Who are we: Plastomics’ management team collectively has more than 100 years of leadership experience in the agricultural industry, including in multinational industry leading companies and start-ups.  Our lab team is exceptionally skilled and innovative with deep experience in cell biology, plant tissue culture, transformation and molecular biology. Together, we are dedicated to developing and commercializing the next generation of revolutionary trait delivery technology.

Management Team

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Martha Schlicher, Ph.D.

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Charles Armstrong, Ph.D.
Vice President, Research

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Jeffrey Staub, Ph.D.

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Elizabeth Gallegos,

Research Team

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Kara Boltz, Ph.D.

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Venkata Mangu, Ph.D.

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Xiuli Shen, Ph.D.

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Xiangjun Zhou, Ph.D.

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Tracy Doering

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Murug Mookkan, Ph.D.

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Sangita Tiwari Polhrel, M.S.

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Alice Hui, Ph.D.

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Maria de Oliveira, Ph.D.

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Sanchita Vaghchhipawala, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisory Board

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David Fischoff, Ph.D. (Chair, SAB)

David A. Fischhoff, Ph.D. is an independent consultant in biotechnology and agriculture with more than 35 years of experience in R&D leadership and business development. Dr. Fischhoff has built and led programs in multiple areas of agricultural research and development. In addition, he has extensive experience in new technology identification; technology acquisition, investment and licensing; research collaboration management; and intellectual property management and defense.

Dr. Fischhoff currently serves as a consultant and advisor to companies is agriculture and biotechnology.  He is on the Board of Directors for S&W Seed Company; and he chairs the Scientific Advisory Boards for AgBiome, Inc., Plastomics and CiBO Technologies.

Dr. Fischhoff had a 33-year career at Monsanto Company from which he retired in 2016 as Vice President, Special Projects. Among his roles at Monsanto, Dr. Fischhoff served as Chief Scientist for The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto; Vice-President for Technology Strategy & Development; and Co-President of Cereon Genomics, LLC, a collaborative research venture between Monsanto and Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

In his career at Monsanto, Dr. Fischhoff was responsible for the discovery and development of insect resistant transgenic crops, which are a major tool for insect control in corn, cotton and soybean in multiple countries and have been planted on a cumulative total of more than one billion acres worldwide. Dr. Fischhoff is the co-inventor of the synthetic gene technology for expression of insecticidal proteins in plants, which is the enabling technology for nearly all insect resistant transgenic crop products in the marketplace.

Dr. Fischhoff received his S.B. in Biology from M.I.T. and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology from The Rockefeller University. Dr. Fischhoff is recognized as one of the founders of agricultural biotechnology, and he was the recipient of the inaugural Innovation Prize for Agricultural Technology in 2015 from the American Society of Plant Biologists for his work on insect resistant crops, and the James B. Eads Award for outstanding achievement in technology from the Academy of Science of St. Louis.  He is the inventor on key patents related to insect resistant crops, an author of more than 25 scientific publications, and an invited speaker at numerous national and international symposia.

Ralph Quatrano

Ralph Quatrano, Ph.D.

Ralph is the Spencer T. Olin Emeritus Professor of Biology and Emeritus Dean at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL), having retired in 2018 after 20 years at WUSTL. He previously served on the faculties at Oregon State University and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He is internationally known for his plant science research, and widely recognized for his significant and continuous contributions in the field of plant science. Ralph was one of the earliest investigators to apply the tools of molecular biology to the study of hormonal control of gene expression in plants. More recently he has applied the tools of genomics and systems biology to the study of drought tolerance in plants, using the moss Physcomitrella patens as a model system. He has published over 180 research papers over his career in higher education and elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. For five years he was editor-in-chief of The Plant Cell and served for eight years on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science. He was also President and Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB). and in recognition of his “outstanding service to the science of plant biology”, he was awarded the prestigious Gude Award, given by the ASPB. He was Co-Founder and Board Member of MOgene, LC, a genome services company, a Senior Partner with the Exeteur Group, LLC, a Venture Development Company, and a former member with Lewis & Clark Ventures, all in St. Louis.

Ralph Bock

Ralph Bock, Ph.D.

Ralph Bock is Director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, and a Professor at the University of Potsdam, Germany. He received undergraduate and MSc degrees from the University of Halle, and a PhD from the University of Freiburg. His research team uses a wide range of cutting-edge biochemical, physiological and genetic techniques to investigate plant cell organelles, with interests ranging from physiology and gene expression to metabolic and genetic interactions between organelles and other cellular compartments. In addition, his group is developing tools for biotechnology and synthetic biology to facilitate new applications in metabolic engineering, molecular farming and resistance engineering. The Bock group is also exploring the mechanisms of genome evolution in eukaryotes, and the genetic and evolutionary processes underlying the formation of plant species. Ralph Bock is a member of the National Academy of Science (Leopoldina), an elected member of EMBO, and a Highly Cited Researcher. In 2017, he received the Martin Gibbs Medal of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) for his pioneering work on experimental evolution and the discovery of horizontal genome transfer. He is a senior editor of Plant Cell, and an editorial board member of Plant Biotechnology Journal and Molecular Plant.


Brian Martinell

Brian grew up in New York, where he received an AS in Horticulture from SUNY and then a BS in Plant Pathology in 1979 from Cornell University.  He worked for three years at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, investigating biological control of insects in the field and lab.  Brian joined Cetus-Madison Wisconsin in 1982 where he co-developed a high energy electric discharge particle device that now resides in the Smithsonian Museum and was awarded the Wisconsin Governor’s Engineering Award in 1992. With this device, and other transformation technologies, he contributed to the development of meristem transformation systems.  This technology later played a key role at Monsanto after they acquired Agracetus in 1996, by advancing Monsanto’s first Roundup Ready Soybean soybean biotech product. Brian was awarded Monsanto’s prestigious Edgar M. Queeny Award in 2011 for his contribution to tissue culture and transformation advancements. He is an inventor on over 30 issued or published patents. Brian retired from Monsanto in 2016 as a Senior Science Fellow, and subsequently joined  the Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center (WCIC) as the lead of Research and Development. In his spare time, Brian gardens 20 acres in rural Wisconsin and manages 4 greenhouses with his wife of 40 years.