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Leadership Team

Learn about the research team leading the BOTTLE consortium's efforts.

Gregg Beckham

Gregg Beckham, Ph.D.


Senior Research Fellow and Group Leader
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Beckham received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007. He currently leads and works with an interdisciplinary team of biologists, chemists, and engineers at NREL on green processes and products using chemistry and biology, including in the areas of biomass conversion and plastics upcycling. He is the founder of two Gordon Research Conferences, including one on lignin and the other on plastics recycling and upcycling, and a co-organizer of the Chemical Sciences Roundtable of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine meeting on "Closing the Loop on the Plastics Dilemma." In BOTTLE, Beckham's team will apply their expertise in chemical catalysis, material science, synthetic biology, separations, analytics, and characterization to conduct research and development towards plastics deconstruction, upcycling, and redesign.

Kat Knauer

Kat Knauer, Ph.D.


Senior Researcher
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Knauer is a polymer scientist who has dedicated her scientific career to solving the plastic waste problem. She has a Ph.D. in polymer science and engineering from the University of Southern Mississippi and completed the BASF Ph.D. Leadership Development Program in 2018 before taking a senior scientist role in BASF's Plastics Division. Her research efforts focused on advanced recycling technologies, which ultimately led her to leading Materials Innovation R&D at Novoloop, a chemical recycling startup. In 2022, Knauer joined NREL as the chief technology officer of BOTTLE. In BOTTLE, Knauer applies her industrial research background to developing strategic partnerships with companies across the plastics supply chain and leading applied research projects in plastic deconstruction, upcycling, and redesign.

Michelle Reed

Michelle Reed


Project Manager
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Reed graduated from Adams State University in 2008 with a B.S in chemistry. She started her career at NREL as an analytical chemistry technician and, in addition to project management, has also worked as the financial analyst for NREL's Bioenergy Technologies Office project portfolio. Reed has been the project manager of the BOTTLE consortium since project inception. She was a key leader in the development of the BOTTLE management and research structure. In BOTTLE, her current roles include management of subcontracts, strategic partnership projects, budgets, and consortium deliverables.

Bob Allen

Bob Allen, Ph.D.

Senior Research Fellow
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Allen is a polymer chemist with a research focus on new high-performing materials, polymerization, and recycling process technology. He received his Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry from Virginia Tech and enjoyed a long industrial career at IBM where he worked at the interface of polymer science and advanced electronics technology. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the ACS Polymer Division and SPIE – The International Society for Optical Engineering for his work on polymers for 193 nm lithography. He has extensive experience in management, industrial collaboration, and in IP development. In BOTTLE, he works on basic and applied research in new recycling technologies.

Linda Broadbelt

Linda Broadbelt, Ph.D.

Sarah Rebecca Roland Professor and Associate Dean for Research, Engineering
Northwestern University

Broadbelt's research and teaching interests are in multiscale modeling, complex kinetics modeling, catalysis, novel biochemical pathways, and polymerization/depolymerization kinetics. She is currently an Associate Editor for Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. Her honors include selection as the winner of the R.H. Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the E.V. Murphree Award in Industrial Chemistry and Engineering from the American Chemical Society, the Dorothy Ann and Clarence Ver Steeg Award, a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, an AIChE Women's Initiative Committee Mentorship Excellence Award, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of AIChE, a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar. She was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2019. In BOTTLE, Broadbelt's team will work with consortium members to develop a computational pipeline to predict bio-based, recyclable-by-design polymers.

Birdie Carpenter

Birdie Carpenter, Ph.D.

Senior Engineer
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Carpenter is a member of the Resources and Sustainability Group in the Strategic Energy Analysis Center at NREL. She leads NREL's efforts for strategic analysis for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Advanced Manufacturing Office. Carpenter also manages the team that developed and runs the Materials Flow through Industry tool. This tool provides supply chain impact analysis of the manufacturing sector, offering insight into energy and carbon hotspots within industrial supply chains and the impacts associated with implementing energy reductions strategies. In BOTTLE, Carpenter's team will work across all the mission-driven tasks to conduct rigorous analyses, which will guide and shape the scientific direction of the consortium.

Eugene Chen

Eugene Chen, Ph.D.

University Distinguished Professor
Colorado State University

Chen received his undergraduate education in China and Ph.D. from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1995. After a postdoctoral stint at Northwestern University, he joined The Dow Chemical Company in late 1997, where he was promoted from senior research chemist to project leader. Chen moved to Colorado State University in August 2000, where currently he is the John K. Stille Endowed Chair Professor in Chemistry and the Millennial Professor of Polymer Science and Sustainability. His research is centered on polymer science, green and sustainable chemistry, and homogeneous catalysis. In BOTTLE, Chen's team will build off their extensive knowledge of recyclable-by-design bio-based plastics, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), and vitrimers, alongside deep expertise in homogeneous catalysis for plastics redesign.

Jason DesVeaux

Jason DesVeaux

Techno-Economic Analysis Researcher
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

DesVeaux obtained his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2020. Shortly thereafter, he joined the Economic, Sustainability, and Market Analysis team at NREL. His work has focused on the process modeling and techno-economic analysis of plastics deconstruction and redesign technologies. In BOTTLE, DesVeaux and the analysis team will work to evaluate the economic and environmental feasibility of technologies across the consortium and highlight key opportunities for research and development.

Adam Guss

Adam Guss, Ph.D.

Genetic and Metabolic Engineer
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

Guss received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana—Champaign in the Department of Microbiology studying the electron transport pathways used by members of the Archaea to produce methane. He was a Microbial Sciences Initiative postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University studying the phylogenetic and metabolic diversity of non-cultured and rarely cultured bacteria present in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients. He then worked at Dartmouth College as a postdoctoral researcher and research scientist as a member of the BioEnergy Science Center, improving genetic tools and metabolic engineering Clostridium thermocellum for production of biofuels from cellulosic biomass. Guss' current research utilizes genetics and synthetic biology to develop genetic tools for non-model microbes and engineer them to convert lignocellulosic biomass, plastics, and other waste into liquid fuels and other value-added products. He is the team lead for Rapid Domestication of Microbes within the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, and the co-lead for the Host Onboarding and Development Team in the Agile BioFoundry. In BOTTLE, Guss' team will leverage their expertise in prospecting, non-model microbe engineering, and synthetic and systems biology.

John McGeehan

John McGeehan, Ph.D., FRSC

Senior Researcher
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

McGeehan obtained his B.Sc. in Microbiology at the University of Glasgow and his Ph.D. at the Medical Research Council Virology Unit in 1996. In 2005 he took up a European Molecular Biology Laboratory fellowship at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility synchrotron in Grenoble, combining spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography. He returned to the University of Portsmouth in 2007 following the award of an Research Councils UK Fellowship to lead a team in the Centre for Enzyme Innovation. He is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Chemistry and Biology. In BOTTLE, McGeehan will advise on recycling and upcycling through the processes of enzyme discovery, functional characterization, and structure-led design.

Eric Payne

Eric Payne

Senior Licensing Executive
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Payne is a Senior Licensing Executive in NREL's technology transfer office. In BOTTLE, he leads the commercialization of BOTTLE innovations. In managing the BOTTLE intellectual property (IP) portfolio, he helps innovators leverage IP protection to maximize the commercial impact of their research through strategic partnerships with industry. In addition to helping researchers commercialize their innovations, he actively helps develop new models to promote public-private partnerships to magnify the impact of DOE investments in scientific R&D.

Kris Pupek

Krzysztof (Kris) Pupek, Ph.D.

Senior Process R&D Chemist
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)

Pupek graduated in 1993 with a Ph.D. in chemistry and chemical technology from the Institute of Organic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences. He gained hands-on experience working for nearly 20 years for pharmaceutical, agrochemical, and specialty chemicals manufacturing organizations. Pupek joined ANL in 2010 as Principal Process R&D Chemist in the Material Engineering Research Facility. He currently holds a Senior Process R&D Chemist and a Group Leader position for Process R&D and Scale Up, Applied Materials Division at ANL. Pupek leads a group of more than 20 scientists and engineers focusing on evaluating emerging material manufacturing technologies and developing scalable processes for producing advanced materials—including inorganic, organic, polymers, and nanomaterials—to support basic research and industrial evaluation. He has co-authored more than 25 journal publications, 20 issued patents, numerous patent applications, invention disclosures, technical reports, and presentations. In BOTTLE, Pupek co-leads the building blocks task.

Yuriy Romén

Yuriy Román, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Román obtained his B.S. in chemical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. He completed his Ph.D. in 2008 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, also in chemical engineering, working on catalytic strategies to convert biomass-derived carbohydrates into platform chemicals. He then completed a two-year postdoc at Caltech, working on the synthesis of Lewis acidic zeolites and mesoporous materials. Román joined the department of Chemical Engineering at MIT in 2010 and was then promoted to Associate Professor in 2014. His research lies at the interface of heterogeneous catalysis and materials design where a wide range of synthetic, spectroscopic, and reaction engineering tools are applied to study the chemical transformation of molecules on catalytic surfaces. He has received the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program, Organic Reactions Catalysis Society Robert Augustine, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division Young Investigator, and American Chemical Society Early Career in Catalysis awards. In BOTTLE, Román’s team will utilize their heterogeneous catalysis, electrocatalysis, and reaction engineering expertise towards plastics deconstruction and upcycling and to make new monomers that are able to be incorporated into recyclable-by-design plastics.

Nic Rorrer

Nicholas (Nic) Rorrer, Ph.D.

Senior Researcher
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Rorrer (he/him) leads the polymer science and engineering group within the Renewable Resources and Enabling Sciences Center at NREL. He received his Ph.D. from the Colorado School of Mines in 2015 in chemical engineering with a specialty in polymer science. During the last year of his Ph.D. studies, Rorrer came to NREL under the DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research program as a graduate intern. Following his PhD, Rorrer stayed at NREL as a postdoctoral researcher which subsequently led to his career as a staff scientist at the lab. Broadly, Rorrer’s work focuses on the concept of performance-advantaged bioproducts in which he and his colleagues attempt to leverage the inherent functionality of biomass to enabling better materials performance in the manufacturing, properties, or end-of-life of materials. In the BOTTLE consortium, Rorrer serves as the diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) lead where he leverages his volunteer experience with nonprofits to bring an accessible DEIA infrastructure to the consortium. This approach is aimed at developing and celebrating early career scientists while also broadening the reach and education of BOTTLE to underrepresented groups and disadvantaged communities.

Ron Schoon

Ron Schoon

Executive Manager, Strategic Partnerships
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Schoon is the Executive Manager for Strategic Partnerships at NREL. He is responsible for lab-wide development of partnerships between NREL and industry. He obtained his B.S. in mechanical engineering and his M.S. in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, both from Stanford University. In BOTTLE, Schoon leads the strategy development and industry engagement for the consortium.

Shannon Stahl

Shannon Stahl, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry, Steenbock Professor of Chemical Sciences
University of Wisconsin—Madison

Stahl obtained his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana—Champaign in 1992 and then completed his Ph.D. in chemistry at California Institute of Technology in 1997, with Professor John E. Bercaw. After a postdoc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Professor Stephen J. Lippard from 1997 to 1999, he joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. His research focuses on catalysis, with an emphasis on redox reactions, including C-H oxidation and oxidative coupling reactions, aerobic oxidation methods, and electrochemical synthesis. His work on aerobic oxidation catalysis has been recognized by the Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award, the EPA's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, and the ACS Awards in Affordable Green Chemistry and Organometallic Chemistry. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. In BOTTLE, Stahl's team is leveraging their understanding of aerobic oxidation catalysis to develop methods for oxidative deconstruction of polymers and to develop efficient synthetic routes to new monomers for incorporation into recyclable-by-design plastics.

Christopher Tassone

Christopher Tassone, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

While working toward his B.S. degree in chemistry at Santa Clara University, Tassone performed undergraduate research with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Ames Research Center to develop nanoscale water sensors for extra planetary probes. He received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he developed methods to control the molecular structure of plastic semiconductors. He has continued to build his toolkit beyond the microscope as a staff scientist at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory developing advanced methods for characterizing the structure of materials, the pathways by which they form, and the relationships between their structure and performance. He is currently the group leader for the materials science hard x-ray group at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, which focuses on developing x-ray methods to enable in situ and operando measurements to understand synthesis science, materials at work, and data-driven materials discovery. In BOTTLE, Tassone’s team will apply their expertise at characterizing the structure and in situ behavior of biological, chemical, and materials for deconstruction, reconstruction, and re-design tasks.

Taylor Uekert

Taylor Uekert, Ph.D.

Intermediate Researcher
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Uekert is an interdisciplinary scientist dedicated to solving waste and climate challenges with a circular economy. She has a B.S. in nanoengineering from the University of California San Diego and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Cambridge, where she studied photocatalytic systems for converting plastic and mixed waste into hydrogen fuel. Her research at NREL focuses on understanding the environmental, economic, and social impacts of circular economy strategies in the plastic, food, chemicals, and clean hydrogen sectors. In BOTTLE, Uekert co-leads the analysis task and uses life cycle assessment to guide sustainable innovation for plastic recycling and redesign.

Meltem Urgun-Demirtas

Meltem Urgun-Demirtas, Ph.D.

Group Leader, Bioprocesses and Reactive Separations
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)

Urgun-Demirtas leads the Bioprocesses and Reactive Separations group in ANL's Applied Materials Division. The group focuses on re-engineering of plant flow diagram to develop innovative technologies for industrial applications as well as development and application of intensified reactor and separation technologies for bioenergy and bioproducts production, water treatment, and manufacturing. She is also a Fellow at the Northwestern and Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering. Urgun-Demirtas has over 20 years of experience in the design and operation of chemical and bioprocesses, development and scale-up of new technologies from bench to pilot and field scale, techno-economic analysis, and modeling of processes. Currently, she serves as ANL's Program Manager for Bioenergy Technologies Office of DOE, which includes sustainability analysis of feedstock and development of new technologies and materials for production of biofuels and bioproducts. In BOTTLE, Urgun-Demirtas' team will conduct end of life testing of plastics in both natural and engineered environments.

Allison Z. Werner, Ph.D.

Allison Z. Werner, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Werner is a Staff Scientist in the Renewable Resources and Enabling Sciences Center at NREL where her research focuses on developing microbial chassis for the conversion of low-value and waste feedstocks (e.g., lignin, plastics, and e-waste) into higher value materials and chemicals. Werner received a B.S. in biomolecular engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering in 2014, a Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from Colorado State University in 2018, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at NREL before joining as a Staff Scientist in 2021. In BOTTLE, Werner co-leads the building blocks task and a team applying synthetic and systems biology to understand and engineer microbial hosts for the conversion of deconstructed plastics and biomass to chemical precursors ("building blocks") for circular polymers.