Meet the great minds behind the Bioenergy Technologies Office’s (BETO’s) Bioprose blog, a key resource that provides valuable insight into BETO’s early-stage research and development programs as well as the people who contribute to the success of the U.S. bioeconomy. Learn more about our technical bloggers below, including both BETO program and technical managers, as well as the BETO laboratory relationship managers from U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories.
Meet Our Technical Managers
Director, Bioenergy Technologies Office
Dr. Jonathan Male is the Director for the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), where he leads BETO’s work to lower costs, reduce technical risk, and accelerate deployment of bioenergy and renewable chemicals technologies.
Deputy Director, Bioenergy Technologies Office
Dr. Valerie Sarisky-Reed is the Deputy Director for BETO. Dr. Sarisky-Reed holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Georgetown University. She began her BETO career more than 20 years ago, where she helps to address energy and environmental issues faced by the United States and globally.
Alison Goss Eng
Program Manager, Feedstock Supply and Logistics and Advanced Algal Systems
Dr. Alison Goss Eng is the program manager for the Advanced Algal Systems and Feedstock Supply and Logistics programs within BETO. In this role, she guides a diverse research portfolio, developing technologies to provide a reliable, affordable, and sustainable biomass supply to the growing advanced bioenergy industry.
Technology Manager, Conversion Research and Development
Dr. David Babson is a technology manager, where he oversees several projects for BETO’s Conversion Program and works to understand how to leverage new technologies to advance the emerging bioeconomy and address global energy and climate challenges.
Meet Our Laboratory Relationship Managers
Laboratory Program Manager, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Dr. Zia Abdullah is laboratory program manager for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office program. He has extensive experience and accomplishments in thermochemically and biochemically converting biomass to fuels and chemicals include more than 25 years of industrial research and development in biomass conversion, as well as problem solving, new product development, business development, and project management.
M. Cristina Negri
Principal Agronomist/Environmental Engineer, Argonne National Laboratory
During her more than 20 years at Argonne National Laboratory, M. Cristina Negri has conducted and directed laboratory- to full-scale multidisciplinary projects developing technologies and concepts for environmental remediation and stewardship, including soil remediation and water treatment. She has researched sustainable technologies for urban environmental improvement.
Dr. Asanga Padmaperuma
Senior Research Chemist in the Energy Processes and Materials Division at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Dr. Asanga Padmaperuma is a Senior Research Chemist in the Energy Processes and Materials Division at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He serves as the Laboratory Relationship Manager for the Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office, which has oversight of research in sustainable use of marine, terrestrial, and waste biomass for fuels and chemicals via thermal, biological, and electrocatalytic conversion.
Laboratory Relationship Manager, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Tim Theiss is the laboratory relationship manager for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Bioenergy Technologies Office program. This applied bioenergy program includes research on feedstock supply and logistics, biomass conversion technologies, and the strategic analysis and sustainability of bioenergy. Tim’s work has involved liquid and gaseous alternative fuels, including biofuels for transportation and stationary power applications.
Laboratory Relationship Manager, Argonne National Laboratory
Meltem Urgun-Demirtas is a group leader of process development research in Argonne National Laboratory’s Energy Systems division, where she brings over 15 years of diverse experience in waste and water treatment, biofuels production, and materials synthesis for energy and environmental applications. She has extensive experience in design and operation of chemical and bioprocesses from bench to field scale, techno-economic assessment, modeling and optimization of processes. She is a fellow of the Northwestern University—Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering.
J. Richard Hess
Laboratory Relationship Manager, Idaho National Laboratory
J. Richard Hess is Director of the EERE Program Office at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and serves as the Laboratory Relationship Manager to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office. He oversees and leads development of strategic planning between the Energy and Environment Science and Technology (EES&T) directorate and DOE EERE to ensure highly impactful, integrated, and objective-driven EERE programs at INL. Richard has experience managing INL’s Bioenergy Program, which focuses on the cost-effective use of lignocellulosic crop residues in biorefining operations.
Algae Program Laboratory Relationship Manager, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Dr. Amanda Barry is a scientist and serves as the Algae Program Laboratory Relationship Manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Within the Bioenergy and Biome Sciences Group at LANL, Dr. Barry’s primary research focus is in algal biochemistry and the genetic manipulation of algae for economical biofuel production. Dr. Barry returned to LANL in 2017 from an Intergovernmental Personnel Act assignment at the U.S. Department of Energy, serving as Scientist/Technology Development Manager in support of the Advanced Algal Systems program in the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Babetta (Babs) L. Marrone
Laboratory Relationship Manager for BETO programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory
Dr. Babetta (Babs) L. Marrone is the Laboratory Relationship Manager for BETO programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) since 2012. She is LANL’s Biofuels Program Manager in the Applied Energy Program Office at LANL and a Senior Scientist in the Bioscience Division.
Laboratory Relationship Manager for BETO programs at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Dr. Katy Christiansen is the Biosciences Strategic Programs Development and Implementation Manager at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. In this role, Katy leads program development activities and strategic planning for the Biosciences Area at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.