Committee Membership Information

Study Title:

Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels in the United States

Study Director:


Dr. Jennie Hunter-Cevera - (Chair)
RTI International

Dr. Jennie Hunter-Cevera (chair) is executive vice president of discovery and analytical sciences at RTI International. She has over 22 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. Before joining RTI, she was president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and head of the Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology in 1995, received the Society of Industrial Microbiology (SIM) Charles Porter Award in 1996, was elected a SIM Fellow in 1997, and was named the Nath Lecturer at West Virginia University in 1999. She was the 2004 recipient of the American Society for Microbiology Porter Award for achievement in biodiversity research and was an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow in 2007. Dr. Hunter-Cevera holds five patents, has 15 pending patents, and currently serves on the editorial board for International Microbiology and the advisory board for the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.


Dr. Larry P. Walker
Cornell University

Dr. Larry Walker is a professor in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. He has been involved in a number of biomass to energy and chemical projects in the past 25 years. These include an assessment of New York State biomass resources available for ethanol production, farm-scale methane production and co-generation, the application of nanotechnology to characterizing and studying important biocatalysts for industrial biotechnology, and optimization of solid-state fermentation for the production of biocontrol products. He is the director of the Northeast Sun Grant Institute of Excellence, a member of the National Nanobiotechnology Center Executive Committee that oversees the research activities of the center, and the coordinator of a Cornell faculty cluster that is interested in the development of sustainable bio-based industries. He is a member of the American Council on Renewable Energy, Higher Education Committee Steering Committee, and the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science. Some of Dr. Walker???s extramural activities include serving as co-editor in chief for the journal Industrial Biotechnology, and former membership on the National Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee. In addition, Dr. Walker is a recent recipient of a NYSTAR Faculty Development Program award for Industrial Biotechnology research. He is a graduate of Michigan State University with a B.S. in physics. His interest in renewable resources and environmental research led him to complete M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at Michigan State University in agricultural engineering.


Dr. Rebecca A. Efroymson
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Dr. Rebecca Efroymson is a senior scientist in the Environmental Sciences Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Her work relates to the interdisciplinary, applied field of ecological risk assessment. Several years ago, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory ecological risk assessment group performed risk assessments for contaminated burial grounds, ponds, streams, and watersheds on the Oak Ridge Reservation. Her work emphasized the evaluation of risks to plants, soil invertebrates and microbial processes from metals and organic chemicals. Lately, the laboratory???s risk assessment group has been supporting the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to develop fate, transport and exposure models; to incorporate large-scale spatial considerations into risk assessments; and to develop frameworks for ecological risk assessment of various stressors. She is particularly interested in comparative risk assessment, and always interested in doing science to support regulatory needs. Her education includes a B.A. in biology from Le Salle University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University in environmental toxicology.


Dr. Donald L. Johnson
Grain Processing Corporation [Retired]

Dr. Donald Johnson is a retired vice president of product and process technology at Grain Processing Corporation. He has also been senior development engineer and manager of product development groups, and director of chemicals research and development departments at A.W. Staley Manufacturing Company. He is a member of the advisory council at the College of Applied Science at Miami University, and member of the Departmental Visiting Committee of the Botany Department at the University of Texas at Austin. His primary interests and expertise are in the utilization and processing of renewable resources for food ingredients and industrial chemicals. He has a Sc.D in chemical engineering from Washington University and a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois.


Dr. Val H. Smith
University of Kansas

Dr. Val Smith is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. His research program focuses on the relationships between resource supplies and the structure and function of biological systems. His primary area of expertise is in the area of phytoplankton ecology, and he has worked extensively on the relationships between nutrient loading and the occurrence of bloom-forming blue-green algae in lakes and estuaries worldwide. He has extensive experience in the quantitative comparative analysis of both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and has strong interests in the mechanisms that generate and maintain biological diversity, in addition to the mechanisms that regulate the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Recently, he has expanded his research into the area of disease ecology, and is involved in both empirical and experimental investigations of the relationships between host nutrition and the outcome of infectious disease in both plants and animals. In addition, his team seeks to produce renewable biofuels from algae produced in wastewater-fed, outdoor bioreactors. Dr. Smith received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.


Dr. Eric Williams
Arizona State University

Dr. Eric Williams is an assistant professor with a joint appointment between the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Sustainability at the Arizona State University. His research interests include industrial ecology and life cycle assessment, in particular applied to analyzing information technology (IT) and energy systems. IT-related work includes life cycle assessment of semiconductors and computers and macro-analysis on relationships between energy consumption, telecommuting, and e-commerce. In the energy domain, he is working on systems assessment of energy supply technologies, using thermodynamics-based measures to characterize long-term trends in energy efficiency, and the effects of development and urbanization on energy demand in industrializing nations. He received his Ph.D. from the State University of New York in physics and his expertise includes industrial ecology, life cycle assessment, and macro-assessment of energy supply and demand.


Dr. Joel L. Cuello
University of Arizona

Dr. Joel Cuello is a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Arizona, Tucson. He has been teaching and conducting research there since 1995. His research expertise focuses on algae biodiesel and hydrogen production, algae photobioreactor design and scale up, algae CO2 capture, algae lighting strategies, algae alternative nutrient media, wastewater use for algae production, chemical production from plant cell cultures, and design of hybrid solar and electric lighting systems for plant applications. Dr. Cuello???s research studies have received funding from NASA, DOE, DARPA, NSF and USDA, among others. He has over 40 refereed journal publications, nine book chapters, and has been invited numerous times as keynote or guest speaker at institutions and conferences worldwide. On the industry side, Dr. Cuello served on the Scientific Advisory Boards of three biofuel companies in Norway, India and Africa, and served as a technical consultant for a number of domestic and international biofuel companies. Dr. Cuello obtained his Ph.D. in agricultural and biological engineering (with minor in chemical engineering), his M.S. in agricultural and biological engineering, and his M.S. in plant physiology, all from Pennsylvania State University. He obtained his B.S. in agricultural engineering from the University of the Philippines, and he spent his U.S. National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associateship at NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, conducting research on advanced biologically-based space life support systems using algal and cyanobacterial culture systems. Dr. Cuello is co-inventor on four patent applications on algae photobioreactor and raceway designs.


Dr. Mark E. Jones
The Dow Chemical Company

Dr. Mark Jones is a research fellow at Dow Chemical. He has been involved in Dow's alternative feedstocks efforts. In addition, he has been involved in the process design for production of battery materials at Dow. Dr. Jones completed his post doctorate at Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science and received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder.


Mr. Cai Steger
Natural Resources Defense Council

Mr. Cai Steger is an Energy Policy Analyst at NRDC???s new Center for Market Innovation, focusing on federal and state policies that drive clean technology innovation, investment and deployment, with a concentration on renewable energy ??? especially solar and algae biofuels. His recent projects include developing a federal deployment mechanism to encourage large-scale penetration of distributed generation, analyzing impacts of climate legislation on renewables investment, and managing a year-long project to understand the sustainability of algae biofuels production. He joined NRDC in May 2008 after graduating from Columbia business school. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has eight years of strategy, research and marketing experience in a variety of industries.


Dr. Susan S. Golden
University of California, San Diego

Dr. Susan Golden is a a distinguished professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. She is currently working on a project consisting of the metabolic engineering of cyanobacteria for the production of biofuels and other molecules of interest. In summary, because cyanobacteria grow photosynthetically using water and CO2, and are easy to manipulate genetically, they are attractive organisms for the production of molecules that have industrial applications. One such application is the production of biofuels as a supplementation of, or eventual replacement of, petroleum fuels. The project is using the powerful genetic tools that have been developed for S. elongatus to explore the production of biofuels in cyanobacteria. Dr. Golden is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. She received her B.A. in biology from Mississippi University for Women and her Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Dr. Jennifer Holmgren
LanzaTech

Dr. Jennifer Holmgren is the chief executive officer of LanzaTech. She has over 20 years of experience in the energy sector including a proven track record in the development and commercialization of fuels and chemicals technologies. Prior to joining LanzaTech, she was vice president and general manager of the Renewable Energy and Chemicals Business Unit at UOP LLC, a Honeywell Company. In that role, she led UOP???s renewable business from its inception through to the achievement of significant revenues from the commercialization of multiple novel biofuels technologies. Dr. Jennifer Holmgren holds a B.Sc. from Harvey Mudd College, a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA from the University of Chicago. She currently serves on multiple external advisory boards. She is the author or co-author of 50 U.S. patents, 20 scientific publications and is the 2003 recipient of the Council for Chemical Research???s (CCR) Malcolm E. Pruitt Award.


Dr. Gregory Stephanopoulos
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Gregory Stephanopoulos is Willard Dow Professor of Biotechnology and Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The central focus of his research is metabolic engineering, the improvement of cellular properties using modern genetic tools with attention to industrial applications, and biomedical research aimed at the elucidation of key physiological differences that characterize disease states and can guide drug and therapy development. He has received numerous awards, including the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering (2001), the Marvin Johnson Award of the Biotechnology Division of the American Chemical Society (2000), the AIChE Food, Pharmaceutical & Bioengineering Division Award (1997), and the Technical Achievement Award of the AIChe Southern California section (1984). Dr. Stephanopoulos is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.


Dr. Clifford Duke
Ecological Society of America

Dr. Clifford Duke is the director of science programs for the Ecological Society of America (ESA), which promotes the continued development of ecological science and its integration into decision-making and education since 2003. The ESA Science Office, which originated with ESA's Sustainable Biosphere Initiative in 1992, focuses on the application of ecological science to environmental problem solving. The office works with ESA members, other professional societies, and public agencies to develop workshops and publications on a variety of topics related to ecosystem sustainability, global change, and biodiversity. Current projects include a series of reports on biofuels and sustainability; data sharing and archiving initiatives; and support for ESA's Emerging Issues Conference Series. Before joining the ESA staff, Dr. Duke worked for fourteen years in environmental consulting, managing preparation of environmental impact statements and ecological risk assessments for Department of Defense and Department of Energy facilities. He previously held postdoctoral positions at Northeastern University, Wellesley College, and Harvard University. He currently serves on the steering committee of the Sustainable Rangelands Roundtable and the Service to the Scientific Community Working Group of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition. Dr. Duke received his B.A. in biology and environmental studies from the University of Vermont in 1977, and a Ph.D. in botany (1985) and an M.A. in public policy science from Duke University (1986).


Dr. Paul V. Zimba
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Dr. Paul Zimba is the director of the Center for Coastal Studies at the University of Texas, Corpus Christi. He joined the University of Texas from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service, where he served as a research microbiologist in Stoneville, Mississippi, since 1999. Dr. Zimba's work at the USDA assisted in the analysis of off-flavor metabolites being produced by algae in aquaculture systems. Prior to that Dr. Zimba worked as a research assistant professor in the Department of Fisheries at the University of Florida. He is an adjunct at the University of Mississippi and the State University of New York (SUNY) and has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University of New Orleans. His research interests include aquatic ecosystem ecology, algal toxin assessment, harmful algae, wetlands, aquaculture, microalgal taxonomy and physiology, carbon fixation assessment, remote sensing, aquatic ecosystem stressors, and cyanobacteria secondary metabolites. Dr. Zimba's educational pursuits began at Virginia???s Wesleyan College, where he earned a B.A. in biological sciences in 1979. In 1985 he completed a Master's Degree in biology from Old Dominion University. In 1990 Dr. Zimba achieved his Ph.D. from Mississippi State University.


Dr. Sammy Boussiba
The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research

Dr. Sammy Boussiba is the director of the French Associates Institute for Agriculture & Biotechnology of Dryland and the head of the Landau Family Microalgal Biotechnology Laboratory at the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research of Ben Gurion University, Israel. His research interests include developing the biotechnology for large-scale production of astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus. The work also involves research concerning basic aspects of carotenogenesis. He is also interested in the physiological aspects facilitating the survival of Spirulina in extreme alkaline environments, as well as the biochemical and molecular components involved in these activities. Special attention is given to the role of sodium in these activities, and N2-fixing cyanobacteria as biological vectors to encounter environmental problems. He is currently working on projects concerning protective mechanisms against oxidative stress in Haematococcus pluviali, and the role of sodium in pH regulation in the alkaliphilic cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis. He received his Ph.D. from Ben Gurion University.