Ross Zirkle is the Director of Molecular Biotechnology at DSM Nutritional Products in Columbia, MD and currently leads R&D activities focused on developing new and improved strains of microalgae for the production of nutritional oils. Dr. Zirkle joined Martek Biosciences in 2003 and DSM, via acquisition, in 2010. He has served as R&D lead on projects involving microalgae as production platforms for therapeutic proteins, biofuel and omega-3 rich oils. Prior to joining Martek Biosciences, Dr. Zirkle was a Research Scientist at Novartis/Syngenta in Research Triangle Park, NC. His research centered on production of bioactive secondary metabolites and polyketide biosynthesis. Dr. Zirkle is a co-inventor on more than 30 US patents and earned his Bachelor and Master of Science in biochemistry and microbiology from Virginia Tech and his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University.