Leadership Team & Advisors
Investors & Supporters
Core Values

Founders and Key Staff

Geoff Horst, PhD – Chief Executive Officer

Geoff is a co-founder of Algal Scientific, originally serving as the company's Chief Science Officer. Geoff received his B.S. (Oceanography) from the University of Michigan and an M.S. (Marine Biology) from California State University where he researched the effects of climate change on coral reefs. His Ph.D. at Michigan State University (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) focused on the nutrient physiology of toxic algal blooms. As an adjunct instructor at Michigan State University, Geoff taught courses in environmental sciences, ecology and marine/freshwater biology.

As a result of his expertise in algal biology, Geoff developed the concepts leading to the company's Hypertrophic™ treatment process. Geoff continues to engage with the research and development team and works closely with customers and strategic partners on both the beta glucan and water treatment technologies. As company spokesperson, he presents at technical and investor forums around the country including TEDx in Detroit.

Paul Horst, Chairman

Paul has both a B.S.E. (Chemical Engineering) and M.B.A. from the University of Michigan. He brings over 35 years of experience in executive management of technology ventures. His initial professional experience was as an environmental consulting engineer. He was a founder and CEO of Nematron Corporation which pioneered computer based ruggedized operator displays for industrial and process control. Nematron was acquired by a public company and subsequently spun-off as an independent publicly traded company.

He was President DTE Energy Technologies, a subsidiary of DTE Energy engaged in distributed generation and alternative energy. In 5 years, the business developed international joint ventures, numerous acquisitions and worldwide sales. At the same time, he served as a Director of several related subsidiaries and investments by DTE Energy. Mr. Horst was engaged in the drafting of the enabling legislation for NextEnergy, the state of Michigan alternative energy business incubator and served on the advisory board during its creation.

Paul has been a lecturer on Entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan, and a member of the Alumni Board for the Department of Chemical Engineering. He received the 2010 Alumni Society Medal of Merit award in Chemical Engineering for the University of Michigan.

Robert Levine, PhD – Chief Technology Officer

Bobby is a co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for the company. He received a B.A. with Highest Honors in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Middlebury College and a Masters in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. His Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan was in the laboratory of Dr. Phillip Savage. His research focused on processing techniques for algal biomass to produce biofuels. Previously his research in the Spatafora Laboratory at Middlebury College included the investigation of promising algae species for their use in wastewater treatment and biodiesel production, and the development of a photobioreactor for high-yield algae production and prototype testing. As an undergraduate researcher at the Angenent Laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis, he participated in research involving microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and wastewater treatment with anaerobic digestion.

He has been the recipient of numerous grants and honors, and has several publications and conference presentations relating to algae and wastewater treatment.

A key role has included working with our external advisors to optimize our process for the sterile production of beta glucan, leading our research on the process recipe and media formulation, and product development of our Algamune product line and future beta glucan derived products. He is also responsible for working with leading university and industry research partners in conducting trials demonstrating the efficacy and safety of our products.

Craig Banotai – Chief Fermentation Scientist

Craig brings over twenty years of experience in microbiology and fermentation. He spent 12 years, ending as a Senior Scientist, at Pfizer Global Research and Development in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he was responsible expression development relating to production of over 500 proteins to support internal Pfizer projects in antibacterial, inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular, central nervous system and dermatology programs.

As the head of the Ann Arbor fermentation facility he was responsible for the design and engineering requirements for both the fermentation and bioreactor labs set up, and supervision and development of all full-time employees, contractors and interns.

Subsequent to his work at Pfizer, he was a Principal Scientist at Draths Corporation (now part of Amyris), responsible for expression development and large-scale production of enzymes.

His role at Algal Scientific is to directly lead our efforts and the team in the process development and production of beta-1,3 glucan. He has a B.S. in Microbiology and Public Health, and an M.S. in Immunotoxicology, both from Michigan State University.

James Bleyer – Engineering Management

James has over 20 years of experience in engineering and engineering management. His career includes over 15 years at BOC Gases, and later at Airgas, where he began as a project engineer and became business unit managers.

At SSOE Engineering, he was project manager for bio-fuels, and managed teams of engineers through the design of ethanol and bio-diesel plants. Subsequently he was the engineering manager at Greater Ohio Ethanol, in Lima, Ohio, where he was responsible for and supervised construction staff, contractors and budgets, as well as process improvements.

As the principle at Green Castle Energy, he has been a consultant to the bio-fuels industry, developed patent pending technology for cellulosic ethanol production, and been responsible for operations, process design and pilot operations.

James is responsible for the design, equipment selection, procurement and operational oversight for both Algal's water treatment and beta glucan production. In this role, he also has the lead in establishing and monitoring policies and functions relating to environmental health and safety. His B.S. in Mechanical Engineering is from the University of Notre Dame.

James Fahrner – Chief Financial Officer

Jim is a seasoned financial executive with 35 years of experience at both public and private enterprises. He has held positions as Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer, Controller, Financial Reporting Manager and Audit Manager for Tier One automotive and other private and publicly traded high technology manufacturers. He has been responsible for establishing accounting practices and controls for multi-division and multiple location businesses and was responsible for establishing procedures and policies for compliance under Sarbanes Oxley at DTE Energy Technologies. His B.S. in Mathematics is from Eastern Michigan University. He is a Certified Public Accountant, and member of the AICPA and MACPA organizations.

Jon Liberzon – Director of Process Water Operations

Jon Liberzon joined ASC in December of 2012 after designing and managing agricultural development projects in Haiti for a number of development organizations. He holds an M.Sc. in agricultural engineering sciences from the Technion Institute and a B.Sc. from the University of Michigan. With research credentials in aquatic ecology and experience in environmental management systems and alternative sanitation technologies, Jon brings diverse skills to his role as Director of Process Water Operations at ASC.

Elise Gregory – Research Scientist

Elise joined Algal Scientific in 2012. With a background in both chemical engineering and sterile laboratory protocols, she is responsible for processing and analyzing all of the fermentation samples that are processed in our main laboratory and through 3rd party laboratories. Elise is also responsible for maintaining the company's sterile cell line culture. She holds a BSE in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan.

Key External Advisors

Paul S. Satoh, PhD – Technical Advisor

Dr. Satoh received his PhD in Biochemistry from Wayne State University in 1964 and worked in academia for several years. He worked in Upjohn Company, a pharmaceutical company in Kalamazoo, MI from 1972 to 1998 in both research and management. After retirement from Upjohn Company, he was a Vice President for Basic and Exploratory Research at Neogen Corporation, Lansing MI until 2009. His expertise includes protein chemistry, immunology, analytical instrument design and diagnostic product development. Dr. Satoh has been an adjunct professor of chemical engineering in Michigan State University since 2005. He holds 6 patents; published 45 articles in peer review journals, 3 book chapters, 26 presentations and 95 non-peer reviewed publications and company technical reports.

Dr. Satoh is currently studying in Eli Broad Graduate School of Management pursuing Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. (Expected graduation: May 3, 2013) He is bilingual in English and Japanese languages. He is a naturalized US citizen (1974).

Walter J. Weber, Jr. P.E., D.E.E., N.A.E. – Technical Advisor

Dr. Weber is Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Ecological Sciences and Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering, at the University of Michigan and has been among the top ten most cited scientists in America; Dr. Weber received his Ph.D. in Water Resources Engineering from Harvard University. [more]

S. Joh Kang – P.E. – Technical Advisor

Dr. Kang is a wastewater treatment engineer with over 30 years of experience in technical leadership and project management. As Vice President and Director of Water at Tetra Tech, he oversees the full scope of services in wastewater infrastructure. Nutrient removal is one of his areas of specialty. Tetra Tech is the leading North American consulting firm in water treatment. His B.S.E. Civil Engineering is from Seoul National University, his M.S. Sanitary Engineering from, Georgia Institute of Technology, and he earned his Ph.D. in Civil/Environmental Engineering at University of Michigan. [more]

John Denniston – Business Advisor

John Denniston was most recently a Partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. At KPCB, John worked with a wide variety of portfolio companies, with a primary emphasis on the Greentech industry. John was a member of the KPCB Partner team that many years ago conceptualized and launched KPCB's Greentech investment initiative.

He is actively involved in Greentech public policy issues, having testified before several Congressional committees. John serves on the Board of Advisors of the National Renewable Energy Labs. He is a frequent speaker at Greentech industry conferences.

Prior to joining KPCB, John was a Managing Director and Head of Technology Investment Banking, Western U.S. at Salomon Smith Barney.

Before that, he was a Partner at the law firm Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, where he was the Head of the firm's Venture Capital Practice Group, co-head of its Information Technology Practice Group, and served on the Investment Committee for its venture capital fund.

John earned his BA and JD at the University of Michigan.