Chief Executive Officer
Doug is the Chief Executive Officer of AgroSpheres. Previously, he was the Chief Operating Officer and a co-founder of GrassRoots Biotechnology, an agricultural biotechnology company that was spun-out of Duke University in 2007. As COO, Doug helped manage GrassRoots’ 5-year strategic alliance with Monsanto. The team grew the company to 25 employees and over $4.5 million in annual revenue. Monsanto acquired GrassRoots in 2013. Prior to GrassRoots, Doug practiced law in NYC, including eight years as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.
Chief Technology Officer
Ameer is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of AgroSpheres. Ameer leads product development and technical corporate collaborations; ensuring the company is meeting its long term technical milestones and executing successfully on its collaborations to meet the product needs of our corporate partners. Ameer has directed the successful completion of several corporate contracts that have utilized different aspects of the AgriCell technology for improved field performance. He is a biomedical engineering graduate from the University of Virginia and his research focused on utilizing synthetic biology for real-world applications.
Chief Operating Officer
Payam is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of AgroSpheres, managing the day-to-day operations, along with aiding in both the technical and business development of the company. His other focuses are leading the regulatory and IP strategies of the company. Payam is passionate about utilizing synthetic biology to provide safer, more efficient crop protection solutions. He is a graduate from the University of Virginia with a background in nanomedicine, materials science, and chemistry.
Zach is the Lead Biochemist of AgroSpheres. He specializes in the interplay between DNA, RNA, and proteins and utilizes their interactions in order to assist in developing the AgriCell platform technology. Zach also oversees laboratory operations to coordinate the technical development of AgroSphere’s multifaceted technology. He is a chemistry graduate with a concentration in biochemistry from the University of Virginia.
Lisa is the R&D Intern of AgroSpheres. Her work focuses on the research and development of synthetic biological products for a multitude of agricultural and life science applications. She also works on AgriCell characterization and expanding the platform technology across a variety of different active designs. She obtained her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia and is currently studying for her M.Eng.
Joseph T. Frank
Lead Biomedical Engineer
Joseph is the Lead Biotechnology Engineer of AgroSpheres. Joseph's main focuses revolve around leading the research and development for the characterization and formulations of the AgriCell platform technology, in addition to driving the optimization of the generated yield of the AgriCell. In addition to his research responsibilities, Joseph also handles business administration and human resource responsibilities for AgroSpheres. He is a biomedical engineering graduate with a minor in business from the University of Virginia.
Lead Nanotech Engineer
Sepehr is the lead Nanotech Engineer of AgroSpheres. Sep is concentrated on developing next-generation nanoscale technologies for AgroSpheres. He is currently focused on formulations development and designing the AgriCell platform technology to encapsulate a variety of active ingredients for applications in agriculture. Sepehr also specializes in product testing and technology scouting. He is a biomedical engineering graduate from the University of Virginia.
Per Falholt was the Executive Vice President in R&D in Novozymes A/S. The department that has grown from 400 to 1350 employees in his 15 years as a leader, and has played a pivotal role in Novozymes’ current revenue of 12.46 billion DKK. With a global innovation rank of 59 according to Forbes and a #1 position as best employer for Scientist within Biotech & Pharma by Science magazine in October 2015, Per Falholt sets himself as a frontrunner in the fields of delivering solutions for customer needs and maintaining growth through innovation.
Kelly Smith was a co-founder of Pasteuria Bioscience, where she was principally responsible for development of the proprietary Pasteuria manufacturing process. She served most recently as CTO prior to its acquisition by Syngenta. She is now the director of microbials at AgBiome. She holds an MS and PhD in Environmental Engineering Science from the California Institute of Technology and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University.
Michael works at the interface between innovation, technology acceptance, and intellectual property for 25 years. With degrees in chemistry, and molecular biology, and international working experience in pharmaceutical and agricultural research his heart beats for enabling innovation in areas of elementary human needs especially food security and health. Until end of 2017 Michael was Head Intellectual Property for Syngenta Crop Protection AG in Basel, Switzerland. Now he assists start-up companies to design holistic IP, freedom-to-operate, and value capture strategies. As a qualified European and Swiss Patent Attorney, Michael regularly lectures on IP and has published multiple papers on plant IP issues in peer reviewed law journals.
Todd Abraham is currently the Chief Innovation Officer for The Cronos Group, a global leader in the emerging cannabis industry Previously, he served as Senior Vice President of Global Research and Nutrition at Mondelez International (formerly Kraft Foods). His 35+ year career spans research and development, marketing, and general management in the food industry. In addition to his experience in food technology, Dr. Abraham received his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.B.A. from the Wharton School.
Dr. Kester, our Chief Scientific Advisor and CoFounder, has research interests that include the design, characterization and validation of nanotechnologies for targeted drug delivery. Dr. Kester has consulted with, or helped found, several companies that have the license to his "nano Solutions". He is also the director of the nanoSTAR Institute at the University of Virginia. His pharmaceutical company, Keystone Nano, has a ceramide nanoliposome drug in clinical trials for hepatocellular carcinoma.