Cellular Agriculture Innovation Day 2024 Speaker Bios
Kartheek is a food industry leader with expertise in product development and R&D of novel food products. He has a PhD in food science and microbiology focused on fermentation, starter cultures and probiotics. Kartheek launched various products in the US, China, South Korea and Japan and worked on novel fermentation derived proteins, plant based proteins, postbiotics, cheese and dairy proteins and most recently on cultivated meat as the head of food science R&D at orbillion Bio. He is passionate about novel food tech and bringing products to life with his unique background in concept to commercialization and scale up and an extensive food industry network. He also serves in the scientific advisory panel for IFT and volunteers by serving as mentors for junior food scientists and students through various guest lectures at universities on food product development and judging various student product development competitions. Kartheek holds a Bachelors in Biotechnology from VIT University, India; a Masters in Bioresource Engineering from McGill University, Canada; and a PhD in Food Science and Microbiology from NC State University.
Sanah Baig was appointed by President Biden to serve as the USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics (REE) in November 2022. In this role, Baig oversees a $4+ billion intramural and extramural research portfolio that increases food systems’ resilience, promotes food and nutrition security, and positions agriculture as a key solution to climate change. Prior to this role, she served as the as the REE Chief of Staff starting in June 2021. Before returning to federal service, Baig worked in the nonprofit sector as Chief of Staff for the global thinktank the Good Food Institute and as Program Director for the National Association of Counties. She also served in the Obama Administration at USDA for nearly six years in a variety of capacities including serving as an advisor in the Office of the Secretary and Rural Development. Baig is proud to have started her career as an intern at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and to be graduate of the University of Virginia.
Ben Berman is co-founder and CEO of Tomorrow Farms, a food tech company building the production and distribution layer for the future of food. Tomorrow Farms recently launched its first product, Bored Cow, the world’s first animal-free dairy milk. The product harnesses precision fermentation to make the first milk alternative that can do it all — real dairy, without the cow.
Ben is previously the founder of Mainely Burgers, a food truck company based in Portland, ME that Ben grew to 3 trucks and 16 employees (and an appearance on the Food Network) and the founder of Good Pizza, a nonprofit initiative Ben founded out of his Philadelphia apartment during the pandemic to raise money for hunger relief. Good Pizza was featured on the Ellen Show, Barstool Sports, NBC News, and more and is now the entrepreneurship program at Philadelphia’s largest hunger relief organization, Philabundance.
Previously, Ben spent his corporate years as a management consultant with Deloitte, advising clients on their go-to-market strategies for new product launches, and at Amazon as a Senior Product Manager on the Operations and Logistics team. Ben holds a BA from Tufts University and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Nicole Tichenor Blackstone
Nicole Tichenor Blackstone, Ph.D., M.S., is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Agriculture, Food, and Environment at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Dr. Blackstone’s research focuses on developing and evaluating strategies to improve food system sustainability. Her work fuses industrial ecology, nutrition, and social science methods. Dr. Blackstone currently leads projects on sustainable diets (The LASTING Project) and cellular agriculture. For the latter, she is PI on a project developing sustainable animal-free scaffolds and Co-PI on a large, interdisciplinary project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, leading the project’s environmental assessment team. Dr. Blackstone is the recipient of multiple fellowships, including the Switzer Environmental Leadership Fellowship. She has experience in food policy spanning the local to national levels, through previous positions with the Douglas County Food Policy Council in Kansas and National Family Farm Coalition. Dr. Blackstone holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Religious Studies from the University of Kansas, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Nutrition from Tufts University.
Nicki Briggs serves as Vice President of Corporate Communications at Perfect Day, a consumer biology company on a mission to create a kinder, greener tomorrow by developing new ways to make the foods you love today — starting in the dairy aisle. In her role, she leads the company’s corporate communications function, responsible for consumer public relations, government and industry relations, corporate social responsibility, and employer brand creation. Nicki brings over a decade of communications expertise in the food industry, having driven internal and external communications strategies for top brands in food innovation. She marries her passion for nutrition, and perspective as a registered dietitian nutritionist, with her leading understanding of crafting brand stories for the key stakeholders which promote corporate reputation and success.
Nicki joined Perfect Day from NEAR BOIL Brand Communications, a strategic consultancy she founded to advise CPG, hospitality, and NGO clients on brand communications leadership. Prior to founding NEAR BOIL, Nicki served as CMO for Lazarus Naturals and Lavva and as Chief Communications Officer for Chobani. She serves on the Board of Advisors for Banza, a food company on a mission to increase the consumption of legumes.
Nicki has been recognized for her innovative approach to communications and ability to drive results, including being named to PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 list in 2013 during her time with Chobani, for her contributions to the company’s “meteoric rise.” She has a proven ability to tell stories which resonate across key audiences—from employees to investors to consumers to regulators to nutritionists and beyond.
Nicki earned a MS in Nutrition Communications from Tufts University. She is passionate about the future of animal-free dairy and, with the rest of the Executive Leadership Team, is driving Perfect Day to its vision of building a more equitable, resilient, and diverse food system for all of us.
Bre is the US director of responsible research and innovation at New Harvest, a global nonprofit focused on maximizing the positive impacts of cellular agriculture. She holds a PhD in biomedical engineering from Tufts University where she studied tissue engineering. At New Harvest, Dr. Duffy works with the organization’s network of researchers and diverse stakeholders to promote pre-commercial research and foster collaboration across the field to ensure future products will be safe, sustainable, and equitable.
John Ellersick PE, PMP is Founder and President of Next Rung Technology, an engineering and consulting group which focuses exclusively on the commercialization of sustainable technologies. Mr Ellersick and the Next Rung team have helped many entities in the fields of cellular agriculture and alternative proteins understand their economics, manufacturing footprint, and sustainability impacts, as well as supporting the design and execution of pilot, demonstration and commercial scale production platforms. Next Rung Technology has helped over one hundred organizations scale their sustainable technologies and is located at Greentown Labs in Somerville, MA, North America’s largest Cleantech incubator. Mr Ellersick has a Chemical Engineering degree from Northeastern University, and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management from the Tufts Gordon Institute.
Lily Fitzgerald is the Senior Manager, Advanced Technology Programs at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, where she leads cluster development for bioindustrial manufacturing and additive manufacturing, and helps manage the M2I2 grant program. Prior to joining MassTech, Lily spent 7 years at Ginkgo Bioworks, where she worked as an early engineer in Ginkgo’s laboratories and later founded the Public Policy team, successfully advocating for policies that grow the bioeconomy. She has an M.S. in Technology Policy from MIT and a B.S. in Environmental Science from UMass Amherst.
Bruce is founder & President of the Good Food Institute, a global network of nonprofit organizations, with affiliates in the U.S., India, Israel, Brazil, Singapore, and Europe (UK & EU). GFI works on alternative protein policy, science, and corporate engagement. Bruce has penned op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, Nature Food and other publications, and has appeared on podcasts including Making Sense (Sam Harris), Ezra Klein, and others. Bruce’s 2019 TED talk has been viewed more than 2.3 million times and translated into 30 languages.
Bruce graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown Law and also holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the London School of Economics.
Bert is a PhD biochemical engineer with over 30 years of experience in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries. He started his own consulting company, Biopharm Designs LLC, in 2016, initially focused on bioprocess design and development for biopharmaceuticals. Due to his passion for the environment, he has migrated his practice towards the alternative protein space by applying his skills in fermentation and cell culture process development primarily, but also facility design and cost estimation. Although most of his leadership experience was in the biopharm CMC space, he served as Vice President of Engineering and Commercialization for BlueNalu Inc. and Ivy Farm Technologies, startup companies both targeting the emerging cultivated meat market. Since then, he has also advised several other alternative protein companies and is serving as CTO for pre-seed Akoya Technologies seeking to be a contract development and manufacturing organization.
Before becoming a consultant, he held director-level positions at Shire, Amgen, EMD and Acambis (now Sanofi) and worked as a senior engineer at Genzyme, Biometics and Roche in process/facility design, bioprocess development and manufacturing technical services. Over the course of his career, Bert introduced a variety of products to manufacturing through the scale up and tech transfer of cell culture and other processes. In addition to advising on strategic direction in process and manufacturing technology, he now also helps clients design and implement high-level business processes, including quality-by-design, towards improving work efficiency, costs, timelines, and product quality.
Lutz Grossmann is an Assistant Professor in the Food Science Department at UMass Amherst since 2021. He graduated with a Ph.D. in food science from the University of Hohenheim in Germany. His research focuses on facilitating a sustainable food system transition by designing holistic approaches to increase the consumption of plant- and microbial protein-rich foods. He is especially interested in combining up- and downstream processing technology with molecular, physicochemical, and engineering concepts to create food textures that are nutritious, sustainable, and tasty. His research was awarded the Nestlé Young Scientist Award (2019), the Südwestmetall-Förderpreis (2020) and the FOSS Young Talent Award (2023). He currently has a publication record of 51 peer-reviewed publications, has published 2 books, and has an h-index of 19. His laboratory receives funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, The Foundation for Food and Agriculture, and The Good Food Institute.
Yvonne Hao is the Secretary of the Executive Office of Economic Development. She has had more than 25 years of executive business experience as a senior executive, including as Co-founder, Advisor, and Managing Director at investment firm Cove Hill Partners and as an Operating Partner at Pillar Ventures. Previously, she was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of PillPack, an online pharmacy that was acquired by Amazon in 2018. She is also a former Operating Partner at Bain Capital. In addition, Hao has been a Board Director of companies such as CarGurus, Flywire, Gentherm, ZipRecruiter, and Bose. She also has been involved in the community, is the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Beth Israel Lahey Health, and a Trustee Emeriti of her alma mater, Williams College. She lives in Williamstown and Cambridge and is a graduate of Williams College and the University of Cambridge.
Dave Humbird is a chemical engineer with 25 years of experience across several sectors, including petrochemicals, semiconductors, renewable fuels, scientific computing, industrial biotechnology, CO2 capture and use, and alternative proteins. Through DWH Process Consulting, Dave is presently a consultant to technology developers as well as government, academic, and non-profit groups active in the renewable chemicals, biorefining, synthetic biology, and food & beverage sectors. While his primary consulting practice comprises process flowsheet simulation, physical equipment modeling, and equipment cost estimation on the AspenTech software platform, Dave also offers detailed techno-economic analysis services to early-stage bioprocess developers and has served on merit review panels for the USDA, US DOE, and NSF. Dave Humbird holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University, a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and is a registered Professional Engineer in Colorado.
David Kaplan is the Stern Family Endowed Professor of Engineering at Tufts University, a Distinguished University Professor, and Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. His research focus is on biopolymer engineering, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and cellular agriculture. He has published over 1,000 peer reviewed papers, he is editor-in-chief of ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering and he serves on many editorial boards and programs for journals and universities. He has received awards for his research and teaching and is an elected Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and the National Academy of Engineering.
Michael W. Klein is the Wm. L. Clayton Professor of International Economic Affairs at the Fletcher School, Tufts University, and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has been a visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund, the Bank of England, the Bank of Israel, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve Banks of Boston, Dallas, New York, and San Francisco. He is the Founder and Executive Editor of EconoFact, an online website that publishes memos and a weekly podcast on economic and social policy issues. He is the co-author of Exchange Rate Regimes in the Modern Era (M.I.T. Press c. 2010) and of Job Creation, Job Destruction, and International Competition (Upjohn Press, c. 2003), and the author of Mathematical Methods for Economics (Addison-Wesley, 2nd edition, c. 2002) and Something for Nothing: A Novel (MIT Press, c. 2011), as well as 28 peer-reviewed articles that have been published in journals that include The American Economic Review, The American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, I.M.F. Staff Papers, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of International Economics, and Journal of Money, Credit and Banking. He holds a B.A. from Brandeis University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Columbia University.
• General Partner & Co-founder Meach Cove Capital a venture fund focused on the Future of Food
• Former Head of Finance & Strategy for Fidelity Investments. Member of Fidelity Investments 12-person Executive Committee
• Held senior Financial Management roles across all of Fidelity’s operating businesses over a 28-year career (Asset Management, Institutional Brokerage, Capital Markets, Retail Brokerage)
• Former CFO/COO of Devonshire Investors; Fidelity’s Private Equity/VC arm. Member of Investment Committee, Board Member on portfolio companies
• Significant experience in business strategy with focus on turnarounds & start-up businesses
• Previous experience with The Coca-Cola Company and Price Waterhouse
• BA in economics from the University of Richmond and MBA in accounting and finance from the Rutgers Graduate School of Management.
• CFA Charter holder, CPA (inactive).
Ben Linville-Engler is the Deputy Director and Chief Investment Strategist at MassTech where he works across the agency’s divisions, funds, and programs to align investments with ecosystems needs, emerging technologies, and sector priorities in the Commonwealth’s technology and innovation economy. Ben provides organizational oversight for the agency’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM), MassCyberCenter, and the Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI). Ben currently serves as the Acting Director for the Northeast Microelectronics Coalition (NEMC) Hub which was recently selected for a Dept. of Defense Microelectronics Commons Hub with funding coming from the CHIPS+Science Act.
Previously, he served as the Industry and Certificate Co-Director for MIT System Design and Management (SDM), where he first joined as a Fellow in 2016. He was awarded MIT’s 2021 Collier Medal for COVID-19 response efforts with the MA Manufacturing Emergency Response Team. Prior to MIT, Ben worked for over a decade at Applied Medical, serving in Vice President roles for technology and product development, as well as engineering.
He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado – Boulder with and emphasis in Biomedical Engineering and a Minor in Biochemistry, and received a Master of Science degree in Engineering and Management from MIT through SDM.
Kristi Muldoon Jacobs
Dr. Kristi Muldoon Jacobs is the current Acting Director for the FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety (OFAS). OFAS is responsible for ensuring the safety of direct and indirect food additives, color additives and GRAS substances as well as supporting safety and innovation in food from new plant varieties and made with cultured animal cells. Dr. Muldoon Jacobs earned a Ph.D. from UMDNJ/Rutgers University program in biomedical sciences and continued research at NIH/National Cancer Institute on mechanism of tumor suppression and carcinogenesis. In her previous roles at FDA and USP she served as a toxicologist with expertise in the safety assessment of FDA regulated products including food ingredients, indirect and direct additives, dietary supplements, and drug impurities. She has extensive knowledge regulatory systems globally to ensure quality and safety of products and has served as an expert to JECFA, OECD and ICH committees. She is an internationally recognized expert in the application of new and alternative safety and risk assessment methods such as TTC, QSAR and read-across methodology. She has served as an expert on 15 international working groups and has published over 30 peer reviewed publications in areas related to her expertise.
Naya McCartney, PhD, is a Regulatory Safety Scientist at Vow. Naya earned her doctorate from Tufts University, where her graduate research in the Trimmer Lab focused on the growth and metamorphosis of insect muscle, with a focus on its application for cellular engineering.
At Vow, Naya is dedicated to upholding the highest standards of safety and compliance during the development and production of sustainable, cultured meat products, while navigating the intricate regulatory landscape.
Ellie Myers is an associate in Nutter’s Corporate and Transactions Department. Clients turn to Ellie for legal counsel on a wide range of matters, including mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and private equity financings, commercial lending transactions, and general corporate governance. Ellie represents early-stage companies in all stages of their business life cycle in a variety of industries including food and beverage, life sciences, and information and technology services. She regularly advises clients on initial planning and formation, securing financing from third parties, and realizing business goals. Ellie also represents venture capital, private equity, and angel investors in connection with their investments in operating companies.
Kimberly Ong is a toxicologist at Vireo Advisors, a mission-driven consulting firm dedicated to supporting the safe commercialization of innovative and sustainable technologies. She works with companies to develop safety strategies and gain regulatory authorization of alternative protein products and supports multi-stakeholder collaborative work to address safety issues. Kim has been deeply involved in cultivated meat safety assessments as part of the FAO/WHO 2022 Expert Consultation on Food Safety Aspects of Cell-Based Food, the Cultured Meat Safety Initiative, and working with producers of culture media, growth factors, scaffold, and cultivated meat and seafood products. She holds a Ph.D. in Physiology, Cell, and Developmental Biology, and a M.Sc. in Environmental Management and Policy.
Reza Ovissipour is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at Texas A&M University, where he leads several federally funded projects focused on Cellular Agriculture, sustainable food systems, and alternative proteins, including insect-based food and feed. He also leads a large USDA-funded project addressing COVID-19 in the food supply chain. Committed to advancing the sustainability, safety, and resilience of the food supply chain, he employs technological innovations and contributes to the education of future professionals in the field.
With over 70 publications in the domains of food systems and food engineering, Reza Ovissipour holds several patents related to nano-based materials, non-living surrogates, and serum-free media for cultivated meat. Additionally, he has founded multiple startup companies and successfully brought various technologies and products to commercialization. Notably, he pioneered the development of the first comprehensive food safety plan for aquaponics and cell-based seafood. Reza Ovissipour earned his Ph.D. in Bioprocess Engineering and another Ph.D. in Biosystems Engineering from Washington State University.
Yossi Quint is the Founder & CEO of Ark Biotech, which is focused on removing the main bottleneck to scale cultivated meat – biomanufacturing capacity. Ark is developing scalable bioreactor systems (hardware + software), so that cultivated meat can compete with, and overtake, the trillion dollar animal protein market. Prior to Ark, Yossi worked at McKinsey where he specialized in alternative protein, including co-authoring McKinsey’s report on cultivated meat. Yossi began his career at Two Sigma as a quantitative researcher and is a graduate of Princeton University.
Morgan Rease is a food scientist by training and was the first employee at UPSIDE Foods. At UPSIDE he helped the company grow from the incubator stage through Series C & market entry, wearing many, many hats along the way. He led product development for many years, working with cultivated meat from multiple species during that time. UPSIDE’s iconic chicken fillet that launched at Bar Crenn in 2023, the first cultivated meat product to be sold in the United States, was one of Morgan’s many personal accomplishments.
Additionally Morgan co-led research efforts to characterize cultivated meat products’ texture, flavor, composition, and physical behavior. He mapped these qualities to process parameters to build knowledge bases and systems for the intentional development of delicious cultivated meat products.
Morgan is currently working as a scientific and culinary consultant. He is a passionate foodie, researcher, & science communicator, dedicated to bringing sustainable solutions to the world.
Natalie began working in the field in 2014, interning at New Harvest and Perfect Day Foods. After graduating with a B.S. Chemical & Biological Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder and spending a year working at Quartzy, she joined the Kaplan Lab to perform graduate research on cultured meat from novel species and completed her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering/Cellular Agriculture. She also served as an advisor for Bond Pet Foods and Matrix Foodtech and was the first employee at Ark Biotech where she led the Process Science team before re-joining Tufts.
Larisa Rudenko is a Research Affiliate in the Program on Emerging Technologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studies emerging biotechnologies to characterize the different components of distributed governance throughout the life cycle of these products and technologies, and how to incorporate those roles into national policies, with particular emphasis on coordinating the roles of funders, regulators, and early product developers. She is also the Co-Founder of BioPolicy Solutions LLC, a boutique consultancy, where she works with the private (start-ups through established food and biomedical companies) and public sectors to develop strategies for cost-effective product development using emerging biotechnologies. Dr. Rudenko previously worked at the US FDA as Senior Advisor for Biotechnology. Prior to that, she worked at angel and mezzanine investment levels as a founder of a consultancy providing due diligence and regulatory support for biomedical and food/ag products. She also worked at a consultancy assisting public and private sector clients in developing risk assessment methodologies for complex toxicological issues and assessing safety and regulatory approaches for the products of biotechnology. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology.
Amaru counsels domestic and global companies in matters involving products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and relevant state agencies. As a former in-house counsel for a publicly traded company, Amaru is well-positioned to help clients navigate complex legal, regulatory, and business issues.
Eric Schulze, PhD is a professional molecular biologist, scientific and regulatory executive, and former federal biotechnology regulator. He is currently Founder and Principal at Good Humans Strategy & Design, his agency which works alongside people and companies that are using biotechnology, science policy, and modern science communication to build a food system in a climate changing world. He blends modern science, broadcast communication, risk assessment, policy and advocacy, and executive strategy together for his clients and his roles.
He most recently served as Vice President of Global Regulatory and Public Policy at UPSIDE Foods, where he led the company’s regulatory-, policy-, and government affairs. Dr. Schulze and his team secured the world’s first cultivated meat safety clearance and designed the first-ever cultivated meat sold in the US.
Before that, he served as a U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulator, handling a portfolio of novel food and drug biotechnology products. As a civil servant, Dr. Schulze also served as a federal STEM education policy capacity within the National Science Foundation and has worked with the National Academy of Sciences & Engineering on undergraduate STEM education policy. He holds an interdisciplinary doctorate in genetic, cellular, and molecular biology with a specialty in embryonic stem cell engineering from the University of Southern California.
Bill Shaw is the Vice Provost for Innovation at Tufts University. As the Vice Provost for Innovation, Bill is responsible for business development activities across the University with a particular focus on establishing strategic partnerships, cultivating entrepreneurship, enhancing the physical infrastructure and engaging the global innovation ecosystem. Bill also oversees several key programs including the Office of the Board of Advisors, Tufts Launchpad | Biolabs and Tufts Launchpad Accelerator.
Bill was previously the Executive Director of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital, a Harvard-affiliated Medical School. The Martinos Center is one of the world’s premier research centers focused on biomedical imaging. Bill worked to create an environment where innovation thrives by bringing together the world’s leading scientists, business leaders and patients to solve important healthcare issues. He was responsible for the leadership of the Center and the administration of its $60+ million in research revenue. In addition, he spearheaded business development activities through establishing relationships with academic institutions, industry participants, philanthropic donors and government agencies. Bill is the founder of several start-up companies including Eikonizo Therapeutics, 149 Medical Inc. and BlinkAI Technologies.
Bill also possesses extensive experience in establishing international collaboration agreements with a focus on China and Japan. In 2017, he received the prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship and spent time traveling through China exploring its innovation ecosystem.
Bill earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from WPI and a J.D. from the University of New Hampshire School of Law. He also studied Intellectual Property Law at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Bill recently finished a fellowship at Harvard Medical School’s Center for Bioethics where he focused on the ethical issues related to the interface of artificial intelligence, neuroscience and business. Bill is a member of the bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is a registered patent attorney at the USPTO.
Andrew is a cellular agriculture and cultured meat pioneer, serving as an early team member at one of the first precision-fermentation companies, Geltor, and in Dr. Mark Post’s lab at Maastricht University, where he attended the 2013 televised tasting of the first cultured beef burger. Andrew has a B.S. in Material Science from Rice University and he completed his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering/Cellular Agriculture at the Kaplan Laboratory, where he developed cell lines and serum-free media for cultured meat production.
Ryan Sylvia is currently responsible for managing the cultivated meat scaffolding and bioreactor program within Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. As part of the program, Ryan has founded the on-going edible hollow fiber bioreactor project, called CraftRidge, in 2018. Since 2012, he was employed as an expert in membrane development and the integration of these membranes into bioprocessing applications. Prior to this, Ryan was employed by a start-up incubation hub for a few years until he was employed by one of the start-ups focusing on nanospheres. Ryan holds a BS in Material and Biomaterial Engineering.
Margrethe Therkildsen is an Associate Professor at Department of Food Science, at Aarhus University, Denmark. Margrethe Therkildsen holds an MSc in animal science, and a PhD in biochemistry. She is responsible for an MSc program in Molecular Nutrition and Food Technology and teach at bachelor and master levels within meat science. She has in her research career worked with the impact of primary production on the final meat quality of beef, pork, and chicken as well as methods to make a sustainable meat production. Lately this knowledge is implemented in research projects in cultivated meat, among others focusing on how to simulate a postmortem process in cultivated meat that can lead to an appreciated flavour and texture of the products.
Hanna L. Tuomisto is a professor of sustainable food systems at the University of Helsinki and at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). She leads the Future Sustainable Food Systems -research group at the University of Helsinki. Tuomisto’s research interests are focused on the development of sustainability assessment methods and estimating the potential of different approaches (e.g. cellular agriculture, dietary change and agroecological farming) to improve the sustainability of food systems. She has a strong experience in the development and use of environmental sustainability assessment methods, such as life cycle assessment and carbon footprinting. Tuomisto is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field environmental sustainability assessment of cell-cultured food production technologies. She is one of the few researchers with over 14 years of experience in the field of cellular agriculture. Currently, Tuomisto leads and is involved in various projects related to sustainability cell-cultured foods and other alternatives to animal source foods. Tuomisto holds an MSc degree in Agroecology from the University of Helsinki and a doctoral degree from the University of Oxford. She gained postdoctoral researcher experience at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).
John Yuen Jr.
Originally from Hong Kong, John has engaged in significant work in the field of cultivated meat since 2017. This interest, ignited during undergraduate (Molecular Biology) and master’s (Biology) studies at the University of California, San Diego, spurred him to join the Kaplan Laboratory for a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering/Cellular Agriculture. His graduate research focused on developing economical methods for large-scale cultivated fat production. He also has experience in bone tissue engineering, programming, and venture capital.