Board of Directors
The leadership of the Algae Biomass Organization is critical is assisting the industry to move forward towards commercialization.
The leadership of the Algae Biomass Organization is critical is assisting the industry to move forward towards commercialization.
|Mr. Martin Sabarsky, Cellana Inc., Chairperson
Mr. Sabarsky is the CEO of Cellana, Inc., a leading developer of algae-based products. Prior to joining Cellana in 2008, he led the corporate development function at Diversa Corp. (now known as Verenium Corp., a subsidiary of BASF) as Vice President of Corporate Development.
Before Diversa, Mr. Sabarsky worked as an investment banker with Bear Stearns, where he focused on financings and mergers and acquisitions within the life sciences industry and was a lead banker on Diversa’s $200 million IPO in 2000. Prior to joining Bear Stearns, he worked as a transactional attorney with Latham & Watkins LLP.
Mr. Sabarsky has an A.B. in Biology and Political Science from Brown University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and an M.B.A. from the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego.
|Jacques Beaudry-Losique, Algenol Biofuels, Vice Chairperson
Jacques Beaudry-Losique was appointed Senior Vice President of Corporate and Business Development for Algenol on July 1st 2013. Mr. Beaudry-Losique leads Algenol Business Development Team and also manages Government and Regulatory Affairs for the Company, working with elected officials and government agencies on policy and regulatory issues. Jacques has more than 20 years experience working in the energy and technology sectors, and was previously Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy for Codexis, a publicly traded biofuels and biopharma company (NASDAQ: CDXS). From 2005 to 2011, Beaudry-Losique held senior policy and management positions at the Department of Energy.
At the DOE, Jacques led efforts to build a second-generation biofuels industry across two administrations, managed three clean energy programs, and served for two years as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy. Mr. Beaudry-Losique was also instrumental in decisions to invest more than $1.5 billion of Recovery Act funds in renewable energy projects, including $800 million in biofuels projects. Additional experience for Beaudry-Losique includes senior management positions with GE Power Systems and Aspen Technologies (NASDAQ: AZPN), a process engineering software company. Jacques began his career with Shell Canada where he held senior engineering, fuel quality and process optimization roles. Additionally, Jacques worked with and advised Fortune 500 companies while at McKinsey & Co.
Mr. Beaudry-Losique holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Montreal, a Master of Science degree in Engineering Management from Stanford University and a Master of Science degree in Management from MIT.
|Thomas Byrne, Byrne & Company Limited, Secretary/Treasurer
Thomas Byrne is one of the renewable energy industry’s most experienced project consultants. His experience dates back to 1979 when he began his career as an accountant, later becoming a consultant to the renewable energy industry. Since forming Byrne & Company Limited, he has worked on many successful projects, offering a broad array of client services including feasibility studies, financial modeling, business plan preparation, equity meetings organization, startup management assistance, project organization, and preparing grant applications.
Mr. Byrne has developed a passion for the emerging algae to energy industry. His commitment began with XL Renewables, Inc., now know as Phyco Biosciences, Inc., serving as the CFO since 2007. Mr. Byrne deepened his commitment to develop an algal technology as the President of Algaedyne, Corporation in 2008.
In November 2007, Byrne & Company, Limited co-hosted the inaugural Algae Biomass Summit in San Francisco, California and the 2008 Summit in Seattle, Washington. The Summits were the foundation for the establishment of the Algal Biomass Organization in 2008. Mr. Byrne was elected to the ABO’s Board of Directors and serves as Board Secretary.
|Mark Allen, Accelergy Corporation
As the Vice President of Integrated Carbon Solutions for Accelergy Corporation Mark leads the company efforts to develop and deploy technology platforms to efficiently monetize and reduce CO2 emissions. He is a licensed professional engineer with more than 25 years experience in the design, construction, and operation of large-scale engineering, infrastructure, and environmental projects including biological process systems of more than 500 million gallons per day capacity.
He holds a Civil Engineering degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology and is a successful entrepreneur having co-founded A2BE Carbon Capture in 2007 and also founded a corporate knowledge management company in 1999. Previously he managed large engineering organizations for Rust Environment and Infrastructure, Metcalf & Eddy, SAIC, and others. Under these organizations he had full profit and loss responsibility for multiple lines of business including: water and wastewater engineering, environmental engineering, hazardous and solid waste engineering, transportation engineering, and information technology and other professional service offerings.
In the algal biomass industry he focuses on process engineering, systems integration, and systems architecture for scalable algal biomass production and deployment, with a particular emphasis on reducing carbon in the atmosphere through terrestrial carbon sequestration. Mark is a founding board member of the Algae Biomass Organization and has chaired a number of committees and is a past Chairman and President. He is very active in the Executive Policy Council and has worked on numerous policy initiatives and participated in numerous ABO congressional briefings and meetings with DOE, EPA, and USDA. Mark is also a former Adjacent Professor of Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
|Dr. John Benemann, MicroBio Engineering Inc.
Dr. Benemann has both a B.S. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, both from the University of California Berkeley; in addition he spent three years as postdoctoral fellow, Dept. of Chemistry, U.C. San Diego; then rejoined U.C. Berkeley in the Department of Civil Engineering, where, as an independent researcher where he supervised half dozen Ph.D. thesis students in Civil Engineering, Biophysics and Plant Physiology. In 1980, he started a small microalgae biotechnology company and from 1983-1988 was Associate Professor at Georgia Inst. of Technology.
For the past 20+ years he has been a part time researcher at the University of California Berkeley (Depts. of Civil Engineering and Plant and Microbial Biology). and at the University of Hawaii (adjunct Professor), and a full-time consultant. His current research interests are the areas of microalgae products, aquaculture, wastewater treatment, photosynthesis, municipal solid wastes management, biofuels and all aspects of greenhouse gas abatement.
He is the author of numerous publications and reports and belongs to a number of professional and trade organizations. He was the manager of the “Microalgae Biofixation Network” operated by the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programmer.
|Dr. Amha Belay – Ph.D., CTO, Earthrise Nutritionals
Dr. Amha Belay is Sr. Vice President and CTO of Earthrise Nutritionals, a company that has been engaged in outdoor Spirulina biomass production for over 30 years. Dr. Belay has an extensive experience in microalgae biomass production both in natural lakes as well as in mass culture outdoors. He has an extensive experience in quality management systems, product development and health application of algae in general and Spirulina in particular. Currently, he is in charge of all scientific, technical and regulatory aspects of Spirulina production.
In addition to his own research on various aspects of mass production and application of Spirulina, Dr. Belay is also engaged in research activities and coordination of several contracted research from various institutions and companies in the area of biomass production for food, feed, fuel and biochemicals. He serves as a technical advisor, board member and expert reviewer of several organizations.
Prior to joining Earthrise, Dr. Belay was Associate Professor and Head of the Biology Department, Science Faculty, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, Senior Fellow of the Third World Academy of Sciences, Italy, a research fellow at the Freshwater Institute, UK, and Senior Fulbright Fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Belay has published several scientific papers, and has served as an editor, editorial board member and reviewer of many journals.
Dr. Belay is a founding and an executive committee member of the International Society for Applied Phycology, a member of the Phycological Society of America, the Asia-Pacific Society for Algal Biotechnology, Algae Biomass Organization, the International Society of Food Technologists and the American Association for the Advancement of Science to mention a few.
Dr. Belay has recently received the “Distinguished Applied Phycologist Award” from the International Society for Applied Phycology.
|Dr. Keith Cooksey, Environmental Biotechnology Consultants
Dr. Keith Cooksey has more than 40 years experience in isolating, growing and performing physiological, biochemical and ecological studies on freshwater and marine microalgae. He was a lead investigator in the DoE, Solar Energy Research Institute’s Aquatic Species Program to remediate carbon dioxide and form biodiesel. At that time, work from his lab provided the program with a way to measure triglyceride in 1 mL of culture, a new way of looking at triglyceride (TAG) accumulation not previously considered and ideas where the controls of microalgal lipid synthesis and utilization may be located. Recently he has been elected to the Algal Biomass Organization Board of Directors.
His current research (with others) is funded by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Biomass Program of the Department of Energy. The goals of these are to examine the use of microalgae from extreme environments (e.g., Yellowstone Park) for TAG production as well as potential control points in microalgal lipid metabolism.
Professional memberships include American Society for Microbiology, Psychological Society of America, Society for General Microbiology (Great Britain), and the Algae Biomass Organization.
|Al Darzins, Ph. D., Proteos, Inc.
Dr. Darzins is the COO of Proteos, Inc., a contract research organization that specializes in providing research grade recombinant proteins for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life science communities.
Prior to joining Proteos, he was an R&D Director at the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) where he was responsible for leading GTI’s biotechnology-based research efforts in alternative energy and renewable fuels development. Previous to joining GTI, Dr. Darzins was a Research Manager in DuPont’s Biofuels group where he led a large group working on biobutanol technology development and also managed DuPont’s ARPA-e funded macroalgae to biobutanol project. Before DuPont he was at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) where he managed a multidisciplinary research team responsible for developing and integrating chemical and biological technologies for the conversion of biomass to transportation fuels.
While at NREL he also helped re-establish the organization’s microalgal biomass program. He was instrumental in helping to organize the National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap workshop and contributed to the DOE National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap document. He has also served as the Site Director for the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels (C2B2) and was a Fellow in the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI).
Dr. Darzins began his career as a faculty member in the Department of Microbiology at The Ohio State University. He holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He served as Biology Track Chair for the 2013 Algae Biomass Summit (ABS), the Program Co-chair for the 2014 ABS and the Program Chair for the 2015 ABS.
|Dr. Laurel Harmon – Ph.D., VP Government Relations, LanzaTech
Dr. Harmon provides policy direction and leadership on international legislative and regulatory matters and develops collaborative research and demonstration projects for LanzaTech. LanzaTech is the global leader in gas fermentation technology and was created with a vision of meeting the increasing global demand for affordable, low carbon fuels and sustainably produced chemicals that do not threaten food security or create indirect land use change. LanzaTech’s technology utilizes proprietary bacteria to produce ethanol in a biological gas fermentation process. Like all other routes to bioethanol, LanzaTech’s process involves biological conversion of inorganic carbon from gases to bioethanol that can be blended with gasoline for automotive transport. LanzaTech’s unique process leverages wastes and residues to produce sustainable fuels and platform chemicals that serve as building blocks for everyday products such as rubber and plastics.
Dr. Harmon joined LanzaTech from Striatus Inc., where she consulted on policies, projects and combinatorial discovery for advanced technologies, including energy and renewable fuels. After receiving her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Michigan, Dr. Harmon joined ERIM, a non-profit research organization, to conduct applied R&D for a variety of defense and other government customers. Later she was a technical co-founder of Nonlinear Dynamics, a company specializing in applied pattern recognition and data mining.
Dr. Harmon has over 25 years’ experience in policy matters and project development and has worked in the renewable fuels and chemicals area for the last ten years, in technical, management and policy capacities.
|David Hazlebeck, Ph.D. – Global Algae Innovations
David Hazlebeck, Ph.D., founder & CEO of Global Algae Innovations, is a proven leader and innovator in the algae industry. He has over 30 years experience in chemical and biological research and development from laboratory-scale through piloting and commercial implementation. His biofuel experience includes leading the development of large-scale photosynthetic algal biofuels, sugar and waste conversion via heterotrophic algae and oleaginous yeast, cellulosic conversion to drop-in fuels, and conversion of plastics to fuel.
Prior to Global Algae Innovations, he led the biofuels and algae products program at General Atomics where he was the principal investigator for the DARPA Algal-Derived JP-8 project that included collaborative algal process research and development with 28 outside organizations and culminated in the design and operation of a large-scale, advanced algae production facility.
Dr. Hazlebeck has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of California, San Diego.
|Xun Wang, President, Triton Algae Innovations, Ltd.
Dr. Xun Wang joined Triton Algae Innovations, Ltd. in 2014 as President, bringing to the company over 20 years of experience leading biotechnology, bioprocessing Research and Product Development, and Business Development.
Prior to Triton, Dr. Wang was the Senior Vice President at Reliance Industries Ltd., a Fortune Global 500 company. His responsibilities included overseeing all aspects of Algae-to-Oil technology development, driving company scientific strategy, and developing internal and external scientific collaborations. Previously, he was the Senior Vice President of R&D at Sapphire Energy Inc., a leading algae biotechnology start-up company based in San Diego. Here, Xun led all programs, including algae genetics and breeding, cultivation, harvesting systems and downstream process engineering.
From 1993 to 2010, Dr. Wang held various positions in leading agricultural industries. Dr. Wang was the Syngenta China Country Head, the President of Syngenta Biotechnology (China) Co. Ltd. (SBC). He was also the Asia Pacific Regional Head of Biotechnology in Syngenta, a member in the Syngenta Global R&D Leadership Council, and a member of the Syngenta Global Biotechnology Leadership Team. From 2006 to 2010, he led the effort of setting up SBC, a Syngenta global R&D center. Before this, he was the Global Head of Trait Research and Technologies, Syngenta in North Carolina, as well as the Founder and Director at Torrey Mesa Research Institute (Syngenta Genomics) in San Diego. Prior to Syngenta, Dr. Wang was a Research Manager in Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Iowa USA, a DuPont Company, where he led the very first genome project in the agricultural industry.
Dr. Wang is author or co-author of over 50 patents, published over 20 international peer-reviewed research articles. Dr. Wang earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Biophysics from Iowa State University, and a BS in Chemistry and a MS in Biochemistry from Jilin University.
|Genet Garamendi, Senior Vice President, TerraVia
Genet Garamendi serves as TerraVia’s Senior Vice President for Global Corporate Communications, Sustainability and Government Relations. In this position, Ms. Garamendi is responsible for all corporate communications strategy, corporate brand positioning and internal coordination of branding activities, executive communications and media relations. As part of her role, Ms. Garamendi also works on the execution and communication of TerraVia’s commitment to sustainability.
She also leads engagement and outreach to stakeholders including NGOs and Government on environmental and policy issues around TerraVia’s leading role in algae innovation and sustainability.
She brings with her more than 20 years of experience in communications in a variety of sectors from government to television media. Before joining TerraVia (formerly Solazyme), she was Vice President of Communications at Premier Retail Networks, the in-store media network located in over 6000 stores with more than 250 million viewers a month for Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target and some of the largest grocery stores nationwide. In addition, Ms. Garamendi has worked for Discovery Networks U.S. as the Director of Publicity Communications for TLC Network where she worked on many acclaimed series such as The Great Egyptians, Windsor Restored, Tobacco Wars, and the Oscar nominated documentary, On the Ropes.
Prior to her work in television she worked in Congress for Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and Congressman Vic Fazio (former Chairman of the DCCC and member of the House Appropriations Committee) as a Deputy Press Secretary, Press Secretary and Legislative Aid focused on health care issues, agriculture, women’s issues and Medicare.
|James Levine, Sapphire Energy
James Levine is President, CEO and a member of the Board of Directors of Sapphire Energy Inc., a venture capital backed company founded in 2007 for the purpose of growing and processing micro-algae into products that serve large and diverse markets. Sapphire’s world-leading technology uses sunlight, CO2, non-potable water, non-arable land, nutrients, and novel strains of algae in outdoor ponds to produce renewable biomass which is converted into high-value oils, aquaculture and animal feeds, fuels and other valuable products.
Prior to Sapphire, Mr. Levine was CEO of Verenium Corporation, a NASDAQ-listed industrial biotechnology company based in San Diego, until the sale of Verenium to BASF at the end of 2013. Prior to joining Verenium, Mr. Levine was a Managing Director in the investment banking department of Goldman Sachs & Co. in both New York and London, where his career focused on serving clients in the global Healthcare and Energy industries.
Mr. Levine received an M.B.A. degree with a concentration in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Economics from Brandeis University in Massachusetts.
|Raffia Mardirosian, Vice President for Corporate Development, Joule Unlimited
Raffi joined Joule in 2015 from Flagship Ventures, where he was a principal focused on founding and investing in companies in sustainability. Previously he was President at Midori, a biotech startup with a breakthrough carbohydrate chemistry and microbiome control technology, with broad potential across human and animal health.
Prior to Midori, Raffi co-developed the first utility-scale solar photovoltaic power plant in East Africa which currently contributes >6% of Rwanda’s power capacity & broke the record for fastest African energy project finance deal to achieve commercial operations. He also formerly managed business development at Pronutria Biosciences, and was a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he specialized in healthcare, national competitiveness, and sustainability and resource productivity.
Raffi is the Curator of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community in Boston, and spoke at the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos. He is a member of the Board of Directors of eKutir, a social enterprise using a mobile technology to transform smallholder agriculture globally.
Raffi holds bachelor’s degrees from Stanford University in Economics and Public Policy, with honors in International Security & Cooperation, and conducted graduate work in International Policy Studies.
|Dr. Margaret McCormick, Matrix Genetics
Margaret McCormick, Ph.D., is the Chief Executive Officer of Matrix Genetics, LLC,an advanced biology company focused on the development of superiors strains of algae for the biofuels and biobased products industries. Matrix was spun out of Targeted Growth, Inc. (“TGI”) a crop biotechnology company focused on developing products for the agriculture and energy industries. Dr. McCormick also serves as the Chief Operations Officer of TGI.
Prior to joining TGI, Dr. McCormick was a partner in Integra Ventures where she led Integra’s biotechnology investment strategy. Prior to joining Integra, she was the founding president and COO of Sapphire Therapeutics (formerly Rejuvenon Corp.). Earlier in her career, she was a consultant with McKinsey & Company.
Dr. McCormick earned a Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently a director on the Board of the Algae Biomass Organization and the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association.
|Director, California Center for Algae Biotechnology and Director, Food and Fuel for the 21st Century, Department of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego
Stephen Mayfield is director of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, and Food and Fuel for the 21st Century organized research unit at UC San Diego. His research focuses on the molecular genetics of green algae, and on the production of high value recombinant proteins and bio-products using algae as a production platform.
Steve received BS degrees in Biochemistry and Plant Biology from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, and a PhD in Molecular Genetics from UC Berkeley. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Geneva Switzerland he returned to California as an assistant professor at the Scripps Research Institute where he remained for 22 years becoming the Associate Dean of Biology before joining UC San Diego in 2009.
In addition to running his research group and university research centers, Steve also founded Rincon Pharmaceutical in 2005, Sapphire Energy in 2007, Triton Health and Nutrition in 2013, and Algenesis Materials in 2016.
|Mr. Joel Murdock, FedEx Express
Joel Murdock is Managing Director, Strategic Projects leading an engineering team that that investigates and develops new, innovative technologies for the purpose of seeking breakthrough advancements to benefit the FedEx Express’ transportation system by capitalizing upon principle improvements in areas of cost, quality, speed, efficiency, customer service, and customer satisfaction. The types of projects vary from Alternative Fuels, to safety related projects such as Fire Suppression System, Counter MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense System) and HUD/EFVS (HeadUp Display/Enhanced Flight Vision System), to airspace capacity and efficiency improvement programs such as LAAS (Local Area Augmentation System), CNS/ATM (Communication, Navigation, Surveillance / Air Traffic Management) and Stage IV Noise and Emissions, to projects not directly related to the aviation side of the business.
Joel’s department is actively involved with ASTM in helping to establish alternative fuel certification standards and through the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuel Initiative (CAAFI), is working to develop fuel off-take agreements to enable emerging alternative fuel companies to transition from the laboratory to production. Joel is also working with the USDA and is co-chair of the Southern Region with an objective of fostering alternative fuel development with the region.
Joel earned a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering at Christian Brothers University, a Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Masters of Engineering Management at the University of Missouri – Rolla.
|Leslie van der Meulen, General manager, BioProcess Algae
Leslie van der Meulen has served as General Manager of BioProcess Algae since February 2014. He joined BioProcess Algae as V.P. of Business Development in 2013. Before that, Leslie served as V.P. of Business Development for Aurora Algae from 2010 until 2013, where he led the company’s efforts in changing focus from biofuels to human and animal nutrition.
Prior to Aurora, Leslie was at Originates/Naturmega in the role of Sales & Marketing Director, where he was responsible the Omega-3 Fish oil business. Leslie has served on the board of directors for GOED (Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omga-3) since 2010 and has served as the organization’s chairman since 2012. Leslie has over 17 years extensive experience in international healthy ingredients businesses focused on human and animal nutrition.
|Tim Zenk, Algenol Biofuels, Inc.
Tim Zenk has spent much of his distinguished career shaping public policy – in helping leaders become better leaders and the public become more educated about key issues impacting the nation and the globe. His more than 20 years of rich experience has taken him from the front lines of Washington D.C., to the back roads of the Middle East, and to rural areas working on big issues in small towns. His passion is apparent and his experience varied.
Most recently, as executive vice president for Edelman, an international communications firm, he built and led numerous campaigns, organized public-private partnerships, and counseled energy, biotech and technology leaders. Some clients included Louis Dreyfus Commodities, NorthernStar Natural Gas, Fate Therapeutics and Ikaria. Prior to that, he was founder and vice president of Chameleon Technology, a venture funded cutting-edge leader in wireless infrastructures.
He also was a top executive for Telecommunications Systems (NYSE – TSYS), a leading provider of mission critical wireless data systems for wireless carriers, governments and intelligence organizations. Tim is known nationally for his political acumen, particularly regarding his work on key campaigns ranging from gubernatorial to congressional to presidential.
His global work for the Clinton/Gore administration has left him with professional and life experiences that will last forever. Today, his passion for legacy energy solutions are top on his agenda.
|Ross Zirkle, Director of Molecular Biotechnology, DSM Nutritional Products
Ross Zirkle is Director of Molecular Biotechnology at DSM Nutritional Products in Columbia, MD and currently leads R&D activities focused on developing new and improved strains of microalgae for the production of nutritional oils. Dr. Zirkle joined Martek Biosciences in 2003 and DSM, via acquisition, in 2010. He has served as R&D lead on projects involving microalgae as production platforms for therapeutic proteins, biofuel and omega-3 rich oils.
Prior to joining Martek Biosciences, Dr. Zirkle was a Research Scientist at Novartis/Syngenta in Research Triangle Park, NC. His research centered on production of bioactive secondary metabolites and polyketide biosynthesis. Dr. Zirkle was the co-recipient of the Pete Linsert Innovation Award at Martek in 2008 and 2012 and is a co-inventor on more than 30 US patents.
Dr. Zirkle earned his Bachelor and Master of Science in biochemistry and microbiology from Virginia Tech and his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University.