Richard Gross, Ph.D. – Founder, CEO & CTO
Rich is the inventor of the concept of biobased ω-hydroxyfatty acid monomers and their polymers from triglyceride feedstocks. He discovered new technological approaches for amplifying the biological activity and fine-tuning the physico-mechanical properties of surfactants produced by microbes. Rich founded SyntheZyme in 2008 to pursue major opportunities in developing biocatalytic routes to bio-based monomers, polymers and surfactants. At SyntheZyme, Rich leads the core biocatalytic chemistry technology and discovery group.
Rich has 30 years experience working at the interface between biocatalysis, chemistry and polymers. He has held faculty positions at the University of Massachusetts (Lowell campus) and the Polytechnic Institute of NYU (formerly “Brooklyn Poly” where he is the Herman F. Mark Professor. In August of 2013 he move to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) to assume positions of Professor in the Chemical and Biological Science and Bioengineering Departments. He also is a Constellation Chair of Biocatalysis and Metabolic
Engineering in RPI’s Center for Interdisciplinary Science. He was President of the U.S. Society for Biodegradable Plastics in 1998 and is well known as a leader in that field. In 2003, he received the Presidential Green Chemistry award for his work on biocatalytic routes to polymers. In 2001 he founded and serves as Director of the NSF Industrial/University Cooperative Research Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing of Macromolecules at RPI where he enjoys the participation of numerous industrial collaborators. He has over 400 publications in peer reviewed journals cited about 7000 times, edited 5-books, and has been granted or filed a total of 22 patents. Rich received his Ph.D. at “Brooklyn Poly” in 1986 working with Mark Green and was a postdoctoral fellow with Bob Lenz and Clint Fuller at UMASS Amherst (86-88) working on bacterial polyesters.
Jim Roller, CPA – Chief Financial Officer
Jim is the CFO of SyntheZyme LLC, having joined the company in 2013. Jim has over 20 years of experience contributing to entrepreneurs in the mining, manufacturing, high tech and biotechnology industries, mostly as CFO. He has extensive international and leadership experience including senior foreign assignments in South Africa, Netherlands and Brazil. Jim began his career as a CPA working 12 years for Arthur Andersen in its New York, Johannesburg and Cape Town offices. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with BBA in Accounting and Finance.