Photo credit: Gabrielle Tenenbaum

Photo credit: Gabrielle Tenenbaum

Board of Directors


  • Board Chair: Jack Newman
  • Board Member: Jay Keasling
  • Board Member: Joel Cherry
  • Board Member: Luke Alphey
  • Board Member: Claire Standley
  • Board Member: Gregory Starbird


jack newmanJack D. Newman, PhD

Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer at Amyris

Jack D. Newman, Ph.D., co-founded Amyris with over a decade of experience researching bacterial physiology and genetics. In addition to publishing in leading molecular biology and biotechnology journals, Dr. Newman co-authored the groundbreaking work underlying the technology of microbial terpene production. Dr. Newman received his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in the field of microbial physiology and gene regulation, and a B.A. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of California, Berkeley.


keaslingJay Keasling, PhD

Jay Keasling joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley as an assistant professor in 1992, where he is currently the Hubbard Howe Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering. Dr. Keasling is also a professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Berkeley, a Senior Faculty Scientist and Acting Deputy Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Chief Executive Officer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute. He is considered one of the foremost authorities in synthetic biology, especially in the field of metabolic engineering, and his research focuses on engineering microorganisms for environmentally friendly synthesis of small molecules or degradation of environmental contaminants. Dr. Keasling’s laboratory has engineered bacteria and yeast to produce polymers, a precursor to the anti‐malarial drug artemisinin, advanced biofuels, and soil microorganisms to accumulate uranium and to degrade nerve agents.

Keasling studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan, where he received his Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees. He received his B.S. degree from University of Nebraska in Chemistry and Biology in 1986. He did post‐doctoral work at Stanford University in Biochemistry from 1991 to 1992.


Joel Cherry, PhD

President, Research & Development at Amyris

Joel joined the Zagaya Board in 2014. Prior to joining Amyris in 2008, Dr. Cherry was Senior Director of bioenergy biotechnology at Novozymes. During his tenure at Novozymes, he was a member of the R&D management team specializing in protein engineering and directed evolution technologies. He was also principal investigator and director of the BioEnergy Project, an effort funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to reduce the cost of enzymes used in converting biomass to sugar. This work was awarded an R&D 100 Award, Scientific American Top 50 Award, and a Frost and Sullivan Emerging Technology Award. Dr. Cherry is an inventor on more than 20 issued patents, author of three book chapters and more than 30 scientific publications, and an invited speaker at numerous international conferences on biofuels. He received his B.A. from Carleton College in chemistry, a Ph. D. in biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire.



Luke Alphey, PhD

Luke is currently the Director of Oxitec, Ltd. as well as Chairman at GeneFirst, Ltd., a Group Leader at the Pirbright Institute in Oxford for Vector-borne Viral Diseases research and a Visiting Professor at the Oxford University.




Claire Standley, PhD

Dr. Claire Standley is a Senior Research Scientist at the George Washington University, in the Milken Institute School of Public Health, and Managing Editor of Claire’s interests have always revolved around the interface between diseases, biodiversity and human public health, starting with a bachelor degree in Zoology from the University of Cambridge and followed by an MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation from the University of Oxford. For her doctoral research at the Natural History Museum in London, as well as during post-doctoral research at Princeton University, Claire focused on the epidemiology and transmission of tropical parasites in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Costa Rica, from the perspective of vector biology and ecology, as well as implementing control programs to improve the health of local communities. Part of this research involved looking at malaria diagnostics and co-infection of malaria with other parasitic diseases, within the context of developing effective and efficient integrated control strategies.


Gregory Starbird

Greg Starbird has deep, long-term involvement in franchised healthcare enterprises since 2005, including new market entry, nonprofit / for-profit hybrids, supply chain, unit-level profitability, etc. Mr. Starbird has assumed progressive responsibility at The HealthStore Foundation® since 2005. In his current role as CEO, Mr. Starbird is overseeing the restructuring of the CFW franchise network in Kenya, guiding the implementation of key innovations, and is a leader in HealthStore’s efforts to advise external groups on launching and operating their own franchised healthcare networks. Mr. Starbird serves as Chairman and Managing Director of HealthStore’s nonprofit and for-profit affiliate organizations in Kenya. Mr. Starbird also co-founded One Family Health (an independent offshoot organization founded in 2011 which operates a franchised medical network in Rwanda), and was involved advising the startup of the Asili enterprise (in the eastern DR Congo) for two years starting in 2012. Prior to joining The HealthStore Foundation®, he directed a program at Star Education, an innovative and award-winning private organization working in Los Angeles public schools. Mr. Starbird attended Cornell University and UC Santa Barbara (B.A.) as well as Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.).



Scientific Advisory Board


Covello_photo_2012_1833Patrick Covello, PhD

Dr. Patrick Covello is a Senior Research Officer at the National Research Council of Canada (Saskatoon, SK) and an Adjunct Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Covello trained in chemistry at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada; B.Sc.) and studied plant biochemistry at Waterloo (M.Sc.) and the University of Essex (Ph.D.). As a postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, he was a co-discoverer of RNA editing in plant mitochondria. In 1994, he took a position at the Plant Biotechnology Institute in Saskatoon, initially focusing on the lipid biochemistry. In the last 12 years, he has turned his attention to the biosynthesis of plant natural products especially alkaloids, isoprenoids and cyclic peptides. In recent work, his group has been very successful in isolating genes involved in the biosynthesis of the antimalarial compound artemisinin, facilitating its microbial production. Dr. Covello has co-authored more than sixty peer-reviewed publications and was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013, for his contributions relating to malaria drugs.


023Karl Fisher, PhD

Dr. Karl Fisher is a chemistry consultant to industry. He was a key contributor to the process development of semi-synthetic Artemisinin, the front line treatment for malaria and inventor of the industrial process for manufacturing Neossance squalane from renewable farnesene.  Previously, Karl was Director of Chemistry at Signature Biosciences and a Senior Chemist at Amyris. He has a PhD in chemistry from Harvard University.


me kyoto smallDerek McPhee, PhD

Derek McPhee is currently the Senior Director of Technology Strategy at Amyris Inc. A native of Scotland, he has a Lic.C. degree in Applied Chemistry from the Universidad de Málaga (Spain) and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Calgary (Canada). After a NSERC Postdoctoral Research Associateship at the Division of Chemistry of the Canadian National Research Council in Ottawa, the remainder of his career has been in industry. After 14 years with Uniroyal Chemical (now part of Chemtura Corporation), he has worked in the generic pharmaceutical industry as a Senior Scientist at Brantford Chemicals (now Apotex Pharmachem), and as Director of Chemistry and VP of a U.S/Canada-based custom synthesis company. Before joining Amyris in March 2005 he was a self-employed consultant to several chemical and pharmaceutical startups.

In addition to his current position at Amyris, he has been that company’s Director and Sr. Director of Chemistry, leading a team that with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, developed a novel low cost route to the antimalarial drug precursor artemisinin. From 2000-2005 he was the Managing Editor of MDPI’s online chemistry journal Molecules, and since 2005 he has served as its Editor-in-Chief. He has also been the Editor-in-Chief of the MDPI journal Pharmaceuticals since its launch in 2004. He is the sole author/co-author of 33 patents, 20 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and 2 book chapters, as well as numerous conference presentations.


CPaddonChris Paddon, PhD

Dr. Paddon has a PhD in Biochemistry from Imperial College, London, but now considers himself a synthetic biologist. After postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, he worked in the pharmaceutical industry (GlaxoSmithKline), and then for two Bay Area biopharmaceutical companies (Affymax and Xenoport) before joining Amyris, Inc. in 2005 as its sixth employee and first scientist. He was project leader for the semi-synthetic artemisinin project at Amyris, Inc. and has subsequently led a number of other projects and programs there.





Kay Monroe

Executive Director, Kathleen (Kay) Monroe, B.S., MBA

Kay is currently Executive Director of Zagaya.  Kay has a BS in Animal Science from UC Davis and an MBA from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.  She started her career at Genentech as a tissue culture technician and moved into management of a technical laboratory there.  She has worked in Sales for Costar and Corning and worked in Project Management (Global and Clinical) at a number of companies, including Genentech, Cerus and Synaptic Pharmaceuticals.  She has managed operations for the US subsidiary of Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals as well as for Synarc, an imaging CRO. In addition to working for Zagaya, Kay teaches Clinical Project Management, Vendor Management and Clinical Documentation for UC Berkeley extension and the Center for Professional Innovation and Excellence (CfPIE).


Bookkeeper, Cindy Lee

Cindy Lee has been involved in various aspects of administration and management of several businesses. Cindy has extensive experience in accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, reconciliation, invoicing and collection, and she brings with her expertise in QuickBooks as a certified user. Cindy provides bookkeeping support to Zagaya.

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zagaya is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) public benefit corporation. Our Federal EIN number is: 35-2411548