About Us

Our mission

We are really passionate about sustainability and chemistry. Although we believe that all chemicals will someday come from renewable sources, we recognize that switching away from petroleum-based chemicals is not easy. Today, only providing plant-based alternatives is not enough. Lignolix goes beyond just plant-based alternatives by delivering performance-driven, sustainable solutions to chemical problems.

Our story

Delaware EDGE grant award ceremony with Governor Carney

Lignolix was started in 2019 when we discussed the the current challenges and commercial opportunities with lignin. After years of research at the University of Delaware, we found a new way to chemically break lignin down without the dangerous and expensive conditions previously used. Lignolix is using this discovery to create new classes of sustainable chemicals and materials with a focus on performance advantages.

2019 was an exciting year for us. Beyond forming Lignolix, we have gone through the NSF I-Corps™ Teams program, received a grant from the University of Delaware, won the University of Delaware FastPass Competition, and received a Delaware EDGE grant.

The team

Eric Gottlieb, PhD – CEO & co-founder

Eric received his B.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University in 2013 and 2018, respectively. After completing his Ph.D., he worked as a post-doctoral researcher in Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware, which is where he met his eventual co-founders. When not working, Eric likes to cook, ferment foods, and go on runs.

Robert O’Dea – CTO & co-founder

Robert received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015 and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Delaware in the department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Prior to his graduate studies, he worked as a Process Development Engineer at the Lubrizol Corporation. At Lignolix, Robert is the CTO and focuses on technology and product development. In his free time, he likes to travel, cook, and mountain bike.

Elvis Ebikade – Lead scientist & co-founder

Elvis received a B.S in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria in 2014 and an M.S in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 2019. He is also a doctoral candidate in Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware. As the lead scientist at Lignolix, Elvis does process development and also leads customer discovery outreach. Outside of work, he likes to cook, run, weight train and check out local art museums.

Christina Pellicane – V.P. of Business Development

Christina received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Georgia and a Master of Business and Science from Rutgers University in 2009 and 2012, respectively. She started her career as a researcher at a biotech startup then became an entrepreneurship educator and has taught/mentored hundreds of deep tech startups around the world. Most significantly she was the Director of Commercialization at the University of Delaware where she met the co-founders in 2017. She loves to travel and has been to ~30 countries and 40+ U.S. states. 

Thomas H. Epps, III, PhD – CSO & co-founder

Thomas is the Director of the Center for Research in Soft matter & Polymers, the director of the Center for Hybrid, Active, and Responsive Materials, the deputy director of the Center for Plastics Innovation, and the Allan & Myra Ferguson Distinguished Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware with a joint appointment in Materials Science & Engineering and an affiliated appointment in Biomedical Engineering. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 1998 and 1999, respectively, and he received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 2004. Thomas was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at NIST from 2004-2006, prior to joining UD in the Fall of 2006. Lignolix’s core technology was developed in Thomas’ lab at UD and he is the chief scientific officer for the company.