My background would indicate I could help solve problems in agriculture (especially insecticides), renewable chemicals/biofuels especially as it relates to biochemistry, biology or chemical aspects.
However I may also be able to help solve problems in general biochemistry, pharmaceuticals, general biology, drug discovery, biotechnology, food science, and the general agricultural value chain.
Techniques Keith Wing Uses:
I basically try to identify, is this a problem that is completely open and unconstrained by cost, manufacturing and common industrial constraints? If so, then I let my imagination go free and think and read completely open-endedly to solve the problem.
If the problem is constrained by cost, practical considerations. social impact, regulatory environments, potentially deleterious impact on stakeholders etc. then I solve the problem with my "industrial hat on". Even here, I define the problem very carefully to the extent I know them, ie. general problem statement, affecting parameters including costs, stakeholders and their concerns, eventual goal at the end etc. But even then I think and read as broadly as possible to solve the problem flexibly, while still achieving the end goal.
I enjoy working collaboratively with others, as long as team interactions are respectful and mutually supportive.
I enjoy leading teams to ensure healthy team interactions occur to further the problem solving.
I can also problem-solve alone.
I oftentimes use the technique to imagine an ideal solution to a problem, then reverse engineer the solution steps.
I sometimes use a technique to pose ancillary, related questions to the specific problem statement and see if this leads to insights to that specific problem. Imagine then dandelion with fronds emanating from a central pod. The fronds would be alternative questions related to the seminal problem, but thinking about the fronds can sometimes lead to solutions to the main problem.
I sometimes use the technique to ask people who are totally unrelated to the technology/problem at hand, for their ideas. Sometimes these suggestions from "left field" can be surprisingly insightful or lead me to a thought that hadn't occurred to me before.
Keith Wing's Problem Solving Skills:
Biomass to chemicals or fuel enzymes/technology project integration, cellulases and hemicellulases
In Vivo agricultural assays
Life science structure/activity
Cell based assays
Analytical chemistry/HPLC or LC/MS
Strong team leadership skills
Innovation/drive to commercialization
Life science research and development, flexibility to solve new problems
High throughput screen design/execution
Keith Wing's Problem Solving Experience:
- While at DuPont Crop Protection Products I co-invented (with several chemists) the first insect-bioactivated sodium channel blocker insecticide, Indoxacarb. This compound is bioactivated to the ultimate toxin in insects (killing themselves) but is metabolized to many small, innocuous compounds in mammals. It was commercialized as a successful insecticide, the first with this mode of action on the market.
- I worked with a team at DuPont Crop Protection to discover, optimize and commercialize the first Ryanodine receptor insecticides, the commercially very sucessul Rynaxapyr(R) and Cyazapyr(R). I led the effort make these compounds more bioavailable in plants, especially Cyazapyr(R). They are highly successful insecticides, the first with this mode of action on the market.
- I led a team in DuPont Central Research and Development to use Cell Capture and Real Time PCR methods to increase the speed and sensitivity of Listeria food pathogen detection. Some of these technologies were eventually commercialized by DuPont's Qualicon food safety division.
- I led an R/D effort to dramatically revamp both whole organism and cell-based agricultural high throughput screens for DuPont Crop Protection Products. This resulted in much higher quality of hit/lead detection and higher throughput. I also equipped a very large, complex high throughput screening lab and helped interface it with DuPont CPP's informatics system.
- I was a team leader and member of a group to assemble a consortium of cellulases and hemicellulases to degrade biomass to fermentable monomers. This enzyme consortium is now in pilot plants (DuPont iIndustrial Biosciences) for conversion of Biomass to BioEthanol.
- I solved the mode of action and helped discover/optimize a novel class of dibenzoyl hydrazine mimics of the steroid invertebrate molting hormone, ecdysone. This molecular action causes insect pests to molt prematurely. My Rohm and Haas team and I later commercialized 3 of these compounds as insecticides. The mode of action work was published in Science and the team won the Presidential Green Chemistry Award.