President and Cofounder, Board Director – Solis Agrosciences
Mary Fernandes, PhD. is the Co-Founder and President of Solis Agrosciences, a plant sciences company located in St. Louis that delivers specialized research services to Agtech innovators. She is also an Executive in Residence at BioGenerator, the startup arm of BioSTL, a non-profit organization driving the bioscience and innovation economy in St. Louis.
Mary previously worked at Monsanto and Bayer Crop Science in multiple science and strategy leadership roles. She has over 25 years of experience driving Ag Biotech R&D and has led discovery research and product development in row crops, including corn, soy, cotton, canola and alfalfa. She led the development of Bayer’s DroughtGard® corn, the world’s first drought-tolerant biotechnology trait for corn. Mary was named Inventor of the Year in 2011 by the Bar Association of Metropolitan St Louis and appointed a Monsanto and Bayer Science Fellow. She was responsible for implementing Monsanto’s first high-throughput functional genomics screening platform, numerous genomics technologies and assay development capabilities, as well as its gene editing pipeline.
In addition to driving scientific strategy and operations, Mary has extensive experience in external business development and partnership management, IP strategy development, and portfolio management. Previously, she was also a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Mumbai, India.
Mary is a strong advocate for women and girls, especially in STEM education, workforce development and entrepreneurship. She serves on the Women’s Leadership Society (WLS) cabinet of the United Way of Greater St. Louis and helped launch the inaugural United Way WLS Mentoring Program in 2022. She also serves as a mentor for the St. Louis International Mentoring Program.
Mary holds a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology, and a Master’s degree in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Mumbai, India. She holds a Doctorate in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.