Staff

 Vijay Singh, Director

Vijay Singh joined IBRL in January 2011 as the Associate Director for Engineering and was named Director in August, 2016. In this role, he will provide leadership to develop industry relationships in anticipation of the IBRL bioprocessing facility and the increasing number of processing-related activities on campus. He will also provide connectivity with industry and collaborate with other institutions and units interested in pilot-scale proof-of-concept activities. He will be developing project-based linkages with industry for cooperative research and development in bioenergy systems. He will be improving the demonstration of integrated bench and/or engineering-scale process technology for the production of substitutes for petroleum-based feedstocks, products and fuels that will improve the economics and efficiency of a biochemical or hybrid conversion processes.

Dr. Singh is also a Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research is on development of bioprocessing technologies for corn/biomass to ethanol, advanced biofuels, food and industrial products. Dr. Singh has authored 160 professional publications and holds ten patents related to bioprocessing and biofuels production. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Food and Bioprocess Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Singh is recipient of several research and teaching awards from professional societies, trade organizations and academic institutions. Professor Singh has served as associate editor for Journal of Cereal Chemistry and Transactions of American Society for Agricultural and Biological Engineers. He is currently associate editor for Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, Food and Bioproducts Processing, and Industrial Biotechnology. Vijay has organized and chaired national and international conferences on biofuels and cereal grains processing for National Academy of Engineering, National Corn Growers Association, American Association of Cereal Chemists International and others.

 

Beth Conerty,  Business Development Manager

Beth Conerty joined IBRL in December 2017 as the Business Development Manager.  She is working to grow relationships with industry and help bring projects into the IBRL facility.  Beth has a Bachelor’s in Chemistry and a Professional Science Master’s in Bioenergy from University of Illinois. She has a doctorate in Energy Science and Engineering from the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Lab. Her work in the BioEnergy Sciences Center focused on genetically engineering non-model microorganisms for better biofuel and bioproduct production from lignocellulosic feedstocks. Previously, Beth was the Program Lead for Entrepreneurial Support and Development at Oak Ridge National Lab where she helped technical startup companies access the national lab resources.

Brian Jacobson, Assistant Director of Food & Bioprocessing Pilot Plant Operations

Brian Jacobson joined IBRL in February 2012, and has a joint appointment managing the Food Science & Human Nutrition Pilot Processing Plant. He is responsible for facility operations, coordination of construction & maintenance activities, equipment procurement & management, and assists with program development and budgeting. Brian graduated with a degree in Technical Systems Management and a minor in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also oversees the Illinois Sustainable Food Project and assists with the Illinois Biodiesel Initiative and several senior capstone courses. Previously, Brian worked at a manufacturing firm overseeing large-scale, automated equipment installations, and ensured various regulatory compliance standards were met.

 

Eric Wolfe, Pilot Plant Technician

Eric joined IBRL in January 2018 as the pilot plant specialist. He is responsible for the startup and maintenance of the equipment as well as process support in the pilot plant. Eric has a Bachelor’s in Chemistry and minor in Business from Millikin University at Decatur. Previously, Eric has worked at the pilot plant research facility at Tate & Lyle where he worked with companies to improve their fermentation process. Most recently, Eric worked at the Corn Syrup Refinery at Tate & Lyle that converts corn into processed corn sugar.