Dr. Orts received his Ph.D. (1991) in Physical Chemistry from University of Toronto while working at Xerox, Canada on biodegradable plastics. He earned his M.Sc. in Biochemistry (1986) also from the University of Toronto and a B.Sc. (Honours, Chemical Engineering) from The Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. He and his Research Unit are internationally recognized for research on developing biorefinery strategies that are viable in the Western U.S. This includes development of biofuels, bioproducts and sustainable materials via multi-disciplinary problem solving. Dr. Orts has been a Research Chemist with the USDA for the past 17 years, located at the Western Regional Research Center Albany, CA. Prior to coming to the USDA, Dr. Orts was a National Research Council Fellow (1991-1995) at the NIST National Neutron Radiation Center, Gaithersburg, MD. At NIST he was part of a team that designed, built and brought on-line the NSF 30-Meter neutron scattering “camera”, the first neutron scattering facility built to characterize proteins and biopolymers. He has co-authored 155 peer-reviewed journal articles and multiple patents. Dr. Orts has been awarded the Pac-West “Early Career Scientist of the Year” and the “Secretary Honors Award” for development of commercially-viable packaging materials from agricultural products.