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.
Technology Manager, Advanced Algal Systems
Christy Sterner is a Technology Manager for the Advanced Algal Systems Program in the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). While she has served in many different capacities and programs within BETO over the years, Christy has been with the Advanced Algal Systems Program since 2009.
Dr. Mark A. Shmorhun
Dr. Mark A. Shmorhun is a Technology Manager with the Bioenergy Technologies Office at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Mark collaborates with biotechnology companies and national laboratories to develop and mature mid-stage biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower research and development (R&D) with an emphasis on chemical process development and plant engineering and design.
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.
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.
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.
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.
R&D Manager for the Molecular and Microbiology Department, Sandia National Labs
Dr. Amanda Barry is the R&D Manager for the Molecular and Microbiology Department at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque. Amanda’s primary research focus is in algal biochemistry and the genetic manipulation of algae for economical biofuel production.
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.
Sheila Van Cuyk
Laboratory Relationship Manager for BETO Programs at Los Los Alamos National Laboratory
Dr. Sheila Van Cuyk is the Laboratory Relationship Manager for Bioenergy Technology Office programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). She is a scientist in the Bioscience Division, LANL’s Biofuels Program Manager in the Applied Energy Program Office, and a National Security and Defense Program Manager for Global Security.