We are a team of scientists with diverse backgrounds and decades of experience in plant pathology, materials science, sustainable agriculture, multinational project management and business development.

Dr. Tahira Pirzada

Pirzada is the President and co-founder of Soteria Formulations. She holds a PhD in Chemistry, more than a decade of teaching, mentoring and administrative expertise and almost 8 years of research and project management experience in developing sustainable delivery systems (seed and soil treatments, foliar applications) for agricultural substances. Since 2016, she has actively engaged in Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded ‘Wrap & Plant (W&P)’ project to establish food security in Africa. With a passion to sustainably develop functional materials, Tahira has 2 patents and has authored 27 peer-reviewed articles in highly regarded journal in materials science and sustainability including Advanced Materials, Advanced Functional Materials, Nature Sustainability and Nature Food.

Richard H. Guenther

Guenther is the Secretary and co-founder of Soteria formulations. With over 30 year of research and project management experience at NC state University, Guenther has co-authored over 50 publications and has been awarded 8 patents. He has worked on the ‘W&P’ project from its inception. Besides Soteria, he has been involved in commercialization of 2 other technologies. Dick has recently retired from NCSU allowing additional time to help in commercialization.


Professor Charles H. Opperman

Opperman is a Professor of Biology & Genomics of Plant Parasitic Nematodes at Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. With 42 years of research & mentoring experience resulting in 105 publications and 6 patents, Opperman has extensive experience in industry and academia. During the past 10 years, Opperman has led a BMGF funded 'W&P' project to establish food security via controlled delivery of ultra-low volumes of nematicides to control plant-pathogenic nematodes. This technology has been successfully field tested on yam, cassava, potato, sweetpotato, and banana crops in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 8 years.

Professor Saad A. Khan

Khan is an INVISTA Professor Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, at NC State University, Raleigh, NC. With 30+ years of research & mentoring experience, 260+ publications and 16 patents, research in the Khan Group focuses on soft solids: gels, colloids and associative networks. In addition, his group has conducted extensive studies on developing controlled and targeted release of agricultural actives including agrochemicals and agbiologicals for foliar, soil and seed treatments. He has directed the material fabrication component of the ‘W&P’ project since 2015.

Dr. Howard Glicksman

Glicksman is Soteria Formulations Business Consultant and has been actively involved with the team in their initial customer discovery and commercialization efforts since 2022. After obtaining his PhD in Chemistry from Purdue University Howard spent 40-years in industry, over 30 at Dupont. Upon his retirement, he became a successful entrepreneur started Evotus International, now Urban Metals, in 2017. Howard shares his entrepreneurial knowledge by serving as mentor for the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) Venture Mentoring Service, and at NC State in their TEC and I-CORP programs. He is actively involved in startup investing as a member of RTP-Capital, IMAF-RTP, and Cofounders Capital Fund and has invested in more than 20 startups.

Professor Lokendra Pal

Pal is Soteria Formulations Scientific Advisor and is the EJ Woody Rice Associate Professor and University Faculty Scholar in the Department of Forest Biomaterials at North Carolina State University. He has over 14 years of professional experience in managing and collaborating with industrial partners worldwide. Before joining NC State, he spent 9 years working with Hewlett-Packard Company leading new product research and development programs. Dr. Pal has filed 38 patent applications and been granted 23 patents.

Dr. Natarajan Balachander

Bala is Soteria Formulations Technical Advisor and an ag-tech consultant with over 25 years of experience in developing, manufacturing and commercialization of new technologies in the agricultural industry. He has extensive experience in developing technology to meet market needs in areas of biological products (biostimulants, biopesticides), crop protection, seed treatments and polymers working in both Specialty Crop and broad acre markets. Experience in the U.S.A and global markets in commercialization of new to the market technologies managing all aspects to partner development through technology transfer commercialization. Consultant for companies developing new biological products (biostimulants, biopesticides) and seed treatment applications from concept development to manufacturing and commercialization.

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