The Team

Olgica Bakajin
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Before co-founding Porifera in 2009, Dr. Bakajin led a research group at LLNL, which discovered fast flow properties of CNT membranes. Dr. Bakajin received her BA in Physics/Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1996. In 2000 she received a PhD in Physics from Princeton University. She then joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a Lawrence Fellow. After spending the first 9 months of her fellowship visiting the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Bakajin came to Livermore. She conducted independent research there, until 2003 as a Fellow, and from then until July of 2009 as a member of the permanent scientific staff. Dr. Bakajin has authored 6 patents and more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, including 2 Science, 1 Nature, and 4 PNAS papers, generating more than 5,000 citations. Her other honors include the NanoTech Briefs Award in 2007, the R&D 100 Award in 2010 and election as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2011. She has 12 years of experience in building, funding, and managing large R&D teams.

Jeffrey Mendelssohn
Vice President
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Mr. Mendelssohn earned his BA in chemistry from Wesleyan University and his MBA from Stanford University. Prior to Stanford he founded and sold his first business, which was a temporary employment agency based in San Francisco. He co-founded Release Software, a software company that made software tools for the digital distribution of soft goods over the internet, and founded eWish, the internet’s first gift registry system for online merchants. Jeffrey joined Porifera in 2010 as its first business hire. He has been instrumental in helping Porifera obtain over $7 million in federal government development agreements. He also has more than 20 years of experience in building, managing and motivating large teams.

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Erik Desormeaux
Director of Process Development

Mr. Desormeaux has over 10 years of experience in the water and wastewater industry and specializes in advanced treatment. He worked on over 20 municipal water supply, desalination, and water reuse projects as an Advanced Treatment Specialist and Project Manager at CDM Smith. He also founded Consolidated Water’s (CWCO on Nasdaq) Asia Operations, which included setting up a company and overseeing the permitting and construction of a 2000 m3 per day BOO desalination plant in Indonesia. He was twice elected to the International Desalination Association Young Leaders Program Committee, has a BS in Civil Engineering and MS in Environmental Engineering from Auburn University, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in California, USA.