Advisory Board




Oliver Fiehn PhD.
Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Sciences, UC Davis, CA; Director, Metabolomics Core Facility, UC Davis Genome Center

Oliver Fiehn, PhD. is a world expert in “metabolomics”, the science of identification and measurement of all the compounds in cell metabolism. From understanding cellular metabolic pathways, and comparing these pathways in different conditions, one can explore the fundamentals of cell function and physiology. His group works with animal, plant and bacterial cells studied in various conditions of health and disease. Dr. Fiehn’s group is expert in chemical analytics, especially application of mass spectrometry methods to metabolite analysis. His group works with several bioinformatics approaches to capture and analyze vast amounts of chemical and metabolic data.

Gordon Ringold, PhD.
Chairman and CEO of Alavita Pharmaceuticals; Senior Director UC Santa Cruz Initiatives in Silicon Valley

Dr. Ringold has nearly 30 years of experience managing the discovery and development of pharmaceuticals and novel life-science technologies. At Stanford University School of Medicine his research included developing novel methods to produce recombinant protein therapeutics. Later he was head of the Institute of Cancer and Developmental Biology at Syntex Research. Subsequently Dr. Ringold served as CEO and scientific director of the Affymax Research Institute, where he managed the development of novel technologies to accelerate the pace of drug discovery. He has cofounded several biotechnology companies, including SurroMed, Maxygen, Alexza Pharmaceuticals, and Alavita Pharmaceuticals. He served as chairman and CEO of SurroMed from 2000 to 2005, and he currently serves on the boards of directors of Maxygen, Alexza, and 3V Pharmaceuticals.

Alfred Spormann, PhD.
Professor, Departments of Chemical Engineering and of Civil and Environmental Engineering, James H. Clark Center for Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Stanford University, CA.

Dr. Spormann is a leading authority on microbial metabolism and physiology. Over the last 20 years his group has made seminal contributions on the biochemistry and physiology of anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation (alky-benzenes) and reductive dehalogenation of chlorinated ethenes (vinyl chloride, trichloroethene). He has substantial expertise in isolating and experimenting with oxygen-sensitive enzymes, such as hydrogenases, carbon monoxide dehydrogenase, benzylsuccinate synthase, ethylbenzene dehydrogenase and vinyl chloride reductase. His group has extensive experience in microbial genetics, microbial physiology and heterologous expression of proteins. Over the last 10 yr. his group has been working with dissimilatory Fe(III)-reducing bacteria (Shewanella oneidensis) investigating molecular mechanisms of biofilm formation and electron transport pathways for reduction of insoluble mineral-phase electron acceptors and electrodes.

F. Robert Tabita PhD.
Ohio Eminent Scholar and Professor of Microbiology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Dr. Tabita is a leading international expert on the biochemistry and molecular biology of carbon dioxide assimilation by microorganisms. For over 30 years, and with over 200 publications, his group has made seminal contributions towards understanding the molecular basis by which requisite genes involved with CO2 fixation are controlled.  Dr. Tabita and his group have pioneered efforts to understand the structure and function of key catalysts involved in carbon assimilation, particularly the enzyme RubisCO. Dr. Tabita’s group discovered and characterized the various distinct types of RubisCO found in Nature. His laboratory initiated studies to use microbial RubisCO proteins to probe the catalytic mechanism and elucidate many aspects of catalysis, including studies to improve the efficiency of RubisCO. Molecular regulation studies led to the role of various transcription factors important in CO2 fixation gene expression and indicated that unique regulatory protein complexes are important and function to maximize CO2 fixation. More recently, Dr. Tabita and his colleagues have undertaken studies to use their knowledge and expertise on CO2 fixation to enable both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria to convert CO2 to value-added products and biofuels.

Hal LaFlash, MBA, PE
Director of Emerging Clean Technologies, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (retired)

Mr. LaFlash has been involved in leading-edge energy technology assessments at PG&E for more than 31 years.  He has served as an advisor or board member of several non‐profit clean tech organizations, including Innovation for Green Advanced Technology Excellence, the Clean Tech Open business competition, Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative, the California Biomass Collaborative, and the Gigaton Throwdown, among others.  Mr. LaFlash co-authored “Hedging Carbon Risk: Protecting Customers and Shareholders from the Financial Risk Associated with Carbon Dioxide Emissions,” which was published by the Electricity Journal.  He has guest lectured at several colleges and universities.  He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Council of Renewable Energy, and the BioEnergy Producers Association.

Jian Yu, PhD

Associate Professor, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, School of Ocean & Earth Science & Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Dr. Yu is an expert in biochemical engineering and biocatalysis, bioreactor and bioprocess engineering.  His current research activities focus on biofuels and bioplastics from biomass and other renewable feedstocks; microbial metabolism and biotransformation; bioreactor and bioprocess design.  Prior research activities include process analysis and improvement of commercial yeast fermentation, pilot plant yeast fermentation, and dehydration of yeast cells in fluidized bed dryer.  Dr. Yu received his PhD from Department of Chemical Engineering, University of British Columbia, Canada.  He is a principal investigator in numerous projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research and industry. His research has led to technology innovations and patents that have been licensed for commercialization.   He was a member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy (American Scientific Publishers), California and served as peer reviewer for several Scientific Journals.  He authored chapters in four research publications and published more than 50 peer-reviewed research articles.

John Kline, PE.

John Kline is a former Vice President of LaFarge, the worlds largest cement producer. A senior member of IEEE, John applies his expertise to a variety of topics including being a frequent speaker and author on the subject of CO2 capture and utilization. Mr. Kline is one of the foremost experts on cement plant operations, and is also an expert on remediation of mercury in cement production.