Postdoctoral Alumni - Christoph Bausch



Christoph Bausch
Director, Biorefined Products
POET, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

In 2002 Christoph Bausch had just earned a PhD in Microbiology at The Ohio State University and was, by his own admission, broke,  but also newly married and excited to start a career surrounded by “rock star” science.

Raised on a farm in Nebraska, Bausch was eager to soak up new technologies. So after searching for cutting-edge venues in the heartland, he landed an interview with Stowers Associate Investigator Jennifer Gerton, then a new faculty member.

“When I walked into Stowers I thought, ‘Wow, this could be a fantastic place to work!’” says Bausch. “After my interview I knew I could go after projects that required creativity. I wanted to be innovative, and Jennifer let me test myself.”

Bausch spent until 2006 as Gerton’s first postdoc. There he used yeast as a model organism to characterize cohesins, the protein complex that mediates sister chromatid cohesion during cell division. That work earned Bausch a 2007 publication in Molecular and Cellular Biology. But his most prized moments were brainstorming sessions with Stowers technical support staff.

“I loved hanging out with the array people until three in morning,” he says, citing Research Advisor Chris Seidel as an influential mentor. At that time emerging microarray technology was the frequent topic of late-night tech sessions, and Bausch credits innovative climate at Stowers with pushing him toward biotechnology. “Without Stowers I would not be where I am today. They gave me the freedom to identify my technical passion with science..”

In 2006 Bausch become an R & D scientist at Sigma-Aldrich in St. Louis where he applied what he learned at Stowers to set up a microarray system to analyze and improve the production of biopharmaceuticals. More midnight discussions followed at Sigma, this time with the business development team, who convinced Bausch to join their side of the company while he simultaneously earned an MBA at St. Louis University in 2011.

In 2012 Bausch left Sigma to become director of biorefined products at POET, one of the world’s largest producer of ethanol and biorefined products in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Although he serves on the board of directors of the two companies he founded in St. Louis, his job at POET is to develop strategies and scout for novel technologies to commercialize new bio-based products and materials. And when he’s not doing that, Bausch, ever the Midwesterner, relishes his leisure time in Sioux Falls, the “pheasant-hunting capital of the world.”