Our Team

Mango Materials produces a naturally occurring biopolymer from waste biogas (methane) that are economically competitive with conventional oil-based plastics.  The San Francisco Bay Area start-up is comprised of a first-class team of engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators.  The company was incorporated in 2010 and received their first round of funding in late 2011.

In 2012, Mango Materials was chosen as the grand prize winner of $630,000 for the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge Business Plan Competition.  The team received the prize in New York City at a dinner that was a part of the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2013, a Phase II National Science Foundation grant was received and in 2014, Mango Materials was honored to receive the award for Excellence in Technology Research at CleanEquity Monaco presented by HSH Prince Albert II. In 2015, Mango Materials continues to scale their technology and continues to earn more accolades, including Top Green Chemistry Innovator by LAUNCH and Think Beyond Plastic’s “Most Innovative Business” award. Recently, Mango Materials was voted the #5 “Hottest” Emerging Company in the Advanced Bioeconomy 2016-17 by Biofuels Digest.

Senior Management         Team Members         Advisory Board

Senior Management

place_holder_faceMolly Morse, Ph.D.: Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Molly Morse is a bioplastics and biocomposites engineer with experience in construction management and past experience consulting in venture capital. She has contributed to multiple patents in the bioplastics and biocomposites industry. Dr. Morse received her Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, with an emphasis on anaerobic biodegradation of biocomposities for the building industry. She received her B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University. At Mango Materials, Molly leads financing efforts through both public and private entities as well as coordination with various strategic partners. She travels extensively to attend conferences and events to publicize the Mango Materials technology.

place_holder_faceBill Shelander: Chief Operating Officer

Bill has experience working as a chemical process engineer for high-volume polyethylene producers and more generally developing emerging technologies into viable businesses for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Mr. Shelander has over 35 years of venture capital and business development experience as Co-President of JAFCO Ventures and as Managing Director of Pac-Link Ventures, a $380 million venture fund. He has been CEO of a $250M, public company (Micronics Computers NASDAQ: MCRN). Mr. Shelander has a M.B.A. from Stanford University, a M.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from West Virginia College of Graduate Studies and a B.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Bill assists with financing effort and full-scale commercial roll-out plans.

place_holder_faceAllison Pieja, Ph.D.: Chief Technology Officer

Allison received her Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering in 2011 from Stanford University, with a focus on selection of microbes for the production of poly-hydroxyalkanoate (PHA) from methane. During Dr. Pieja’s doctoral research, she pioneered the production of PHA from waste methane gas. She received her B.S.E. from Princeton University in Civil & Environmental Engineering in 2004. Dr. Pieja has contributed to multiple patents and has several publications in the PHA field. Allison leads scale-up of Mango Materials’ process and manages lab-scale process optimization.

place_holder_faceAnne Schauer-Gimenez, Ph.D.: Vice President of Customer Engagement

Anne received her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (environmental emphasis) in 2008 from Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI) and studied bioaugmentation of anaerobic digestion to enhance methane production. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science from University of Wisconsin–Green Bay in 2000. Dr. Schauer-Gimenez is an environmental microbiologist with expertise in bioreactor design and operation of methanogenic cultures. Dr. Schauer-Gimenez has over 10 years of laboratory experience, including the set-up and operation of a wet chemistry lab at a dairy farm. She also has extensive experience with methane production from various industries (wastewater treatment, landfills, agricultural) and monitored digestion facilities of various sizes (micro-scale to full-scale). At Mango Materials, Anne fosters relationships with customer partners (methane and polymer) and also leads marketing and outreach efforts for the production of biodegradable polymers from waste biogas (methane).

Team Members

Norm Balmer: Intellectual Property Strategist

Norm has over 35 years of experience in supporting and culturing new technology developments at both large companies including Monsanto and Union Carbide, where he was Chief Patent Counsel and a member of the corporate technology council, and, over the past 15 years, at technology start-up companies. He has a J.D. with honors from George Washington University National Law Center. He assists Mango Materials with patent matters, intellectual property protection and strategic business decisions.

Andrew Cal, Ph.D.: Scientist

Andrew received his Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology from the University of Chicago studying the genetic architecture of gene expression. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines and earned a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Cornell University. Dr. Cal’s varied research experience has focused on the identification and utilization of genetic variation controlling complex biological processes by combining statistical genomics and biotechnology. He leads efforts to improve microbial strains and to optimize the biological aspects of fermentation.


Carlos Delao: Research Assistant I – Biology

Carlos leads the lab-scale downstream processing team, along with assisting with day-to-day laboratory operations to keep the lab humming smoothly. He has a B.S. in Biotechnology from the University of California at Davis.

Phil Dillard: Customer Development Advisor

Phil is a strategy and operations professional with over 20 years of experience in advisory, team leadership, general management and strategy implementation roles. He has experience in running a P&L for a manufacturing company. Mr. Dillard brings extensive growth oriented experience from multiple disciplines and industries to bear on strategy development, project management and strategic alliance development. Mr. Dillard has an MBA from the University of Chicago and a B.S. from the United States Naval Academy.

Connor Fleming: Research Assistant I – Pilot-scale Fermentation

Connor leads operations of Mango Materials’ methane fermentation process at the field site. Connor holds a B.S. from the San Jose State University in Chemical Engineering.

Robert Gelardin: Strategic Advisor

Bob has over 40 years of experience integrating market research, feasibility studies, architectural design and planning, and urban development. He spent 13 years at GBC group overseeing the architecture/planning and property management subsidiaries of locations all around the East Coast. He has a Masters in City Planning from MIT and a B.A. in Biology from Swarthmore College. Bob contributes to the environmental stewardship team that focuses on methane mitigation and environmental awareness.

Brian Grubbs: Research Associate II – Polymer & Process Engineering

Brian has a B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He assists with bioreactor assembly and optimization of polymer processing and formulation.

Bob Hickey, Ph.D.: Senior Advisor

Bob has over 42 years of experience in applied research, development, demonstration and commercial application of biotechnology. Dr. Hickey has extensive experience in full-scale system design, start-up, operation, and troubleshooting of conventional and innovative biological-based treatment and production systems. He has been successful in translating laboratory and pilot scale research and development into full-scale application, particularly with commercializing the Biological Fluidized Bed Process. Dr. Hickey received his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is author of more than 50 publications and 20 patents with a number of patents pending. Bob helps with all aspects of up-scaling the Mango Materials’ methane-bioreactor systems and downstream processing.

Amanda Jacobs: Laboratory Assistant

Amanda assists with day-to-day operations to keep the lab running smoothly. She has a B.A. in Organismal Biology from Scripps College.

Joe Lampe: Research Associate II – Fermentation Specialist

Joe has a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Washington University in Saint Louis. He leads the lab-scale bioreactor team and coordinates the laboratory optimization of microbial processes.

Maria Ponce: Research Manager

Maria keeps the lab running by assisting and managing various aspects, including microbial growth and downstream processing. She has a B.S. in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology with an emphasis in Wildlife Biology from University of California – Davis, along with a Biotechnology Technician Certification from Contra Costa College.

Nancy Schauer: Administrative Assistant

Nancy helps with various tasks to keep things on track and operating smoothly.

Tze Wei U: Product and Business Development Lead

Wei holds a B.A. from Yale University and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. Bringing over a decade of experience in legal and environmental affairs, he builds international partnerships and develops market opportunities.

Advisory Board

Sarah Billington, Ph.D.

Dr. Billington is a Professor at Stanford University in Structural Engineering in Civil & Environmental Engineering and is a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin and a B.S.E. from Princeton University. In addition to other subjects, Professor Billington specializes in green building materials. She has studied the material properties of PHA-based biocomposites for nearly ten years, and assists the Mango Materials team on these efforts.

Craig Criddle, Ph.D.

Dr. Criddle is a Professor at Stanford University in Environmental Engineering & Science in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment. Professor Criddle’s research focus is environmental biotechnology, and he has over 100 publications in the field, as well as numerous patents. Professor Criddle has been advising graduate students conducting research related to the production of PHA from methane for nearly ten years, and he provides scientific and strategic advice to Mango Materials on their fermentation process. He is also heavily involved in issues relating to the presence of microbeads in wastewater treatment.

Curt Frank, Ph.D.

Dr. Frank is a W. M. Keck Senior Professor in Chemical Engineering and a Professor, by Courtesy, of Materials Science and Engineering and of Chemistry. He is also a fellow in the American Physical Society and a member of the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center. Professor Frank holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Professor Frank specializes in green chemistry and works with Mango Materials on creating a truly green biopolymer.

Bridgett Luther

Ms. Luther was the co-creator of the global Cradle to Cradle Certification Program with William McDonough and Michael Braungart and oversaw the original growth of the organization from a two person team in San Francisco to a team of 14 including an office in Europe. Before creating C2C, Ms. Luther was the Director of California’s Department of Conservation during the Schwarzenegger administration where her 750-person team was responsible for protecting California’s farmland and managing the CalRecycle program. She holds a degree in Business Administration from Vanderbilt University. Bridgett is an advocate for the cradle-to-cradle message of Mango Materials production of biodegradable materials from waste methane gas.

William (Bill) Orts, Ph.D.

Dr. Orts is the Bioproducts Research Group Research Leader at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Albany, CA that provides biorefinery strategies relevant to the Western United States. He received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from University of Toronto while working at Xerox, Canada on biodegradable plastics. Dr. Orts has been the recipient of the Secretary’s Honor Award from the USDA (for excellence in bioproduct research), a Tech-Transfer Award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium, and the USDA Early Career Scientist of the Year. He has co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and multiple patents. He advises the Mango Materials team in bioproducts relations in the private and public sector.

Lisa Stein, Ph.D.

Dr. Stein is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at University of Alberta, Canada. Her specialities include microbial physiology, molecular biology, functional genomics, nitrogen cycle, nitrogen oxide metabolism, and methanotrophy. She received her Ph.D. from Oregon State University in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Work in Dr. Stein’s lab focuses on the numerous and diverse pathways of inorganic nitrogen and single carbon metabolism in bacteria and archaea. She works with Mango Materials to expand the single carbon metabolism research which harness microorganisms to generate commercially viable bioproducts using single-carbon waste streams as feedstocks.