Sarah's vision for Root Applied Sciences is to distill excellent science into easy-to-interpret products that deliver immediate value to customers. Her background as the scientist at two microbe-centric startups informs the company's strategic development of new products.
Sarah has a BA in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD from UC Berkeley in Environmental Science, Policy and Management where she focused on microbial ecology and soil biogeochemistry. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Michigan State's Kellogg Biological Field Station, and later at the Ecology and Soils unit of INRA in Montpellier, France, compliments of an Agreenskills Fellowship through the Marie Curie Foundation.
Plant Pathology Scientist
Julian is a plant pathologist specializing in management of airborne plant pathogens using air sampling technologies and molecular detection tools. He did his PhD at Michigan State using spore trap data to improve the management of cucurbit downy mildew. Julian wants to help growers improve plant disease management using spatial and temporal data of pathogen concentrations in the air and disease forecasting.
Julian believes Root will play a critical role in disease forecasting by giving growers actionable information to manage pathogens more effectively, reducing fungicide applications and disease incidence. Julian enjoys listening to growers and working with them to easily integrate technology into their processes.
VP Engineering (PT)
Ryan is excited to apply his hardware expertise to the challenges at Root with a background in early hardware development all the way to scaled manufacturing. He has worked with startups in many sectors including energy, transportation, and consumer products.
Ryan was previously a VP at multiple successful hardware startups, ran engineering at the Highway1 hardware accelerator, and is the co-author of The Hardware Startup. He received his BS in Product Design from Stanford. He currently works as an independent consultant helping hardware startups through development.
Soroush is a hardware engineering leader with expertise in developing products at the intersection of microfluidics, mechanical engineering, optics, and hardware/software integration. He has a PhD in bioengineering from UCLA (Di Carlo lab) and BS in mechanical engineering. Soroush has 10 years of experience developing biotech products and inventions with applications in point of care diagnostics, single cell sorting and analysis, protein analysis, and more.
With prior experience in both early stage startup and large corporations like Amazon, Soroush is well versed in going from 0 to 1 and growth/scale-up phases of product development. He is excited to add his skills to Root's team and develop novel Bio-Ag technologies to help farmers adapt for a sustainable future in an unpredictable world.
Victor aims to make impacts on real world problems by using his engineering knowledge and skills. He is particularly excited to work with Root’s multidisciplinary team to design and build automated solutions for detecting and forecasting diseases in agriculture.
Victor has a degree in Mechanical Engineering where his research was focused on building a mechanical stimulating bioreactor for cell regeneration and prior to joining Root, Victor has worked on designing and developing a cloud-based bioreactor that could help scale-up bio-manufacturing.
Orla Lucey is an accomplished Operations leader with a proven track record of driving profitability and transformation in startups and global enterprises across diverse industries. With a history of spearheading two successful exits, Orla's career showcases a record of progressive advancements and key global positions, fostering both vertical and organizational growth.
Orla's leadership seamlessly integrates analytical acumen, change management expertise, and innovation to guide organizations toward sustainable growth. Renowned for her ability to cultivate high-performance teams and promote cross-functional collaboration, she consistently delivers exceptional, quantifiable results. Orla is excited to support Root's growth journey.
IoT Solutions Architect (PT)
Maya Wert is an accomplished IoT solutions engineer with a proven track record in the information technology and services sector. With a well-established career spanning various industries, including defense, computing, telecommunications, and asset logistics. Her professional journey, encompassing both startup ventures and Fortune 500, has equipped her with the ability to adeptly identify and implement optimal processes tailored to customer requirements, consistently delivering dependable and successful solutions.
Maya is excited to leverage her extensive experience to materialize Root's product vision. Her proficiency extends to a wide array of technologies, including IoT, LwM2M, MQTT, C/C++, UEFI, Embedded Software, Device Drivers, VxWorks, and Linux.
Jess is excited to work with the interdisciplinary and creative team of Root. She loves leveraging her problem solving skills and her desire to ‘get things done’ to impact the development of Root’s technology. She is thrilled to be part of a team dedicated to helping others and protecting the environment.
A 2022 graduate of Pitzer College, Jess earned her degree in biophysics, graduating with Honors. Her bioengineering work spanned design, creation, and evaluation of biopolymer systems to emulate cytoskeleton dynamics. An avid runner and fitness enthusiast, Jess loves the outdoors and being in nature. Keeping our planet safe, for all to enjoy is core to her being and her work.
Heather sees in Root what she wishes every startup had - a talented, motivated team that does the hard work of learning, an important, solvable problem, and product-market fit.
Heather's experience extends from molecular diagnostics through agricultural research to startup aficionada. As co-founder of three successful startups, Heather understands the journey, strategic milestones, and how to get there.
Pam has spent her career building products and businesses that help growers more effectively and more sustainably manage their crops. Pam sees Root’s technology as a knowledge portal that allows growers to access the information they need to be responsive instead of reactionary.
Pam is especially pleased to use her skills and connections to help Root grow strategically with the right product helping as many growers as possible. She has proven she knows how to do it as founder and CEO of both AgraQuest (acquired by Bayer for $475M in 2012) and Marrone Bio Innovations (IPO).
Tom is excited about Root's technology and the opportunity it creates in agriculture, building at the intersection of precision agriculture and sustainability. Tom has spent his career in the agribusiness space and is happy to help shepherd Root through it.
Tom's experience runs the gamut, from leading precision farming at Zeneca Ag Products North America to senior leadership roles in marketing and business development at Syngenta and Synthetic Genomics. Tom also has deep startup experience having worked with several nascent companies and having taken Agradis from formation through sale to Monsanto.
Jon is experienced in working with molecular biologists, engineers, farmers, and extension professionals on multidisciplinary crop protection projects. His research has focused on the biology and control of crop diseases and particularly the detection of airborne spores to forecast disease risk.
Jon sees the work of Root Applied Sciences as a key factor in transforming crop
protection to reduce disease risk for growers and optimize inputs, while ensuring a secure food supply.
Rodrigo has devoted his career to understanding pathogens of vineyards and other perennial crops. He has been engaged in the biology, ecology and management of plant pathogens for over 20 years. Rodrigo urged Sarah to found this company to help science reach the people who can benefit from it.
The Hildebrand-Laumeister Chair of Plant Pathology at UC Berkeley, Professor Almeida has been the recipient of Fulbright and Marie Curie Fellowships as well as the early career award from the American Phytopathological Society. Current research in the Almeida group focuses on the ecology and management of grapevine leafroll-associated viruses and Xylella fastidiosa diseases, especially Pierce's disease of grapevines.
Fluidics and Startup Adviser
Reto wants to help to make the invisible visible with technology. Detecting and forecasting the spread of pathogens is essential now as the environment is changing rapidly, and making the technology accessible, fast, and reliable is an important multidisciplinary project.
Reto has developed or helped to develop analytical instruments, including nanopore devices, NMR, TOF, sample to answer tests, microfluidic systems, ultra-fast PCR, and a network of earthquake detectors. He also designed and made various injection molded parts for microfluidics and other lab applications. He's written software for fortune 500 companies and has more than 10 years of startup experience. He's excited to leapfrog everything.
Powdery mildew severely impacts grape yields, leading to excessive fungicide use. Traditional reliance on the PMI often results in over-spraying. Root's precision technology empowers growers to apply treatments only when necessary, based on actual disease pressure