1 billion valuation from institutional investors. Pacific Ethanol invested $520 million and constructed four ethanol plants with total capacity of 200 million gallons per year and became the largest biofuels producer in the Western United States. After acquiring Aventine, Pacific Ethanol now owns and operates nine ethanol plants in the US. Pacific Ethanol was co-founded by Mr. McAfee with Bill Jones, the former Secretary of State of California and 2004 U.S. Republican Senate nominee.
In 2003, Mr. McAfee founded Evolution Petroleum (NYSE: EPM $300 million market value), an acquirer and developer of natural gas and oil fields. In 2004, Evolution completed the $3 million acquisition of the 13,000 acre Delhi Field in Louisiana, which had previously produced about 190 million barrels of oil. Evolution was taken public via merger in June 2004. In May 2005, Evolution earned about a $50 million cash gain from the sale of approximately a 70% interest in the Delhi Field to Denbury Resources, including an investment of more than $170 million by Denbury to construct a 78-mile CO2 pipeline and conduct a large-scale CO2 flood oil production project in the Delhi field. This CO2 flood project is expected to produce an additional 60 million barrels of oil from the Delhi field, with projected future oil revenues of more than $4 billion, of which Evolution has retained about a 30% interest. After three years of pipeline and field development, oil production at the Delhi Field started in 2010 and the capital investment was fully repaid by 2012. The company has been generating dividends from operating positive cash flow since 2013.
In mid 2003, Mr. McAfee co-founded Procera Networks (Nasdaq: PKT $250 million market value – sold in 2015), a deep packet inspection network device company that provides Intelligent Policy Enforcement (IPE) solutions for cable networks, educational institutions and other broadband network operators. In 1998, Mr. McAfee co-founded NetStream and built one of the first MPLS-based phone networks in the world, using digital soft-switch technology rather than analog switches. NetStream received $24 million of financing from Cisco Systems and $31 million of funding from UBS Capital.
In 1992, Mr. McAfee co-founded PC-card manufacturer New Media Corporation, which grew to $48 million revenues and 150 employees within three years. New Media received $15 million of financing from AMP, Inc., a Fortune 50 company. Beginning in 1986, Mr. McAfee was an Associate with Western Mercantile, a Los Angeles leveraged buyout firm. The principals of Western Mercantile were former White House Counsel John Dean and former Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr.
In 1978 while attending high school, Mr. McAfee and his three brothers founded McAfee Farms, now a 480-acre organic almond producer located in the California Central Valley. In 1999, Mr. McAfee co-founded and funded Organic Pastures Dairy Company with his brothers, now the largest raw milk dairy and processor in the United States. Organic Pastures Dairy is located on 400 acres near Fresno, California; manages more than 1,200 cows with 105 employees; and operates bottling, creamery, cheese plant and branded distribution operations. Customers include national grocery chains and more than 40,000 customers supplied each week. Organic Pastures has more than a 95% market share in its core products.
In 2004, Mr. McAfee and his wife funded a significant portion of the $10 million Dr. Lapsley McAfee Fieldhouse and meadow at Mount Hermon. Mount Hermon is a 100-year-old, 400-acre Christian conference center located in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California that serves about 120,000 families and attendees per year. The McAfee Fieldhouse is named after Mr. McAfee’s great grandfather, a founding trustee of Mount Hermon in 1906 and a noted pastor and missionary who served for 35 years as the senior pastor of Berkeley First Presbyterian Church. Completed in January 2006, the McAfee Fieldhouse is an Ahwahnee Hotel-style facility that seats 750 people and contains a full basketball court, weight facility, junior high and high school rooms, and family games facility on five acres of grass fields and redwood trees.
In 2005, Mr. McAfee and his wife funded, along with state and community support, the $8 million McAfee Performing Arts and Lecture Center in Saratoga, California. This facility is a state-of-the-art community performing arts center with 560 seats, serving Saratoga and nearby Silicon Valley cities.
In 1985, Mr. McAfee was a Congressional Award medal recipient for his volunteer work, including the development of a farm for troubled youth (Valley Teen Ranch). In 1980, Mr. McAfee travelled for one year as the lead trumpet player and performer with a 120-member cast of Up With People, a cast representing 32 countries that performed and lived with host families in 30 cities in Mexico and 80 cities throughout the U.S. In 2007, Mr. McAfee and his wife were awarded the first Opportunity International Al Whittaker Founder’s Award for their charitable work. Opportunity International is one of the largest microfinance institutions in the world with about 1 million loan clients per year in more than 35 countries and annual loans of about $350 million.
In 1986, Mr. McAfee graduated as the Dean’s Medalist from the Fresno State University business school. He lectured as the 2001 Entrepreneur in Residence at FSU and earned the business school Alumni of the Year Award in 2002. Mr. McAfee served as a 2007 Entrepreneur in Residence at The Wharton School MBA Program. Mr. McAfee is an alumni of the Stanford Graduate School of Business (1993 Executive Program) and is a 2004 graduate of the Harvard Business School Private Equity and Venture Capital Program.
As the ALD for Biosciences, Mary Maxon oversees Berkeley Laboratory’s Biological Systems & Engineering, Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology, and Molecular Biophysics & Integrated Bioimaging Divisions and the DOE Joint Genome Institute. Maxon has been integral to the strategic planning efforts and development of the Biosciences Area for four years, most recently as the Biosciences Principal Deputy. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from the State University of New York, Albany, and her graduate degree in molecular cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley. Maxon has worked in the private sector, both in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, as well as the public sector, highlighted by her tenure as the Assistant Director for Biological Research at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President, where she developed the National Bioeconomy Blueprint. With her diverse and extensive background in industry, scientific foundations, and both state and federal government, Maxon is recognized as a national leader in science and technology policy.
Dr. Jon Magnuson is Team Lead for Biological Conversion in the Chemical and Biological Processing Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland WA. He has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota. At PNNL since 1998, his research focus has been on the development of fungal bioprocesses for the biosynthesis of biofuels, biochemicals and proteins relevant to the biomanufacturing industry. This involves development and application of advanced genetic engineering tools for robust non-model fungi, multi-omics characterization and modeling of those bioprocess organisms and demonstrating those bioprocesses in reactor configurations relevant to industry. He is Director of the Fungal Biotechnology Team at the US Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in Emeryville CA. He is also the PNNL Lead for the seven National Lab DOE Agile BioFoundry (ABF).
Casey Lippmeier, PhD. has more than 20 years of experience translating science into products in the biotechnology industry. Casey currently serves as the Vice President of Research and Development for Conagen Inc. – a fully integrated biomanufacturing company which uses synthetic biology to deliver high value ingredients for the food, flavor, nutritional, pharmaceutical, and renewable materials industries. Prior to joining Conagen, Casey was a Principal Scientist for DSM Nutritional Products, where he was an inventor of several diverse technologies including strains and processes for production of healthy fats, fermentation-based biodiesel, and a faster, better, and cheaper platform for production of many vaccines. Casey began his industrial career at Martek Biosciences where he helped to establish their molecular biotechnology group and while there developed the strains which still today produce the DHA and ARA used to fortify most infant formulas globally. Casey received his graduate training at Dartmouth College and the University of Hull, and undergraduate training at the University of Maine, Orono. He serves on the editorial board of several peer-reviewed journals and does volunteer work for the US DIYbio community.
A career “drug hunter,” Dr. Kiefer has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry in structure-based drug design. He is currently Principal Scientist and Associate Director of Structural Biology at Genentech, leading a team of scientists focused on drug design and structural underpinnings of fundamental biology. His work has contributed to multiple molecules that entered clinical trials. His research interests span DNA replication, gene transcription, and signaling pathways. Dr. Kiefer received a PhD in Biochemistry from Duke University and Bachelor’s Degrees in Biology and French from Indiana University.
Jay Keasling is the Philomathia Professor of Alternative Energy at the University of California, Berkeley in the Departments of Bioengineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, senior faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Chief Executive Officer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI). Dr. Keasling’s research focuses on the metabolic engineering of microorganisms for degradation of environmental contaminants or for environmentally friendly synthesis of drugs, chemicals, and fuels. Keasling received a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from the University of Nebraska and M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and did post-doctoral research in biochemistry at Stanford University. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors.
Ryan Hunt is a biophysics engineer and entrepreneur with a focus on algae technologies for environmental restoration and sustainable materials. Ryan co-founded ALGIX with the mission to utilize algae to transform air and water pollution into a replacement for plastics in consumer products. Our thermoplastic conversion technology is used to create Bloom Foam for use in footwear, sports, accessories, and automotive applications. Bloom is collaborating with dozens of leading fashion and consumer brand’s to create more eco-conscious products for the growing circular economy converting waste into value.
Dr. David Hazlebeck founded Global Algae Innovations in 2013 to develop algae solutions for global dilemmas. The unparalleled economic and environmental benefits of algae will solve the most challenging issues of our time. Global Algae has developed a suite of radical advances in open pond algae growth and down-stream processing for commercially-viable and sustainable production of oil and protein meal. Through these innovations, cost-competitive algal food, feed and biofuel solutions are now within reach. Dr. Hazlebeck received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California San Diego. He completed the Executive Program for Scientists and Engineers at the University of California San Diego. He has over 30 years of experience in chemical and biological research and development from laboratory through piloting and commercial operation. Prior to founding Global Algae Innovations, he led the biofuels and algae products program at General Atomics, including a collaboration with 28 other organizations to develop algae for biofuels that culminated in the design and operation of a large-scale, advanced algae production facility.
Magalie Guilhabert holds a Master in Biology (minor Plant Breeding) from the University of Rennes, France, and a PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of California, Davis, US. Her research includes Plant-Microbe Interactions and Microbial Molecular Signaling. She performed post-doctoral work at the United States Department of Agriculture, Albany, CA, in the Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Group.
Magalie has more than 13 years’ experience in different R&D positions in the CropScience Industry with Bayer and legacy companies. Recently, she served as the Director, Head of Crop Efficiency and Seed Growth at Bayer CropScience, where her responsibilities included the identification and development of microbial solutions for seed treatment of row crops.
Since November 2018 Magalie has headed the R&D activities to drive the identification and optimization of differentiating, efficacious and safe new active ingredients. She is also member of the Biologics R&D leadership team of Bayer CropScience. She is currently located at the Biologics Bayer CropScience Site in West Sacramento, CA.
Magalie is an advocate for public/private partnership and has been for example member of the Board of directors of the International Alliance for Phytobiome Research, an industry-academic collaborative initiative focused on building a phytobiome-based foundation for accelerating the sustainable production of food, feed, and fiber. She has also recently been a public member in the University of California Davis Biological Safety Administrative Advisory Committee, US. Magalie is an inventor on several issued patents and has published her work in peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Bacteriology, Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, Molecular Microbiology and PLoS.
Jorge Galazzo is Vice President of Science and Technology for Algae Ingredients at Corbion. Corbion is a Netherlands-based, global leader in food ingredients and biochemicals that develops sustainable ingredient solutions to improve the quality of life for people today and for future generations. Jorge leads the research and development efforts of Corbion’s algae ingredients platform, from strain development to pilot plant scale-up and tech transfer into manufacturing. Jorge has over 30 years of experience in different aspects of industrial biotechnology. During his career, Jorge has worked with strains belonging to 15 different genera and has been involved in the development of over 20 different fermentation-derived products, seven of which are produced commercially. Jorge holds a PhD in chemical engineering (minor in biology) from the California Institute of Technology and a ChemEng degree from Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina.
SCOTT FRANKLIN is the scientific co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Checkerspot where he oversees the development of their advanced materials innovation technology platform. Scott has a doctorate in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin and 30 years of experience in plant molecular biology, microbiology, algal molecular genetics and recombinant protein expression. He has successfully developed novel organisms as platforms for the production of therapeutic proteins, fuels, foods and oleochemicals. This is Scott’s second start up venture, the first being Rincon Pharmaceuticals in 2004. Scott enjoys managing highly innovative teams while interfacing with corporate partners. He has successfully built technical, intellectual property and regulatory teams around industrial microbe platforms, while concurrently managing relationships and delivering on milestones with partners such as Chevron (San Ramon, CA), Unilever (Trumbull, CT), DOW Chemical (Midland, MI), Mitsui Chemical (Rye Brook, NY), AkzoNobel (Amsterdam, NL), Bunge (White Plains, NY) and Biogen Idec (Cambridge, MA), to name a few. As Vice President of Discovery and Molecular Biology at Solazyme, Scott was responsible for the successful development of the company’s tailored oils platform, engineering and improving algal strains that resulted in the delivery of thousands of metric tons of triglyceride oils for myriad partners including the United States Navy, Unilever, Bunge, Chevron, DOW, Mitsui and AkzoNobel. Scott is co-author on 52 issued patents.
Dr. Dyson is the CEO of Air Protein, which is focused on feeding the world’s population with food made from the most sustainable protein, protein that is made from elements found in the air. Using a proprietary probiotic production process, Air Protein is forging the way into a new era of sustainable food production, and has introduced the world’s first food from CO2. I’m driving. Dyson is also the CEO of Kiverdi, which is remaking supply chains with carbon transformation.
Dr. Dyson is a scientist and entrepreneur to her core, taught to solve problems. She was raised by an entrepreneur where she saw ideas come to fruition and she thrives when she is able to use her scientific knowledge to solve problems that are good for business and good for the planet. Lisa has spent the last decade of her career working on climate-positive technologies.
As a mission-driven entrepreneur, Dr. Dyson is passionate about challenging business leaders to adopt innovative, sustainable ways of producing.
Charles Dimmler is the co-founder and CEO of Checkerspot. His career has focused on building and leading teams at emerging growth companies in the life sciences and biotechnology sector. He has deep expertise in general management and leading strategic transactions, with over $1 billion of completed transactions ranging from public and private financings to joint ventures, licensing and M&A. From 2008 to 2016, he served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Solazyme, Inc. where he led financings and a range of other strategic transactions, including two venture capital rounds, the initial public offering, two public convertible debt issuances, and project financing for the construction of a commercial scale manufacturing facility in Brazil. In addition to his corporate development responsibilities, he served as Acting General Manager of Solazyme’s personal care business in 2009. Prior to Solazyme, Charles was the General Manager of Geron BioMed, Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Geron Corporation, where he led a team focused on developing R&D and preclinical cell therapy candidates. Charles began his career as an investment banker at Peter J. Solomon Company. From 2008 to 2016, Charles remained active in his community as an Operations Leader with the Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit, the mountain search and rescue team of the San Mateo County Sheriff. Charles earned his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and his BA from Columbia University.
Dr. Dale is the Biomass and Biodiversity Team Leader and a Scientist 4 in the Bioscience Division at LANL. As a biochemist with expertise in the design and development of mid- to high-throughput assays, she has focused on applications ranging from nucleic acid:protein interactions, to exploring algae and other microorganisms as platforms for making cost-effective biofuels and bioproducts. In algae, Dr. Dale’s team is improving the productivity and environmental tolerance of microalgae strains, with an effort towards translating these results to outdoor cultivation. In non-phototrophs, she leads a team focused on the development and application of high-throughput tools for enhancing metabolic flux towards new target molecules, including monomers for renewable plastics. Dr. Dale has also served as the co-program manager for the Bioenergy and Bioproducts Program in LANL’s Science Program Office of Applied Energy.
Dr. Sunil Chandran is currently Senior Vice President and Head of Research and Development at Amyris. He received a BS in Chemistry from the University of Mumbai, an MS in Organic Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Michigan State University. He worked previously as a Post-Doctoral Research Scholar in the Biochemistry department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and as a Scientist at Kosan Biosciences. Dr. Chandran’s primary interests lie in the field of metabolic engineering for the microbial production of chemicals with a wide range of applications. During his tenure at Amyris, Dr. Chandran led the development of the Automated Strain Engineering pipeline and has overseen multiple research programs at Amyris focused on commercializing various molecules. He also led the DARPA funded Mgs to Kgs program at Amyris to reduce the cost and timeline required to commercialize any new biological target by developing efficient, high-throughput strain optimization pipelines that integrate custom software, robotics, molecular biology, next-generation strain testing platforms, big-data analytics, and machine learning algorithms.
Gregg T. Beckham is a Senior Research Fellow and Group Leader at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He received his PhD in Chemical Engineering at MIT in 2007. He currently leads and works with an interdisciplinary team of biologists, chemists, and engineers at NREL on green processes and products using chemistry and biology, including in the areas of biomass conversion and plastics upcycling.
Nelson has served as Genomatica’s Senior Vice President of Research and Development since October 2015, after joining Genomatica in October 2011 as Vice President of Research and Development. Nelson leads R&D from ideation through technology transfer as well as continuing to advance Genomatica’s technology platform. From 2000 to 2011, Nelson held several roles at Verenium Corporation (formerly Diversa Corporation), including Vice President, R&D from 2008 to 2009, Sr. Vice President, R&D from 2009 to 2010 and Head of R&D starting in 2010 when Verenium’s biofuels business was acquired by BP Biofuels Corporation. From 1996 to 2000, he was Fermentation Scientist and Manager, R&D Biologics with Calbiochem-Novabiochem. Nelson holds a BA in Molecular Biology from University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. from University of Miami, School of Medicine. Nelson was a Postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, Department of Cell and Development Biology and a Howard Hughes fellow at University of California, San Diego, Department of Pharmacology.
Sarah Baker received her Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin-Madison in materials chemistry. Currently, she is a Deputy Group Leader and Carbon Utilization Technology Manager at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Sarah’s research focuses on integrating advanced materials with biocatalytic systems for energy and carbon utilization applications, developing materials for energy applications, and carbon dioxide capture and utilization. Additionally, as a leader in LLNL’s Carbon Initiative, Sarah researches technologies and systems for achieving negative carbon emissions.