Our Team

Kenneth Nealson, Ph.D.

Vice President, Research

Ken is a world renowned scientist with forty years of experience in the areas of microbial fuel cells, microbial physiology, biochemistry, and environmental microbiology. Ken sets the technical direction for the company.  He has made numerous important discoveries in his scientific career, including the first observation of the manganese reducing ability of Shewanella oneidensis.  Ken is an avid musician, favors fine wine, and enjoys bird watching.


Radu Popa, Ph.D.

Research Director

Radu is a world renowned scientist with thirty years of experience in the areas of ecology, microbiology, redox geochemistry, and physiology.  He is the lead researcher on several River Road Research projects and serves as the manager of our Irwindale location.  Dr. Popa's work has been published in dozens of journals on topics such as the origins of life, life in extreme environments, and extraterrestrial life.  He has contributed to several Mars missions through his work at NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Radu is a sailor, and enjoys gardening.  


Vily Marius Cimpoiasu Ph.D.

Research Scientist

Dr. Cimpoiasu is a physicist with 30 years of experience and expertise in the areas of electron resonance, electrophysics, biochemistry, and electrochemical battery design.


Scott Ernst

Managing Director

Scott brings twenty years of experience in engineering, business development, technology transfer, product design, finance, and marketing to the team.  He serves as general manager of River Road Research.  His current work at NOCO Energy Corporation and prior work at Siemens and EPRI add perspective and practicality to River Road’s development efforts.  Scott enjoys travel, golf, playing poker, and competing in triathlons.


Matthew S. Schechter

B.A. Biological Sciences, Research Scientist and Product Development

Matt studied Biology, Spanish, and Philosophy at the University of Southern California. His undergraduate research focused on origin of life and microbes in extreme environments. His future goals include attending a Ph. D. program relating to microbiology, returning to a career in sustainable technology, and eventually teaching. Matt’s research focus at River Road is optimizing food waste processing and management, as well as assisting in marketing and product development strategy. Matt loves surfing, scuba diving, and all things music.  


Bailey Sanderson

M.S. Molecular Biology, Laboratory Manager

Bailey’s undergraduate focus at the University of Illinois was pre-Veterinary sciences with an emphasis in Genetics.  After she completed her B.S. at the University of Illinois, Bailey attended DePaul University for a M.S.  Molecular Biology. Following her Graduate Studies at DePaul University, Bailey joined the United States Peace Corps.  She served for two years in Uganda where she taught Biology and Computer Science to secondary level students as well as coached soccer and volleyball. She oversees and runs the laboratory at River Road Research. Bailey enjoys traveling and being active with her friends, family, and dogs.


Molly Stone Nealson J.D.

Business Development Manager

Molly recently retired after nearly 20 years as an attorney for abused children and now relishes in her new role in animal husbandry as the chief “larvae wrangler” at River Road. She nurtures the Black Soldier Fly population from newly harvested eggs through larval development into healthy adult flies. In addition to refining new approaches to maximizing the BSF lifecycle, Molly is the primary River Road contact for developing streams of food waste from community sources. Molly enjoys gardening, singing, and playing music.

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