Who We Are
The Future of Algae for Food & Feed (FAFF) Initiative was created to accelerate the development of cost-competitive algae-based food and feed in the global marketplace.
Algae have a demonstrated ability to produce high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, and oils in an efficient and scalable manner, with the potential to reduce our use of potable water, arable land, and fossil energy. Although algae offer enormous potential for both food and feed production, it is not presently a widespread food option as additional development and infrastructure buildout is required to scale and enable economic production of algae-based products.
This past May, the FAFF Executive Committee, comprised of representatives from six organizations within the algae industry, led the first FAFF Summit with key stakeholders from the food and feed sectors, algae production companies, investment community, government, and academia. Over 70 attendees collaborated to identify the essential actions needed to further accelerate algae in the marketplace.
2018 Executive Committee
Former Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer - Earthrise Nutritionals
Dr. Belay is currently a Visiting Scholar at UCSD and CEO of Algae4All, LLC, a consulting company focused on algae biomass production, quality assurance, product development, regulatory guidance, management, project evaluation and education. Up to recently, Dr. Belay was Sr. Vice President and CTO of Earthrise Nutritionals, a company that has been engaged in outdoor Spirulina biomass production for food, feed and nutraceuticals for about 40 years. He oversaw all scientific, technical and regulatory aspects of Spirulina production. Dr. Belay has an extensive experience in microalgae biomass production, algal product development, quality assurance and health and other applications of algae in general and Spirulina in particular. He is actively engaged in research on algae production for food, feed, fuel and biochemicals. He serves as a technical advisor, board member and expert reviewer of several organizations. Dr. Belay is a founding and past executive committee member of the International Society for Applied Phycology, a member of the Phycological Society of America, the International Society of Food Technologists and the American Association for the Advancement of Science to mention a few. He is also a board member of the Algae Biomass Organization.
Prior to joining Earthrise, Dr. Belay was Associate Professor and Head of the Biology Department, Science Faculty, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, Senior Fellow of the Third World Academy of Sciences, Italy, a research fellow at the Freshwater Institute, UK and a Senior Fulbright Fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Belay has published several scientific papers, and has served as editor, editorial board member and reviewer of many journals.
Dr. Belay is a recipient of the “Distinguished Applied Phycologist Award” from the International Society for Applied Phycology.
Vice President, Strategy and Operations - Global Algae Innovations
Tiffany Cannis joined Global Algae Innovations as vice president of strategy & operations in November 2013. In this role, she is responsible for leading corporate operations, business development, and strategic growth efforts. Ms. Cannis has over 14 years experience in organizational leadership in both the for-profit and not-for profit sectors. Most recently, she was the executive director of Our House Grief Support Center, a nationally recognized, multi-million dollar charity that serves over 8,000 individuals each year. Her strengths are in developing strategic direction and leading teams to meet operational and financial benchmarks. Ms. Cannis has a B.A. in Communications with a specialty in Chinese Studies and International Negotiations from the University of California, San Diego.
Executive Director - Algae Biomass Organization
Matthew Carr, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO), the non-profit trade association for the algae sector. ABO represents the world’s leading algae businesses, institutions and individuals with a mission to promote the development of viable commercial markets for algae products. As Executive Director, Matt is the strategic and operational head of ABO with responsibility for the organization’s advocacy, communications and industry development initiatives, including the Algae Biomass Summit, the world’s largest algae conference. Matt joined ABO in 2014 after nine years as Director, then Managing Director, of the Industrial and Environmental Section at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the world’s largest trade association for the biotechnology sector. At BIO, Matt led successful efforts to establish a national mandate, tax incentives and other federal programs for advanced biofuels and biobased products. Before joining BIO, Matt was the American Meteorological Society Congressional Fellow on the Senate Agriculture Committee for Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), where he contributed to the development of the biomass provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Matt began his career as an environmental reporter for the Dallas Morning News after earning a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington and a B.Sc. in Atmospheric & Ocean Sciences (Honors) from McGill University. Matt has also taught middle school math and science, and participated as an undergraduate in the world’s largest tornado research field experiment. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife and two children.
Jill Kauffman Johnson
Head of Global Market Development , Algae Ingredients - Corbion
Jill Kauffman Johnson is Head of Global Market Development for Algae Ingredients at Corbion, a Netherlands-based global leader in food and bio-based ingredients. She leads Sustainability, External Affairs and Marketing efforts for Corbion’s Algae Ingredients business.
Prior to joining Corbion, Jill was a Principal and Managing Director of California Environmental Associates (CEA), a consulting firm working at the intersection of policy, philanthropy and the private sector to address some of today’s most serious environmental challenges. She was also the founding Director of the Pacific Coast Regional Office of the Ocean Conservancy.
Jill holds a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University and a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer - Global Algae Innovations
Dr. Hazlebeck is a proven leader and innovator in the algae industry. He has over 30 years experience in chemical and biological research and development from laboratory-scale through piloting and commercial implementation. Dr. Hazlebeck is Founder & CEO of Global Algae Innovations, specializing in the development of low cost algae production technologies. The company has operations in California and Hawaii and currently operates the only large-scale open raceway system in the world with the CO2 supply exclusively from power plant flue gas. Dr. Hazlebeck’s experience includes leading the development of large-scale photosynthetic algae-derived biofuels, sugar and waste conversion via heterotrophic algae and oleaginous yeast, cellulosic conversion to drop-in fuels, and conversion of plastics to fuel. He is the inventor or co-inventor on 21 patents. Dr. Hazlebeck earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of California, San Diego.
Director - California Center for Algae Biotechnology at UC San Diego
Stephen Mayfield obtained bachelor of science degrees in Biochemistry and in Plant Biology from California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo in 1979, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1984. From 1984 to 1987 Steve was an NIH post-doctoral fellow at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. In 1987 he joined the Scripps Research Institute and become a professor and associate dean of the graduate school before leaving to join UCSD in 2009.
Event Manager - UC San Diego
Megan Murphy is the Event Manager for the ORU Core Services unit of the Office of Research Affairs at UC San Diego. She works closely with multiple organized research units on campus, including Dr. Steve Mayfield’s Food and Feed in the 21st Century, to develop engaging and productive events that highlight the cutting-edge achievements of UC San Diego researchers. This past May, Megan joined the Future of Algae as Food and Feed Executive Committee to ensure the success of the first annual FAFF workshop at Alexandria Real Estate Equities in La Jolla, California and to work on future summits in San Diego and beyond.
Megan earned her B.A. in English from Boston University. Prior to joining the Office of Research Affairs at UC San Diego, Megan worked at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Arnold Worldwide. She is thrilled to bring her skills and experience to the FAFF movement.
Senior Phycologist - Global Algae Innovations
Jesse Traller is a Senior Phycologist at Global Algae Innovations. She holds a BS in Molecular Biology, a MS in Oceanography, and a PhD in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and her technical background is focused in algal metabolism, genomics, and physiology. As part of her work at Global Algae Innovations, Jesse manages the government projects, facilitates collaborations, and provides technical guidance on the algae growth and production process. She has been part of the algal industry community for 10 years, having a true passion and commitment to the global development of algal based products. Jesse is also a committee member in the Algae Academy K-12 Curriculum Initiative, which provides instructors located across the country learning modules to teach young scientists the promise and potential of algae for the betterment of the planet.
Vice President, Operations - Qualitas Health
Dr. Rebecca White is the Vice President of Operations for Qualitas Health, Inc., a Texas-based nutrition company with headquarters in Houston, Texas; Qualitas’s lifestyle brand is iWi, an algae derived solution for “planet based” nutrition. Dr. White manages all production operations as well as the company’s applied R&D program, and has ultimate responsibility for on spec production from several facilities. Additionally, she oversees all production staff, leads the development of operational know-how at commercial scale, and incorporates technical feedback into primary technology development. Dr. White has 10 years’ experience in the algae industry, having worked previously at Sapphire Energy, Inc. as the Director of Cultivation. At Sapphire, her work on cultivation and harvesting of algae at scale successfully demonstrated the commercial viability of using algae to produce fuels and other high-value products. Dr. White also handled the administrative management roles for the site and achieved impressive gains in personnel productivity, reduction of safety incidents, and improved environmental performance. Her specialties include the translation and development of traditional agriculture principles to the domestication of algae as a crop, the establishment of field testing and process monitoring facilities and protocols, and public/educational outreach on algae in general. Dr. White received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from Texas A&M University, where she was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow.