We are the world leader in constructive biology.

Primordial Genetics is a synthetic biology company founded in 2013. We are the world leader in constructive biology; a revolutionary new way of practicing biotechnology that creates novel genes from genomic building blocks to accelerate the evolution of highly efficient enzymes and microbes.

We apply our powerful technology to advance bio-production and to create efficient manufacturing systems for high-value molecules and materials. Our vision is to help the world transition away from raw materials and production systems based on fossil fuels and towards a diverse and integrated bio-economy.

We are focused on creating high-value enzyme-based production systems for manufacturing RNA and DNA, the twin carriers of genetic information that are key ingredients in numerous pharmaceutical, diagnostic and R&D products and critical enablers of the biotechnology revolution.

Our mission

Meaningful innovation

Our mission is to:

  • Develop efficient and streamlined systems for manufacturing RNA and DNA to allow ever-expanding possibilities of diverse products incorporating these genetic materials;
  • Develop powerful genetic technologies that expand the possibilities of molecular and synthetic biology in creating improved enzymes and bio-production hosts and allow us to create marketable products used in pharmaceuticals, nutrition, agriculture & industrial manufacturing; and
  • Develop a self-sustaining, profitable biotechnology business that provides an investment return to our shareholders and represents a stable and prosperous work environment for our employees.
  • Create good products in an ethical manner that connects innovation with economic and social needs and promotes public acceptance of new technologies.

Meet the team

Primordial Genetics is built by experienced biotechnology, life sciences and agricultural biotech entrepreneurs and executives with more than 150 years’ combined experience developing biological technologies and products. Our full-time team has deep technical and business expertise in our target fields and markets. We rely on our Board of Directors and broad network of advisors to complement our in-house skills and knowhow.


Maite Arrizubieta, Ph.D.

Maite is a versatile molecular biology scientist with more than 12 years of research experience with strong laboratory skills. After completing Agronomic Engineering at the Public University of Navarre (UPNA) in Spain, she started her research career working as a research assistant in the Microbial Insecticides Laboratory at the Institute of Agrobiotechnology (UPNA) while completing her master’s degree in Biotechnology. During her Ph.D. and postdoctoral work, she developed new baculovirus-based bioinsecticides, allowing sustainable agriculture by minimizing the use of contaminant chemical products. After that, she moved to the National Autonomous University of Mexico to continue her post-doctoral training. There, Maite completely changed her research topic, studying the role of several MADs transcriptions factors in Arabidopsis thaliana, revealing the regulation network of these genes during root development and their importance in contending with osmotic stress.

Xavier Deogaygay

Xavier Deogaygay is a Senior Research Associate at Primordial Genetics with research experience in both academia and industry. After he earned his BS in Microbiology from UC Davis, he continued his academic career at SDSU and earned his MS in Microbiology conducting research on Host-Microbe interactions, specifically focusing on the colonial cnidarian Hydractinia and its reliance on bacteria to undergo metamorphosis.

Before coming to Primordial, he was a Scientist at Codex DNA where he learned and utilized skills related to molecular biology and synthetic biology to synthesize DNA for a variety of clients ranging from pharmaceutical companies to research institutions.


Barbara Frey

Barbara started her career in biotech with an internship at BioAtla, where she helped test novel antibody therapeutics for their use as anti-cancer drugs. After a brief stint at a small nutritional supplement company, Barbara returned to BioAtla as Lab Assistant, working on developing the company’s own proprietary cell line for antibody expression. Before coming to Primordial Genetics, she was a 1st Shift Manufacturing Associate at Mesa Biotech, preparing and building SARS-CoV-2 test kits. Barbara graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with Bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.

Alan Greener, Ph.D.

Alan Greener received his Bachelors degrees in Biology and Mathematics from Brooklyn College and his Ph.D. in Genetics from the Pennsylvania State University Medical School in Hershey, PA. After a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, San Diego studying plasmid DNA replication, he entered the commercial biotechnology field. In the past 25 years, Alan has held high-level R&D positions at Stratagene and at Gene Therapy Systems. In both companies, he developed numerous E. coli strains with higher transformation efficiency, improved yield of recombinant protein and improved recombinant protein solubility. He also developed hosts for random and site-directed mutagenesis, a topoisomerase-mediated cloning host, and strains to reduce rearrangements within cloned DNA segments. All of these strains were developed and released as commercial products. In addition, he holds patents for inventing methods for error-free PCR cloning and infecting mammalian cells with a bacterial virus. Alan will be drawing on this expertise to further improve bacterial host strains using the Function Generator platform technology.

Melody McNay

In January 2023 Melody joined the Primordial Genetics team, bringing with her over 20 years of diverse experience in biotechnology. From providing products and services to the life sciences community to discovering the prevalence of certain pathogens in local SoCal recreational waters, to improving POC/LOC technologies, she has held a wide range of positions and responsibilities.

Her passion for biochemistry and molecular biology began while working as a temp for the Animal Resources Manager at Isis Pharmaceuticals at the same time beginning the Biotechnology Laboratory Certification program at MiraCosta College. She quickly realized that learning the fundamentals of how life works and the techniques available to harness those mechanisms is where her interests truly lie and how she can make the most impact in improving our overall human condition and reducing our harmful effects on our environment.

Moving on to MO BIO Laboratories, she started as a Media Technician shortly after moving through the ranks and ultimately becoming Lab Manager overseeing product quality, technical support, and the operations of the Services Lab testing lab consumables for various contaminants, while completing the MiraCosta Biotech Certs. To focus on completing her undergraduate degree, she transitioned into managing the BSL-2 lab of Kelly Goodwin, PhD at the NOAA Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla. After completing her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology with a minor in Japanese Studies from UCSD, she went on to work in a variety of roles at companies such as Synthetic Genomics, GenMark Diagnostics, and Weston Solutions.

After managing and growing the Molecular Biology Laboratory at Weston Solutions for the last almost 10 years, where she oversaw the processing of client environmental water samples through the microbial source tracking and pathogen detection pipelines, she is looking forward to applying her vast experience and background to making valuable contributions and changing the world with the Primordial Genetics team.

Senior Scientist

Chris Schvarcz, Ph.D.

Chris joins us from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, where he conducted his Ph.D. and postdoctoral work unraveling the mysteries of marine microorganisms, focusing on viruses. At UHM's Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE), Chris established and characterized a vast collection of novel marine viruses and unicellular algae. Highlights of his work include the discovery of fermentation genes in viruses and the characterization of previously unknown nitrogen-fixing symbiosis in the ocean. Chris brings extensive experience and diverse skill sets in molecular biology, genomics, and microbiology. As a scientist at Primordial Genetics, Chris is exploring novel strategies for improving enzyme activity.

Jarad Yost, Ph.D.

Jarad is a Scientist at Primordial Genetics and brings expertise in biochemistry, chemical engineering, protein production, and microfluidics to the team. He completed his BS in Chemical & Biological Engineering at Colorado State University, where he worked in a protein engineering lab, primarily assisting with protein crystallization studies. He then moved to Boston, MA, where he worked at Boston Biochem, a subsidiary of Bio-Techne. His work at Boston Biochem involved producing proteins, kits, and assays for use in Ubiquitin-Proteasome System research. He continued his education at Texas A&M University, where he received both his MS and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. His graduate work involved uniting microfluidics and electrokinetics to amplify DNA using Joule heating and concentrate and separate biomolecules using electric fields. Jarad then moved to San Diego to continue his career at Primordial Genetics.

Sabrina Baffert

Sabrina is a highly trained research scientist with 8 years of industrial biotech experience, deep molecular biology expertise and demonstrated proficiency at the bench. As the first employee of Primordial Genetics, she has worked on various industrial biotechnology collaborations focusing on pharmaceutical, renewable fuels and agricultural applications and has isolated multiple genetic solutions in industrially relevant bacteria and yeast. Her Current work is focused on discovery and improvement of high-efficiency RNA polymerases for applications in RNA-based therapeutics and vaccines.

Sabrina has a strong background in microbial genetics from training at the Pathogen and Microbiome Institute in Flagstaff, AZ where she focused on mapping genetic diversity of infectious pathogens isolated from clinical samples around the world. With an interest in public health, she has visited Jamaica and Peru on global health and clinical medicine expeditions to better understand cultural approaches to health issues. Sabrina received a B.S. in Biomedical Science from Northern Arizona University and currently pursuing an MPH from UC Berkeley.


Samantha De Salle, Ph.D.

Samantha De Salle, Ph.D. is a Scientist at Primordial Genetics with expertise in protein biochemistry, analytics, and assay development. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology with an emphasis in Molecular Biology at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA. There, she studied the prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi in deer ticks, the bacteria responsible for causing Lyme disease. After completing a summer REU studying yeast transcription using photo-crosslinkers, she decided to pivot away from population genetics to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology. She completed her doctorate at the University of Michigan studying molecular recognition of protein-protein interactions that regulate transcription in humans. Using biophysical and biochemical approaches, she studied how transcription factors recognize and bind to one another to initiate a gene response and identify ways to modulate the dysregulation of these interactions. After her Ph.D., Samantha moved to Vancouver, WA to join Absci as Protein Biochemist where she developed methods to characterize proteins to be used as potential biologics before coming to San Diego.

David Galgoczy, Ph.D.

Dave is an accomplished biotechnology executive with 15 years of industry experience in business development, fundraising, and technology development in early-stage companies. His passion is bringing new technologies to commercial markets that improve the lives of people. His roles have included business partnering, setting strategy, operations, and sourcing and developing innovative technologies, primarily in synthetic biology. Most recently, he has led business development and business partnering in North America for Acies Bio. Previously, he held business and technology development leadership roles at GeoFossilFuels, Kiverdi, and Codexis.

Dave holds a PhD in Genetics from the University of California San Francisco. His doctoral work on transcriptional regulatory circuits, carried out as a technology collaboration with Agilent, was recognized as an annual research highlight in Nature.


Nicholas Halloran, Ph.D.

Nick Halloran has a diverse background with research experience in molecular biology, protein engineering, and assay development. Following his undergraduate degree at UC Santa Barbara, Nick worked in a lab at UCLA studying the mechanisms of drug resistant cancers before pursuing his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. His graduate studies were focused on modifying metalloproteins in the pursuit of lowering the production cost of photo-generated hydrogen gas. This was accomplished by using designed peptides to stabilize small molecule catalysts for increasing activity in aqueous solutions. Also, during his graduate work Nick developed a high-throughput assay to screen for hydrogen production in protein libraries. Following graduation, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher in a neighboring lab where he designed and produced proteins to function as highly conductive molecular nanowires.

Dan Olson, Ph.D.

Daniel brings expertise in microbial genetics and genome engineering, biochemistry, and cell biology to Primordial Genetics. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University’s Department of Cell Biology where he studied the regulation of lipid metabolism by kinase signaling cascades in the budding yeast S. cerevisiae. He conducted post-doctoral research at the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Microbial Oceanography Research and Education at the University of Hawaii where he was involved in the metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analysis of marine microbial community metabolism with a focus on the diversity and function of microbial photoactivated proteins. As a scientist at Primordial Genetics, Daniel has developed microbial strain engineering tools and implemented proprietary genetic engineering technology for the production of commercial targets in S. cerevisiae and currently leads efforts in the discovery and improvement of enzymes used in the enzymatic synthesis of nucleic acids.

Shawn I. Walsh, Ph.D.

Shawn Walsh, Ph.D. is a Scientist at Primordial Genetics with over eight years of laboratory experience. He brings to the team a diverse skill set across microbiology, molecular biology, and synthetic biology. He conducted research on bacterial second messengers at Emory University, where he earned a B.S. with high honors in Chemistry. Afterwards, Shawn traveled to the West Coast to earn his Ph.D. in microbiology from the Scripps Research Institute, where he explored the therapeutic potential and mechanisms of resistance to the arylomycin family of natural product antibiotics. A fascination with evolution and a desire to improve lives drive him make an impact through biotechnology.
Founder & President

Helge Zieler, Ph.D.

Helge founded Primordial Genetics in 2011 with the goal of building the premier company for genetic improvement of microbes.

Helge is a biotechnology professional and entrepreneur with 14 years of industry experience in technology development, R&D project leadership and IP development/management in early-stage biotechnology companies. He has a passion for early-stage genetic technologies, and has helped launch the operations of multiple biotech startups including Akkadix, Chromatin, Synthetic Genomics, Agradis, Primordial Genetics and Industry3200.

Helge's background combines strong technical skills in molecular biology, genomics, plant and algal biotechnology and synthetic biology with entrepreneurism and R&D project leadership.

He did his doctorate work in yeast molecular genetics in nobel laureate Paul Berg’s laboratory at Stanford University’s famed Biochemistry Department and received his PhD in 1994.

Following an interest in malaria research he then did his post-doctoral work in the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Starting in 2000, Helge worked on a variety of projects in crop plant biotechnology and genomics. He led a group at Chromatin Inc that successfully developed artificial chromosomes as gene delivery vehicles in multiple crop species. As Senior Director for Plant Genomics at Synthetic Genomics Inc, he spearheaded efforts to sequence the oil palm and jatropha genomes and set up a molecular breeding project for castor improvement, while also participating in metagenomic studies of microbial populations in subsurface hydrocarbons.


Page Daniels, Ph.D.

Page Daniels, Ph.D. is a Scientist at Primordial Genetics. She earned her bachelor’s degree, with highest distinction in Biochemistry, from DePauw University, a private liberal arts college in Greencastle, Indiana. Her undergraduate research focused on the purification and derivatization of anti-cancer compounds and further testing of the derivatives for improved anti-cancer activity. Following graduation, she moved to Illinois to pursue a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Her work in Wilfred van der Donk’s laboratory predominantly focused on the elucidation of a novel class of enzymes called PEARLs (Peptide Aminoacyl tRNA Ligases) and the natural products they produce. Page then moved to San Diego to join Primordial Genetics where she brings expertise in biochemistry, molecular biology, enzymology, bioinformatics, and structural biology.

Patrik Engström, Ph.D.

Patrik Engström is a versatile scientist who thrives by solving critical scientific problems. After receiving a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Umeå University, Sweden, he moved to the University of California, Berkeley, for post-doctoral training. During his Ph.D. and postdoc, Patrik revealed mechanisms that bacterial pathogens use to cause disease. For example, he discovered that lysine methylation prevents a pathogen from being degraded by innate immunity. Patrik brings to the Primordial Genetics team expertise in molecular biology, experimental evolution, and biochemistry.

Matt Goering

Matt Goering is a biotechnology professional with 25 years of experience as a bench and field scientist as well as assuming managerial positions when necessary. After a short stint as a Park Ranger/Botanist at Pinnacles National Monument Matt began a wide ranging career in discovery research.

As a director at Sequoia Sciences, he led a team that isolated thousands of compounds from terrestrial plants and discovered extremely active biofilm inhibiting compounds. Prior to that, Matt held positions at Mycogen and Ligand Pharmaceuticals.

He has a passion for both botany and laboratory automation. Matt has grown fungi, algae, crop plants and Jatropha in greenhouses and growth chambers at Tissue Grown, Mycogen and Synthetic Genomics. At Dart Neurosciences he worked with cutting edge compound management robotics as part of the synthetic chemistry group; and as part of the Neurophysiology group with the Sophion Qpatch Patch clamping hardware. Most recently Matt was developing automated library prep methods for Active Motif.

Matt received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Humboldt State University in Arcata California.


Malithi Jayasinghe, Ph.D

Malithi Jayasinghe, Ph.D. is a Scientist at Primordial Genetics. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Her undergraduate research focused on molecular identification of unknown endophytic fungi with promising antibacterial activity. Then she moved to the U.S. to pursue her Ph.D. in Chemistry (Biochemistry division) at The Ohio State University. Her work in Jackman Lab at The Ohio State University primarily focused on a unique RNA polymerase family called tRNAHis guanylyltransferase (Thg1) family that incorporates nucleotides in the 3’- 5’ (reverse) direction as opposed to all other known DNA and RNA polymerases. She worked on unraveling catalytic mechanism and exploring potential biotechnology applications of this unique RNA polymerase family. Her work established that these polymerases can be used to target RNA substrates for post- transcriptional 5’-end labeling in a template-dependent manner, successfully. She brings expertise in RNA biochemistry, enzymology, and molecular biology expertise to the synthetic biology group at Primordial Genetics.
Chief Business Officer

Michele Rubino

Michele Rubino is a business and corporate development executive. His expertise lies at the intersection of biotechnology and clean technology. His passion is to bring positively disruptive technologies to fruition. Michele has been supporting Primordial Genetics in different capacities since 2016 throughout the company’s transition from industrial biotechnology to the current focus on nucleic acids manufacturing for pharmaceutical applications. Prior to his current role, Michele worked at San Diego-based Synthetic Genomics (now Viridos) where he oversaw programs across renewable fuels, chemicals, food, and pharma. Prior to that, he was Chief Operating Officer and Board Member of Beta Renewables, a joint venture between global biotech leader Novozymes, and private equity firm TPG, focused on commercializing advanced biofuels and biochemicals technologies. Throughout the years, he has also been involved in a variety of ventures as an entrepreneur and investor. Michele holds an M.S. in Industrial Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Milan, Italy, and an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and the outdoors. He is an avid skier and his goal is to ski on every continent.

Karen Xu, Ph.D.

Karen Xu, PhD is a scientific leader in the biotechnology industry with an expertise in microbiology, molecular biology, protein purification and biochemistry, and synthetic biology. She received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from Montana State University with a research focus on microbial biofilms. She did her postdoctoral work in Bacillusbiotechnology and molecular genetics at University of California San Diego. After entering the biotechnology industry, Karen held various positions at Diversa Corporation, Genlantis and Synthetic Genomics. At Diversa (now part of BASF) as a Staff Scientist, she was a recipient of an NIH Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant for the discovery of novel cancer drugs. At a subsequent position with Synthetic Genomics, Karen was the Head of the Microbial Discovery Group. Under her leadership, numerous microbial strains, gene pathways and novel protein products were discovered; candidate proteins for agricultural, nutritional and biopolymer production applications were expressed and purified, with greater than 20 novel gene pathways characterized and filed in patent applications.

Board of Directors

Chief Financial OfficerCidara Therapeutics

Jamie Levine

James “Jamie” Levine is chief financial officer of Cardiff Oncology, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing new treatments for cancer. Prior to joining Cardiff, Levine held senior executive and Board roles at three biotechnology companies, Cidara Therapeutics, Sapphire Energy and Verenium Corporation. Previously, Levine was a managing director in the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs & Co. in both New York and London, where he spent 11 years focused on serving clients in the healthcare and energy industries. Levine holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Brandeis University.
Founder & PresidentTwo Seven Ventures

J. Todd Mitchell

Todd Mitchell has spent his career in energy and clean-tech endeavors, first as a principal in start-up companies related to natural gas exploration and geophysics; and more recently as founder and president of Two Seven Ventures, a clean-tech investment fund. TSV’s portfolio includes companies involved in solar PV finance & development; building energy management; building power, lighting & controls; hot water monitoring & controls; energy storage; and synthetic biology. He was a founding investor and is a director of Alta Resources, a shale gas exploration company, and was a director of Mitchell Energy & Development Corporation (NYSE: MND, 1993-2002), and Devon Energy Corporation (NYSE: DVN, 2002-2012) where he served on audit and reserves committees.

Todd has a BA in Geology from The Colorado College (1981), MA in Geology from The University of Texas at Austin (1987), and MSc in Sustainable Development (with Distinction) from Edinburgh University (2007). His academic background includes research on aspects of the global carbon cycle and cycling of CO2 between ecosystems and the atmosphere. He has completed executive management continuing education at Rice University and Northwestern University Kellogg School. Todd was a member of the Roundtable for Science & Technology for Sustainable Development (2006-2012), organized by the US National Academies of Science.

He was president of Houston Advanced Research Center (2001-20006) and is currently HARC’s board chairman. HARC is a leader in sustainability science and policy development related to air quality, energy, water resources, and resiliency in the greater Houston Gulf Coast region. Todd served as a commissioner on the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission from 2014 to 2016, and he is a member of the advisory board for Energy Futures Initiative. He is married with two teenaged children and lives in Aspen, Colorado, where he enjoys cycling, skiing, mountaineering and squash, and is active in local non-profit organizations.

Senior Development EngineerUCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Dominick Mendola, Ph.D.

Dominick Mendola, PhD is Senior Development Engineer at the University of California San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), and Business advisor to Dr. Gregory Mitchell, PhD, and Phitec, LLC, providers of PG’s initial seed capital.

Dr. Mendola was Founder, CEO and Principal Investigator for 14 years at CalBioMarine Technologies, Inc, a pioneering bio-production company for new marine natural products, and in preceding years, a principal in 3 other commercial aquaculture food production companies.

Dr. Mendola received his PhD at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, in Marine Bioprocess Engineering in 2008, and a B.S. in Zoology/Marine Biology from San Diego State University in 1967.



Chairman, President, and CEO
BioAtla LLC

Dr. Short is a cofounder of BioAtla® and co-inventor of the BioAtla’s patented Conditionally Active Biologics (CAB) platform. He also cofounded Diversa Corp. (now BASF), a pioneering developer of enzymes, antibodies and biologically active compounds, and served in multiple roles including CEO, President and CTO from 1994 to 2005. He led Diversa’s public offering, raising over $200 million, which was the largest biotechnology IPO at that time. Prior to Diversa, Dr. Short served as President of Stratacyte, an antibody engineering company and subsidiary of Stratagene (now Agilent), who together with Scripps Clinic, were the first to clone and screen human antibody libraries in E. coli. During this time he also served as VP of R&D and Operations for Stratagene Cloning Systems. Dr. Short received his B.A in Chemistry with Honors from Taylor University. At Case Western Reserve University he received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry with additional studies in Macromolecular Science. He is the author of more than 100 publications and is the inventor of over 500 pending patents including more than 170 granted patents.

In 2006, Dr. Short was shortlisted by the editors of Nature Biotechnology as a personality making the most significant contribution to biotech in the past decade. He is the recipient of numerous other awards, including Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, American Chemical Society’s Henry F. Whalen, Jr. Award for Business Development, Adaptive Business Leaders’ Innovations in HealthCare Gold Award, two of Connect’s first place Most Innovative Product Awards, and in 2010 received an international Best-of-the-Best award from the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). Dr. Short’s board experience includes 15 years as a director of Invitrogen (now Thermo Fisher), Senomyx, Taxon Biosciences (now Dupont), and Ciris Energy. He is a member of YPO/WPO and a founder of Capia IP and the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. Dr. Short serves as an advisor to educational, commercial, scientific and charitable organizations.


Strategic Advisor

Jeff Lievense is a Senior Engineering Fellow at Genomatica, a developer of biobased technologies for the chemical industry. He was trained as a chemical engineer, graduating with highest honors from The University of Michigan, and then earned his PhD from Purdue University.

With 35 years of experience in industrial biotechnology, Dr. Lievense has broad and deep knowledge in metabolic engineering and bioprocessing. He has contributed to the commercial development of many fermentation chemical products, spanning enzymes, amino acids, aromatics, polyols, organic acids, carotenoids, biogums, sweeteners, and hydrocarbons – these having diverse applications in fuels, human and animal nutrition, clinical diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, synthetic dyes, and polymers.

In 2014, Dr. Lievense was recognized as an Outstanding Chemical Engineer by Purdue. In 2016, Biofuels Digest named him one of the Top 100 People in the Advanced Bioeconomy. He has been on the instructional team of UC San Diego Extension’s highly rated Microbial Fermentation Workshop since 2013.


Keck Graduate Institute

Animesh Ray, PhD, is Professor, Chair of the Faculty, and Director of PhD Program at the School of Applied Life Sciences in Keck Graduate Institute, claremont, ca.

He was previously a professor (1991-2001) and a visiting professor (2001-2004) at the University of Rochester, adjunct professor at UCSD (2001-2004), and visiting professor at the Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle, and University of Hyderabad, India.

He obtained his PhD in microbial genetics from Monash University, Melbourne, in 1985, and subsequently was a researcher at the University of Oregon, Eugene, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. Professor Ray has published research papers in fields ranging from molecular and developmental biology to computational and systems biology. His publications can be accessed here:

Animesh’s Publications


Strategic Business Advisor

Dr. Leslie Hickle is Vice President Business Development for BioAtla, a San Diego biopharmaceutical company developing novel drugs and protein engineering platforms based on bioactive proteins such as antibodies and enzymes. She has extensive research and management leadership experience in animal health, agribusiness, and industrial biotechnology and transactional experience across multiple industries leading to several legacy products with multi-million dollar sales. Prior to joining BioAtla, she managed the San Diego headquarters and led corporate development for Synthetic Genomics, a company founded by Dr. Craig Venter to progress the development of biobased fuels and synthetic biology. Previous to SGI, while at Diversa, AgriLynx, Mycogen and Stauffer Chemical (now Syngenta) she played critical rolls in identifying and fostering strategic alliances with key partners in animal health, plant agriculture and industrial businesses. She has led and mentored teams that have developed novel chemical and biopesticides, plant traits, vaccines, therapeutics, and technology platforms; she is co- inventor on issued and pending patents, is editor of a book on analytical chemistry, and co-author of publications in animal health and agriculture. She has founded successful biotech companies and served as a business and technical consultant to Bayer, California EPA, Schering Plough, Pioneer Hi-Bred, DuPont, Dow Chemical, Cal Poultry Federation and several biotech startups. Dr. Hickle received both her BS (1974, Biology/Chemistry) and PhD (1981, Entomology/Toxicology) from the University of California Riverside. Leslie is a Certified Board of Director (UCLA Anderson School of Business) and continues to advise and work with new biotech startups; she also serves on UC Riverside Board of Advisors for the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.


Pharmaceutical Industry Advisor

Claus Zieler, M.Sc., MBA is Chief Commercial Officer and member of the Executive Committee at Astellas Pharma Inc., where he is responsible for a $10bn revenue pharmaceutical business.

He has more than 30 years of experience in different executive roles in commercial, development and strategy functions in the pharmaceutical industry, including responsibilities for different markets in Latin America, Europe and Asia, and for different therapeutic areas, such as oncology, cardiology, neurology, gynaecology and dermatology.

Claus Zieler earned an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, as well as an M.Sc. in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a B.A. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University.


We have a successful record in partnerships with larger companies that improve industrial production organisms and systems in a variety of industries: pharmaceuticals, feed & food ingredients, renewable chemicals & fuels, flavors & fragrances, agricultural biotechnology and the microbiome. Please contact us if you want to hear how our hard-working scientists can help you create and re-shape enzymes and microbes used in commercial processes and consumer products.

Grant Support

Primordial Genetics has also received grant support from multiple government agencies.