Nigel Walker

PhD in Molecular Biology and colloquially known as the "Machine Whisperer." Started a Photosynthetic Mutant Library.

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Nigel is a pioneer in botanical hardware and software extraction technology and was an original co-founder of Curian. As a key member of the early team, Dr. Walker researched hardware across the industry and provided detailed points-of-view for its applicability for the Curian-360 monthly subscription. Nigel worked with Curian’s CSO and CTO to specify requirements for the Curian R&D Lab and was a key member in ensuring Curian’s public beta products worked in the lab.


Dr. Walker has deep industry experience from his work as the Chief Science Officer (CSO) and Extraction Lead at TJ’s Organics, a leading extraction laboratory in Eugene, OR.  He has operated gas chromatography and built, modified and purchased all extraction equipment inside a lab.  He is deeply familiar with ethanol extraction, and solvent recovery, whether room temperature for RSO, or cryogenic for pristine EHO shatters.  He is also well-versed in closed-loop hydrocarbon extraction, Rosin press(es), and various mechanical hash-making techniques.  He is an expert in scientific instrumentation and has been responsible for a wide variety of lab equipment.   Characterized as a “machine whisperer” by more than one Ph.D. level scientist, he also served as the Instrumentation Technician at the Institute of Molecular Biology at the University of Oregon, where he was responsible for the maintenance of a wide variety of lab equipment:  centrifuges, autoclaves, thermocyclers, phosphor-imagers, shakers, incubators and spectrophotometers.  


Nigel received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Molecular and Physiological Plant Biology in 2001.  Trained in both classical genetics and informatics-based molecular biology, his thesis work involved the mutator transposable element system in zea mays (corn).  As an undergraduate, he contributed to the development of tissue culture systems for corn, soybean, and cotton, and patented a novel method of introducing genes into plant tissues.  Dr. Walker worked as a post-doctoral fellow in a computational biology lab and has a number of papers in nucleic acids research on the computational sequence comparisons of proteins to infer function.  During his postdoctoral fellowship, he combined his informatics skills and knowledge of transposon biology, while working on the Photosynthetic Mutant Library (insertional mutagenesis) to enumerate the nuclear genes required for chloroplast biogenesis in maize.  


As Chief Engineer and Test Pilot for Mostly Harmless Fabrications, his favorite non-profit contributions are “mostly harmless fabrications” like a pedal-powered blender, a human-powered charging system for a local food cart, and various pedal-powered appliances for a local school.

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Nigel Walker
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