Anne Schauer-Gimenez received her Ph.D. at Marquette University and is now the Director of Biological Research and Co-founder at Mango Materials in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mango Materials is a small start-up company that converts waste methane into biodegradable plastics using bacteria. Many types of waste methane can be used in the Mango Materials biological process but the environmental mission of the company has led them to focus on waste biogas from wastewater treatment plants, landfills, or agricultural facilities. The type of biodegradable plastic currently made by Mango Materials is called polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). PHA can be used to make many different items such as shampoo bottles, electronic casings, and children’s toys.
Anne met Molly Morse (CEO and Co-founder) at the Anaerobic Digestion Short Course held at Marquette University by Dr. Daniel Zitomer. Anne’s background in the production and usage of methane along with Molly’s passion for biodegradable materials seemed like a perfect match. Molly and Anne started Mango Materials in 2010 with Allison Pieja (Director of Technology and Co-founder), who, with Molly, studied the production of biodegradable plastics during her Ph.D. at Stanford University.
Marquette University not only trained Anne on the engineering, technology, and biology side, but also showed her how to mentor students, which are skills she uses everyday in the lab. Anne is not only in charge of all of the bacteria needed to produce the biodegradable plastic, but she also currently manages 4 Research Assistants, 2 college interns, and 2 high school interns. Life is never dull in the start-up world, which makes this experience so exciting to Anne!
For more information on Mango Materials, visit their website: http://www.mangomaterials.com/