Meet our second cohort of innovators!

We're thrilled to announce the selection of our second cohort of Cyclotron Road innovators. These individuals have blown us away with their talent, integrity, and commitment to drive their technology to impact at scale. We couldn't be more excited to be supporting them at Cyclotron Road.

Read on below for full bios and project descriptions or click here to read the Berkeley Lab press release announcing the second cohort.

Richard Wang and Mauro Pasta, Cuberg


Richard Wang has worked as a graduate student under Prof. Yi Cui at Stanford University for the past four years and will graduate with his PhD in materials science and engineering in March 2016. Previously, he worked at the Cell Research Lab at Tesla Motors to study the interfacial degradation mechanisms of lithium-ion batteries. He brings leadership experience from managing a team of over 15 students over two years in the SCI-Arc/Caltech Solar Decathlon team and advising the Stanford Solar Decathlon team to compete in the DOE’s solar-powered house competition. He also holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Caltech.

Mauro Pasta is currently an associate professor in the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford. He also holds a tutorial fellowship at St. Edmund Hall. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University under Prof. Yi Cui. His work at Stanford helped found Alveo Energy, a startup working on a new battery technology for grid applications, obtaining $4M from ARPA-E OPEN in 2012. Before joining Stanford he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Electrochemical Sciences of Ruhr University-Bochum. He received his PhD in industrial chemistry from the University of Milan in 2010. 

Project Description: Developing the Next Generation of High-Performance Solid-State Batteries

Cuberg is developing solid-state batteries using low-cost materials that offer increased energy density, high-power performance, improved safety, thermal stability, and scalable processing. Ultimately, this pioneering technology could power the electric vehicles of the future. 

Zachary Sun, SYnvitrobio

Zachary Sun has been developing fundamental synthetic biology technologies since 2006, and has published work on MAGE genomic engineering in Nature and on a cell-free prototyping environment in eLife. The latter forms the basis for Synvitrobio. Zachary is a NDSEG Fellow, a DARPA Rising participant, and part of the UCLA/Caltech NIH Medical Scientist Training Program. He holds a PhD in biology from Caltech, an AB in chemical and physical biology with high honors from Harvard, and is a MD candidate (on leave) from UCLA.

Project Description: Turbocharging bio-based manufacturing processes

Synvitrobio utilizes cell-free systems as a prototyping environment for bio-based process engineering. This provides a new and highly efficient approach to engineering biological pathways and optimizing pre-existing processes, dramatically accelerating the discovery and development of next-generation bio-materials.

Philip Taynton and Chris Kaffer, Mallinda

Philip Taynton’s award-winning graduate work laid the technological foundation for Mallinda’s novel malleable thermosets and composites. Philip also led the effort to win the New Venture Challenge at the University of Colorado, and served as the entrepreneurial lead for the Mallinda team in the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Accelerator program. Prior to his graduate studies, Philip worked for three years in new product R&D at Avery Dennison. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and a B.S. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, both in chemistry. 


Chris Kaffer has a breadth of operational experience and expertise, specifically in intellectual property and finance. Chris was the principle investigator and directed research and operations for Mallinda’s successfully completed 2016 Phase I NSF SBIR award. He holds a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from UC Berkeley and an M.B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder.


Project Description: Fully Recyclable Advanced Composites with Reduced Cure Times for Improved Manufacturing Efficiency

Mallinda has developed a new class of intrinsically recyclable, malleable, and self-healing thermoset polymers for advanced composites. Mallinda’s pre-cured composites allow manufacturing cycle times of less than five minutes, reduce waste, lower energy costs, and can be depolymerized at room temperature for the recovery and reuse of both resin and reinforcing fibers.

Colin bailie, Iris PV

Colin Bailie earned a Ph.D in materials science from Stanford University in January 2016, where he is currently a postdoctoral researcher. In his graduate work, he published seminal papers on perovskite tandem solar cells with his academic adviser Michael McGehee. Colin has won numerous awards for his graduate work and efforts to commercialize this technology, most recently being named to the Forbes 30 under 30 in Energy and to the inaugural Slavin fellowship. He also holds a B.S in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University.

Project Description: Wide Band-Gap Perovskites for Tandem Photovoltaics

Iris PV will develop a double-junction solar cell with practical panel efficiency approaching 30%. By integrating solution-deposited Perovskite photovoltaics in a tandem cell with existing Si and CdTe technology the total production cost is estimated to be $0.35/W, putting disruptive $0.03/kWh solar power within reach. 

Peter frischmann, Sepion

Peter Frischmann has devoted the last 10 years to advanced materials R&D and has leveraged his expertise to next-generation energy storage technologies for the last 5 years.  His background in self-assembly and hybrid organic/inorganic materials design places him outside the battery materials establishment, leaving him with an unique vantage point to tackle long-standing energy storage problems with innovative solutions capable of disrupting the status quo. He was an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Würzburg and holds a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of British Columbia and a B.Sc. in chemistry from Idaho State University.

Project Description: Low-cost & Energy Dense Batteries for Transportation

Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries promise low-cost, energy-dense storage for electric vehicles with the potential for a three-fold cost reduction compared to today’s Li-ion technology. Sepion has demonstrated a new class of polymer membranes to improve the longevity of Li-S batteries at high power densities over sustained periods of time.

Sepion is hiring a polymer chemist and summer undergraduate intern. To learn more and apply, please email pete [at] sepiontechnologies [dot] com

Andrew hsieh and barry van tassel, Feasible

Andrew Hsieh is an expert in electrochemistry, materials science, and characterization. During his Ph.D., Andrew developed novel graphene-TiO2 anodes for Li-ion batteries. As a postdoc, Andrew led two ARPA-E funded projects and co-invented Feasible’s ultrasonic battery analysis technology. Andrew holds a Ph.D. in chemical and materials engineering from Princeton University and a B.S. in chemical and biomolecular engineering from UCLA. 

Barry Van Tassell is an expert in hardware-software interfaces. During his Ph.D, he designed and built automated systems for materials synthesis and reactive spray deposition of uniform, large-area electrodes for batteries and capacitors. He has also built automated rigs for electrochemical testing and custom software for image and data analysis. At Feasible, he designs, builds, and tests the hardware and control software used in acoustic testing. He holds a Ph.D. from The City College of New York and a B.S. from the University of Buffalo, both in chemical engineering.

Project Description: Real-Time Acoustic Analysis of Batteries

We invented a method for determining the state of charge, state of health, and physical structure of any closed battery using acoustic interrogation. This low-cost, non-destructive, and scalable technology could reduce the time and cost of battery development, manufacturing, and qualification by linking cell performance directly to structure, changing how batteries are made, tested, and managed everywhere.