Board of Directors

The Algae Foundation is currently governed by a Board of Directors.

The Algae foundation board is composed of professionals in the commercial industry, national laboratories and academics, whose sole purpose is to raise money to support our educational initiatives. Our model is that we will become the clearinghouse, the collaborator, the coordinator of all things educational, informational, informational transfer, and student mentorship for the next generation of algal professionals.


We engage in and provide funding for Algal educational outreach, research, and development.



We find and support the development of future leaders of the algae industry through scholarships, grants and other financial and organizational support.


We facilitate communication among private, academic and public sector leaders, and the public to increase understanding and awareness of algae.

2022-2023 Board and Leadership Team

Ike Levine

Ike is a tenured professor of Natural and Applied Science at the University of Southern Maine and the CEO of Algal Aquaculture Professionals, LLC. Dr. Levine combines 25+ years of applied algal farming, cultivar enhancement and new product development with 15+ years of academic appointments including; Chemistry Department, University of Hawaii; Biology Department, Duke University; and Biology Department, Chaminade University. Ike has served as the CEO of Coastal Plantations International, Inc., an algal farming, processing and marketing company; CEO of PhycoGen, Inc., a marine biotechnology company; and V.P. of Biological Services, Inc., a bioscience laboratory and consulting services company. Ike received his master’s at the University of South Florida’s School of Marine Science under one of our country’s last great naturalists, Dr. Harold J. Humm, and his doctorate from the University of Hawaii, Manoa studying with the father of commercial algal farming, Dr. Maxwell Doty.

Tiffany Cannis

Tiffany Cannis is Vice President of Strategy & Operations for Global Algae Innovations where she leads corporate operations, financial, and marketing efforts, and collaborates on business development and strategic growth. She has over 13 years of management experience in a diverse range of businesses, including the nonprofit sector. Most recently, Tiffany was Executive Director of Our House Grief Support Center, a nationally recognized, multi-million dollar charity that serves over 7,000 individuals each year. She was an integral contributor to the film project, One Last Hug, an Emmy-Award winning HBO documentary about children’s grief. Tiffany is an active member of several nonprofit Boards and both her corporate and philanthropic focus is on developing strategic direction and leading teams to meet operational and financial milestones. Tiffany received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a minor in Chinese Studies and International Negotiations from the University of California, San Diego.

Marissa Nalley

Marissa Nalley is the Algae Foundation’s Director of Programs and Operations. Marissa works to ensure the Foundation is in consistent achievement of its mission, programmatic goals, and operational objectives. She is responsible for all areas of program development, execution, and growth, overseeing volunteers, public relations, and outreach. Marissa has over eight years of nonprofit experience, both in direct service and program coordination and management. Prior to joining the Algae Foundation, Marissa worked as the Community Outreach Coordinator for refugee resettlement programs at both St. Vincent Catholic Charities in Lansing, Michigan, and Jewish Child and Family Services in Chicago, Illinois. In 2016, Marissa earned her Master in Public Administration degree from Grand Valley State University, concentrating in nonprofit management and leadership. Marissa’s passion for connecting mission driven organizations with populations that can be positively impacted by their programming led her to connect with the Algae Foundation’s Algae Academy program in June, 2018. Marissa earned a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology and Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Loyola University Chicago.

Edmund Gaither

Edmund Gaither, BHP is an energy industry executive with over 20 years of international experience with ExxonMobil, Shell, and most recently BHP, where he is Head of Mergers and Acquisitions for the Americas. He has held a variety of finance leadership positions and has extensive overseas experience, including expatriate assignments in Brazil, England, Australia, and Nigeria. Edmund has been on several corporate boards, including Greenlots, an electric vehicle charging company, and was a member of the Investment Committee for Shell’s US Pension. He is active with several non-profits and previously was a School Board Member and Committee Chair for the American School in Lagos. Edmund was awarded a Toigo Fellowship to attend the Tuck School Business at Dartmouth where he earned his MBA and also holds degrees from the Fletcher School at Tufts University (Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy) and Bates College (BS Economics).

Peter Koffler

Peter Koffler is a Senior Managing Director in the Blackstone Legal & Compliance Group. His previous positions at Blackstone include General Counsel of BAAM, Global Chief Compliance Officer of Blackstone and Chief Compliance Officer of BAAM. Mr. Koffler serves as a trustee/director of various public and private funds managed by Blackstone. Prior to joining Blackstone in 2006, Mr. Koffler served as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Twenty-First Securities Corporation, an institutional trading and investment firm. Mr. Koffler began his legal career at Baer Marks & Upham. Mr. Koffler received a BA from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He received a JD, with honors, from Hofstra University School of Law, where he served as an editor of the Law Review.

Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell’s research on microalgae photosynthesis, plankton ecology, ocean optics and satellite remote sensing has been sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, NSF, NASA and the NOAA. His laboratory work focuses on growth and photophysiology of microalgae. He is currently active in coordinating research and commercial demonstration of algae mass culture for biofuel, animal feed and abatement of waste CO2 and nutrients. The focus of his research on algae commercial applications is optimization of yields of bioenergy and animal feed molecules in the light-temperature-nutrient matrix that regulates algae growth. Greg received his Bachelor of Science degree with honors in Aquatic Biology from the University of Texas at Austin, and in 1987 he received his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Southern California.

Jakob O. Nalley

Dr. Jakob Nalley is the Director of Agronomy at Qualitas Health, Inc., a Texas-based company that produces algae-derived Omega-3 products. Jake oversees the company’s lab and research and development initiatives at their Imperial, TX production facility. In 2016, he finished his Ph.D. at Michigan State University where he researched how algal communities can be optimized for production under a variable environment. Jake’s passion for exciting others about algae led him to the Algae Foundation, where he began co-leading the Algae Academy’s K-12 STEM Initiative. Prior to joining Qualitas, Jake held a position at Northwestern University’s Science in Society, a research center focused on scientific education, literacy and outreach. Nalley received a dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Biological Science and Environmental Science from Loyola University Chicago.

Philip Pienkos

Dr. Philip T. Pienkos earned in Bachelor of Science in Honors Biology at the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin. He is currently Emeritus Scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, where he served as Principal Group Manager to work in various aspects of cellulosic ethanol and algal biofuels production, and he has helped to established new areas for the biofuels R&D program including biological methane upgrading and waste to energy. Before joining NREL, he was a co-founder of two companies: Molecular Logix, an early stage drug discover/development company, and Celgene, a major biotech/pharma company. He retired from NREL in March, 2020 to start Polaris Renewables, a consulting firm. Philip is a founding member of the Algae Biomass Organization and the Algae Foundation and has served as a member of the board of directors for both of those organizations.

Jesse Traller

Jesse Traller is a Senior Phycologist at Global Algae Innovations, a algae production company with operations in San Diego, CA and on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. With a background in molecular biology and algal metabolism Jesse provides technical expertise in Global Algae R&D projects and manages the contracts and grants for government awards. She has a BS in Molecular Biology, a MS in Oceanography, and a PhD in Marine Biology from UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography. A long time algae enthusiast, Jesse has been involved in numerous outreach activities related to algae education, including her work as a co-creator of the Algae Academy K-12 STEM curriculum. Jesse is also an active member of the Algae Biomass Organization and a committee member of the Algae for Food and Feed Initiative.

Rebecca White

Dr. Rebecca White is a veteran of the algae industry, having spent well over 10 years working on commercial algae production, agronomic practices, and developing products from algae. During her career, she has advanced algae production efforts resulting in successful commercialization algae for various products. Rebecca was previously Vice President of Operations for Qualitas Health, Inc., maker of iWi®, a Houston based food and nutrition company making algae-based products, and prior to that, worked for Sapphire Energy, an algal biofuels company. Rebecca has been active in the biotechnology industry, serving as the Chief Technology Officer for Pebble Labs and Trait Biosciences in Los Alamos, New Mexico. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Algae Biomass Organization and organized the annual Algae Product Showcase for the ABO annual meeting, to promote algae-based products currently and soon to be on the market. Additionally, Rebecca is very active in promoting STEM education, currently serving on the Algae Foundation’s Board of Directors and Industrial Advisory Board, actively works for the Foundation’s educational programs, and participates in “Skype A Scientist” in K-12 classrooms across the country. She has a passion for science communication and public relations. She is a 2019 Unstoppable Cultures Fellow and is active on the Pinon Elementary PTO. Rebecca lives in White Rock, New Mexico, with her husband Phil and their two children.