2024 SIMB Election Results

Posted 4/10/24 by . Filed under Uncategorized.

The 2024 SIMB Election for positions on the Board of Directors concluded on March 31, and the votes have been ratified by the Elections Committee. Thank you to each and every member who participated in this year’s election—as a candidate or as a voter. Your engagement is vital to ensuring SIMB leadership continually reflects the needs and priorities of the community. Thank you also to Nigel Mouncey, Betty Elder, and Ben Shen who will be rotating off of the Board in August 2024 for their time and service to the Society.

Please welcome and congratulate the newest incoming members of the SIMB Board of Directors:
President-Elect: Rob Donofrio, Neogen
Secretary: Mark Blenner, University of Delaware
Director: Aindrila Mukhopadhyay, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Rob, Mark, and Aindrila will start their terms at this year’s SIMB Annual Meeting to be held in Boston, Massachusetts from August 4-7, 2024. In the meantime, learn about the Society’s incoming leaders below.


Rob Donofrio
Neogen
Read Rob Donofrio's Biography
I am honored and humbled to be considered for the position of President of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. SIMB has helped shape who I am as a scientist and professional. During my 25+ years of membership I have volunteered for many roles: poster presenter; session speaker; poster session judge; session organizer; conference planning committee; program chair of Recent Advances in Microbial Control; SIMB Board of Directors (two terms as Secretary and one as Director); currently serving on Corporate Affairs Committee. Each experience offered insight into the inner workings of SIMB and provided me with a genuine appreciation of the effort, collaborative spirit, and passion of my fellow members. My doctoral mentor at Michigan Technological University Dr. Susan Bagley (past SIMB president and all-around great person) instilled in me the mindset of servant leadership and the importance of volunteering. SIMB is truly a Society where everyone can (and should) get involved.

I currently hold the position of Chief Scientific Officer at Neogen where I am responsible for the global R&D strategic vision and coordination of product development activities for the 100+ scientists and researchers in our Food Safety, Animal Safety and Genomics divisions. Prior to Neogen, I held multiple roles at NSF International over my 16-year tenure (Director of Microbiology, Director of the Applied Research Center). My additional board and advisory commitments include AOAC’s Global Council, IFPA Food Safety Council, NIAMRRE Advisory Council, and the MichBio Board of Directors.

As President I would look to expand on initiatives enacted by my predecessors as well as address emerging fields that impact SIMB stakeholders. My vision is as follows:

  1. 1. Plan for long term sustainment and growth of SIMB
    • a. Continue strategic planning initiative
    • b. Emphasize adherence to core values while being fiscally responsible
      • Ensure that SIMB remains the premiere industrial microbiology society
      • Ensure that SIMB continues to promote a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture
    • c. Evaluation of society partnerships that align with core values and scientific focus
  2. 2. Increase industry participation to drive corporate membership / sponsorship
    • a. Establish connections with corporate decision makers and define the membership value add
    • b. Evaluate best practices for industry engagement by other societies and trade associations
    • c. Engage adjacent industry targets for potential membership
  3. 3. Expand recruitment of emerging scientists
    • a. Mentorship engagement
    • b. Develop SIMB emerging scientist support/development group
    • c. Social media campaigns to raise awareness of Society meetings and local scientific gatherings
  4. 4. Establish Ad Hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
    • a. Purpose of the AI Committee would be to provide guidance in governance, IP strategy and technology integration

 


Mark Blenner
University of Delaware
Read Mark Blenner's Biography
Dr. Blenner is the Thomas & Kipp Gutshall Career Development Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware. Prior to that, he was the McQueen Quattlebaum Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Clemson University. He received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Manhattan College in 2004, and his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University in 2009. After that he completed three years of postdoctoral training as an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellow and an NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston.

Mark’s research interests include metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, biocatalysis, natural products, biomanufacturing, and microbial community engineering – which aligns perfectly with SIMB’s focus. His research is broadly focused on engineering biomolecular and cellular systems to produce fuels, chemicals, enzymes, biopharmaceuticals and biosensors. He is interested in the use of synthetic biology in environments outside of the lab. He works in various non-model and non-conventional hosts, including several oleaginous yeast, and natural bacterial isolates. His work has been recognized by the community through several awards including the 2022 AIChE Food, Pharmaceutical, and Bioengineering Division Early Career Award, the 2022 Biochemical Engineering Journal Young Investigator Award, the 2021 ACS BIOT Young Investigator Award, and the 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Mark has been actively involved in SIMB since 2015. He has chaired numerous technical sessions and participated in many of SIMB’s meeting. He was the program chair for the 2022 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA, and has served in other SIMB leadership roles. In 2020, he was a member of the Nominating Committee. In 2022 he became a member of the Education Committee, and in 2023 he joined the Webinar committee. Mark excited to make a greater commitment to the society working with the Board of Directors and the Executive Director to ensure SIMB continues to provide incredible value for its members and the community at large.

 


Aindrila Mukhopadhyay
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Read Aindrila Mukhopadhyay's Biography
Dr. Mukhopadhyay is a Senior Scientist in the Biological Systems and Engineering Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in Berkeley, CA. She received a master’s in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology in, Mumbai, India in 1996 and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL in 2002. She did her postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley and LBNL. Currently, she is the principal investigator of her team that is part of several large interdisciplinary projects, mainly focused on engineered and environmental microbial systems. She is the Vice President of the Biofuels and Bioproducts Division at the Department of Energy funded, Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and is also the Director of its Host Engineering group. As part of JBEI her group develops tools to examine and engineer a variety of microbial platforms including Pseudomonas putida, Corynebacterium glutamicum, Escherichia coli, Rhodosporidium toruloides, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and several other microbial strains. She uses a range of functional genomics, metabolic modeling, and systems biology approaches to address bottlenecks in microbial strain engineering. Her group specifically focuses on developing robust strains that show high tolerance and productivity during biofuel and chemical production, and the optimization required to achieve scalability. Dr. Mukhopadhyay has been an active member of SIMB in the past few years as a speaker and a convener in several SIMB meetings. In 2023 she served as the program chair for the SIMB Annual meeting held in Minneapolis, MN. The meeting drew over 500 participants across industry, national laboratories and academia and covered a vibrant range of research topics across numerous microbiology topics.

 

About SIMB
The Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIMB) is a nonprofit, international association dedicated to the advancement of microbiological sciences, especially as they apply to industrial products, biotechnology, materials, and processes. Founded in 1949, SIMB promotes the exchange of scientific information through its meetings and publications, and serves as liaison among the specialized fields of microbiology. Membership in the Society is extended to all scientists and companies in the general field of microbiology.

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