We are building a world-class team that loves doing hard stuff to save the planet.

Our Team
Eli Hornstein, PhD
Founder & CEO

Eli spent time with the Smithsonian, UN, and Fulbright while working as an international conservationist, before getting a PhD in plantgenetic engineering in Heike Sederoff’s lab in pursuit of biotech inventions that can change the equation on sustainability. He became an expert in agricultural synthetic biology through work on biofuels, plant protein, and fertilizer-saving microbes before founding Elysia. Eli was named a 2024 Activate Fellow in support of his work in climate biotech, and has received degrees and awards from Duke, UNC, NC State Harvard Business School, the NSF, and the Robertson Foundation. Eli named the company after Elysia chlorotica, one of his favorite animals.
Swathi Barampuram, MS
Lead Plant Scientist

Swathi has made the jump to startup life with Elysia after almost two decades in academia! She most recently worked in Jack Wang’s forest biotechnology lab developing CRISPR-edited trees with improved growth and lower processing costs. Swathi also previously worked with a team engineering the novel Condensed Reversed Tricarboxyclic Acid Cycle for enhanced carbon uptake in plants, and spent several years working with Eli on development of a new plant trait for fungal symbiosis.  Originally from Southern India, Swathi got her bachelor’s and master’s at Osmania University before moving to work in South Korea, followed in 2010 by the US.
Daniel Yanke
Sensing Engineer

Daniel is an electrical and computer engineer who’s worked on farm robots and remote sensing with Precision Sustainable Agriculture, as well as embedded machine learning and controlled environment agriculture. While finishing his degree at NC State University, Daniel helped design and build Elysia’s proprietary sensing system for screening methane suppressors. Although an engineer by trade, Daniel is a lover of all things biological, especially bugs--at age 14 he became the youngest-ever member of the North Carolina Entomological Society.
Dwight Armstrong, PhD
Business Advisor

Dwight has over 40 years of experience in animal agriculture. He grew up on a family farm before earninghis PhD in Animal Science at Purdue, then spent seven years as a professor ofanimal science at NC State University before being recruited to serve as the president of Akey, Inc.,an Ohio-based animal nutrition company. Dwight took Akey through an acquisition by the Dutch firm Provimi before moving on to serveas the CEO of National FFA and work as an expertagriculture consultant with the Context Network.
Aram Mikaelyan, PhD
Science Advisor

Aram is an extreme internationalist: he was born in the former Soviet Union and raised in India before going on to a PhD in microbiology at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. He is now a professor at NC State University where he studies methanogenesis in the gut microbiomes of extraordinarily efficient wood-feeding insects. Aram advises the science team on screening of novel methane suppressors and all aspects of fundamental methane biology, and is a collaborator on active grants to Elysia from NSF and Spark Climate.
Jacqueline Olich, PhD
Strategic Advisor

Jackie has decades of academic, corporate, and non-profit leadership. A historian by training, she co-founded, grew, and sold Diba Industries, a family-owned health and diagnostics components business, before going on to serve as a faculty member at UNC Chapel Hill in history and global studies and as the VP of University Collaborations at RTI International, the science-based research organization. Jackie is a member of the Chief women’s executive network and xElle Ventures. Jackie’s worked with Elysia to strengthen its connections to the local entrepreneurship ecosystem as well as develop its strategy for the global application of its products.
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