Integrated Talent

Innovative, experienced, and integrated: Heliae brings together more than 100 associates with a variety of talents and experience who are primarily focused in one of five key areas. Here you can read more about each of these areas and some of our Associates.

Research & Development

Our world-class R&D team applies innovative thinking and cross-discipline expertise to unlock the potential of a variety of algae strains and other biological platforms and organisms. Here are just a few of the nearly 40 associates that make up Heliae’s R&D team.

Alex Sitek

Development Engineer

"My goal for algae technology is that it will evolve over time to provide sustainable, real solutions to problems across the globe, and to open new opportunities to improve the lives of people."

Laura Carney

Director AgScience

Laura has over 15 years of experience in field ecology and algae research from UC Davis, Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Sandia National Labs. She began her tenure at Heliae in 2013 developing crop protection strategies for our large scale algae cultivation systems. Laura now leads the Ag Science program where her team develops and screens algae strains for agricultural applications, aimed at improving plant growth, yield and soil health.

Melissa Spencer

Laboratory and Product Development Manager

"Working at Heliae is fun because there is never a lack of exciting new challenges. I really enjoy working in an environment of innovation and continuous improvement. My favorite thing about Heliae is the awesome people. Everyone here is passionate about their contribution to the company’s success."

Das Mathilakathu Madathi

Process Chemist

Das is a product development chemist and a key member of the product development group at Heliae. He completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Arizona State University. At, Heliae, Das utilizes his skills in chemistry to develop novel products to help unleash the full potential of microalgae.

Yan Xu

Strain Development Manager

Yan brings years of experience in microalgal biofuel and consumer food industries. Yan started her algae journey at Sapphire Energy, focusing on strain improvement through GM and non-GM approaches and field production. After working in Product Development at Mars, Inc., Yan returned to microalgae innovation when she joined Heliae Development in 2016. Yan is now leading the Strain Development team, devoted in improving microalgal strains with the incorporation of high-throughput methods and automation that will provide an innovative edge to our commercial products. Yan holds a Bachelor Degree in Bioengineering and a Master Degree in Cell and Molecular Biology.

Luke Cizek

Development Production Manager

Luke completed academic studies focused on molecular plant biology and biochemistry at Arizona State University. At Heliae, Luke focuses on the development of novel and reliable platforms for algal cultures, including the design and performance optimization of algal bioreactors.

Dr. Eneko Ganuza

Principal Investigator

Eneko is a lead scientist and a key innovator in the area of mixotrophy, one of the primary technology differentiators at Heliae. With nearly 10 years’ experience in the algae production industry, Eneko is now leading Heliae’s efforts to use the full potential of the metabolic versatility that is distinctive to microalgae. As a PhD student at the University of Hull (UK) and University of Las Palmas (Spain), Eneko’s work on the synthesis of omega-3 fatty acid by heterotrophic microalgae was received with honors by a Nobel-Laureate led panel acting on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Mike LaMont

Vice President Operations

"What I like about Heliae is its mission, how we approach our work and our integrity. Many ‘sustainable solutions’ have appeared in the past 20+ years, but algae has real potential to be a sustainable solution that works. While growing algae is challenging, with those challenges come great rewards. Heliae utilizes cross functional working groups that share a common goal; to successfully resolve issues and grow algae at commercial scale. Heliae is dedicated to data driven, tangible results. We are willing to do the work and provide only reliable products with proven results."

Sales & Marketing

The Sales and Marketing team at Heliae is dedicated to Global Sales Service Excellence and Innovative Marketing Practices that grow our brands. We are building a network of partner customers all across the globe and we believe our amazing products will continue to add value.


Every day our experienced operations team works hand-in-hand with R&D to produce products at commercial scale for our customers and partners. Our operations team includes a talented staff of scientists and engineers with significant algae science and production expertise, a few of whom are highlighted below.

Craig Erny

Director of Operations

Craig graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering. After nearly a decade of working in a variety of areas for Tate & Lyle, a global ingredient manufacturer for food, beverage, and other industries, Craig brought that experience to Heliae to facilitate the development of our large scale production facilities. Craig now manages many aspects of Heliae’s large scale production assets.

Mason Oelschlager

Development Engineer

"Algae based products have a diverse and abundant future market potential. Hundreds of thousands of natural algae species exist in nature. The complexity of algae makes it a great organism for genetic modification as well, which compounds the potential product range we can anticipate coming from these organisms. Heliae is developing technology platforms today that in the future will support the production of any algae."


Heliae prides itself on the quality of our products. Our Quality and Regulatory team ensures that every production batch meets our customer’s specifications and complies with all applicable regulations and leading industry standards. Some of our Quality team members share their thoughts below.


Our corporate leadership team promotes a relentless pursuit of excellence, integrity, responsibility, and innovation. Operating from these values in partnership with our Associates has allowed our corporate leadership team to establish a track record of repeatedly meeting or exceeding key milestones in building a dynamic technology company. Heliae’s team has secured over one hundred million dollars of investment from strategic investors that are associated with some of the world’s most successful companies. Our team has employed these investments to develop a demonstration production facility that is producing multiple commercial products backed by significant ongoing research. Notable among many recent successes, our corporate leadership team has overseen the launch of two commercial products, the large scale production of a cutting edge genetically modified microalgae product for a contract research partner, and the launch of an international joint venture.

Eric Lichtenheld

President & CEO

Eric brings nearly 35 years of experience in managing operations in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and consumer products industries. Eric began his work with algae in the 1980s, doing pioneering work with Dr. William Oswald in algal raceway production systems. After leading production facilities for Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Tate & Lyle domestically and overseas, Eric returned to the algae industry when he joined Heliae as VP of Operations in 2014. Soon after joining Heliae, Eric was appointed Chief Operating Officer and in December 2017, Eric was named President & CEO. Eric completed a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and earned an MBA in finance and operations management from Loyola University Chicago.

Lori Wilder

Director of Human Resources

Lori brings over 20 years of experience in human resources and organization development to Heliae, including leading roles with Westinghouse Corporation, Simon & Schuster Publishing Company, Universal Technical Institute, and International Cruise & Excursions. She joined Heliae based on her passion for helping emerging, high growth companies achieve their business objectives by focusing on transforming and maintaining a high performance culture. Lori holds a degree in Psychology from Millersville University and is a certified Senior Professional Human Resources Manager.

Dan Torre

Chief Financial Officer

Dan joined Heliae in January 2012, bringing over 15 years of experience including a variety of senior financial positions with a broad background in a wide variety of industries, including positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Honeywell. Dan graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Teresa Bock

General Counsel

Teresa joined Heliae in August 2015, bringing over 20 years of experience in regulatory, legal and compliance in the medical device, in vitro diagnostics and consumer products industries. She has held leading roles with bioMérieux, Inc. and Britax Child Safety, Inc. Teresa holds a law degree from Georgia State University College of Law and is licensed to practice law in Georgia, North Carolina, and as In-House Counsel in Arizona.