About us

Meet the Team

Luna Yu

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Luna completed her Bachelors & Masters of Science from the University of Toronto within 4 years. She has co-founded and built 2 profitable software startups, both of which still operating today.

Luna also has 5 years of sales experience, have sold over over $2 million in POS contracts at First Data Canada.

Patrick Neill

Senior Director of Eng.
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Patrick has over 30 years of industrial process and product development experience including 20 years in senior engineering leadership roles and over 7 years directing the research and development of biochemical process technologies. His expertise includes design and construction of pilot, demonstration, and full-scale industrial plants. He has a customer-focused attitude and focuses on developing cost-effective innovative products, processes, and solutions to meet end-user needs.

Hasitha de Alwis

Director of R&D
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Hasitha has an M. Sc. in biological chemistry, a B. Sc. in biochemistry, and over seven years of experience working in various biochemistry, nanomaterials, and biotechnology laboratories. Hasitha has successfully conducted research projects and published multiple articles in a variety of high-impact-factor journals. Hasitha has won multiple industry awards, including the NSERC award.

Andrew Chiappetta

Director of Fermentation
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Andrew holds a B.Sc. in Biochemical Engineering from Queen’s University, a Master’s of Biotechnology from the University of Toronto, and is a licensed Professional Engineer. He has over 9 years of experience in leadership roles in the pharmaceutical industry. Most recently, Andrew has led Upstream Manufacturing Technology and Process Validation teams for a new vaccine manufacturing facility project with a total investment of $1B. He has also developed fermentation processes from bench scale to 4000L, encompassing seed production to primary purification process steps.

Marcos Igreja

Technology Program Manager
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Marcos holds a B.Eng in Bioresource Engineering from McGill University. He has been with Genecis since its inception, leading efforts to scale-up the core technology, strategic planning, and building up the team. He has won awards including in bioreactor design and technical entrepreneurship. His past experience across Brazil, Hong Kong, and Canada, includes agricultural waste treatment, fermentation engineering, energy management, and technical consulting for start-ups.

Michael Williamson

Engineering Manager, Polymers
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Michael holds an M.Eng in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto and a B.Eng in Materials Engineering from McMaster University. He has a passion for working closely with customers to develop high-quality products and drop-in solutions that work best for them. He has over 10 years of formal laboratory, mechanical and design experience and holds a Professional Engineering designation.

Mansoor Akhthar

VP, Product & Business Consulting
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Mansoor has 14 years of Chemicals & Biodegradable materials industry experience that spans across Asia, Europe & Americas regions. As a R&D, Product and commercial strategy leader Mansoor served Fortune 500-1000 companies such as Dupont, GE, Prysmian offering > USD $4.8 Million in COGS, OPEX savings. He also served other PHA Polymer manufacturing start-ups such as Metabolix (CJ Bio); creating products in food packaging, apparel, Life Sciences, building products, non-wovens, automotive, medical devices, personal care, 3D printing & electronics market segments.

Kevin Eriksen

Senior Systems Developer
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Kevin is a University of Toronto graduate specializing in Mechatronics Engineering. He has had a year of professional mechanical work experience at Husky Injection Moulding, where he resolved and improved manufacturing processes. Kevin loves working with automation control systems, he can often be found in a garage workshop tinkering on automated robotics projects.

Dr. Vani Sankar

Biotechnology Lead
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Dr. Vani Sankar has a PhD in Biotechnology from CSIR – National Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences and Technology, India. She has extensive experience in Bioprocess development and optimization, and 5+ years experience in biofuel production from lignocellulosic biomass. Dr. Sankar has worked on research projects involving multiple international collaborations and has several peer reviewed publications to her credit.

Rajan Manocha

Business Development Lead
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Rajan holds a degree in business management specializing in accounting from Western University, a diploma in accounting from Fanshawe college, and has a strong background in Sciences. He has over 7 years of sales management experience, including as President of Sales at EcoHome; led cumulative deals of over $2M and managed a sales team of 15+ members. Rajan’s interest in business development originates from his strong financial background he obtained from his academic and professional experiences.

Robert Celik

Growth & Partnership Lead
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As Head of Growth in his previous organization, Robert led a sustainable packaging consulting project for a $7 billion foodservice multinational, developed a strategic national partnership with Uber Eats, and led domestic and European expansion. He also planned an R&D project to accelerate the breakdown of bioplastics in the composting process. Robert holds a BSc from Western University, and studied abroad in Germany and Switzerland.

Deeksha Shetty

Microbiology Lead
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Deeksha has M.Sc in Applied Microbiology from the University of Saskatchewan and specializes in genome-scale regulatory networks, alongside extensive experience in molecular and microbiology techniques. Her Masters research earned her the prestigious “2019 Alltech Young Scientist” award featuring entrants from 120 universities and 40 countries. She has published her work in various peer-reviewed journals and has won several scholarships.

Dylan Pardy

Electrical Operator
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Dylan graduated from Durham college with an electrical engineering technician degree with honours. He has experience working in both commercial and industrial electrical applications. Dylan also has a strong desire for continued improvement, and are described by others as someone who learns quickly and is always keeping himself busy.

Samra Asem

Business Coordinator
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Samra completed her LLB (Hons) Law with Psychology at BPP University in England, where she went on to join the in-house Board Secretariat team at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. She has almost four years of experience working in professional services, both client facing and in-house, and hopes to bring her experience, knowledge and problem-solving skills to a growing and impactful company like Genecis.

Nadya Iswari

Laboratory Technician
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Nadya completed her H.B.Sc. from University of Toronto, where she specializes in Pharmacology and Toxicology. She has experience working in various research institutions including SickKids, University of Toronto, and NUS. She enjoys doing benchworks and hopes to make impactful contributions to the world.

Junwei Lv

Polymer Dev Specialist
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Junwei has an M.Eng in Materials and Mechanical Engineering specialized in Composite Materials from Western University. Over his 4 years of research and manufacturing experience, he has led multiple research projects including PHAs and HDPE with different additives investigating their mechanical and thermal properties, and obtained solid understanding on polymer processing. He hopes to utilize all his academic knowledge and practical skills to investigate more possibilities of PHAs applications.

Rick Herman

Wastewater Technician

Rick completed his Masters at Trent University in Water/Wastewater Management researching how to exploit the seasonal thermocline in the Great Lakes to protect Drinking Water Intakes from Wastewater Outfall pathogens and toxic algae blooms that are increasingly threatening our Source Water using Caffeine (for Raw Sewage) and Sucralose (for treated sewage) as Wastewater Markers. He is a Class 1 Wastewater Operator, certified Limited Surface Water Operator, Environmental Technician and has a diploma in Instrumentation & Control Engineering.

Andy La

Analytical Chem Lab Technician

Andy completed his H.B.Sc from the University of Waterloo, where he specializes in Biochemistry with a minor in French. He has a broad range of experience from working in the office for Health Canada or doing field/lab work for small companies. This is his first opportunity working for a biotechnology company with such a unique focus and he hopes to gain new skills while sharpening old ones.

Mikaela Preston

Jr. Biochemical Engineering Associate
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Mikaela holds a BSE in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from UPenn. She has worked on various novel clean technologies such as algae CCS, biofuels, and solar H2. She has been building bioreactors since middle school and was named one of Canada's Top 20 Under 20.

Catrina Huyer

Jr. Chemical Process Engineering Associate
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After completing her B.Tech in Biotechnology at McMaster University, Cat completed her M.Eng in Chemical Engineering at McGill University, where she developed green electronic biomaterials. She has also received an award to work with the biochemical engineering institute at the University of Stuttgart in Germany, where she tested methods to improve the growth of bacteria and identified how different bioreactor conditions changed bacteria's DNA. Cat has a passion for using biological processes for sustainable technologies and is excited to be doing so at Genecis.

Fari Fathi

H&S Officer
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Dr. Fari Fathi has obtained Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Toronto. She has over 12 years of experience in environmental/occupational health and safety, Laboratory operation, product development and commercialization. A Registered Biological Safety Officer (RBSO) with the Canadian Association for Biological Safety, Fari is also the Mirror committee member of Standard Council of Canada (SCC) in Occupational Health & Safety. She has a diversified health and safety experience with emphasis on occupational and/or environmental health and safety code compliance, chemical and biological safety, hazard analysis, risk assessment, health and safety policy creation, safety data management system, and safety training in industry and academia.

Alice Cullen

Project Coordinator
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Alice has 7 years experience working in support and coordination roles, from hospitality management, administrative assistance, and teaching assistance at Sheridan College and University of Toronto. Before joining the Genecis team, Alice ran full-scale operations at EarthPup, an eco-conscious pet food company addressing the food waste issue in Canada.

Mateo Gonzalez

Jr. Polymer Dev. Scientist
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Mateo achieved a Ph.D. in Engineering, within the field of Biological Engineering, from the University of Guelph. His multiple years of experience span from wet chemistry to polymer processing and materials characterization. His main goal is to employ all his knowledge and skills, in order to reduce the amount of valuable resources being landfilled, while creating ecofriendly and sustainable, value-added products.

Liina Sadul

Junior Controls Engineering Associate
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Liina graduated from the University of Toronto with honours, specializing in Mechatronics engineering and Bioengineering. She has experience working with control systems on many scales, from a small robotic hand to control panels on subway vehicles. Liina has joined multiple robotics teams in her spare time, and is excited to apply her knowledge to sustainable technology designs at Genecis.

Zairon Narine

Plant Operator

Zairon graduated from Durham College with an electrical engineering technician degree. A self-starter, he has provided general laborer services to a variety of residential clientele, service included general landscaping and installation. Over the years, he has worked with industrial electrical equipment, and has experience both installing and troubleshooting pumps, motors, and process instrumentation equipment. While working as a Line Cook, he has witnessed the amount of food that goes to waste. He is excited to join the Genecis Movement to convert waste into value.

Berner Novak

Mech. Eng. Technologist
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Berner is a hands-on Mechanical Engineering Industrial Designer, with a background in industrial automation, metal fabrication, business and marketing, with over 14 years of experience successfully designing, developing and managing several manufacturing projects in North and South America. Now, he is committed to integrating his skills to help bringing Genecis' innovative and sustainable technologies into large-scale production.

Niamh Canavan

Office Admin

Niamh has 15 years of experience providing administrative support and coordination to a variety of industries including, health care, construction and logistics. Her hope is to utilize her experience and knowledge to aid in Genecis' mission of providing a more sustainable waste solution.

Alena Pratasouskaya

Fermentation Lab Tech
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Elena has a BSc and MSc in Biochemistry from Wilfrid Laurier University. During college, she won 3rd place in the Chemistry-Biology Olympics of Belarus, and was awarded a full scholarship for University. At GlycoNet, she was elected vice-chair of the Trainee Association from '17-18 and served as an organizer for the Symposium for Canadian researchers in the area of glycomics. She has also won multiple awards including the Ontario Graduate Scholarship and her work has been published in Nature communications. Outside of science, Alena has a passion to help children to learn and to reach their full potential.