Our Team

Our multi-talented team brings together different backgrounds and expertise.

What unites us is the fact that we’re all passionately committed to contributing to the future of our planet in a way that is both meaningful, realistic and tangible. That’s why we work around the clock to bring our innovation to market and demonstrate that a true alternative to the fossil-based economy is possible.

Dr. Michael Boot

Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer

Michael holds an MSc. and PhD in Mechanical Engineering (specialty in fuel design) and an Executive MBA from TIAS Business School. From 2009 onwards, Michael has followed a dual career path, both as an entrepreneur and as a scientist.
Michael has co-founded multiple tech startups in the biofuel, turbomachinery, biocrude, and automotive design domains, all of which are still alive and kicking. One of them is Progression-Industry BV, which commercializes various automotive technologies in the domains of waste energy recovery and biofuels. At the same time, Michael rose through the ranks of academia from PhD student (2005-2010), to part-time assistant professor (2010-2015) to fellow (2016 onwards) at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).

Mr. Panos Kouris

Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer

Panos holds a BSc. and a MEng in Chemical Engineering from the University of Patras (Greece) where he developed a new process for polyphenols recovery and methane production from olive oil mill wastewaters.
In 2015, he obtained his MSc. in Chemical & Process Engineering from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), where he investigated a new process for the recovery of useful components from lignocellulosic biomass waste streams by using Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES). In 2018, Panos was selected as Young European Talent in the field of Science from the Netherlands. Currently, he is a PhD candidate at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) under the supervision of Dr. Michael Boot and Professor Emiel Hensen, focusing on the development of a new generation of liquid biofuels from lignin.

Dr. Dannie van Osch

Chief Business Officer

Dannie finished his MSc. degree in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry in 2014 with the distinction cum laude from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). In 2018, he defended his Ph.D. thesis at TU/e. 

During his academic career he has focused on sustainable chemistry, which includes research into spinning disc reactors, microfluidic devices, visible light photo catalysis, sustainable solvents, and crude lignin oil. His PhD research gained attention in the Dutch national news. In 2018, Dannie was selected as Young European Talent, while in 2019 he was chosen as CAS Future Leader and awarded with a One Young World Shell Scholarship. He is member of the Brightlands Young Professionals Advisory Board and ambassador for the Young European Talent program, One Young World, and IMPACTR. Dannie is a natural salesman and a qualified scientist. As Vertoro’s CBO, he welcomes the opportunity to help bring our technology to market alongside his related postdoc work.

Mr. David Samad

Chief Commercial Officer

David, who graduated in Finance from the University of Colorado Boulder and holds an MBA, is a solutions-oriented business developer and investment professional.
His career to date has spanned industries, functions and countries, providing him with the ability to solve complex business-critical challenges. He was Associate in KPS Capital Partners, focused on making equity investments in manufacturing and industrial companies. David later was Executive Consultant in Magpie Polymers, dedicated to the production of selective filtration resins. His latest positions before joining Vertoro have been in Maersk, where he was Senior Manager in the Oil Trading branch and Senior Innovation Manager for the integrated logistics company A.P. Moller-Maersk.

Mr. Derk Smid

Vice President, Specialties Business Unit

With a BA in Business Management and an MSc. in Business Management and Computing, Derk has over 25 years of global expertise, contacts and materials knowledge creating partnerships between specialty additives manufacturers, major plastic development companies, and high-performance thermoplastics manufacturing companies.
Derk worked for 10 years in various roles such as Innovation Marketing Manager in Dow Corning and was EMEA Marketing Manager in ExxonMobil for another 5 years. Later, he was at Altana for 5 years as Vice President Sales and Marketing and Director of Marketing and New Business Development, prior to starting his own company in the coatings and specialty plastic additives and being director of several ones.

Ms. Svetlana Obydenkova

Chief Sustainability Officer

Svetlana is PhD student at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and at Maastricht University, working on the sustainable incorporation of lignin-based carbon into the broader circular economy.
Svetlana has a double MSc. degree in Energy Technology and Sustainable Fuels Economy obtained from KTH Royal Institute of Technology and AGH University of Science and Technology. She also has an Environmental Engineering degree obtained from Moscow State University of Fine Chemical Technologies. Svetlana’s background comprises more than ten years of working experience in the field of environmental impact assessment, life cycle assessment and environmental engineering in the energy and mining sectors.

Dr. Timothy Boon von Ochssée

Chief Financial Officer

Timothy received his MSc. in International Economics and Finance from the University of Tilburg in 2005 and a PhD in Energy Economics (specialty using option-game analysis in gas markets) from the University of Groningen in 2010.
From 2010 onwards, Timothy endeavored to work as an energy economist at ABN AMRO before joining Taqa’s gas storage commercial team as a commercial analyst. Subsequently, he ventured out to work for Saudi Aramco as an investment economist, first in the Corporate Planning department and afterwards in the oil major’s upstream R&D arm. Before joining Vertoro as CFO, Timothy worked as a financial consultant for various Swiss clients.

Mr. Geert Cremers

Chief Lab Officer

Geert received his MSc. in Chemical Engineering (specialization in molecular engineering) in 2012 from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). Preceding his MSc. degree, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in applied science, after graduating as a lab technician in analytical chemistry.
His previous work at DSM and VITO offered him extensive experience in analytical techniques. He developed and validated a GC-FiD method as part of an ISO 17025 accreditation. Before starting at Vertoro, Geert worked on obtaining post-graduate certification in Lean Six Sigma and wastewater treatment technology (HTAZ). Both proved valuable in his work at the municipal wastewater treatment organization WBL and AQUON. At Vertoro, Geert’s work revolves around researching the composition and process of lignin conversion.

Prof. Emiel Hensen

Scientific Advisor

Emiel holds a PhD in the field of molecular heterogenous catalysis and an MSc. in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, both from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).
Currently, Emiel is professor in Inorganic Materials & Catalysis at this same university. Over the years, he has co-authored over 400 publications in esteemed scientific journals. He obtained the Veni, Vidi, Vidi and TOP grants from the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Amongst others, he is Chairman of the Netherlands Research School for Catalysis (NIOK), Management Team Member of the National Gravitation Program Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion, Board Member of the European Research Institute of Catalysis (ERIC), and Board Member of Chemelot InSciTe.

Ms. Zorica Jotic

Senior researcher

Zorica holds a MSc degree in Chemical Engineering obtained at the University of Novi Sad (Serbia), in 2017. The area of expertise is focussed on Oil and Petrochemical Engineering.


During her Master’s studies, Zorica was granted a scholarship from the ICM Erasmus+ program which enabled her to spend six months at the University of Groningen (Netherlands). She was conducting laboratory experiments for her Master’s thesis entitled „Exploratory studies on pyrolytic lignin upgrading by catalytic hydrotreatment“. She was working at the Faculty of Science and Engineering, at the Chemical Engineering Department. The aim of this research was a catalyst screening of pyrolytic lignin (pine derived biomass feedstock) with a focus on production of high yields of aromatic and phenolic compounds. This research work was successfully published in March 2019 under the title „Hydrotreatment of pyrolytic lignins to aromatics and phenolics using heterogeneous catalysts“ and Zorica was listed as a co-author.

Zorica gained her practical knowledge within Oil&Gas industry working as an intern at the NIS Gazprom Neft Oil refinery in Pančevo (Serbia) in 2015 and 2016.

Due to negative impact these technologies leave on our environment and people’s health, Zorica decided to shift her focus on alternative and more sustainable & abundant resourcess, lignocellulosic biomass. Her motto is: Accept better perspectives and leave positive impact on this world.



Monika holds her BSc in Chemical Technology and MSc in Nanotechnology from Lodz University of Technology (Poland). Her main areas of expertise are polymer chemistry and material science.


Monika holds her BSc in Chemical Technology and MSc in Nanotechnology from Lodz University of Technology (Poland). Her main areas of expertise are polymer chemistry and material science. In 2016 Monika joined Maastricht University where she pursued her PhD in the group of assoc. prof. Katrien Bernaerts and prof. Andrij Pich. Her project focused on the development of lignin-based applied materials such as adhesives, coatings and additives. During her PhD Monika not only combined and advanced the knowledge and on-hand experience in polymer and organic chemistry in combination with material science, but also was actively in collaboration with multiple academic and industrial partners. At Vertoro Monika is involved in the projects related to material applications of Goldilocks®. Monika is a huge enthusiast of innovative and sustainable science, especially when it is introduced into the market and our everyday lives, and intellectual property law.

MR. Marcel Lubben

Business & Strategy Advisor

Marcel brings 25 years of chemical industry experience. At DSM he has fulfilled leadership roles in R&D, Business Development, Licensing and Corporate Venture Capital. Since 2014, he has been active in the bio-based chemicals & materials industry as President of Reverdia (bio-succinic acid) and as Managing Director of Avantium Renewable Polymers (FDCA / PEF).