Hartwick Names Christopher Belnap ’03 2019 Commencement Speaker

Christopher Belnap ’03, microbe/microbiome researcher and co-founder/CEO of Resilient Biotics in San Francisco, CA, will be the 2019 Commencement Speaker, Hartwick College announced today. The College’s Commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. on Elmore Field on the College campus.

Belnap was selected from a list of nominated speaker candidates provided to Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich by the College’s Student Commencement Committee. Each year, the committee recommends to the President speakers they are interested in hearing from at Commencement.

Belnap graduated from Hartwick with a dual degree in biology and geology, before going on to earn his Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of California at Berkeley in 2009. He has spent his career as a scientific leader investigating complex microbiome communities, with expertise in functional characterization and ecology of animal and human microbiome systems.

“So many Hartwick graduates have found fulfilling professional careers in fields related to health and bio-medicine,” said President Drugovich. “Some earn their way into the circle of industry leaders. Chris Belnap is one of those leaders. A scientist and entrepreneur, Chris is advancing the vitally important science of infectious disease treatment. Hartwick is proud of Chris and his success, and we are eager to welcome him back to Oyaron Hill.”

After serving as a postdoctoral fellow in biomedical sciences at the University of California at San Francisco for two years, Belnap joined bioenergy firm M2E Systems as a senior scientist.

Belnap left M2E Systems and became a lead scientist at Taxon Biosciences, where he contributed to key advances in microbiome analysis and biologic product development that ultimately led to his company being acquired by DuPont Pioneer. During that time, he also co-authored a patent and led key scientific discoveries on uses of microbes. While under the DuPont name, Belnap became a research scientist, working as a technical lead in a multi-business unit collaboration. He also helped secure more than $6 million in funding for new product development.

In 2016, Belnap founded Resilient Biotics, which researches and develops microbiome therapeutics to treat complex infectious diseases.

Belnap was quoted in the Summer 2015 edition of the College’s magazine, The Wick, in an article on alumni working in technology-based fields who are combining their broad-based knowledge with advances in technology.

“Technology is a fundamental component of all our work,” he said. “Now we have the tools to understand the potential.”

For more information on Belnap’s work, visit http://www.resilientbiotics.com.

For additional information on Hartwick’s 2019 Commencement ceremony, contact Paul Habernig, Commencement coordinator, at 607-431-4501 or commencementinfo@hartwick.edu.

Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,200 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick’s expansive curriculum emphasizes an experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a distinctive January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for not just their first jobs, but for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact:     David Lubell
E-mail:        lubelld@hartwick.edu
Phone:        607-431-4031

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