We envision a future that doesn’t require toxic chemicals to protect our food or our crops. At PhylloTech, we are working toward that vision by developing innovative biopesticides that inhibit diseases but limit environmental impact. We also envision a future where everything from industrial materials to biopharmaceuticals can be made by plants.
Biopesticide Pipeline – Enzymes in Ag
PhylloTech’s core technology is based on our discovery that some plants secrete defensive proteins termed phylloplanins. This novel family of secreted plant proteins inhibit a broad range of agricultural pathogens. Our scientists have published reports on phylloplanin effectiveness and the results of their endeavors are clear: phylloplanins are extremely effective, broad-spectrum pathogen controls. We believe these antimicrobial proteins are the next generation of environmentally-friendly biofungicides and genetic crop traits to enhance disease resistance.
Quorum sensing is a biochemical process that allows bacterial populations to coordinate gene expression and plays a significant role in the onset of pathogenesis and biofilm development. PhylloTech is currently developing environmentally-friendly methods to interrupt this process and limit the impact of bacterial pathogens on crop diseases.
Over the past few decades, discoveries in plant biology have enabled the production of heterologous proteins in plants and have opened the possibility to produce high-value proteins that are too difficult or costly to make in other systems. Plant-based protein expression systems are environmentally-friendly production methods with unlimited scalability. At PhylloTech, we use patented technology to produce high-value proteins such as antibodies and enzymes in plant trichomes.
Ryan W. Shepherd, Ph.D., is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of PhylloTech, LLC. His activities leading the small company throughout its early commercialization stage include business development, scientific R&D, fundraising, technology licensing, intellectual property, global collaborations, and management of both scientific and business personnel. Ryan holds a B.A. in Organismal Biology from Beloit College (Beloit, WI) and a Ph.D. in Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY). He was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California-Berkeley.
Colin Shepherd, Ph.D., MBA, is Chief Operating Officer and manages new product development and commercialization. He identifies new opportunities and guides technical and business development on current products. He also leads new product launches and conceptualizes strategies on company operations, technology positioning, IP, and R&D. He received his Ph.D. and M.B.A. from Iowa State University and has 8 years of experience in management functions at diverse biotechnology companies, including AimsBio Inc., where he was founder and CEO, and at Siva Therapeutics Inc., where he was Chief Financial Officer.
Danielle Wittenwyler, Ph.D., plans and executes business strategies and builds relationships with customers and industry leaders. She conceptualizes, writes, plans, and secures grants and establishes product development schedules and coordinates activities through all phases of development. Danielle received a B.S. in chemistry from Truman State University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow, she characterized small molecules and peptides for the inhibition of bacterial pathogenesis (through quorum sensing).
Associate Scientist, Molecular Biology
Dan Pfaff received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has four years experience in molecular biology and agricultural biotechnology. He manages the day to day scientific tasks on several key projects related to phylloplanins, acylase, and protein and antibody production.
Steven E. Lindow, Ph.D.; Professor, Executive Associate Dean, College of Natural Resources, University of California-Berkeley. Professor Steven Lindow is a world-renowned scientist who specializes in phyllosphere microbiology and microbial ecology with an emphasis on ice nucleation active bacteria. He obtained his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from UW-Madison in 1977. Professor Lindow has been at UC-Berkeley for over 35 years and he has authored over 200 publications. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1999 and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Microbiology, and the American Phytopathological Society.
Silke Robatzek Ph.D.; Professor, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich UK. Professor Robatzek is a well-known scientist who specializes in plant-microbe interactions. Her current work elucidates the mechanisms by which plants transport proteins in response to pathogen attack, and identifies the biochemical cargoes and molecular switches involved in transport-regulated plant immunity. She also studies the cellular transport pathways that are modulated by pathogen attack, and has authored numerous publications in leading plant science and plant pathology journals.