Ag Biological Company Expands Research and Product Team

NewLeaf Symbiotics is a venture-funded agricultural biologicals company engaged in discovery, development, production and commercialization of products containing beneficial plant-associated bacteria.

The company has hired a registered patent agent and an additional plant research scientist.

Donna Scherer, a registered patent agent, joins the NewLeaf team after previously working as a patent agent for Monsanto and the BioAg Alliance. Scherer will serve NewLeaf as an accomplished patent agent with extensive intellectual property (IP) experience and comprehensive knowledge of U.S. and foreign patent law, specifically in biotechology.  She also spent several years as a molecular biology laboratory researcher and holds a bachelor of science degree in microbiology from The Pennsylvania State University.

“Donna will contribute solid experience as a patent agent in the area of genetics and agricultural biologicals. Her skills will be invaluable as we move our rapidly advancing technology toward commercialization,” says Tom Laurita, NewLeaf CEO. “We look forward to her guidance and expertise as we navigate legal requirements to acquire patents for our exclusive microbial innovations to improve plant efficiencies and yield for farmers.”

Dr. Quan Zhang is the newest addition to the growing team of research scientists. Dr. Zhang comes to NewLeaf with 10+ years of plant science research aimed at new discoveries in crop production technology.

Dr. Zhang most recently worked at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center as a research scientist for the project “Engineering Nitrogen Symbiosis for Africa,” funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, he worked as senior researcher at Washington University-St. Louis. Dr. Zhang received his PhD in Plant Pathology from Oklahoma State University-Stillwater and did his postdoctoral studies at Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell, Ithaca, N.Y.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Quan to our research team,” says Dr.  Janne Kerovuo, NewLeaf Vice President, Research and Discovery.  “He has worked extensively on both plants and microbes and studied both plant-pathogen and plant-symbiont interactions. We screened well over one hundred candidates to find the right combination of plant biology, microbiology, molecular biology and genomics expertise. We finally found Quan from the Danforth Plant Science Center, literally next door to us!”

NewLeaf’s 30+member team is based in BRDG Park at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St Louis, Mo.  Visit NewLeaf Symbiotics at


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