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New Launch 


Bigelow Center for Algal Innovation (CAI):

A New England Regional Research, Development, and Commercialization Hub focused on Marine Algal and Microbial Applications.   

Marine algae and microbes are increasingly being used in a diverse range  of critically important industries from pharmaceuticals, to human and animal food, to alternative energy.  The goals of the Bigelow Center for Algal Innovation are:  to be an innovation hub that enables and supports research and development (R&D) activities based on algae and microbes; to provide business ‘coaching’ and training opportunities in support of rapid growth and sustained success in commercialization; and to train a skilled workforce for the anticipated job creation needs (Figure 1). CAI will also serve as an essential bridge to the early-stage investment community; this access is currently one of the leading challenges of Maine’s entrepreneurial landscape. The CAI is unique in the impact region by providing a solution that combines a world-renowned algae and microbe collection, cutting-edge research, and biological storage for patent process, with technical and commercial expertise across the research-development-commercialization continuum (e.g., discovery, business case development, product design, capital raising, partnerships, commercialization, and workforce training). CAI will continue to attract relevant stakeholders by direct (e.g., leveraging partner resources, conference attendance, and networking) and indirect (e.g., channel marketing, general Bigelow communications, and informative website development) approaches. CAI has aligned with essential partners who will provide additional access to and expertise in biobased markets and complementary workforce programs, thus creating a more integrated algal/microbial entrepreneurial ecosystem in Maine and New England, further tightening the emerging regional ‘blue (marine) economy’.  

Meet the Team:

The Bigelow CAI initiative has assembled a four-person management team each with expertise aligning to one of the major themes. 

Bigelow CAI is directed by Bigelow Senior Research Scientist Michael Lomas, who also serves in the role of Director of the National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA).  With NCMA serving an essential and central role in CAI activities, this joint directorship will ensure efficient operation.

Robert Schmedickeis CAI’s Product Development lead, in charge of  technology and product development/application aspects of CAI.  Schmedicke will interact directly with the other CAI leaders, and our essential partner Biobased Maine, to ensure efficient translation of developed knowledge into the Maine and regional bioeconomy. 

Jay Brandeis leads CAI’s Business Development activities, an extension of the business development efforts he already manages for Bigelow Laboratory.  Brandeis brings to CAI a wide range of industry experience gained during his cleantech career spanning start-ups, big companies, private equity, and consulting, and will use this experience to manage commercial efforts for CAI and serve as a business development ‘coach’ for CAI constituencies. 

Brian Funk leads the Workforce Development and Integration efforts under CAI.  Funk will lead all efforts in formal professional development and reengagement training, and traditional and nontraditional training programs and opportunities with university students.  In addition, Funk will serve a central role in integrating and aligning the Workforce Development efforts with R&D and Commercialization efforts, supported by the resources of our essential partner FocusMaine.

For more information please reach out to us!