Leadership Team

Patrick S. Schnable, Ph.D.
Patrick S. Schnable, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer & Board Member

Patrick S. Schnable is a renowned crop geneticist with a history of excellence in both academia and the start-up world. He is the recipient of multiple honors and awards and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His academic research on crop biology, bioinformatics and genetics has been presented in leading international conferences and published in high-profile journals, resulting in an h-index of 81. At Iowa State University, he is the Iowa Corn Promotion Board Endowed Chair in Genetics, a C.F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor, the Baker Scholar of Agricultural Entrepreneurship, and the Director of the Plant Sciences Institute. He has founded and managed several ag-tech startups and serves on the scientific advisory boards of several plant breeding companies. He has a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Cytogenetics from Iowa State University and conducted post-doctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding in Köln, Germany.


James Schnable, Ph.D.
James Schnable, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, Chief Technology Officer & Board Member

James Schnable is a second-generation plant geneticist and the Charles O. Gardner Professor of Maize Quantitative Genetics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He serves on the scientific advisory board of GeneSeek, Inc and as an external consultant to the scientific advisory boards of several billion-dollar plant science companies. His research is currently supported by the US Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Nebraska Corn Growers. As a founding partner in three successful startups in his field, Data2Bio, Dryland Genetics, and EnGeniousAg, Schnable understands the synergy between academic research and entrepreneurship. He received his Ph.D. in Plant Biology from the University of California-Berkeley and his BA from Cornell University.


Craig Anderson
Craig Anderson
Chief Operating Officer

Having over 30+ years of experience in operations management, Anderson believes in leading creation, growth and turnaround to change organizations for the better. His industry know-how includes strategic management, customer relations, sales and marketing and budgeting among others. His knowledge of the North American corn market is unmatched, having served as the brand manager at LG Seeds and the COO of AgReliant Genetics prior to joining Dryland Genetics. Throughout his career he has used his superior analytical and decision making skills in strengthening, motivating, redirecting and rationalizing teams and businesses via board and management roles.


John Manuel
John Manuel
Chief Commercial Officer

With 15 years of experience in the food industry Manuel is an engaging marketing executive possessing a winning blend of leadership, team management, strategic and communications acumen. He has a natural skill in building genuine connections with people at all levels to drive business development, sales and branding initiatives. In his years as a sales and marketing executive he has successfully crafted commercial strategy integrating product development, customer service, strategic management and cross functional decision making to drive business growth and market share. He's also maintained a board position in the Minneapolis Grain Shippers Organization for over 9 years.


Rachel Burds, CPA
Rachel Burds, CPA
Chief Financial Officer

Rachel Burds has more than 13 years of financial and public- and private-sector accounting experience. She has previously served as CFO for a multi-location, specialty medical clinic, CFO for a senior living community, and Controller of a beverage manufacturer and distributor. She has Bachelors' degrees in Finance from the University of Iowa and in Accounting from AIB College of Business. She is a member of AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) and ISCPA (Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants).


Santosh Rajput, Ph.D.
Santosh Rajput, Ph.D.
Lead Breeder

With a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding & Genetics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and more than eight years of experience in the seed industry, Rajput has managed and collaborated on several international projects for germplasm management and enhancement. As head breeder at Dryland Genetics, Rajput leads breeding direction, coordinates and communicates breeding objectives with the team, along with managing and overseeing day to day operations. He is dedicated to developing and managing productive crop varieties to ultimately build a competitive portfolio relevant in all market classes. He believes in leading from the front as the most effective approach to research management as he works to increase agricultural productivity and resilience.


Advisors and Consultants

Thomas A. Isenbarger, Ph.D.
Thomas A. Isenbarger, Ph.D.
IP Counsel

Tom Isenbarger is a shareholder and registered patent attorney at Casimir Jones, S.C, an intellectual property law firm in Madison, Wisconsin. He received a Ph.D. in biomolecular chemistry at the University of Wisconsin and a JD at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Prior to attending law school, Dr. Isenbarger was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and in the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital and then was a postdoctoral scientist in the Department of Bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Isenbarger's practice includes drafting and prosecuting U.S. and foreign patent applications and developing intellectual property portfolios. He regularly assists and advises clients in matters of post-issuance proceedings, due diligence review, licensing, patentability, freedom to operate, invalidity, and enforceability. He also counsels clients in technology commercialization and in other areas of intellectual property, including trademarks, trade dress, copyrights, and trade secrets.


Joseph Leo
Joseph Leo
General Counsel

Joe Leo is a member of the BrownWinick law firm. He received a B.S. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his JD from Drake University. Joe's practice is primarily focused on capital formation, securities compliance and corporate transactions for high-growth technology companies.


Yumou Qiu, Ph.D.
Yumou Qiu, Ph.D.
Statistical Consultant

Yumou Qiu, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in Statistics at Iowa State University. Prior to joining ISU he was an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He was awarded a Ph.D. in statistics from Iowa State University. His areas of research interest include: inference on large covariance and precision matrices; high-dimensional statistical inference and applications in genetic analysis; causal inference; and high-throughput plant phenotyping. He assists Dryland Genetics with the design and analysis of field research experiments.