Spartina Biotechnologies


Executive Leadership

Paul Laur
CEO & Co-Founder

Paul has worked in biotech since 2008 when he was the founder and CEO of Eldorado Biofuels where he met Dr. Sayre as a Principal Investigator for the National Association for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts consortium. Paul also founded Santa Fe Cider Company, was Director of Operations at Anguilla Rums, and Director of Corporate Development at Pebble Labs. Paul holds a USCG Master Mariner’s license and spent over twenty years sailing around the world on ocean racing sailboats and cargo ships. He completed his master’s degree at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, and his B.S. at California Maritime Academy. He currently serves on the Boards of the NM Biotechnology and Biomedical Association, Ponderous Panda Capital Corporation, and the Pecos River Resolution Corporation.

Keara Sauber

Keara Sauber, a serial entrepreneur, began her first business in financial services in college and continues today in ventures from tech, health, and finance.

Starting in sales and marketing at GlaxoSmithKline, she spent half a decade in a prestigious leadership program that rotated her through every area of the company. Her innate curiosity and leadership drive led her to win multiple awards while at GSK. Keara then served as an operating partner and managed physicians, sales, risk mitigation, planning, and end-to-end facility needs for a sleep lab. During this tenure, she and her partner worked to successfully change Federal and State legislation regarding medical criteria in the transportation sector. 

Keara led the acquisitions team at a private equity company and completed more than 23 asset purchase agreements.  She was recruited to a specialty lender backed by Goldman Sachs as Vice President where her syndicate platform originated more than $500 million dollars to date.

Her consulting work includes expertise in pulmonary, cardiology, metabolic health, infectious diseases, urology, dermatology, viral diseases, and bioremediation.  She has served as the President of a biological testing company from Los Alamos, NM, and has built proprietary systems and apps for fintech projects.

Keara was awarded The U.S. Department of State Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) Award.

Keara holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees from Seton Hall University in Marketing with a minor in finance and a Bachelor of Science in Management with a minor in psychology.

Rich Murray, CPA
Chief Financial Officer

Rich Murray, has more than 40 years of experience in leadership, finance, operations, and consulting in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.  After 20 years with PWC (formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers), he served as VP of  Finance and Administration for a privately-owned holding company comprising several manufacturing entities. Following the acquisition of that entity, he began working with companies in a consulting role principally as interim COO or CFO with responsibility for the management of operational, financial, and administrative functions. He currently is serving as a financial and management advisor through Blue Pecos Advisors.

Rich's expertise encompasses business strategy, contracting, capital acquisition, M&A transactions, financial and regulatory compliance/reporting, communications with internal and external stakeholders, and development of business systems and processes. 

Rich holds a degree in Accounting from Bentley College, an Executive Program Certificate from Dartmouth College, and is a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA).  

Science Leadership

Tatiana Vinogradova-Shah, Ph.D.
Research Director

Tatiana received her Ph.D. in cell biology from the Institute of Experimental Cardiology, Cardiology Research Center in Moscow, Russia and completed postdoc studies in cell and molecular biology at Vanderbilt University and Wadsworth Center. Prior joining Spartina Biotech company, Tanya worked three years as Vice President for Research at MermaidBio division of Pebble Labs, where she led the research for development of anti-viral and anti-bacterial biotherapeutics to combat infectious diseases in aquaculture.

Her expertise lies in molecular biology, molecular cloning, and genetics, bacterial genome editing. She also has expertise in RNAi (dsRNA/siRNA/asRNA) applications for gene silencing in bacteria, invertebrates, plants and mammalian cell cultures. Tatiana is author of 12 scientific papers and 7 patents (issued and pending).

Elena Sineva, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist

Elena received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Bar Ilan University. She completed postdocs at Penn State University and UTMB in yeast gene repair and has served as a scientist and research professor at Rutgers University, UC San Diego and at Penn State University prior to coming to Los Alamos, New Mexico where she served as a Senior Research Scientist for Pebble Labs.

Elena has expertise in molecular and general microbiology, molecular cloning and genetics, site-directed, random and saturation mutagenesis, bacterial genome editing, yeast genetics, and sequencing. She also has expertise in RNA in vitro transcription; RNA-DNA EMSA, footprinting and labeling; and RTqPCR Northern blots.

Wataru Nishima, Ph.D.
Bioformatics Scientist

Wataru has investigated several biological systems including T4 phage infection, multi-drug resistance, Ebola/Zika virus prefusion-fusion transition, cytokine/enzyme design, mRNA-tRNA translocation on the ribosome, using statistical/sequence analysis, computer simulation, computational protein design approaches. He also developed methodologies to characterize protein/glycan conformational changes. One of the challenging projects he had worked is an MD simulation of GATA4 human gene consisting of 1 billion atoms with massively parallel processing (>500,000 CPU cores ≅ whole nodes of Trinity supercomputer) at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He holds a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from the University of Tokyo.


Scientific Advisory Board

Stephen Hedrick, Ph.D.

Stephen Hedrick is a molecular biologist with a wealth of experience in the field of immunology and a unique insight into the understanding of how immune systems in organisms evolve in concert with pathogens.

Stephen received his Ph.D. from the University of California and conducted his postdoctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He is the Distinguished Professor, Chancellor’s Associates Chair in Biological Sciences at UC San Diego where he has been for more than 30 years. His research work focuses on the regulation of the immune system including cell death, signal transduction, and evolution.

Board of Directors

Paul Laur
CEO & Co-Founder
Steve Kiziuk
Board Member
Luke Santangelo
Board Member
Steve Buehlow
Board Member