Spartina Biotechnologies

Leadership

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
President

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

Her venture into healthcare began in sales and marketing at GlaxoSmithKline, where 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 winning multiple awards while at GSK.

Following that experience, Keara was an operating partner and managed physicians, sales, risk mitigation and planning, and helped oversee the end-to-end facility needs for a sleep lab. Prior to selling this business, she and her partner worked to successfully change Federal and State legislation regarding medical criteria in the transportation sector. 

She was later hired to a private equity firm where she led the acquisitions team to complete more than 23 asset purchase agreements.  Her interest in financial opportunities grew and Keara was recruited to a specialty lender backed by Goldman Sachs as Vice President.  Keara and her syndicate platform have originated more than $500 million dollars to date.

She has served on multiple boards of directors and led growth and management consulting for many companies – medical, health and other. She has worked in the health areas of pulmonary, cardiology, metabolic health, infectious diseases, urology, dermatology and viral diseases, including consulting a bioremediation company for safety protocols when COVID-19 hit. She served previously as the President of a biological testing company from Los Alamos, NM, and has built proprietary systems and apps for fin tech projects.

Among her many accolades, Keara was awarded The U.S. Department of State Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) Award which promotes entrepreneurship by catalyzing and coordinating private sector and U.S. Government programs to support entrepreneurs around the world.

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.

Richard Jorgensen
Chief Scientific Officer

Richard is a molecular geneticist and an early pioneer in the study of post-transcriptional gene silencing. His expertise in RNA interference (RNAi) plays a vital role in Spartina’s patented Siren™ technology.

Richard holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin, and an M.S. in Chemistry and a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. He was awarded Martin Gibbs Medal from the American Society of Plant Biologists for pioneering work leading to the discovery of RNAi and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the American Society of Plant Biologists. He was named an Endowed Chair for Excellence in Agriculture and Life Sciences by the School of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona. Dr. Joregensen was honored wit the Outstanding University Achievement award at the University of Arizona, for his leadership of the iPlant Collaborative, the largest NSF grant ($50 million/5 years) ever awarded to the State of Arizona and has received numerous awards and recognitions for his RNAi work.

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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.
Board Member

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.

Richard Jorgensen, Ph.D.
Board Member

Richard is a molecular geneticist and an early pioneer in the study of post-transcriptional gene silencing. His expertise in RNA interference (RNAi) plays a vital role in Spartina’s patented Siren™ technology.

Richard holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin, and an M.S. in Chemistry and a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. He was awarded Martin Gibbs Medal from the American Society of Plant Biologists for pioneering work leading to the discovery of RNAi and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the American Society of Plant Biologists. He was named an Endowed Chair for Excellence in Agriculture and Life Sciences by the School of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona. Dr. Joregensen was honored wit the Outstanding University Achievement award at the University of Arizona, for his leadership of the iPlant Collaborative, the largest NSF grant ($50 million/5 years) ever awarded to the State of Arizona and has received numerous awards and recognitions for his RNAi work.

John Schoggins, Ph.D.
Board Member

Dr. John Schoggins is an endowed profession of immunology and medical molecular microbiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. 

Dr. Schoggins earned his BS in Chemistry from the University of Rochester and earned his graduate degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from Cornell University Medical College.  His research interests are in host-pathogen interactions, innate immune response to viral infection, viral pathogenesis and host genetic determinants, virus reporters (fluorescent/luminescent) and host screening technology (CRISPR, cDNA), virus-host interactions; evolutionary conflicts in mammals.

Board of Directors

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