Introducing the Plexus® Research & Development Team

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January 18, 2018

The next time you sip your favorite pink drink or open a bottle of one of our supplements, we hope you’ll smile about how good you feel. Not just because our products help people live healthier, happier lives–but also because each time you do, you can have the confidence that you’re experiencing the best products!

Meet the Plexus Research & Development Team

Our Research & Development Team makes it all possible, and we’re always looking for opportunities to make our products even better. Let’s meet the people behind the research and cutting-edge science of all Plexus products!

 

Dr. Susie Rockway, Chief Science Officer

We’re excited to announce that Susie Rockway, Ph.D., has recently joined Plexus as our new Chief Science Officer!

As Chief Science Officer, Dr. Rockway leads the team and is responsible for all facets of product ideation, research, formula development, claims substantiation, science education, product safety, etc. Her role is vital in accomplishing our mission to create extraordinary health products that will excite and delight our Customers! Dr. Rockway reports to Cindy Latham, our Chief Marketing Officer.

The renowned “Doc Rock” comes to us with more than 25 years experience in the field of product research and development. Before joining Plexus, she was Vice President of R&D at Capital Brands where she developed an organic line of superfoods and developed all FDA-required processes for a billion dollar company. Prior to that, she was Executive Director of Product Development and President of Supplement Formulations at Life Extension in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. She also instigated science-backed products with clinical studies when Director of Research & Science at Isagenix in Chandler, Ariz.

Dr. Rockway also spent many years doing research as a professor of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Her research has been featured in over 10 scientific journals and publications, including: The American Journal of Therapeutics, The Journal of Nutrition, The FASEB Journal, Hormone and Metabolic Research, and more. She is also a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a member of the American Society for Nutrition and the Institute of Food Technology.

She holds a Ph.D. in Nutritional Science and an M.S. Degree in Agricultural- Biochemistry, completing both her postgraduate and graduate education at the University of Arizona. Her NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship was completed at the University of Chicago.

 

 

Dr. Alan Jiang, Vice President of Research and Development

Dr. Jiang plays a key role here at Plexus in the areas of product ideation, research, claim substantiations, clinical studies, medical affairs, and product safety and efficacy.

With more than 20 years experience in the dietary supplement and food industries, Dr. Jiang has an extensive background in human nutrition research, scientific evaluation and communication, claims substantiations, clinical trials, project management, technical leadership, regulatory support, and even academia.

Before joining Plexus, Dr. Jiang was a head of Health and Wellness at McCormick, and served for several years as Director of Scientific and Medical Affairs for Herbalife International, as well as Life Extension Foundation. Before moving to the industry, he was appointed as a faculty member and Laboratory Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Johns Hopkins University, one of the most prestigious universities in the world. He also completed postgraduate work as a clinical nutrition fellow at the University of Iowa College of Medicine.

Dr. Jiang has a Ph.D. in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota and received his M.D. (cum laude graduate) from the College of Medicine at Zhejiang University in China. He has published more than 30 papers in refereed international journals and conferences proceedings. His most recent publications include articles in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Journal of Nutrition, The FASEB Journal, Journal of Medicinal Food, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, and a book chapter in The Pharmaceutical Press.

Beyond that, Dr. Jiang served as an Ad Hoc Review Committee member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant applications in the sections of Diabetes, Kidney, Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology and Nutrition. He was also a reviewer for several nutrition and health journals including Journal of Nutrition and Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Currently, Dr. Jiang serves as editor of Frontiers in Nutrition and is a member of several professional societies such as American Society of Nutrition, and Fellow of American College of Nutrition (FACN).

Stephen Roman, Director of Global Product Innovation and Development

As the Director of Global Product Innovation and Development, Stephen leads the new product development efforts from concept to commercialization. His team works together to formulate, prototype, test and manufacture new products for Plexus, always striving to be best-in-class with each new product introduction.

Stephen has over 20 years experience formulating and commercializing new products ranging from food and beverages to dietary supplements and personal care. Prior to joining Plexus, he served as Sr. Director of Product Innovation & Science at Isagenix International in Chandler, Ariz. He has presented on strategies for new product development at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and also at Supply Side West–the largest conference for dietary supplements in the world.

Stephen has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering with an emphasis in Biochemistry from the University of Arizona. He also recently completed his Executive MBA at University of Arizona Eller College of Management.

Stephen is passionate about health and wellness. He, his wife, and two sons all stay fit together by sparring in the dojo. He and his oldest son both recently attained their first-degree black belts in Tae Kwon Do. He also enjoys fishing, kayaking and the occasional weekend hammock nap.

 

Marco Rebaza, Senior Scientist of Product Innovation

As our Senior Scientist of Product Innovation, Marco is instrumental in the research and development, formulation, and innovation of many Plexus products.

Born in Lima, Peru, Marco developed a great appreciation for flavors, food, and nutrition. In Peru, he studied for four years at the College of Food Industrial Engineering. After school, Marco moved to the U.S. for his father’s job and completed a degree in Food Science at Framingham State College in Massachusetts.

In 2006, Marco moved to Arizona and completed an M.S. Degree in Clinical Research Management at Arizona State University, all the while continuing to work in the food industry. In 2017, Marco was accepted into a Ph.D. program in Food Processing Engineering in China but has decided to temporarily postpone attendance because he loves the amazing environment at Plexus and his work with the great R&D Team.

Marco has a passion for food science and nutrition which has grown during his 14 years of experience. He has worked in many different areas of industry, including cosmetic, beverage, confectionery, supplement, and food. Marco is excited to be a part of the innovation process here at Plexus.

Outside of the lab, you’ll find Marco smiling because he’s extremely excited about becoming a dad for the first time in March.

 

Dr. Michael Rogowski, Nutrition Scientist

Our Nutrition Scientist, Dr. Michael Rogowski is instrumental in identifying and analyzing new product ingredients based on the latest scientific research, and critically evaluating emerging science from clinical and preclinical studies to develop targeted nutrition solutions.

With over eight years of laboratory research experience and six years of nutrition research experience, Dr. Rogowski joined Plexus in November 2017 and hit the ground running. He holds a Ph.D. in Nutritional Science from Texas Tech University and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology from Ball State University. He also completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Physiology from Concordia University Wisconsin.

Dr. Rogowski’s research has been published in seven scientific journals, including: Obesity, Journal of Lipid Research, Physiological Reports, and American Journal of Physiology-Heart Circulatory Physiology. He has also given numerous scientific presentations at industry conferences across the nation.

 

 

Arthur Winegrad, Global Commercialization & Technical Services Manager

Arthur joined Plexus in February 2017 as a Senior Formulator and was quickly promoted to the position of Global Commercialization & Technical Services Manager. In this role, Arthur manages all aspects of both domestic and international commercialization for new and existing products. He is also a key player in navigating the complex demands of international country registration, which involves the reformulation of products, or adjustments of existing formulas to meet individual country requirements. Arthur also provides critical support to external manufacturers to ensure that our products are consistently made with highest efficacy and safety.

With more than 20 years in the dietary supplement industry, Arthur has worked in various product development management roles. He started his career working as a Formulations Scientist and progressed to Vice President of Research & Development for a large dietary supplement and food product contract manufacturer prior to joining the Plexus Research & Development team. In this position, Arthur managed all product development activities for over eight years.

Throughout his career, Arthur has been involved with product scale-up and manufacturing of dietary supplement and food products, including all equipment and activities associated with the commercial manufacturing of both. Arthur has a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences (Clinical Dietetics emphasis) from the University of Arizona.

 

 

Lauren Knutsen, Product Development Scientist

Lauren is one of our Product Development Scientists, and is responsible for formulating and prototyping new dietary supplements, nutritional foods, and beverages. She also helps us improve existing product formulations to achieve desired functional benefits, and helps research and identify new ingredients to substantiate claims.

Lauren has worked in the food industry for five years. She has an M.S. Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Central Michigan University, and an undergraduate degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Before Plexus, Lauren worked at The Jel Sert Company in West Chicago, where she started as a laboratory technician and was quickly promoted to a Research & Development Formulation Scientist. There, she worked on ready-to-drink beverages, freezer bars, gelatins, puddings, and powdered drink mixes. She also gained experience with several licensed formulations and nutritional products from companies like Cambrooke and Abbott Laboratories.

 

Randa Nabaty, Product Development Scientist

Randa is also a Product Development Specialist, helping us formulate and prototype new products. She has been a part of the Plexus team since June 2017.

With four years experience in the industry, Randa has formulated more than 15 different food and supplement products independently. Her work experience also includes researching trending raw materials and ingredient functionality, and training junior staff members on lab protocols.

Randa has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biological Sciences (Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology) from Arizona State University. She also completed an Associate Degree in Sciences and Art at Paradise Valley Community College.

Outside of the lab, Randa loves traveling to different countries and learning about various cultures. She is fluent in three languages: English, Aramaic Arabic, and Kurdish. She also spends her free time volunteering with Honor Health, as well as several different non-profit organizations where she helps with fundraising events and assistance for refugee families.

 

Joshua Melendez, New Product Development Engineer

As our New Product Development Engineer, Josh helps resolve issues that arise during the scale-up of new products and with the successful transfer of existing products. Josh also helps us maintain and strengthen relationships with key manufacturers and vendors, as well as improve manufacturing efficiencies to improve quality.

Before Plexus, Josh worked for Clariant, which included projects that made improvements to the processing equipment for weighing, blending, and extruding pigment. Prior to that, he worked at Henkel Consumer Goods where he contributed to process scale-up for various laundry products including Purex and Persil. He also ensured successful new product launches.

Josh has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Mexico, where he also played baseball and was drafted in the 37th round by the Houston Astros. An Arizona native, Josh participates in all types of sports to stay in shape, including golf and softball.

 

Charlie High, Research & Development Specialist

Our Research & Development Specialist, Charlie High, is responsible for the formulation development based on scientific data, designing product tests, understanding cGMP and FDA regulations, and more.

Charlie has four years of experience in the nutritional industry, all of which have been at Plexus. He will receive his undergraduate degree in Biology from Arizona State University this coming May.

Charlie has always been interested in health and fitness, and is currently an active weightlifter and runner. He set his sights on running a marathon, and after reaching his goal, transitioned to Olympic and half Ironman triathlons. Recently, Charlie completed his first full Ironman and plans to continue training for various events.

Isn’t it nice to know that Plexus has your back? We’re committed to making products that are pure and potent, guaranteed–every time. So go ahead and share Plexus with confidence, knowing our products have been extensively researched by our accomplished team and are backed by prevailing science!

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