Thought-leading Scientific Advisors


Dr. Stephen J. Benkovic

Evan Pugh Professor and Eberly Chair in Chemistry at Penn State University;
Member of the National Academy of Sciences and its Institute of Medicine

Dr. Stephen J. Benkovic has focused on the assembly and kinetic characteristics of the proteins responsible for DNA replication; the importance of dynamic coupling of proximal and distal residues in the catalytic cycle of dihydrofolate reductase; the intracellular observation of de novo purine biosynthesis, and the development of novel cyclic peptides for modulating protein/protein interactions. Dr. Benkovic has 555 publications and is the recipient of the 2009 National Medal of Science and the National Academy of Science Award in Chemical Sciences in 2011.

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Janice Pero, Ph.D.

Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Janice Pero, Chief Technology Officer and Chairperson of Myriant's Scientific Advisory Board, joined Myriant in 2008 and became its Vice President of Research in 2010. Dr. Pero has 30 years of experience in research management and is an expert in gene regulation, focusing on the genetic engineering and molecular biology of Bacillus and Streptomyces species. Dr. Pero has 20 U.S. patents and 47 publications.

Prior to joining Myriant, Dr. Pero served as President, CEO and member of the Board at OmniGene Bioproducts, Inc. where she led the metabolic engineering and fermentation teams to develop the enhanced production of BASF's pantothenate strain. Dr. Pero was previously the Founder and Board Member for BioTechnica International, Inc., where she led a metabolic engineering team that developed a riboflavin overproducing strain commercialized by Roche Vitamins, now DSM. Prior to joining BioTechnica, Dr. Pero was an Associate Professor of Biology at Harvard University.

Dr. Pero received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Harvard University, and was a summa cum laude graduate of Oberlin College, Ohio.

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Professor John F. Hartwig, Ph.D.

The Henry Rapoport Chair in Organic Chemistry for the University of California at Berkeley;
Senior Faculty Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California

Dr. Hartwig currently serves as The Henry Rapoport Chair in Organic Chemistry for the University of California at Berkeley and, as a Senior Faculty Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. Previously, he served as the Kenneth L. Reinhart Jr. Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Hartwig spent more than a decade as a Professor of Chemistry at Yale University, ultimately serving as the Irénée P. duPont Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Hartwig graduated with high honors from Princeton University with a B.A. in Chemistry. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Hartwig is the recipient of more than 25 notable industry and academic awards for his work including most recently being elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2012, receiving the GlaxoSmithKline Scholars Award, the National Institutes of Health MERIT Award and Mitsui Chemicals' Catalysis Science Award. He currently serves as a Council Delegate for Chemistry Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for CHEMCATCHEM. He also provides extensive article reviewing for such journals as Science, Nature, Nature-Chemistry, Wiley Journals, Chemical Communications, and Tetrahedron journals. Dr. Hartwig is the author of the textbook titled Organotransition Metal Chemistry: From Bonding to Catalysis published December 2009.

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Dr. Lonnie Ingram

Distinguished Professor, Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida, and Director, Florida Center for Renewable Chemicals and Fuels, and Member of the National Academy of Sciences

Dr. Ingram's team developed the four patents that serve as our critical technology base. Dr. Ingram's research has centered on the production of ethanol for automotive fuels and value-added chemicals from renewable cellulosic waste materials (yard trash, sugarcane bagasse, citrus pulp, etc.). His research has been reported in over 200 publications concerning various aspects of biotechnology with more than 20 issued national and international patents, including the U.S. Landmark Patent No. 5,000,000 for bioethanol. Dr. Ingram is a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the Society of Industrial Microbiology, and a Member the American Academy of Microbiology. His research achievements have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, in the form of the Distinguished Service Award, the highest award presented for research by USDA.

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Dr. Gregory Stephanopoulos

Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT, and Member of the National Academy of Engineering

Dr. Stephanopoulos is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT. He has also been the Taplin Professor at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, or HST, since 2001, Instructor of Bioengineering at Harvard Medical School since 1997, and the W.H. Dow Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at MIT. Upon finishing his doctorate in 1978, Dr. Stephanopoulos joined the chemical engineering faculty of the California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, and in 1985 he was appointed Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT where he has since remained. He has served as an Associate Director of the Biotechnology Process Engineering Center from 1990 to 1997 and a Member of the International Faculty of the Technical University of Denmark in 2001. Dr. Stephanopoulos' current research focuses on two areas including metabolic engineering and its applications to the production of biochemicals and specialty chemicals, as well as mammalian cell physiology as it pertains to diabetes and metabolism.

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Dr. Jan Westpheling

Professor, Department of Genetics, University of Georgia

Dr. Westpheling is currently a Professor in the Department of Genetics at the University of Georgia. Dr. Westpheling's research relates to rate-limiting step in the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass from crop plants such as poplar or switchgrass to biofuels, such as ethanol and biomaterials, the recalcitrance of these complex substrates. Dr. Westpheling is on the editorial board of the Journal of Bacteriology. In 2005, Dr. Westpheling was a Member of the National Research Council Committee on the Development and Acquisition of Medical Countermeasures Against Biological Warfare Agents. In 2000, Dr. Westpheling received the Creative Research Medal from the University of Georgia.

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Dr. Huimin Zhao

Professor, Centennial Endowed Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Illinois, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Dr. Huimin Zhao has been the Centennial Endowed Chair Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) since August 2008. Prior to joining UIUC in 2000, he was a project leader at the Industrial Biotechnology Laboratory of the Dow Chemical Company. Dr. Zhao has authored and co-authored over 100 research articles and 15 pending or issued patents. Dr.Zhao served as a consultant for over 10 companies. His primary research interests are in the development and applications of synthetic biology tools to address society's most daunting challenges in human health and energy.

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