Hunter McDaniel is Founder and CEO of UbiQD, an advanced materials company powering product innovation in controlled-environment agriculture. Hunter earned a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, before joining Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Chemistry Division. He founded UbiQD, Inc. in 2014, and the company has raised more than $10M, employs 16 full time. Their first product, UbiGro, is a layer of light that uses fluorescence to help plants get more from the sun in a greenhouse. Ultimately the value proposition is about boosting crop yields and quality without the cost or energy impact of lighting. Hunter has more than fifty publications and patents, and more than 2000 total citations, h-index: 20. Hunter fundamentally believes that novel materials underpin every significant technology advancement, and he is focused on leveraging new materials to have a lasting and sustainable impact.
Liseth Garay is UbiQD’s VP of Operations. Liseth has over 10 years of Business Administration experience working from the Hospitality Service industry to Biology Scientific Research industry and now the Quantum Dot Technology industry. Prior to joining UbiQD, Liseth held a Safety and Compliance management position at the New Mexico Consortium with a broad spectrum of responsibilities including compliance in all aspects of Environmental Health and Safety, Administration, Supervision, Banking, among others. Liseth received her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from a top 10 university in Mexico, Universidad Iberoamericana and her MBA from a local university, Eastern New Mexico University.
As Chief Product Officer at UbiQD, Dr. Matt Bergren leads the company’s product development efforts, sales, and product manufacturing, including the company’s first commercial agriculture product, UbiGro®.
He plays a critical role in continuing the company’s path of technology development and vision of powering product innovations in agriculture, clean energy, and security. He also serves as the principle investigator for UbiQD’s contract with NASA, focused on tailoring the solar spectrum for enhanced crop production for space missions. Dr. Bergren’s leadership experience also includes serving on the board of directors for the New Mexico Energy Manufacturing Institute, an organization focused on job creation in New Mexico’s energy, and energy-related manufacturing community.
Before joining UbiQD, Dr. Bergren held postdoctoral positions at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and at the Center for Integrated Nanostructure Physics at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, where he focused on developing innovative photovoltaic technologies using novel nanomaterials. He is highly experienced with photoluminescence experiments, with numerous peer-reviewed publications.
Dr. Bergren has a PhD in Applied Physics from the Colorado School of Mines and holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from the same university.
Dr. Michael Burrows is UbiQD’s Vice President of Business Development. His educational background includes Materials Science doctorate from University of Delaware and MBA from Duke University Fuqua School of Business. His career has specialized in commercialization of novel electronic materials in venture-run programs for different industries including solar, biosensors, and the automotive industry. In both start-up and corporate environments, he has extensive experience in global market development, forging supply chain partnerships, productization, and brand building. He is currently leading UbiQD’s partnership efforts in luminescent greenhouse technology, smart windows, and security features.
Dr. Karthik Ramasamy is the Senior Director of Chemistry at UbiQD, and he leads R&D on synthetic methods and scale-up. He received his bachelors of science and masters in chemistry from Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli, India. Dr. Ramasamy received his PhD in Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Paul O’Brien (founder of Nanoco) at the University of Manchester, UK for a thesis titled “New Molecular Precursors for Metal Sulfides” in 2010. Before joining UbiQD in 2016, Dr. Ramasamy held postdoctoral positions at the University of Alabama and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Over the past eight years, Dr. Ramasamy’s research has mainly focused on developing new synthetic methods for metal chalcogenide nanocrystals. He has more than 50 publications and over 1,000 citations relating to quantum dots. Dr. Ramasamy is an expert at optimizing and scaling up the synthesis alloyed metal sulfides including CuInSeS QDs.
Dr. Nikolay Makarov is the Director of Applied Physics at UbiQD. He received his bachelors of science in mathematics at St. Petersburg State Univeristy and received his PhD in physics from Montana State University in 2010. Before joining UbiQD in the summer of 2016, Dr. Makarov held postdoctoral positions at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Over the past four years, Dr. Makarov’s research has mainly focused on understanding the optoelectronic properties of quantum dots, with a special focus on the same I-III-VI quantum dots that UbiQD is commercializing. Nikolay is an expert in ultrafast and steady-state spectroscopy (including time-correlated single photon counting measurements, PLQY, time-resolved and steady-state PL, ultrafast transient absorption and multi-photon absorption spectroscopy). Dr. Makarov is highly experienced with photoluminescence experiments, with numerous peer-reviewed publications, where he has studied the emission properties of QD solutions and thin films as well as nanocomposites.
Damon Hebert has been with UbiQD since 2018. He brings to the company a wide range of experience in agriculture, materials science, spectroscopy, and small business. During his time in Prof. Angus Rockett's research group at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Hebert authored a doctoral thesis and multiple papers on the materials science of CIGS semiconductor materials, which is closely related to the materials developed at UbiQD. He also served as a consultant to Nanosolar, a CIGS nanocrystal solar cell manufacturing company. Hebert has ag industry experience having co-founded Dr. Jolly's, a leading cultivation and distribution operation in Bend, OR. He received a Bachelor’s in Physics from Macalester College, and a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from UIUC.
Chloe Castaneda is an Associate Scientist, and has a wide range of experiences and education in solid-state physics, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, nanotechnology, materials, and electronics during her time at Mount Holyoke College. More recently, she worked on quantum dot surface chemistry with Matt Beard and Art Nozik at the National Renewable Energy Laboraotory (NREL). Castaneda also has industry experience having worked at Asylum Research on microscopy products, and as grant-writing team lead for OUR&D. She received a Bachelor’s in Physics from Mount Holyoke College.
Andres Velarde is an Associate Scientist, and has a wide range of experiences and education in microelectronics, nanotechnology, materials, and polymer chemistry during his time in Prof. John Rogers' research group at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Velarde also has industry experience having worked at NeuroLux, a spinoff of UIUC focused on developing implantable optogenetics medical research products. He received a Bachelor’s in Materials Science and Engineering from UIUC.
Dr. Daniel Houck is the Director of Chemical Engineering at UbiQD. He earned his bachelors of science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin—studying under Prof. Brian Korgel—for his dissertation titled “CuInSe2 Nanocrystal Photovoltaics: Device Physics, Defects, and Ligand Chemistry”. Dr. Houck has authored numerous publications regarding ternary chalcogenide nanocrystal synthesis, characterization, and their applications in photovoltaic devices. He has also worked closely with several industrial partners through NSF’s Industry–University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) for Next Generation Photovoltaics.
A systems thinker, Emily drives the development of consumer-facing products with skills in design manufacturing, and prototyping.
Prior to joining UbiQD in 2018, Emily managed an interdisciplinary team of undergrad and graduate students through the research, product design, and business plan development of award-winning solar windows at Western Washington University. With three internships under her belt, including working with an architecture firm on hyper energy-efficient laboratories and designing future-forward micro-appliances at a startup in Seattle, she veered from a more traditional path after graduation and set off to explore the world by bicycle. Through volunteer work and befriending locals, this journey ignited a burning passion for making sustainability a non-question for communities around the world.
Emily always has a new adventure in the works, and when not in the office can be found learning a new language, throwing pottery, or on a never-ending mission to find the best view in town.
Daniel Freppon is a spectroscopist at UbiQD. He received his Master’s in Analytical Chemistry from Iowa State University under the tutelage of Emily A. Smith. His Master’s focused on using Raman and Fluorescence spectroscopy to study the photophysical properties of hybrid lead halide perovskite nanocrystals. He also studied plant cell wall structure and composition using in-situ microscopy. All published research at Iowa State was in coordination with the Department of Energy Ames Laboratory. He received his B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Central Florida under the tutelage of Dr. Stephen M. Kuebler. His undergraduate research encompassed photoactive polymer processing and the electroless deposition of silver and platinum onto non-conductive surfaces. You can view his publication list here.
Charles Parrish is the Agricultural Engineer at UbiQD. He earned a Bachelor's in Biological Engineering from North Carolina State University and a Master's in Biosystems Engineering from The University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. Advised by Dr. Gene Giacomelli, Charles conducted his thesis on the "Optimization of Spectral Quality with Quantum Dots to Enhance Crop Yield in Controlled Environments." Charles has a decade of biological engineering, greenhouse technology, and molecular biology experience from lab to production scale including working with the Vegetable Production System (Veggie) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. He brings to the UbiQD team his experience in hydroponics, controlled environment systems design, photobiology, greenhouse engineering, and scientific outreach.
Dr. Taylor Moot earned her Ph.D. in Materials Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017, followed by a post-doc at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. There, she worked on metal halide perovskites thin films and quantum dots, in a wide variety of areas, including crystallization dynamics and stability (ambient, processing and operational). She has numerous peer-reviewed publications on photovoltaics and nanoparticle applications.
Hailing from northern Washington, Daniel Korus has been a clean energy researcher and advocate for several years before joining the UbiQD team. Graduating with a B.S. in Chemistry from Western Washington University, Daniel studied the synthesis and ligand modification of CuInS2 Quantum Dots and their inclusion in high-performance polymer-based luminescent solar concentrators under the advisory of Prof. David Patrick. Daniel is currently completing his M.S. in Chemistry while operating as a research and development scientist at UbiQD. With a litany of previous job experience in several unique sectors, Daniel is passionate about helping realize net-zero energy buildings and wants to see the widespread inclusion of luminescent solar concentrators within his lifetime.