Industry leaders share the latest on cell-cultured meat, poultry, and seafood. Abstracts, Presentation Details, and Speaker Bios are presented here in no particular order.
Amy Chen is the Chief Operating Officer of UPSIDE Foods (formerly Memphis Meats), the world’s leading cultivated meat company. UPSIDE Foods was the first company focused on growing real meat directly from animal cells and has led the industry ever since. Since 2015, UPSIDE Foods has achieved numerous industry-defining milestones, including being the first company to produce multiple species of meat (beef, chicken and duck), to partner with the existing meat industry, and to break ground on a production facility.
As COO, Amy leads the brand’s global strategy and commercial functions, including sales and marketing, finance and operations, product development, food safety and public policy. She’s also focused on scaling the company’s culture as it enters its next phase.
Prior to joining UPSIDE Foods, Amy was Senior Vice-President for PepsiCo Beverages North America. She previously served as the Chief Marketing Officer for PepsiCo Snacks in the Greater China Region, in addition to other sales, operations, strategy and innovation roles.
Amy is a strategic thinker, a passionate leader, and a strong believer that business can be a force for good. She has an M.B.A. and a J.D. from Stanford University and an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Harvard.
University of Vermont in Burlington
Rachael Floreani is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, where she runs a research laboratory focused on designing materials and solutions for human and environmental health. Her research program traditionally revolves around sustainable biomaterial design and fabrication for medicine-based biotechnologies such as tissue engineering. Rachael and her team of scientists, engineers and technicians investigate the fundamental understanding and development of natural based-materials and the impact their physico-mechanical properties have on living systems. Specifically, Rachael’s team critically and logically examines the role biomaterials and physical environments play on cell behavior. More recently, her research has turned to cellular agriculture, and the use of biomaterials to grow meat for human consumption. In her talk, “Medicine to Meat,” Rachael will explore how biotechnology used in the medical fields can be leveraged for cultured meat fabrication, and to bring scientific and broader impact awareness to the consumer.
Larissa Zimberoff is a freelance journalist and author covering the intersection of food, technology, and business. Her book, “Technically Food: Inside Silicon Valley’s Mission to Change What We Eat,” is out now from Abrams Press. She is a frequent contributor to Bloomberg, and her work has also appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Wired, Time and more. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and when she’s not eating she’s planning her next meal.
Kate Krueger, PhD
Kate Krueger is Managing Partner of Helikon Consulting, a boutique firm that specializes in synthetic biology, alternative proteins, and high-tech food. She works with foundations, corporations, and investors to bring 21st century biotechnology to food innovation.
As former Research Director at New Harvest, Kate led all scientific initiatives and served as the organization’s chief technical expert on fermentation for protein production and cell-based meat.
Before New Harvest, she worked at Perfect Day Foods, contributing to their foundational patent on novel milk proteins.
Kate holds a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Yale University and an A.B. in Biochemistry from Mount Holyoke College.
She has been quoted by journals including Nature, the Anthropocene, and the New Yorker, and has shared her work through numerous lectures, articles, and podcasts.
Noreen is a purpose-driven Quality and Regulatory professional with over 25 years of diversified experience in worldwide quality systems standards and regulations for the food, pharmaceutical, and device industries. As Director of Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs at BlueNalu, she plays an instrumental role in ensuring the food safety and quality of their cell-cultured seafood products.
Most recently Noreen served as Director of Quality Assurance at Glanbia Nutritionals, where she provided quality oversight for seven international facilities that produced a broad array of functional ingredients including bioactive proteins, amino acids, botanical extracts, and micronutrients. She played an instrumental role in bringing the company into compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act, and was known for creating compliant, cost-effective quality programs and actively building a strong food safety culture. Previously, Noreen served as Director of Regulatory Affairs at Glanbia, where she established the corporate regulatory function.
Noreen earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Life Science from Penn State University, and her Master of Science degree in Quality Assurance from California State University. She is a committed lifelong learner and is a certified HACCP manager, a Safe Quality Foods Practitioner, and a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual for Human Food.
Eat Just, Inc.
Josh Tetrick is CEO & Co-Founder of Eat Just, Inc., a food technology company with a mission to build a healthier, safer and more sustainable food system in our lifetimes. The company’s expertise, from functionalizing plant proteins to culturing animal cells, is powered by a world-class team of scientists and chefs spanning more than a dozen research disciplines. Eat Just created America’s fastest-growing egg brand, which is made entirely of plants, and the world’s first-to-market meat made from animal cells instead of slaughtered livestock. Prior to founding Eat Just, Tetrick led a United Nations business initiative in Kenya and worked for both former President Clinton and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. As Fulbright Scholar, Tetrick taught schoolchildren in Nigeria and South Africa and is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Michigan Law School. Tetrick has been named one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business,” Inc.’s “35 Under 35” and Fortune’s “40 Under 40.” Eat Just has been recognized as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies,” Entrepreneur’s “100 Brilliant Companies,” CNBC’s “Disruptor 50” and a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer.
The Better Meat Co.
Paul Shapiro is the author of the national bestseller Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World, the CEO of The Better Meat Co., a four-time TEDx speaker, and the host of the Business for Good Podcast.
Benny Larson, PhD
Benny Larson is the current Vice President of Research and Product Development at Wildtype and the second employee at the company. After spending 9 years as a postdoc and then PI in the Bob Langer Lab at Harvard-MIT, he joined Wildtype 3 years ago. He is an expert in the fields of stem cells and regenerative medicine, specializing in molecular and cellular biology and tissue engineering. His research has been focused on high-throughput assays in genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, glycomics, and polymer arrays to isolate the right cells to do the right job. At Wildtype, he has taken this work further by creating new 3-dimensional natural carbohydrate and protein polymer scaffolds to help these cells grow, differentiate, and become the cleanest, most sustainable seafood on the planet. It’s also delicious!
Blaustein-Rejto is the Director of Food & Agriculture at the Breakthrough Institute — a Berkeley-based think tank focused on climate, energy, food, and agriculture. He researches how public policy can support environmentally and socially beneficial innovation, including in the alternative meat sector. He serves as a judge for the XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion competition, and has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, The Hill, Bloomberg, and other publications. Blaustein-Rejto has a Masters in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelors from Brown University.
Black & Veatch
Kim Lovan leads the NextGen Ag team for the global engineering firm Black & Veatch. They specialize in helping emerging companies scale-up by bridging the gap between science, engineering and commercialization. Kim has experience working with companies that have developed an innovative technology and who are looking to bring their products to full-scale commercialization.
Patricia Bubner, PhD
Orbillion Bio, Inc.
Patricia Bubner is a scientist and engineer working on building a future of food that is ethical and sustainable. She is the founder and the CEO of Orbillion Bio, Inc. which will be the first company to bring premium cell-cultured meats to the market. She has previously co-founded an agriculture & food systems project (themilletproject.org) and built and led teams in academia and industry. Combining her work experience from the biopharma, food and sustainable materials industry, Patricia is now building a world class team to take cell-cultured meat production to the next level. Patricia holds an MSc in Technical Chemistry and a PhD in Biotechnology from Graz University of Technology in Austria, and did her postdoctoral research at the Energy Biosciences Institute at UC Berkeley.
Level One Fund
James is an avid believer in the transformative power of food tech, and as a founding partner of Level One Fund has invested in a number of companies in the space. Though food tech has many promising segments he believes that cultured meat has the highest impact potential of all and backs companies that take unique approaches to solving the industry’s challenges. In addition to investing in the space, James is also the author of Cultured Meat News, a Substack dedicated to advancing the awareness of cultured meat.
Jed Johnson, PhD
Jed Johnson received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering in 2010 from The Ohio State University and he is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Matrix Meats which is a spin-out of Nanofiber Solutions. He has extensive experience leading multi-disciplinary projects and collaborative research between Nanofiber Solutions and world class research institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, Karolinska Institute, and UCLA in addition to numerous existing collaborators at Ohio State and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr. Johnson led the team that won 1st Place in the 2009 Deloitte Business Plan Competition and has served as Principal Investigator on numerous National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation grants in addition to Ohio Third Frontier grants. He has over 50 issued and pending patents in addition to over 45 peer-reviewed publications in the biomaterials and regenerative medicine field.
Keri Szejda, PhD
North Mountain Consulting Group
Keri Szejda is the founder of North Mountain Consulting Group and a visiting scholar with the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University (ASU). She earned her PhD in Health Communication from ASU’s Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and completed postdoctoral work in Science Communication with ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Previously Senior Consumer Research Scientist for The Good Food Institute, Training Specialist for Hawai‘i Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations, and a Communication Instructor at three universities, Keri brings significant experience in communication strategy, research methods, and engaging with diverse stakeholders. Keri enjoys hiking in the nearby North Phoenix Mountains, growing food in her backyard, and camping with her friends and family.
Kara Nielsen is Director of the Food & Drink platform at WGSN, a global trend forecasting company based in London. An established food trend expert, Kara leads WGSN’s team of strategists in creating insightful reports and forecasts on global food and drink trends.
Kara has years of experience in the strategic innovation sector, researching, writing and speaking about how to translate trends for new product development. She has shared insights with numerous food brands and previously worked at CCD Innovation, Sterling-Rice Group and CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights.
Based in San Francisco, Kara has previous experience as a restaurant pastry chef and holds a master’s degree in food studies from Boston University.
Dr. Matthew Anderson-Baron
Matt Anderson-Baron is the CEO and a co-founder of Future Fields. A scientist-turn-entrepreneur, Matt discovered cellular agriculture during his PhD when he found the New Harvest website. The massive potential to slow climate change through cellular agriculture drove him to secure a New Harvest seed grant where he began to research suitable replacements for foetal bovine serum. Matt then deepened his knowledge during a prestigious postdoc position in a top Canadian tissue engineering lab. Matt’s passion for sustainability and knowledge of the FBS problem culminated in the launch of Future Fields to produce the world’s most sustainable recombinant proteins for cell culture media and beyond.
Life & Food: Scaling our Next Food System Sustainably
Join Matt Anderson-Baron as we review how to sew the seeds for sustainably scaling our cellular agriculture food system. Historically, the need for scaled food production has driven the rise of monoculture of animals and crops. Industrial farming practises developed to maximize yields has forced the requirements of pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers resulting in diminishing agrobiodiversity and soils devoid of life. Cellular agriculture brings promise of a new food system that is more in-line with planetary needs; but, there’s a catch – a massive infrastructure gap and a climate clock that is ticking. There is hope, though. New innovations in recombinant protein production described in this talk, combined with cellular agriculture production can increase the alacrity of evolving our food system.
Tim Olsen, PhD
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Tim joined Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in 2020 as Head of Commercial for the Cultured Meat program. His goal is to commercialize technologies that enable large scale cost effective and sustainable production of cultured meat and seafood products. Previously, Tim directed laboratory operations and led the development of bioinks at Allevi, a 3D bioprinting company. Tim then held the Senior Scientist position on the Process and Product Development team at RoosterBio, a regenerative medicine company focused on fueling the rapid commercialization of scalable human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) and exosome manufacturing technologies. His skillsets include stem cell culture optimization, media development, and scaling manufacturing in bioreactor systems. Tim then transitioned into commercial operations at RoosterBio as the Northeast USA and Europe Account Manager to leverage his technical skillset to focus on bringing solutions to the customers who were working on bringing regenerative medicine products to the clinic and the market. Tim received a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Clemson University (2015) and sits on the External Advisory Board for the Department of Biomedical Engineering at The College of New Jersey, his undergraduate alma mater.
Nieves Martinez Marshall, PhD
Novel Farms, Inc.
Nieves Martinez Marshall, PhD, is co-founder and CEO at Novel Farms, Inc., a cell-based meat company dedicated to produce whole cuts of gourmet meat products using a cost effective, scalable proprietary tissue development process. Nieves holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry, a M.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Zaragoza (Spain), and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany). She conducted her postdoctoral work at the University of California Berkeley (UCB). In 2019, she joined Wild Earth Inc. as a senior scientist and became passionate about impact entrepreneurship. A year later she founded Novel Farms to bring culinary excellence to dinner tables around the globe with cultivated versions of Iberian pork tenderloin and dry-cured Iberian ham.
Dr. Kimberly Ong
Kim is a safety and sustainability expert at Vireo Advisors. She supports safe commercialization of innovative products designed to support sustainable development. Kim helps companies navigate the unique regulatory and safety challenges associated with novel products. Experienced in development of safety testing strategies, she assesses and develops tailored testing protocols for emerging technologies. Kim strongly believes in the power of collaboration, and has helped create and manage partnerships and collaborative efforts between industry, government, academia, and not-for-profit organizations to work towards safe and efficient commercialization of groundbreaking products. Kim holds PhD in Physiology, Cell, and Developmental Biology from the University of Alberta (Canada), an MSc in Environmental Management and Policy at Lund University (Sweden), and BSc in Marine and Freshwater Biology from the University of Guelph (Canada).
Food Safety Considerations and Research Priorities for the Cultured Meat and Seafood Industry
Abstract: As an initial step towards a thorough demonstration of safety of cultured meat and seafood, a series of workshops were held with 87 industry representatives and researchers to create a modular manufacturing process diagram, which served as a framework to identify potential chemical and biological hazards along the steps of the manufacturing process that could affect the safety of a final food product. Input was gathered from members of the cultured meat and seafood industry, researchers, regulators, and food safety experts. This presentation will provide an overview of hazards that could be introduced during manufacturing, evaluate the applicability of existing safety assessment approaches, and highlight research priorities that could support safe commercialization of cultured meat and seafood.
Brian Sylvester, J.D.
Covington & Burling LLP
Brian Sylvester is special counsel at Covington & Burling LLP. As a member of the Firm’s internationally leading Food, Drug & Device Group, Brian draws on his experience as a former USDA lawyer to advise food industry stakeholders on a range of complex and first impression issues. His practice spans enforcement actions, audits and investigations, regulatory compliance, advertising, import/export, due diligence, consumer litigation, comment preparation, shaping policy at the federal and state levels, and new product development.
Brian has specific expertise in developing regulatory strategies to commercialize alternative proteins using plant, microbial and animal cell-based technologies. He is a prolific author and frequent speaker at industry-leading events in the U.S. and around the world, and is regularly called upon to offer insights on trending legal issues by publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Food Navigator-USA, among others.
Patrick Mills is the Director of Operations and Service for Bi-Rite Market–the San Francisco institution. He has deep experience in retail guest service–beginning at Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, MI–people management, product management and community building. Patrick helped grow Bi-Rite from a single store front to 4 unique businesses, all in San Francisco
Ron Shigeta PhD
Ron Shigeta PhD advises and coaches innovative startups, entrepreneurs and investors through his advisory accelerator iaccelerate.tech . Ron is a serial Biotech entrepreneur and co-founder of IndieBio, having made over 85 investments and advised 100+ startups in FoodTech and BioTech. Ron is also a Guest Lecturer at Laney College’s Biomaufacturing Program and at the Center for Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University.
John is the CEO of Cultured Decadence, a Wisconsin-based cellular agriculture company using cell culture and tissue engineering to create seafood directly from cells with an initial focus on crustacean products, specially lobster meat. The company aims to produce a variety of products to help address the growing demand for nutritious, safe, and sustainable seafood worldwide. Prior to co-founding Cultured Decadence with Ian Johnson (CSO) in 2020, John was director of operations at New Age Meats, a cell-cultured meat company focused on pork. He previously served as an Army officer with the 25th Infantry Division and worked professionally in the US and China in various operations and consulting roles for financial, agricultural, and consumer goods clients. He received his BA in Economics from UW-Milwaukee and MBA from NYU-Stern. John also serves on the Board of Directors at New Harvest, a leading cellular agriculture non-profit.
Caroline Kolta is the Program Lead on XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion, where she oversees the technical and day to day operations of the competition including project management, knowledge management, stakeholder management, and risk management.
XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion is a multi-year, $15M competition that incentivizes teams to produce structured chicken breast or fish fillet alternatives that replicate or outperform conventional chicken and fish in: access, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, nutrition, as well as taste and texture.
Jessica P. O’Connell, J.D., M.P.H.
Covington & Burling LLP
Jessica O’Connell is a partner at Covington & Burling LLP. Drawing from more than a decade of experience both working at FDA and in private practice, Jessica O’Connell provides strategic advice to a broad range of companies and trade associations in engaging with food and drug regulatory bodies and Congress. She assists clients in complying with U.S. regulatory requirements for foods and other FDA and USDA regulated products, and has specific expertise advising on FDA’s and USDA’s import and export requirements across all product categories. She also regularly counsels clients regarding potential crises, such as recalls, regulator investigations, and other unanticipated regulatory attention. Jessica has specific expertise regarding the regulatory framework for alternative protein ingredients and products, including ongoing work with both individual clients and trade associations on federal regulatory and legislative issues and state legislation, the development and marketing of products containing CBD, Proposition 65, organic labeling, and claim substantiation requirements, as well as newly implemented manufacturing and supply chain requirements under FSMA. Previously, Jessica served as an Associate Chief Counsel in FDA’s Office of Chief Counsel.
Nate Salpeter, Ph.D.
SNØCAP, Sweet Farm
Passionate about driving systematic change, Nate Salpeter co-founded Sweet Farm just south of Half Moon Bay, CA with his wife Anna Sweet out of recognition that industrialized farming has had a profoundly negative impact on the way the world feeds itself. Nate (a Ph.D. engineer in the nuclear industry), Anna (CEO of Bad Robot Games), and an incredible team bring their analytical mindsets together to make Sweet Farm more than a farm animal rescue, but also a place of education, inspiration, and innovation through animal rescue, plant based agriculture, and technology initiatives to scale accessible change in the food system globally. Nate and Anna are active advisors and investors in the alternative protein, agriculture technology, and sustainability sectors. Nate is a general partner at SNØCAP, an emerging climate innovation fund that aims to enable sector shifts and unlock the potential for previously unimaginable companies to exist.
Evan B. Koss
Saint Joseph’s University
Mr. Koss is currently studying Food Marketing, Ethics, and Organizational Sustainability at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. A long-time observer and influencer of human behavior through his passions in performance arts, magic, and cardistry. His professional interests lie in understanding the reactions of both consumers and policymakers regarding new food innovations, and how it affects their habits. Viewing cultured meat as the next game changing food innovation, his current research involves generational sentiment towards cultured meat. From carnivorous baby boomers to adventurous millennials, understanding their reactions are critical in effectively selling to a market that hasn’t seen such profound innovation since the introduction of refrigeration.