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Our Team

We are a diverse, innovative, and dedicated team of scientists, cultivation experts, and business pros committed to unlocking the potential of cannabis and hemp for the success of plant, people, and planet. 

We believe hemp and cannabis can transform how we live–from advancements in health and wellness, to its many potential uses in feed and fiber, to aiding in the fight against climate change. Our mission is to make these transformations a reality by breeding high-quality, stable, and uniform seed lines that produce consistent, accessible, and sustainable cannabis and hemp products.

Celebrating uniqueness

Our work is molded by the different experiences, diversity of thought, and cultural backgrounds our team brings to work each day. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility are core to our values. When we foster a culture in line with our values, we make better products, better teams, and a better future. 

Meet the Phylos leadership team

We are led by a team of experienced, forward-looking, and collaborative business leaders and scientists dedicated to improving cannabis and hemp through data-driven science.

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Ralph Risch
Ralph RischChief Executive Officer
Ralph Risch

Ralph Risch is an experienced entrepreneur and business leader who has founded and successfully exited multiple companies in the high tech industry. He has a BS in Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Colorado.

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Dylan Anderson
Dylan AndersonChief Financial Officer
Dylan Anderson

Dylan Anderson is a senior financial executive with over 25 years of leadership experience in finance, accounting, operations, capital raises and M&A. Dylan has a BS in Finance & Marketing from the University of Oregon.

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Alisha Holloway
Alisha Holloway, PhDChief Scientific Officer
Alisha Holloway

Alisha Holloway is a data scientist with expertise in genomics and statistical analysis of big data. She was an Assistant Professor at UC San Francisco School of Medicine, and was the founding director of the Gladstone Institutes Bioinformatics Core Facility. She earned a PhD focused on molecular evolution at the University of Texas in Austin.

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John McFerson
John McFerson, PhDVP of Breeding
John McFerson

John McFerson is an accomplished senior management and scientific leader with over 20+ years of experience and comprehensive background in overseeing and directing commercial seed, business intelligence, and product development functions to drive research & development programs for leading global agricultural organizations. He has a PhD in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Iowa State University.

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Julie Karassik
Julie KarassikVP of Business Operations
Julie Karassik

Julie Karassik brings over 20 years of business leadership focusing on growth, stability and strong team building in complex and evolving industries. Julie graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Oregon.

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Damon Hess
Damon HessVP of Sales
Damon Hess

Damon Hess has managed global sales teams in a variety of emerging industries like organic photovoltaics where perseverance eventually separated the signal from the noise. He holds a Masters from Georgetown University.

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Greg Ellis
Greg EllisGeneral Counsel
Greg Ellis

Greg Ellis is an experienced biotechnology attorney who brings extensive intellectual property expertise to Phylos. Greg holds a J.D. from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Oregon.

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Advisory Board

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Ron Wulfkuhle
Ron Wulfkuhle
Ron Wulfkuhle

Head of Seed for Farmers Business Network; previously Head of Enogen, and CEO of GreenLeaf Genetics from its start through acquisition by Syngenta. Deep experience in genetic licensing and commercial seed sales in N. America and Europe, and leadership roles in the American Seed Trade Association.

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Lukas Mueller
Lukas Mueller, PhD
Lukas Mueller

A deal-maker, IP strategist, lawyer, startup advisor, and venture capitalist. C-level executive at nine venture capital-backed companies, two of which he took from formation to IPO. Currently Founder and CEO of Tiatros, a digital therapeutics for Behavioral Health company.

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Sue Rhee
Sue Rhee, PhD
Sue Rhee

Dr. Rhee is a Professor of Plant Biology at the Carnegie Institute and Stanford University. Her group studies the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation and evolution of adaptive traits and metabolic networks in plants.

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Jeanne Sullivan
Jeanne Sullivan
Jeanne Sullivan

Legendary NYC Venture Capitalist, and now a central figure in cannabis startup funding. Co-founder of StarVest Partners, member of the Women’s Leadership Board of the Harvard Kennedy School, and an Athena Entrepreneur Fellow for Barnard College. Currently General Partner in the ArcView Venture Fund.

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Sally Pera
Sally Pera
Sally Pera

Over three decades of experience connecting CEOs with politicians, educators, and community leaders. During a decade as CEO of the Association for Corporate Growth in the Silicon Valley she worked with over 2500 CEO’s and top executives and most San Francisco Bay Area colleges and universities.

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Glenda Anderson
Glenda Anderson
Glenda Anderson

A serial entrepreneur who has built award-winning products from blank sheet of paper to commercial success in fields from genomics to medical instrumentation to software-based oncology diagnostics. Co-author on 20+ peer-reviewed publications; named inventor on 7+ patents.

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Gail Taylor, PhD
Gail Taylor, PhD
Gail Taylor, PhD

Professor Gail Taylor is Chair of the Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis. Gail is a global leader in Plant and Sustainability Sciences with current research focused on sustainable bioenergy systems and molecular breeding of high value leafy greens grown in indoor vertical agricultural systems.

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Timothy Gregory
Timothy Gregory, PhD
Timothy Gregory

Dr. Gregory recently retired as Senior Director of the Process Sciences Division at Genentech. He is currently Co-Founder & Senior VP at a new company focused on treatments targeting cancer stem cells, and is Chairman of the Advisory Board for the University of California Botanical Garden.

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Rob Brown
Rob Brown, PhD
Rob Brown

Dr. Brown is Senior Director at Synthetic Genomics Inc. where he leads a genome engineering team developing microbes for the production of advanced biofuels and chemicals. He has over 20 issued patents and pending applications in various areas of industrial biotechnology.

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Barbara Mazur
Barbara Mazur, PhD
Barbara Mazur

Barbara Mazur retired from DuPont Pioneer in 2019, where she led Technology Acquisition Strategy, including venture investments and external collaborations. Prior to that that she led Research Strategy, Trait Technologies, and Crop Protection and Genomics Strategy for the company.

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Larry Smart
Larry Smart, PhD
Larry Smart

Dr. Larry Smart is a Professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University and is Associate Director of Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, NY. He is a plant geneticist and physiologist, and leads Cornell’s research and plant breeding efforts in industrial hemp.

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