Meet our team

Team

CO-FOUNDER, CEO

Roger Kemble, PhD

Dr. Roger Kemble serves as CEO and Co-founder at Vindara.

Dr. Roger Kemble serves as CEO and Co-founder at Vindara.

Dr. Kemble previously held a number of leadership roles for Syngenta including President of Syngenta Biotechnology Inc., Global Head of Crop Genetics Research and Global Head of Technology Strategy & Integration from 2002 retiring in 2012.

Prior to that, he held management positions at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Allelix Crop Technologies and Allelix Inc. In parallel to his industrial career, he had an academic career as a professor at University of Toronto with an adjunct professorship at University of Waterloo, following work as an Assistant Professor at Kansas State University.

Post-doctoral research was performed at University of Florida and the Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge, UK following a Ph.D. from King’s College, London.

CO-FOUNDER, CSO, GM

Jade Stinson, PhD MBA

Dr. Jade Stinson serves as Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder at Vindara.

Dr. Jade Stinson serves as Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder at Vindara.

Dr. Stinson’s previously served as Technology Management and Head of Global Operations for BASF’s Professional and Specialty Solutions business and as Chief Scientific Officer of the venture development group, AgTech Accelerator, where she sourced transformational technologies and provided scientific diligence for investments.

Dr. Stinson holds a Ph.D in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Manchester, UK. She also holds an MBA from Manchester Business School, UK, as well as an MS in Instrumentation and Analytical Science from UMIST, UK and a BS in Biomedical Science.

CFO

Lee Palles

Lee Palles is former fractional CFO for Benson Hill biosystems.

Lee Palles is former fractional CFO for Benson Hill biosystems. Lee has been a C-Level executive in successful start-ups across the life science, high-tech, investment management, and alternative energy industries. These include some of the fastest growing firms in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, a region known for innovation and entrepreneurship.

A former consultant with Deloitte, Lee brings more than 30 years of experience as a leader in high-growth environments, financial management, venture finance, M&A, systems consulting, and sales. In addition to his business management roles, Lee has been a community leader, donating time to his passions to foster entrepreneurship, and supporting positive self-image and development opportunities for youth.

His efforts include serving as a NC State Entrepreneurial Initiative advisor, director of athletics for the World Special Olympics Games, Parent-Teacher Association president, executive director of a nationally-ranked youth volleyball club, and guest lecturer at universities, including Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Rice University, and NC State.

Lee has a BSBA in accounting from Mississippi State University, a CPA license, Series 27, 7, and 63 Securities licenses.

VP OF COMMERCIALIZATION

Dan Burdett

Dan Burdett is the former Head of Digital Agriculture of Syngenta and Head of Vegetable Seeds.

Dan Burdett is the former Head of Digital Agriculture of Syngenta and Head of Vegetable Seeds. Dan holds a BS in Agriculture from The Ohio State University. Dan is an experienced and successful manager in the agri-business sector with a passion for business development, new ventures, and the power of team momentum.

He started his career managing retail outlets, helping his local growers improve their operations with the latest technologies. This grower-focus has helped him ensure customer value at every step along his journey.

Dan has led all aspects of agri-business including general management, business development, acquisitions, sales and marketing, agronomy and most recently digital agriculture. With excellent business performance, he has gained ever-increasing roles in the following markets: vegetable seeds, produce, corn and soybean seeds, crop protection and digital agriculture.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Alec Hopkins

Alec Hopkins is the former R&D Manager responsible for General Mills' $1B North American Refrigerated Dough portfolio.

Alec Hopkins is the former R&D Manager responsible for General Mills' $1B North American Refrigerated Dough portfolio.

He brings 20+ years of CPG experience in R&D at General Mills, including leadership roles in the US and France. Highlights from his time there include the development and launch of Yoplait Greek 100 with $150M in Year 1 sales and leadership of global yogurt pipeline development.

Alec has successfully led teams to discover and deliver delightful products that have driven market results across technologies, businesses and consumer beliefs.

ANALYST

Rusty Martin

Rusty is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a BS in Agricultural Business Management and a BS in Agricultural Sciences, with a concentration on Crops and Horticulture.

Rusty is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a BS in Agricultural Business Management and a BS in Agricultural Sciences, with a concentration on Crops and Horticulture.

While completing his undergraduate degrees, Rusty supported several Ph.D. projects researching drought tolerance for corn, soybeans, and peanuts. Rusty is a problem solver, a team leader, and a passionate individual with a love for improving processes and increasing team efficiency.

Rusty is also a former professional film actor with more than ten years of experience, in addition to five years of experience in professional public speaking.

CONTROLLER, OPERATIONS

Stef Landa

Stef Landa is a Fractional Operations Director for multiple technology and service companies specializing in human resources and administrative project management.

Stef Landa is a Fractional Operations Director for multiple technology and service companies specializing in human resources and administrative project management.

With over 20 years of experience, Stef leads multi-national back office operations including finance, legal, facilities management, human resources and administration.

Stef is experienced in merger and acquisition due diligence, IPO processes and enabling companies to transition from two to 200+ employees.

Directors

Lynne Zydowsky, PhD

Lynne Zydowsky, PhD, President and Co-Founder of the Alexandria Summit and Chief Science Officer of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc./Alexandria Venture Investments, and President of Zydowsky.

Lynne Zydowsky, PhD, President and Co-Founder of the Alexandria Summit and Chief Science Officer of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc./Alexandria Venture Investments, and President of Zydowsky Consultants, is an experienced executive in the life science industry who has been involved in the launching and building of several successful companies.

With over 25 years of experience, she has played key roles in corporate development, operations, and finance. She is a long-standing advocate for biomedical research and the advancement of global health.

Raj Kaul

Raj Kaul is the former SVP of Bayer CropScience AG and a member of the group leadership circle of Bayer AG. With over 30 years experience in general management and M&A for Bayer Ag.

Raj Kaul is the former SVP of Bayer CropScience AG and a member of the group leadership circle of Bayer AG. With over 30 years experience in general management and M&A for Bayer Ag businesses, he has completed over 200 transactions across licensing, JVs, research agreements, partnerships, acquisitions, and divestments.

Soren Schroder

Soren Schroder is the former CEO of Bunge Limited, a $45B company with over 25,000 employees. He brings 35 years of leadership experience in Global Agribusiness and Food Ingredients, in both private.

Soren Schroder is the former CEO of Bunge Limited, a $45B company with over 25,000 employees. He brings 35 years of leadership experience in Global Agribusiness and Food Ingredients, in both private and public company settings.

His experience lies in building global supply chains, managing risk, logistics, industrial and value-added activities, and executing on strategy via acquisitions and partnerships on a global scale.

CO-FOUNDER, CSO, GM

Jade Stinson, PhD MBA

Dr. Jade Stinson serves as Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder at Vindara.

Dr. Jade Stinson serves as Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder at Vindara.

Dr. Stinson’s previously served as Technology Management and Head of Global Operations for BASF’s Professional and Specialty Solutions business and as Chief Scientific Officer of the venture development group, AgTech Accelerator, where she sourced transformational technologies and provided scientific diligence for investments.

Dr. Stinson holds a Ph.D in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Manchester, UK. She also holds an MBA from Manchester Business School, UK, as well as an MS in Instrumentation and Analytical Science from UMIST, UK and a BS in Biomedical Science.

CO-FOUNDER, CEO

Roger Kemble, PhD

Dr. Roger Kemble serves as CEO and Co-founder at Vindara.

Dr. Roger Kemble serves as CEO and Co-founder at Vindara.

Dr. Kemble previously held a number of leadership roles for Syngenta including President of Syngenta Biotechnology Inc., Global Head of Crop Genetics Research and Global Head of Technology Strategy & Integration from 2002 retiring in 2012.

Prior to that, he held management positions at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Allelix Crop Technologies and Allelix Inc. In parallel to his industrial career, he had an academic career as a professor at University of Toronto with an adjunct professorship at University of Waterloo, following work as an Assistant Professor at Kansas State University.

Post-doctoral research was performed at University of Florida and the Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge, UK following a Ph.D. from King’s College, London.

Scientific Advisors

CO-FOUNDER, CEO

Roger Kemble, PhD

Dr. Roger Kemble serves as CEO and Co-founder at Vindara.

Dr. Roger Kemble serves as CEO and Co-founder at Vindara.

Dr. Kemble previously held a number of leadership roles for Syngenta including President of Syngenta Biotechnology Inc., Global Head of Crop Genetics Research and Global Head of Technology Strategy & Integration from 2002 retiring in 2012.

Prior to that, he held management positions at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Allelix Crop Technologies and Allelix Inc. In parallel to his industrial career, he had an academic career as a professor at University of Toronto with an adjunct professorship at University of Waterloo, following work as an Assistant Professor at Kansas State University.

Post-doctoral research was performed at University of Florida and the Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge, UK following a Ph.D. from King’s College, London.

CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER, ALEXANDRIA REAL ESTATE EQUITIES, INC./ALEXANDRIA VENTURE INVESTMENTS

Lynne Zydowsky, PhD

Lynne Zydowsky, PhD, President and Co-Founder of the Alexandria Summit and Chief Science Officer of Alexandria Real Estate Equities...

Lynne Zydowsky, PhD, President and Co-Founder of the Alexandria Summit and Chief Science Officer of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc./Alexandria Venture Investments, and President of Zydowsky Consultants, is an experienced executive in the life science industry who has been involved in the launching and building of several successful companies.

With over 25 years of experience, she has played key roles in corporate development, operations, and finance. She is a long-standing advocate for biomedical research and the advancement of global health.

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, HORTICULTURAL SCIENCE, NCSU

Ricardo Hernandez, PhD

Dr. Ricardo Hernández is an assistant professor at North Carolina State University focused on Controlled Environment Agriculture research and technology.

Dr. Ricardo Hernández is an assistant professor at North Carolina State University focused on Controlled Environment Agriculture research and technology.

He holds a PhD in Controlled Environment Plant Physiology, a MS in Integrated Pest Management and a BS in Agronomy Crop Consulting.

In addition to his appointment at the university, Ricardo is also a co-founder of two start-ups focused on the use of controlled environment technology and strategies to produce young plants.

CTO AND VP GTECH, GENERAL MILLS (RETIRED)

Jim Kirkwood

Jim Kirkwood recently retired as Chief Science and Technology Development Officer and VP of GTECH, General Mills’ Global Center for Technology Creation.

Jim Kirkwood recently retired as Chief Science and Technology Development Officer and VP of GTECH, General Mills’ Global Center for Technology Creation.

Jim holds an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business as well as a BS in Chemical Engineering and Food Science from Purdue University.

He has enjoyed a successful food industry career spanning four decades across five major companies in R&D, innovation leadership, general management, consumer marketing, quality assurance and supply chain/sourcing technology.

Some of Jim’s biggest accomplishments include: the development and launch of innovative snack products at General Mills with a sustaining sales impact in excess of $1B; leading the $250M Kibbles n Bits pet food business; and leading the game-changing GTECH, enabling sustainable growth for all of General Mills’ global operating units with tech ranging from crop bio sciences to advanced packaging technology to maximizing consumer experience.

FORMER PARADIGM GENETICS, FORMER DOW

Thanos Maroglou, PhD

Dr. Thanos Maroglou is a seasoned executive, well respected as a thoughtful leader with deep management experience with both large and small companies over his 35-year career.

Dr. Thanos Maroglou is a seasoned executive, well respected as a thoughtful leader with deep management experience with both large and small companies over his 35-year career.

He holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Birmingham (Birmingham, UK). Thanos has built high performance companies from start-up ventures, managing and co-founding multiple start-ups over the last 20 years with multiple profitable exits by IPO and M&A.

Thanos is a respected dealmaker, well-networked in the life sciences sector including high-level contacts in biotechnology companies, universities and the investment community.

Thanos has a successful track record in fundraising, business development, strategy development, negotiations, operations, manufacturing and project management.

Thanos has an established reputation with investors, executives, line staff and colleagues as a results-oriented leader.

Thanos has also published eleven papers based on graduate work in scientific journals and holds four patents. He is also fluent in English and Greek, and proficient in French, Spanish and Italian.

INSTRUCTOR IN PSYCHIATRY AT HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL, EXPERTISE IN THE INTEGRATION OF FOOD, MENTAL HEALTH, AND MEDICINE

Dr. Uma Naidoo, MD

Dr. Uma Naidoo is a nutritional psychiatrist who founded and directs the first hospital-based Nutritional Psychiatry Service in the United States.

Dr. Uma Naidoo is a nutritional psychiatrist who founded and directs the first hospital-based Nutritional Psychiatry Service in the United States.

She is the Director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) & Director of Nutritional Psychiatry at MGH Academy while serving on the faculty at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Naidoo trained at the Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Training Program, and completed a consultation liaison fellowship at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Dr. Naidoo studied nutrition, and also graduated from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts as a professional chef. She was awarded her culinary school’s most coveted award, the MFK Fisher Award for Innovation.

Dr. Naidoo is regarded nationally and internationally as a pioneer in the field of nutritional psychiatry, having founded the first US hospital-based clinical service in this area. She is the author of the title, This is Your Brain on Food.

FORMER SR. INNOVATION EXECUTIVE & CTO GIVAUDAN/P&G; DIRECTOR OF INNOVATION AT BÜHLER GROUP; FOUNDER OF CURIOCT LLC

Chris Thoen

Chris Thoen turns the vision of “Innovation for a Better World” into reality.

Chris Thoen turns the vision of “Innovation for a Better World” into reality. Chris is a globally recognized Senior Executive in R&D Innovation, with over three decades of international expertise in R&D FMCG, Food & Beverage and Flavors & Fragrances. Chris joined Procter & Gamble in 1988 and over the years took on innovation assignments with increasing responsibilities and impact. In his final position, he led the Connect+Develop R&D activities for P&G and was a key spokesperson for P&G’s Open Innovation capabilities. In 2011, Chris joined Givaudan as SVP of Flavors Science & Technology and was later appointed Givaudan’s EVP/Chief Technology Officer and served on the Executive Committee before retiring in August 2018. He currently supports Bühler as Innovation Director NAM on their innovation journey for a sustainable future of food. Additionally, he serves on several Technology Advisory Boards and helps drive the future of many food and biotech programs. Chris has more than 80 patents including many commercial innovations.