Team

EXECUTIVE TEAM

Brian Sefton, MBA
CEO, CTO, Founder

Brian Sefton is NovoNutrients’ CEO and Chief Technology Officer. Brian oversees all aspects of the company, with particular focus on technology and business development. A lifelong environmentalist, Brian cares passionately about the environment and the future of our planet. He views CO2 as an untapped resource that can be profitably recycled, reducing global carbon emissions while providing jobs and a healthy return on investment. Brian’s specialties include deep understanding of microbial pathways and platforms, market- focused intellectual property creation and its valorization, and new venture creation and spin-outs. He has filed multiple patents in the field and is the creator of Oakbio and NovoNutrients’ core intellectual property. He is an experienced serial entrepreneur, biochemist and environmental scientist who has established and led several companies in diverse industries, from drug discovery to software development. Former companies include Pharmadyn (CEO), Stratsyn (Managing Partner), Nanosig (Director), Fastlane (CEO), and Bluebox Communications (CEO). Brian holds a BS in Biochemistry from Berkeley and an MBA from Santa Clara University.

Heyward Robinson, PhD
VP Business Development 

As Oakbio’s Vice President of Business Development, Heyward Robinson plans and directs all facets of BD, including customer identification and outreach, branding and promotion, and financing. He brings a unique technical and policy background to the Oakbio team. Prior to joining Oakbio, Heyward was the Programs Director at the Clean Coalition and a Senior Scientist with SRI International. He holds a BS from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford. He is the former Mayor of Menlo Park, CA; former Chairman of the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority; former Board Member of the Dumbarton Rail Policy Committee; and former member of the San Mateo County Congestion Management and Environmental Quality Committee.  He co-founded Menlo Park’s Green Ribbon Citizen’s Committee (GRCC). He previously served on the Executive Committee Member of the Sierra Club’s Loma Prieta Chapter and on the Board of Directors of Sustainable Silicon Valley. He is currently a member of Stanford’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve Coordinating Council.

William Coleman, PhD
VP Biology

As Oakbio’s VP of Biology, Bill Coleman oversees the company’s platform development and analytics. Bill has decades of experience in leading research efforts at a several companies. He is an expert in enzyme evolution, industrial microbiology, and synthetic biology for engineering bacterial strains to produce biomass, chemicals and biofuels. Bill Co-founded the methane to liquid fuels bioconversion platform at Intrexon. Dr. Coleman is an expert in synthetic biology for engineering bacterial strains to produce chemicals and biofuels.  Bill also served as Chief Scientific Officer at Kairos Scientific.

Russell J. Howard, PhD
Chairman of the Board

Dr. Howard is an experienced CEO who has led several successful life-sciences and biotechnology companies, both private and public. Most recently, Russell served as CEO of Maxygen Inc, a publicly traded company he founded and led through its IPO (NASDAQ: MAXY), many corporate partnerships, and sale of spin-off companies. While he was CEO at Maxygen, the company raised over $700M in investment and $100M in Federal funds. At Maxygen Dr. Howard created and spun out the biofuels company Codexis and served on its Board of Directors until 2009. Codexis went public in 2010 (NASDAQ: CDXS). Previously Russell served as President and Scientific Director of Affymax Inc.. Dr. Howard has published over 140 peer-reviewed scientific publications, is the recipient of numerous awards and honors and serves on the board of several companies and foundations in the U.S. and overseas.