Leschine receives Women to Watch Award

By Anna Austin
Web exclusive posted Feb. 5, 2009, at 3:10 p.m. CST

Dr. Susan Leschine, founder of biofuel company Qteros and a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will receive one of the top ten Women to Watch Awards by "Mass High Tech: The Journal of New England Technology."

The award, now in its sixth year, honors women who excel in technological innovation, entrepreneurship and community involvement. Mass High Tech, working with an advisory panel, selected the 2009 honorees, who exemplify the "best and brightest" among women at the highest level of technology businesses in New England. Leschine discovered a unique microbe, now known as the Q Microbe, in a wetlands area near the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts. The Q Microbe can make cellulosic ethanol from plant waste. She then founded Qteros, formerly known as SunEthanol. The company's complete cellulosic conversion or "C3" technology is capable of generating cellulosic ethanol in a single step, reducing costs and capital required.

"This is a wonderful recognition for women in science and engineering who put their passion for science to work in beneficial ways." Leschine said. "I am pleased that Qteros is harnessing the power of the Q microbe, discovered in my lab at UMass Amherst, to sustainably meet out energy needs."

Leschine will be honored along with nine other women at an evening gala and award ceremony March 12 at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Mass. Other women honored represent IBM, Intel, and Cerulean Pharma.