Scientific Advisory Board
Great Lakes Bioenergy’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) consists of industry and academic representatives with expertise spanning all three of the center’s research areas. The SAB provides critical insight and strategies that help guide the direction of Great Lakes Bioenergy’s research.
David Ryder is the former vice president of brewing, research, innovation and quality for MillerCoors. Ryder retired from MillerCoors in 2016 after a 23-year career at the brewery. His credentials include experience as the technical consultant and global operations manager for Stella Artois and vice president of technical services for J.E. Siebel Sons, Inc. He is an expert in fermentation and brings unique perspectives to large-scale fermentation technology and bioethanol production from his experience with one of the largest biorefining companies in the country.
Larry Anthony is a technical manager at International Flavors and Fragrances, Inc. (IFF) and serves as the program lead for IFF's ethanol yeast research and development program, providing high-performance yeast solutions to the ethanol industry. Previously, he served as research and development manager for Butamax Advanced Biofuels, a DuPont-BP joint venture, which produced bio-isobutanol through yeast fermentation for fuel and chemical use. He earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Jerry Gargulak is the Global Business Development Director for Borregaard. Gargulak joined Borregaard in 1995 when he assumed the position of research manager at LignoTech’s US operation center in Rothschild, Wis. He has worked to develop useful modifications to natural materials, particularly lignin, with the goal of developing new industrial applications for this biopolymer. His current responsibilities include investigating new opportunities related to the development of value added materials derived from bio-refining of lignocellulosics. Gargulak earned a Ph.D.
Steve Hartig is a former senior executive with nearly 40 years of experience in growing and transforming international specialty businesses through innovation, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and organic growth. Prior to his retirement and shift to consulting, Hartig was the vice president of technology development at ICM, a leader in the development of technology for biofuels.
Ken Keegstra is a University Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory at Michigan State University and served as scientific director of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center during its first nine years of funding. He also holds appointments in the Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and of Plant Biology at Michigan State University. Keegstra graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, with a degree in chemistry and received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Colorado in 1971.
Madhu Khanna is the ACES Distinguished Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Illinois and Associate Director for Research at Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment. Khanna is the leader of the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation's sustainability research area, which is providing the environmental and economic perspective for developing efficient bioenergy crops.
Bruno Miller is the managing director of fuels at Fulcrum Bioenergy, a pioneer in the development of a reliable and efficient process for transforming everyday household garbage into low-carbon transportation fuels, including jet fuel and diesel. He is responsible for directing Fulcrum’s fuels activities including sales, contract negotiation and management, strategic relationships with the aviation industry, logistics, fuel quality, and regulatory affairs. Miller holds a Ph.D. in air transportation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Debra Mohnen is a Distinguished Research Professor professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Georgia Athletic Association Professor of the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center at the University of Georgia. She is also an adjunct faculty at the Department of Plant Biology. Mohnen was the Focus Area Lead for Biomass Formation and Modification in the Bioenergy Science Center from 2011 to 2017 and has been the Research Domain Lead for Integrative Analysis and Understanding in the Center for Bioenergy Innovation since 2017.
Mike Sanford serves as the Director of Engineering for Prisma Renewable Composites, a Tennessee-based company focused on producing materials such as plastics and carbon fibers containing substantial amounts of lignocellulosic biomass. He is responsible for managing the company's research and development interactions and collaborations, including sponsored research agreements. Before joining Prisma, Sanford led DuPont’s efforts in developing technology to convert lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol from 2006 to 2017.
Lisa Schulte Moore is a professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and associate director of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State University. She conducts research and teaches in the areas of agriculture, ecology, forestry and human-landscape interactions. Her research addresses the strategic integration of perennials into agricultural landscapes to support new agricultural markets and to meet societal goals for clean water, healthy soils, abundant wildlife and inspiring recreational opportunities.
Blake Simmons serves as the Chief Scientific and Technology Officer and Vice President of the Deconstruction Division at the US Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in Emeryville. After earning his BS in chemical engineering from the University of Washington, Simmons continued his studies at Tulane University and received his doctorate in the same field. Simmons worked as part of the Senior Management team at Sandia National Laboratories for 15 years, most recently serving as the Senior Manager of Advanced Biomanufacturing as well as the Biomass Program Manager.
Paris Tsobanakis is the Director of Transformational Innovation at Cargill. He has worked for Cargill since 1993 in R&D management roles and contributed to the development of a number of fermentation products in the Food and Bio-industrials space. From 2011 to 2020, Tsobanakis led Cargill’s efforts in Disruptive Technologies and Supply Chains, helping Cargill businesses make investments in key technologies and projects. Tsobanakis received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from NTU Athens (Greece) and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University.
Candace Wheeler recently retired as a technical fellow with 34 years of experience from General Motors. Wheeler served as a GM Technical Fellow and Biomaterials Lead in their Global Energy Systems Intelligence Center. She joined General Motors in 1981 as a postdoctoral fellow and then as a regular employee in 1983. Her early work involved studying the health effects of diesel particulate, ozone, and fibrous materials.