Our executive team was brought together to provide the diverse expertise required to bring the Symbiogenics concept to fruition. The combination of expertise in science, finance, technology, management, entrepreneurship and economic development, and professional contacts in academics, government and the private sector provide a strong foundation for the success of Symbiogenics.
Rusty Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO
Rusty Rodriguez has expertise in microbiology, genetics and plant biology, and has researched plant-fungal symbiosis for more than 20 years. His program involves laboratory, field and greenhouse research encompassing symbiosis, molecular biology, field ecology, soil ecology, genetics and biochemistry. He has operated laboratories in academic (University of California, Riverside) and government (U.S. Geological Survey) institutions, and worked with industry affiliates. His research has taken him to a variety of habitats and geographic locations including the Great Basin desert, Great Lakes wetlands, Puget Sound marine ecosystems, Yellowstone National Park geothermal soils and oligotrophic soils of Antarctica.
After receiving a PhD in microbiology at Oregon State University he took a postdoctoral position in Plant Pathology at Cornell University. Taking his first job in 1988 as an assistant professor of plant pathology (University of California, Riverside) he developed a research program to elucidate genetic differences between pathogenic fungi that cause diseases on plants and closely related mutualistic fungi that convey health benefits to plants. His research led to the discovery of a single genetic locus that controls the fungal symbiotic lifestyle (pathogenesis or mutualism).
In 1993, he took a position with the U.S. Geological Survey in Seattle, WA to run a diverse research program involving plant-fungal symbiosis, invasive species, climate change, genetics of threatened and endangered species and outreach to bring science to the public. Currently, he is serving as the president of the International Symbiosis Society (www.iss-symbiosis.org). In 2012, Rusty left USGS to begin Symbiogenics and focus efforts on bringing symbiosis science to the public and work to develop a sustainable future.
Rusty used his scientific knowledge to become a wine maker in his micro-winery (Pangea), uses pedal power to crush and de-stem grapes, and is currently designing a pedal-powered pump system to transfer wine during racking. As an avid cyclist, kayaker and backpacker he enjoys the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and other parts of the world.
Regina Redman, Ph.D.
President & Secretary
Regina Redman has expertise in molecular biology, genetics, plant biology, and microbiology and has researched plant-fungal symbiosis for more than 20 years. Her program involves laboratory, field and greenhouse research encompassing symbiosis, molecular biology, field ecology, soil ecology, genetics and biochemistry. After obtaining her BSc and PhD in Genetics Regina decided to specialize in plant-fungal symbiosis, during a 6-year Post Doc at the University of Washington. She found the field fascinating and has since focused all of her energies in this arena.
Her 20+ years of studying plant-fungal interactions led to her interest in beneficial symbionts and their potential use in agricultural plants. In the last decade her focus has been specifically on microbial symbionts that result in positive benefits to plants. Her scientific interests have taken her to many spots around the globe, from the highest polar desert on the planet - Antarctica, to the marshy wet forests of Costa Rica. In her quest to better understand the role of these symbionts she has hiked through the Arctic arboreal forests, dug in the geothermal soils of Yellowstone National Park and dove through the vast coral reefs of Fiji.
Currently, she is serving as Treasurer of the International Symbiosis Society, and has served as Chair and/or Secretary for a USDA Workshop (NCCC-207) during the last decade.
In her passion for culinary arts Regina excels outside the molecular biology 'kitchen'. She has hosted an award-winning cooking show in the Pacific Northwest called "Cooking with Aunt Reggie and Friends". Included in her passion for good food she is an avid gardener, scuba diver, hiker and will soon be adding an 1,000+ mile European bike tour to her leisure-time resume.
Our Board Members
Economic Developer & Entrepreneur
Ron Johnston-Rodriguez founded the RJR & Associates consultancy in 1993 to assist businesses, community organizations, and government agencies with strategic planning, project development, research and analysis, marketing and financing. Before and after the creation of RJR, he served as Director of economic development organizations in Washington’s Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan Counties. In 2011 he founded Plug In North Central Washington to develop and promote vehicle electrification and electric vehicle tourism in a 3-county region.
In his various professional roles, he's served as a catalyst for business activity linked to emergent technologies and new products, i.e., organizing forums and leading studies that helped launch the region’s wine industry; recruiting the first data center in eastern WA (Yahoo!); and spearheading the introduction of plug-in vehicle technology and transportation concepts to policy makers and business interests in Washington State.
A published author, former business instructor, and public speaker, Ron has created and managed marketing programs, economic impact analyses, feasibility studies and business plans (e.g., lead role in securing $13 million for public infrastructure; $65 million in private business financing). He has provided testimony to the state legislature, and served on several governor-appointed economic development task forces. Ron earned a B.S. degree from College of Agriculture, University of California, Davis.
Mr. John Davis
John Davis began working in the financial services industry in 1993, attaining an MBA at the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird). After graduation he went to New York City to work in Institutional Sales and Trading for Arizona Stock Exchange. He then moved on to the Institutional Sales and Trading Desk of Herzog, Heine, Geduld in 1999. In Seattle, he began a career on the retail side of the business with Morgan Stanley in 2002 and then Merrill Lynch in 2003, before moving to Tallus Capital Management in 2012.
He attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa earning a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science with a minor in Business Administration in 1990. John brings a solid academic background to his practice and specializes in consulting to qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, portfolio allocation, pre-retirement planning, retirement income and estate planning.
John has an interest in archeology, particularly in the Jurassic era. As an avid cyclist he rides through the countryside keeping an eye out for potential fossil beds. He is also proficient in French, an aficionado of fine wines and a master of the BBQ.
Mr. Ben McAllister
Technologist & Entrepreneur
Ben McAllister is a technologist, artist and musician from the Pacific Northwest. A programmer from an early age, he completed studies in Computer Music and Music Composition at the University of Washington in the 1990s with a mission to bridge the gap between technology, science and art. As a computer scientist, he has managed the development of numerous software efforts for the enterprise as well as the public. Active as a mobile developer since the late 90s, Ben has lead mobile development for clients including Motorola, Verizon, Microsoft, HTC and Sony.
As an interactive designer and installation artist, Ben's been involved in gallery work bringing his unique motion tracking and audio analysis software to visitors. Also an active composer and musician Ben has toured across the US and Europe with his music, and has scored several independent films. A beer brewer, avid cyclist, struggling woodworker and amateur mycologist, he resides in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle with his mycologist wife Leesa and their trusty dog Jim.