Team

We are a close-knit team inspired by the possibilities of delivering transformative technologies and breakthrough science to change the course of medicine. We value our people as our most important resource and are always looking for talented individuals who can make valuable contributions to our efforts. If you think you’d be a good fit, take a look at our current open positions.

Christina is a pioneer in the fields of synthetic biology and metabolic engineering, where she has over 20 years of experience. As Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering at Stanford University, her laboratory led the breakthrough research to engineer baker’s yeast to produce valuable plant-based medicines, including the opioids and noscapinoids. Her innovative vision and accomplishments have garnered numerous awards, including the Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator, NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, Nature’s 10, World Technology Network Award in Biotechnology, and TR35 Award. As CEO of Antheia, she is committed to seeing their breakthrough science used to create a healthier people and planet. Christina earned her BS in Chemical Engineering from USC and her PhD in Chemical Engineering from UC Berkeley.

Christina Smolke, PhD

Co-Founder & CEO

Kristy has over 15 years of experience in the field of synthetic biology, focusing on yeast metabolic engineering for the production of small molecules. She did the founding work on the benzylisoquinoline alkaloid pathway during her graduate studies and gained valuable industry experience at Amyris and Lygos. Kristy is an expert in tool development, high-throughput screening, and host strain and heterologous pathway engineering. She believes that all plant-derived medicines will ultimately be produced using microbial fermentation technology. Kristy earned her B.S. in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University and her Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology.

Kristy Hawkins, PhD

Co-Founder & CSO

Kate is a former plant biologist turned yeast metabolic engineer. She is passionate about studying the novel and specialized ways that plants make medicines and harnessing this knowledge to deliver new and better therapeutics. As a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University, she was a part of the breakthrough team to first demonstrate total biosynthesis of opioids and noscapinoids in yeast. Her work now focuses on nature’s catalysts; discovering, improving upon, and ultimately using enzymes to make valuable plant-inspired medicines. Kate earned her BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and her PhD at the John Innes Center (University of East Anglia), United Kingdom.

Kate Thodey, PhD

Co-Founder & Director of Enzyme Engineering

Isis is a seasoned yeast engineer with expertise in the production of benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, and now serves as the Vice President of Operations. As a graduate student and postdoctoral researcher at Stanford, she was part of the team that developed platform yeast strains for the production of diverse benzylisoquinoline alkaloids from sugar, and now she leverages her technical training to build processes that keep Antheia running smoothly. Isis earned her BS in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and her MS and PhD in Bioengineering at Stanford University.

Isis Trenchard, PhD

Co-Founder & VP of Operations

Valerie joined Antheia in 2018 as Chief Financial Officer where she oversees Finance and Operations. Valerie comes to Antheia with over 18 years of finance experience across a number of industries including retail, software and manufacturing, and most recently served as Vice President of Finance for the biotechnology company, TerraVia, Inc. She received her MBA and BS degrees from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

Valerie Minassian, MBA

CFO

Yihui leads fermentation research and development at Antheia. He has more than 20 years of hands-on microbial fermentation experience and 10 years experience in industrial fermentation R&D. Prior to joining Antheia, Yihui built and managed fermentation teams at Codexis and Intrexon and led the development of robust and cost-effective microbial fermentation processes that were successfully transferred and scaled up to pilot scale and demonstration plants. He received his BA and MS in Fermentation Engineering from Jiangnan University in China and a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from the University of Georgia.

Yihui Zhu, PhD

Director of Fermentation

Sheela is the Associate Director of Bioanalytics at Antheia. She has been at the forefront of metabolic engineering and protein engineering, at a number of successful startups, with a strong focus on developing assays, analytical platforms, and tools to measure complex biological information. Prior to joining Antheia, she held roles of increasing responsibility at Codexis, Amyris, and Intrexon. As an analytical scientist, Sheela is committed to developing better tools for probing biological systems and truly believes that these tools are an integral part of information gathering, ultimately leading to the knowledge necessary for alleviating complex systems biology bottlenecks.

Sheela Muley, MS

Associate Director of Bioanalytics