In January, 2009, GrassRoots’ entered into a Technology Alliance and License Agreement with Monsanto. The alliance is focused on discovery of gene promoters and trait genes for agricultural crops. Monsanto has recently exercised its option to extend the original three-year agreement for two additional years. The two-year extension will expire on January 31, 2014.
Philip Benfey, PhD
Founding CEO & Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board
Philip is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Paul Kramer Professor of Biology at Duke University, and the Director of the Duke Center for Systems Biology. Philip has more than 25 years of experience in plant genomics, plant developmental biology, and systems biology and is widely recognized as a world leader in these areas. Before coming to Duke, Philip was the founding director of the Center for Comparative Functional Genomics at New York University (New York, NY). He is an inventor on eight issued patents and an author on over one hundred scientific publications. In 2011, Philip was named an HHMI-GBMF Investigator by The Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordan and Betty Moore Foundation. He currently serves on the editorial boards of Developmental Cell, Developmental Biology, BMC Plant Biology, and Differentiation. Philip received his PhD in cell and developmental biology from Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) and did postdoctoral research at Rockefeller University (New York, NY).
Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer
Doug has been involved in a number of technology ventures, working as a consultant in marketing and business strategy. He served as Vice President and General Counsel at RiskContinuum, an Internet startup. Doug practiced law in New York City for 13 years, beginning his legal career as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and subsequently practicing civil litigation at White & Case, LLP where he gained experience in corporate law, contracts and intellectual property. Doug received his BA from Brown University, JD from Boston University and MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
Tedd Elich, PhD
Vice President & Director of Research
Tedd has over 15 years experience leading industrial plant biotechnology research. Before joining GrassRoots he was Director of Biochemistry at Cropsolution (Morrisville, NC). Additionally, he has led agronomic trait discovery projects at the Fortune 500 agricultural company Monsanto (St. Louis, MO) and biotechnology startup Akkadix (La Jolla, CA). Tedd received his BS degree from the University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI), his PhD from the University of California (Davis, CA), and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Salk Institute (La Jolla, CA).
Board of Directors
Dr. Philip Benfey, Chairman
Neal Gutterson, PhD
Neal is the CEO of Mendel Biotechnology, a medium-sized AgBiotech company based in San Francisco. Neal has substantial experience in the agricultural biotechnology industry, including partnerships, VC financing and strategic planning. In addition, he has overseen Mendel’s bioenergy program to develop an improved miscanthus feedstock.
Scientific Advisory Board
Ben Scheres, PhD
Professor, University of Utrecht; Winner Spinoza prize.
Detlef Weigel, PhD
Director, Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany; Member, National Academy of Sciences.
Sue Wessler, PhD
Professor, UC Riverside; Member, National Academy of Sciences.
Professor, Duke University; Former Director, Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany.
Business Advisory Board
Mr. Moonie is a consultant with 30 years of experience in the AgBiotech industry Mr. Moonie played a key role in GrassRoots’ negotiations with Monsanto.
David Robinson, PhD
Professor of Entrepreneurial Finance, Duke Business School.
Eric Ward, PhD
President of the 2 Blades foundation and former CEO of CropSolution.
John Ryals, PhD
CEO of Metabolon and former CEO of Paradigm Genetics.
Jon Fjeld, PhD
Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, Duke University.
CFO and Vice President of Affinergy.
CEO of Precision Biosciences.
Scott Uknes, PhD
Director, Business Planning & Administration, Mergers & Acquisitions, Bayer CropScience.