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.
Lead Hardware Engineer
Bar is excited to use his experience designing, manufacturing, and deploying systems which integrate electrical and mechanical elements to continue to refine Root's collection device. He believes in continuing to build the simplest, most reliable device possible. Bar believes strongly in Root's win-win mission to reduce pesticide use in agriculture when they are not needed.
Prior to joining Root, Bar worked at Ontera designing innovative medical diagnostic equipment and ran Maslow designing and shipping thousands of devices around the world. Bar has a degree in electrical engineering with a minor in business.
Alex aims to bridge the knowledge gaps that exist between fundamental engineering and biological sciences to create simple solutions to complex problems. He is excited to apply his background in engineering, microfluidics, and translational research to prevent the spread of diseases in agriculture.
Alex completed his PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, Davis. In his PhD work, he developed a portable method for sampling human breath as a novel non-invasive personal health monitoring platform. In support of his research, Alex was selected for a prestigious UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) NIH TL1 predoctoral clinical research training program.
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.
Nada is eager to solve problems that are facing farmers today by working on solutions that are practical, accurate, accessible, and sustainable. She is particularly excited about Root's potential for expansion in a time when pathogen control is a growing concern.
Nada graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in Genetics and Plant Biology and a BA in Egyptology, where she focused her studies on agriculture and food. She worked in the Bowles Agroecology Lab where she looked at Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi as a potential belowground driver for pollinator visitation. Nada is excited to help reduce unnecessary pesticide applications to create a better environment for people and pollinators.
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.
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.
Lee is excited to bring his financial management and team building experience to Root Applied Sciences. He loves growing teams and helping high-impact agtech companies succeed. Having been through rapid growth and development before, Lee is happy to be a seasoned voice to guide timelines and financial requirements at Root Applied Sciences.
Lee has a Bachelor's degree from Mississippi State University and is a Certified Public Accountant. He has had C-level roles as CFO, CEO, and COO. Most similar to Root, Lee shepherded Benson Hill as CFO from formation until 2019. Lee sees the great trajectory and massive potential of Root and is thrilled to apply his skills and experience to help Root dominate the marketplace.
Strategy Adviser, Board Member
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.
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.
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.
Powdery mildew remains one of the world's most severe and persistent threats to grape production, with viticulturists using more chemicals to control this disease than any other vineyard problem. Traditionally, fungicide applications are timed according to the Powdery Mildew Risk Index (PMI). However, the PMI leads to over-applicating fungicides when disease pressure is low. Unlike the PMI, Root's technology allows growers to monitor disease pressure and accurately assess when and where interventions are needed.