Co-founder and Executive Director
Ryan Phelan is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Revive & Restore, with a mission to enhance biodiversity through the genetic rescue of endangered and extinct species. Ryan works with some of the world’s leading molecular biologists, conservation biologists, and conservation organizations to envision and develop pioneering genetic rescue projects using cutting-edge genomic technologies to solve seemingly intractable wildlife conservation challenges such as those posed by inbreeding, exotic diseases, climate change, and destructive invasive species. She has organized landmark workshops on genetic rescue bringing together global experts to identify the challenges facing endangered species to identify what genetic tools can be used or designed to help save them from extinction. The most recent, Intended Consequences, took place in June of 2020 which led her to the main stage of TED in Monterey 2021 with her TED Talk titled The Intended Consequences of Helping Nature Thrive and the podcast on TED Radio Hour.
Ryan is a serial entrepreneur, active in the for-profit and non-profit worlds. Prior to her conservation work, for two decades she was a leader in patient-oriented health care and was the Founder and CEO of two innovative healthcare companies focused on empowering the healthcare consumer: DNA Direct and Direct Medical Knowledge.
Program Manager, Biotechnology for Bird Conservation
Ben J. Novak collaboratively pioneers new tools for genetic rescue and de-extinction. As lead scientist, he heads Revive & Restore’s de-extinction efforts and is the lead coordinator for conservation cloning projects, and in 2022 has expanded his role to include Program Manager for the newly launched Biotechnology for Bird Conservation endeavor.
Ben’s primary passion is the restoration of the extinct passenger pigeon, the goal of Revive & Restore’s flagship project, The Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback. Ben is working with collaborators and partners towards restoring the ecology of the Passenger Pigeon to eastern North American forests. Ben uses his training in ecology and ancient-DNA lab work to contribute, hands-on, to the sequencing of the extinct Passenger Pigeon genome and to study important aspects of its natural history. Ben’s mission in leading the Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback is to set the standard for de-extinction protocols and considerations in the lab and field.
While passenger pigeons are Ben’s passion and specialty, the conceptualization and advocation of biotech-based genetic rescue solutions for all organisms have been a lifelong pursuit. Ben’s work at Revive & Restore also includes extensive education and outreach, the co-convening of seminal workshops, and helping to develop ongoing projects and scope new opportunities to expand genetic rescue science and applications through Revive & Restore’s Catalyst Science Fund and Wild Genomes Grants.
Ben graduated from Montana State University studying Ecology and Evolution (2008). He later trained in Paleogenomics at the McMaster University Ancient DNA Centre in Ontario (2010-2012). This is where he began his study of passenger pigeon DNA, which then contributed to his Master’s thesis in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz (2016). From 2017 to 2019, Ben worked at the Australian Center for Disease Preparedness – CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) to advance genetic engineering protocols for the domestic pigeon. Ben’s work at CSIRO lead to the world’s first successful egg handling and husbandry protocols for hatching manipulated pigeon embryos and raising hatchlings to maturity – a crucial milestone for expanding future genetic rescue and de-extinction research for altricial birds (birds whose survival is dependent upon parental care), which comprise ~90% of the world’s 11,000 bird species. Ben is now continuing the work he began at CSIRO in the U.S. as a private venture.
Ben’s notable publications include his 2018 review article, “De-extinction,” in the journal Genes helped to define this new term, his treatment, “Building Ethical De-Extinction Programs—Considerations of Animal Welfare in Genetic Rescue” published in December 2019 in The Routledge Handbook of Animal Ethics: 1st Edition, and most recently a 125 year analysis of the impacts of biodiversity translocations “U.S. conservation translocations: Over a century of intended consequences” published in the Journal of Conservation Science and Practice 2021 Intended Consequences Special Issue. Currently Ben is working on publications of the world’s first successfully cloned Pzrewalski’s horse and black-footed ferret, and a review of the historic trends of cloning research for conservation.
Director of Research & Development
Program Manager, Catalyst Science Fund
Bridget works closely with Revive & Restore leadership and the Catalyst Science Fund Advisory Council to develop an overarching investment and grant strategy designed to accelerate the creation of impactful innovations in conservation. She works directly with various research teams as they submit proposals, refine their scope of work, establish milestones, and oversee progress and deliverables. Establishing and growing the Catalyst Science Fund has been a major focus for Revive & Restore since Bridget joined the team in 2019 as Program Manager.
With a background in molecular biology and genetics, Bridget brings five years of experience in program creation, development, and management as a contractor to the Biological Technologies Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). While at DARPA, Bridget was responsible for driving high-risk, high-reward research and development initiatives in synthetic biology, aimed at promoting the use of green technologies to solve big problems. Certain projects in her portfolio also involved counteracting the impacts of climate change and reduced species diversity. Bridget has a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX and a B.S. in Biochemistry from Stony Brook University of New York.
Finance & Grants Manager
Gillian manages Revive & Restore’s incoming grants and outgoing awards to the research community. She works collaboratively with the program managers to coordinate and manage the request for proposals, the review process on research awards, payment scheduling, and budget maintenance. Gillian works with the Executive Director and Operations Manager to monitor the incoming grants to Revive & Restore, create and monitor budgets, and generate financial statements.
Prior to joining Revive & Restore Gillian managed the Office of Graduate Studies at Sonoma State University. Gillian’s background includes fieldwork project management in Costa Rica, piloting a youth mentorship program with AmeriCorps, and caring for and rehabilitating wild animals removed from the black market pet trade in Bolivia. She holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Tulane University and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Sonoma State University.
Director of Operations
Marmee serves Revive & Restore as Director of Operations, helping to keep the organization running gracefully under the leadership of its Executive Director. Marmee oversees the daily operations which include donor management, accounting, administration, project coordination, media relations, website development, event planning, —and ensures the dynamic Revive & Restore global community stays connected.
Before joining our team, Marmee owned and operated a restaurant in San Francisco and then Berkeley for 13 years before moving into wine sales. As a Certified Sommelier, and conservationist who values sustainability and accountability, Marmee specialized in biodynamic wines and farming practices. Her love of nature has led to her appreciation for the biotechnologies being developed to protect it.
DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION INNOVATION
This position represents an exciting opportunity to bring innovative genomic solutions to both long-standing and novel conservation needs. An attractive candidate will have a broad understanding of genomics and conservation and recognize that the pace of environmental change demands innovation.
This position can be done remotely or on a hybrid schedule if local to the Bay Area. For the official job description and directions for applying, please click here.
Revive & Restore is looking for a Communications Director who can give a compelling voice to our conservation story. We are looking for someone who can help us change the current conservation narrative from one based on fear to one filled with thoughtfully planned Intended Consequences to save endangered species.
For the official job description and directions for applying, please click here.
Stewart Brand is co-founder of Revive & Restore and co-founder and president of The Long Now Foundation, where Revive & Restore was incubated for its first four years. The idea of bringing cutting-edge biotech to conservation first went public with Stewart’s 2013 TED Talk, “The Dawn of De-extinction.” Stewart has been an ardent conservationist since he was 10. That led him to get his degree in Biology from Stanford in 1960, focusing on ecology and evolution. The Whole Earth Catalog, which he created and ran from 1968 to 1984, purveyed a biological perspective on everything.
Besides earning a National Book Award in 1972, the Catalog and its later philanthropy became one of the founding pillars of the Modern Environmental Movement—as chronicled in the book Counterculture Green: The Whole Earth Catalog and American Environmentalism (2007 by Andrew Kirk), and in the feature film “Earth Days” (2009 by Robert Stone). Recently, in an effort to inspire environmentalists to follow science instead of ideology, Stewart wrote Whole Earth Discipline: The Rise of Ecopragmatism (2010, Penguin). The book has two chapters on the environmental benefits of biotechnology. In 2015 Brand was one of the authors of an influential essay, “An Ecomodernist Manifesto.” He also co-founded The WELL and Global Business Network.
Executive Director of Village and Wilderness Project; Heath Hen Project Advisor
Tom directs the Village and Wilderness Project, a program that he founded to reconnect and restore ecologically viable wildlands and redevelops climate-safe communities. He was one of the panelists at Revive & Restore’s Heath Hen Event in July 2014 which brought the idea of a heath hen de-extinction to the Martha’s Vineyard community, where the bird last lived. Born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard, Tom brings a deep understanding of land-use change to the conservation of Massachusetts’s coasts, including making residential landscapes more supportive of essential ecological processes. Tom has a B. S. in Zooarchaeology from the University of Florida and an M.S. in Quaternary research from the University of Maine. His areas of expertise and interest include Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island, ecological restoration, conservation entrepreneurship, conservation education and community engagement, island ecology, archaeology, and climate change. Tom grew up hearing first-hand accounts of the heath hen and as child fantasized he might one day find them in a hidden corner of the Vineyard.
Executive Director of Bio Policy & Leadership Initiatives, Stanford University
Dr. Megan J. Palmer is the Executive Director of Bio Policy & Leadership Initiatives at Stanford University. She leads research, teaching and engagement programs to explore how biological science and engineering are shaping our societies, and to guide innovation to serve public interests. Based in the Department of Bioengineering, where she is also an Adjunct Professor, she works closely with groups across the university and with stakeholders in academia, government, industry and civil society around the world.
Megan has led numerous programs on the role of synthetic biology in society. She leads social responsibility for the international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, and founded and serves as Executive Director of the Synthetic Biology Leadership Excellence Accelerator Program (LEAP). She is on the council of the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) and advises a number of organizations on their approaches to the responsible development of biotechnology, including serving on the Board of Revive & Restore.
Previously, Megan was a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), part of FSI, where she is now an affiliate. She also spent 5 years directing policy efforts for the multi-university Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (Synberc), and held positions as a project scientist at UC Berkeley, and a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford.
Dr. Palmer received her Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from M.I.T. and a B.Sc.E. in Engineering Chemistry from Queen’s University.
Professor of Ecology and Evolution, University of California, Santa Cruz; Passenger Pigeon Project Advisor
Dr. Beth Shapiro is an evolutionary biologist who specializes in the genetics of ice age animals and plants. She uses DNA recovered from bones and other organic remains to study how species and communities evolved through time and how human activities affected this dynamic process. Her PhD research developed new tools to infer temporal changes in species’ abundance and distribution from chronological samples of genetic data. She has since used these to trace evolutionary changes in organisms ranging from influenza to mammoths, asking questions about domestication, admixture between species pairs, and pathogen evolution. Her current work develops techniques to recover and analyze increasingly trace amounts of DNA, such as from environmental and forensic samples. A 2009 MacArthur Fellow, Beth is also an award-winning popular science author and communicator who uses her research as a platform to explore the potential of new genomic technologies for conservation and medicine.
Her book, “How to Clone a Mammoth,” offers a critical, pragmatic, perspective about de-extinction that is rooted in her ancient DNA expertise, Beth is a protagonist for the appropriate, ethical, and responsible application of de-extinction technologies for conservation of living species and their ecosystems. She co-directs the Paleogenomics Lab at UCSC, and her lab published the first DNA sequences of the Passenger Pigeon in 2002. She has since become one of the premiere scientists contemplating the emerging field of de-extinction.
Board of Directors, The American Chestnut Foundation; Board of Visitors, Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University; President’s Council, Southern Environmental Law Center; Commissioner, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
Brad Stanback owns and manages a 1300+ acre Research Farm in the Southern Appalachians between Asheville and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He is involved as a funder and advisor to many local environmental groups, particularly land trusts involved with protecting land through purchase or conservation easement. His hobby is Ecological Restoration, but done on a scale that most would consider well beyond a hobby. Brad’s particular restoration focus is with The American Chestnut Foundation, working to develop a disease-resistant American chestnut tree to restore to the Appalachian forest.
Matt is a lifelong biologist and environmentalist. He received a B.S. degree in Genetics and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of California at Berkeley. He joined the Zoology Department at the University of Texas at Austin as an Assistant Professor in 1983 and in 1989, as an Associate Professor, founded Ambion Inc., a biotechnology company that was a pioneer in the use of RNA technologies for biomedical research. In addition to Ambion, he also founded Asuragen, a molecular diagnostics company and Mirna Therapeutics, a cancer therapeutics company. He is the author of over 30 publications and has 19 issued patents. He sits on the boards of Akoya Biosciences (AKYA), The Breakthrough Institute, Revive & Restore, Austin PBS and several advisory boards associated with The University of Texas. He has a long-term interest in using the tools of biotechnology for conservation and environmental issues.
Philanthropic Advisor to the Board
Barnaby Marsh serves as a strategist for some of the world’s most ambitious philanthropic projects. He has helped to conceptualize, structure, and launch large new initiatives at major academic and cultural institutions worldwide, including the Smithsonian, The Royal Society, The Santa Fe Institute, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Chicago, and Oxford, among many others. Before co-cofounding Saint Partners LLC, Barnaby was a senior executive at the John Templeton Foundation, where he led grantmaking, communications, and philanthropic partnerships. Through competitive funding processes, he has helped to create new scholarly networks in diverse areas including positive psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, genetics, complexity, virtue ethics, and wisdom. In various capacities, he has guided more than $3 billion in various non-profit activities and currently specializes in helping philanthropists with capstone benefactions and setting up new private foundations.
Barnaby grew up in Alaska and has a long-standing interest in ornithology and natural history. Homeschooled until college, he did independent ornithological research as a student at Harvard, Cornell, and Oxford, and did postdoctoral research on complexity and risk at the Max Planck Institute, Berlin, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He is the co-author of the popular book “How Luck Happens” (Dutton/Penguin), which has been translated into 6 languages and is currently working on a book on risk-taking in the context of philanthropy.