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Cellana announces appointments and promotions
October 2, 2013
an Diego and Kailua-Kona-based Cellana, a leading developer of algae-based feedstocks for biofuels, animal feed/food and Omega-3 nutritional oils, has announced that Valerie Harmon has been appointed as Cellana’s senior director of Research and Development (Kona), Xuemei Bai, Ph.D., has been promoted to senior director of Research and Development (San Diego) and Selena Ellis-Vizcarra has been promoted to senior director of Corporate Development.
Harmon has over 25 years of experience in industrial-scale and commercial-scale algae production and will assume primary responsibility for the large-scale production of algae biomass in Cellana’s Kona Demonstration Facility. Prior to joining Cellana, she most recently served as director of Cultivation, Environment and Safety Systems with Aurora Algae. Before Aurora, Harmon served in multiple roles with Cyanotech Corporation, a world leader in the commercial production of algae-based astaxanthin and spirulina for nutraceutical applications, including as director of Cultivation and director of Business Development and Animal Feeds and technical sales manager.
Since 2008, Dr. Bai has served as a key member of Cellana’s R&D department with increasing levels of responsibility and is Cellana’s principal investigator for multiple grant programs funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and/or Department of Agriculture (USDA). She currently leads Cellana’s efforts in algal strain development for ReNew™ Omega-3, ReNew™ Fuel and ReNew™ Feed products in both of Cellana’s ALDUO™ mid-scale screening and cultivation system as well as the ALDUO™ large-scale cultivation system at the Kona Demonstration Facility. In addition to her focus on upstream algal cultivation technology for bioproducts development, Dr. Bai also works with downstream partners on algae biomass processing, including lipid extraction, purification of Omega-3s and biofuels refining.
Ellis-Vizcarra has served as a key member of Cellana’s Corporate Development department since 2011. Under her leadership, Cellana has obtained, negotiated and executed more than four multi-million-dollar federally funded programs during her tenure at Cellana, amounting to over $5 million in revenue for Cellana. Prior to joining Cellana, Ellis-Vizcarra was with Verenium (formerly Diversa) Corporation, holding a variety of increasingly responsible positions in the business development, finance/accounting, intellectual property and corporate development departments, with her final position being contracts manager.