Dr. Michael Leavell, a Veteran Member of Amyris’ R&D Team, Takes the Reins
Amyris’ new SVP of Research & Development, Dr. Michael Leavell, has a long history and deep ties with the company. For almost two decades, Dr. Leavell has been a respected leader and colleague on the R&D team, most recently overseeing Amyris’ strain engineering and development pipeline. Prior to that, he led the Screening and Analytical Science department, assessing the performance of the millions of engineered strains produced and identifying areas for improvement.
“I’m pleased to see Mike, who’s been an incredible leader at Amyris, step into this important role as head of R&D,” said CEO and President John Melo. “I have complete confidence he will enable both continuity and an exciting future for R&D as we continue executing on our strategic plan.”
Dr. Leavell joined Amyris in 2006. During his tenure, he led the development of Amyris’ zero-calorie sweetener, RebM, from project inception to first commercial production, and published more than 30 scientific papers and patents.
“I am thrilled to be leading research and development at Amyris,” said Dr. Leavell. “I am extremely passionate about the science we do, our mission to transition the world to sustainable consumption and our strategy to develop, scale and make the world’s best-performing molecules from clean, sustainable chemistry.”
“I’m excited about the momentum our industry has and the government support we are receiving. The recent funding announcement by BioMade and ARPA-H are two examples of where our industry can have real impact in manufacturing novel and sustainable ingredients and improving human health,” Dr. Leavell continued. “I’ve always believed the best science is done through collaboration across different technical disciplines and has a positive impact on the world. At Amyris, we’ve focused on the positive impact of our science, starting with curing Malaria through our Artemisinin project all the way to today where we are delivering sustainable ingredients and clean products. To bring industry-leading products to market, our R&D team focuses on collaboration to achieve the best performing cellular factories.”
Dr. Leavell received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of California, Berkeley, and his B.S. in Chemistry from University of Colorado, Denver.
He takes the reins from his long-time colleague, Dr. Sunil Chandran, who departed Amyris to pursue other interests.
“Mike has played a pivotal role across all our ingredients,” said Dr. Chandran. “Given his intimate knowledge of the business, I expect a seamless transition and, more importantly, strong leadership driving future innovation and growth.”
The Amyris community wishes Dr. Chandran well in his new role.
“Sunil has been an incredible partner for 17 years,” said John Melo. “We thank him for all of his contributions to Amyris’ success and wish him nothing but the best.”