October 16, 2014
DAVIS, California – The innovative microbial crop solutions company, BioConsortia, Inc., has expanded its R & D team to include Graham Hymus PhD, Thomas Williams PhD, and Elsebeth Kolmos PhD. Each brings broad and complementary expertise and has successfully begun utilizing BioConsortia’s proprietary plant-microbe selection process at the new facilities in Davis. BioConsortia’s R&D platform is an effective technology for identifying teams of microbes that improve plant traits and increase crop yields. The process is underpinned by the synergy between the scientific disciplines of microbiology, ecology, genetics, plant science and plant-breeding.
Graham Hymus has been appointed to lead BioConsortia’s plant physiology efforts, effective September 1, 2014. Hymus was most recently Principal Scientist at Mendel Biotechnology, Inc., which he joined in 2007 as a research scientist. At Mendel, he established and managed the plant-physiology functional group. Before Hymus’ career at Mendel, he spent six years in academic research. Dr. Hymus received his PhD in Physiological Plant Ecology from the University of Essex, UK. Hymus is heading the integration of more advanced plant physiological assays into BioConsortia’s microbial selection methods to further streamline the process of linking plant phenotypes to final crop yields.
Tom Williams is a microbiologist and has been recruited to the team to expand and manage BioConsortia’s microbial culture collection. Williams was previously doing postdoctoral research with the Western Center for Food Safety at UC Davis where he was investigating the microbial communities of almond and pistachio orchards. He has recently completed a PhD dissertation looking at phyllospheric microbes in which he also pioneered techniques for preservation and transfer of plant microbiomes. Dr. Williams has a broad technical background in molecular biology, bioinformatics, and microbiology, building on BioConsortia’s existing strengths in microbial selection for plant trait improvement.
Elsebeth Kolmos has been hired to fill the position of plant geneticist. Kolmos was formerly a senior postdoc at the University of Southern California studying heat shock factors in the circadian clock. Before her work at USC, Kolmos completed a post-doc fellowship at UC San Diego, and was a scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Germany, studying genetic analysis and gene expression. In addition to her post-doctoral success, she holds a PhD in genetics from the University of Cologne, Germany. Dr. Kolmos brings to the team the ability to augment the microbial selection process with an understanding of plant-microbe interactions at the level of gene expression.
Sr. VP R&D, Dr. Susan Turner, welcomed the new members to her team saying: “we have been extremely successful in our hiring process. Graham, Tom, and Elsebeth are each skilled and experienced scientists, and nicely complement each other on their work here at BioConsortia. I am excited and honored to be working with such an impressive group of scientists”.
The new R & D team, now 26 people strong and continuing to grow, will accelerate the development and launch of new biological products for increasing fertilizer use efficiency, plant growth improvement, and resistance to abiotic stresses.
About us: BioConsortia has developed a revolutionary R&D technology linking a powerful plant phenotypic selection process to high-throughput microbial screening and DNA-sequencing to rapidly identify microbial teams that confer beneficial traits onto plants. BioConsortia has a pipeline of products for increased fertilizer utilization, growth improvement, and other valuable traits such as abiotic tolerance for drought, cold and wet start, and salinity. They are establishing a range of delivery technologies including seed treatment, drenches, and co-fertilizer applications. www.bioconsortia.com