Dr. Usukuma Ekuere, Ph.D., M.B.A.
CEO / Co-Founder
Usukuma’s experience spans both the agricultural and business worlds. He was the VP of global operations at Alpha Global Experts Inc., a company focused on enabling companies successfully expand into new markets. In this role he helped set up in-country local experts in over 30 markets spanning countries in Africa, Europe and Latin America. With a PhD in plant genetics he worked in research for over 8 years at the University of Alberta introducing disease resistance and nitrogen use efficiency into Canola. He completed an MBA with a specialization in Tech commercialization. After graduating he worked with several Startup companies and SMEs on many projects helping them with business plans, market analysis, company strategic directions, and identifying market opportunities for companies in the Life Sciences sector. Usukuma also has consulting experience working on international projects in other sectors including oil and gas, entertainment, language and content management. – With over 20 years of combined experience in applied plant genetic research and as an operations executive focusing on strategic decision making, operations management, acquisitions & integration as well as project and financial management, Usukuma is adept at making sure the best financial investment of resources are made throughout the lifecycle of every project he completes
Dr. John Vidmar, Ph.D.
COO / Co-Founder
John has worked as CFO for an indoor vertical aquaponics company Nutraponics Canada Corp. and was involved in the Operations and Leading Scientific Team. Also, John was CEO of LP applicant NGK biologix Inc. Which was awarded COR designation. Previous John was senior scientist and genomics team lead at Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures which he has worked focused on evaluation and breeding of both Cannabis Sativa and barley. John holds a PhD in Botany from the University of British Columbia. He spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at INRA, Montpellier France, supported by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Fellowship working on nitrogen and sulfur transport in plants. In 2000, John joined AITF working as an NSERC industrial postdoctoral fellow in collaboration with plant biotech start-up company “Agrigenomics” working on nitrogen use efficiency in Canola. Subsequently appointed as a staff scientist, he has developed a research team working on the use of applied genomics in agriculture. John has worked on many agricultural and model plant systems for the bioeconomy. He has focused on the use of next-generation sequencing for the detection of mutations in genomes, whole genome sequencing and transcriptome analysis for the detection of DNA markers.
Dr. Behzad (Benji) Ahvazi, Ph.D., P.Chem., Adj. Prof
CSO / Co-Founder
Dr. Behzad Ahvazi completed his Bachelor of Science in Honors program at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and graduated with distinction at Concordia University in Montréal, Québec. His Ph.D. program was completed in 1998 at McGill Pulp and Paper Research Centre in the area of macromolecules with solid background in lignocellulosic materials. Dr. Ahvazi, is a chemist with over 25 years of experience with expertise in added value processing in plant materials. His research has focused on green technologies for converting and processing biomass components from sustainable, renewable agricultural and forestry resources into creating value-added, novel bioproducts. He has held numerous positions in R&D departments for private and government research facilities. Dr. Ahvazi is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University of Alberta.
Dr. Krista Leicht, M.D.
Director / Co-Founder
Dr. Krista Leicht, M.D. is a Canadian-trained and Alberta-licensed Medical Doctor and Psychiatrist, who brings over twenty years of Clinical experience to the team. She has divided her time in a busy practice, between inpatient and outpatient care, treating both the General Adult Psychiatry population, and specializing in addressing the complex needs of Developmentally Handicapped individuals. Dr. Leicht maintains a hospital practice at Alberta Hospital Edmonton and sees outpatients in a downtown clinic. She continues to teach medical students, residents, and provides further education to Family Practice colleagues. Dr. Leicht’s goal in clinical practice and in her own life has always been to Go Beyond – to provide unique and innovative treatments that better enrich the lives of patients is her mission.