Meet the team
President & Co-founder
Dr. Langer received his B.S. in Chemistry (2002) from the University of St. Thomas, and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering (2012) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Jim cofounded Serionix in 2011 to commercialize high performance filtration materials for removal of toxic chemicals from air and water. Within two years of starting the company, he successfully directed early business and technical development of Serionix resulting in public and private funding in excess of $2.1M including two Phase I and two Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from the Army and National Science Foundation. Jim has been recognized, either alone or as a representative of Serionix, with several honors including grand prize in a UIUC business plan competition and a student startup award at the Champaign County Innovation Celebration, and was selected as a finalist for the Lemelson-MIT Illinois 30k prize for innovation.
VP Engineering & Co-founder
Dr. Zheng received his Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering from Zhejiang University and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. He has extensive experience designing, manufacturing, and characterizing ion-exchange and activated carbon technologies. He has demonstrated the strength of his engineering skills domestically and abroad, optimizing systems ranging from less than a gram to hundreds of kilograms.
Senior Research Scientist
Dr. Ba received his B.S. in Chemistry from Peking University and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois. Dr. Ba has 15+ years working experience on chemical synthesis ranging from gram to kilogram scale, with a particular emphasis on polymeric membranes, organosilicons, and high temperature organic chemistries. Prior to Serionix, he worked at UOP/Honeywell, Shanghai Zillion Chemicals Co., and the University of Texas, Austin.
Erich holds a B.S. (cum laude) in Materials Science & Engineering from the University of Illinois. He is rapidly building expertise in materials characterization and experimental design.
VP R&D & Co-founder
Dr. Economy received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and is Professor Emeritus of Material Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois. Dr. Economy has 30+ years of experience in industrial R&D management at IBM and Carborundum, and a strong commercialization track record including 6 currently marketed inventions and 14 IR-100 innovation awards. In 1989, he joined UIUC as Professor and Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and formerly served as President of IUPAC’s Macromolecular Division (1994-98). He has previously received the Paul J. Flory Polymer Research Prize for extraordinary contribution to polymer science and engineering (2001) and is a Fellow of the PMSE (2001), the National Academy of Arts and Sciences (2003), and the American Chemical Society (2012).
Director, Principal of Serra Ventures
Tim Hoerr, CEO of Serra Ventures, is a seasoned business executive with over 25 years of experience spanning a variety of industries. He has worked with numerous high technology start-ups including those in the life sciences, bio-tech and material sciences sectors. Tim serves the University of Illinois technology community in the role of Entrepreneur-in-Residence at EnterpriseWorks business incubator in the Research Park. Prior to launching Serra Ventures as a high tech consultancy, Tim was co-founder and CEO of iCyt Mission Technology, Inc. iCyt was formed by Tim and Gary Durack in 2001 with a nucleus of 10 scientific and engineering professionals. iCyt’s mission was creating, developing and introducing cutting-edge flow cytometry instrumentation to the bioinstrument marketplace. The company had a very successful exit event in late 2009, being acquired by SONY Corporation. Extensive trace record with more than 30 tech start-ups and numerous successful exits.
Research and Development Intern
Yuka is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Material Science and Engineering with a concentration in Biomaterials. She executes her skills and knowledge of engineering, chemistry, and polymer science throughout the product development process and is dedicated to making the Serionix products more efficient and user-friendly for our customers. Yuka is also fluent in Japanese and is testing our filter at her home which has proven to remove Asian cuisine and canine odors.
Senior Research Engineer
Bita received her M.S. in Chemical Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010. She has 5+ years of work experience on production management and quality control. Prior to joining Serionix, she worked at ATSP Innovations and Micron Technology. She has also led NSF and NASA SBIR projects as a principal investigator.
Marketing and Customer Relations Intern
Kaye graduated in 2016 from Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis, MO, with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts. She has had experience working in the business sector throughout her undergrad career, including working in the marketing department at both the universities she attended. She also spent a semester interning with Gordon C. James Public Relations in Phoenix, AZ. She is committed to bringing our customers the best experience and customer service.
Xinyu received his B.S. in chemical engineering with a minor in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Xinyu has an entrepreneurial mindset focusing on the promotion of health and well-being in medical, biomedical, and general consumer and subsistence markets. Xinyu has worked on multiple start-up, R&D, and engineering projects in collaboration with professors, UIUC students, and the Thiel Fellowship community.