BioConsortia, Inc., innovator of microbial solutions for natural plant trait enhancement and yield improvement, announced the promotion of Dr. Hong Zhu to Senior Vice President of Research and Development. Dr. Hong Zhu will lead the next phase of expansion of BioConsortia’s Advanced Microbial Selection (AMS) technology platform, including discovery pipelines, product development, and commercialization. In his new role, Dr. Zhu will oversee R&D operations, set R&D strategies, and direct scientists at the company’s New Zealand research center and U.S. Headquarters.
“Hong has been an exceptional contributor to every team at BioConsortia over the past two years. His decades of experience in the agricultural biologicals space, coupled with extensive technical expertise, has help grow the team both in numbers and in skill. I have no doubt that he will continue this success as he beings directing the whole R&D organization,” says Marcus Meadows-Smith, CEO, who worked with Hong prior to their time at BioConsortia at biopesticide company AgraQuest and later at the biologics division of Bayer CropScience.
Dr. Zhu joined BioConsortia in 2016 from Bayer CropScience to lead the company’s development programs. He has more than 20 years of industry experience in developing microbial based biopesticides, bioherbicides and biofetilizers. Since joining BioConsortia, Dr. Zhu has driven enhancements in the proprietary AMS process to speed time-to-value. He has honed in on industry needs, strengthened the R&D portfolio, and been instrumental in moving a number of leads into product development. Leading the R&D team as one group is a natural fit for him.
Meanwhile, Dr. Sue Turner, who has been Sr. VP of Research since 2014 and who championed the AMS process in the U.S. as the company moved headquarters from New Zealand to Davis, California, will return to her home in Auckland where she will continue consulting with the company and will join the ranks of its Scientific Advisory Board.
“I’m excited to lead the team forward as we continue to expand our discovery platform and move products into the development phase. Dr. Sue Turner has built a fantastic research team over the past 4 years and we are delighted she will continue with us on a consulting basis,” says Dr. Zhu. “I am enthusiastic about exploiting this strong base and moving toward the launch of a portfolio of biological products with higher consistency and superior efficacy.”
BioConsortia, Inc. is developing effective microbial solutions that enhance plant phenotypes and increase crop yields. We are pioneering the use of directed selection in identifying teams of microbes – working like plant breeders and selecting plants based on targeted characteristics, then isolating the associated microbial community. Our proprietary Advanced Microbial Selection (AMS) process enriches the crop microbiome, allowing us, with the assistance of digital imaging, microbiome analysis and machine learning, to identify organisms that influence the expression of beneficial traits in plants. We are currently focused on products for fertilizer use efficiency, growth improvement and both abiotic tolerance and biotic resistance, as commercial seed treatments, liquid in-furrow products, and granule products for a range of crops.