Cellular Agriculture

Innovation Day 2023

Event Day

Thursday, January 19, 2023


12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

District Hall Boston
75 Northern Ave, Boston

Cellular Agriculture Innovation Day 2023

The first annual Tufts Cellular Agriculture Innovation Day brings together leading members of the cellular agriculture community to discuss the state of the industry, cutting edge research as well as the latest innovation and investment trends shaping the future of food.

By producing foods (e.g., meat, dairy, eggs) and other commodities (e.g., leather) from cells, rather than the traditional whole animal production, cellular agriculture presents solutions to address the growing demand for high-quality proteins and healthy foods while enabling improvements in food sustainability, food security, and personalized nutrition.

Join us for the day featuring panel discussions, presentations from innovative companies in the industry, and open networking with cellular agriculture community peers.

This event is presented by

in partnership with


Featured Speakers

David Kaplan is the Stern Family Endowed Professor of Engineering at Tufts University,

David L. Kaplan

Stern Family Endowed Professor of Engineering Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering Distinguished University Professor

David Kaplan is the Stern Family Endowed Professor of Engineering at Tufts University, a Distinguished University Professor, and Professor in 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, is editor-in-chief of ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering and he serves on many editorial boards and programs for journals and universities. He directed the NIH P41 Tissue Engineering Resource Center (TERC) that involves Tufts University and Columbia University for 15 years. His lab has been responsible for over 150 patents issued or allowed, and numerous start-up companies. He has also received a number of awards for his research and teaching and was elected Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and to the National Academy of Engineering.

Uma Valeti

CEO and Founder, UPSIDE Foods

Dr. Uma Valeti is the CEO and Founder 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) and the first company to break ground on a production facility. UPSIDE Foods has raised over $600 million from a diverse coalition of investors including Richard Branson, John Mackey, Bill Gates, Temasek, ADG, Softbank, Threshold, Baillie Gifford, Norwest, Cargill, Tyson Foods and Whole Foods. Uma’s vision is to enable people around the world to eat the meat they love, while transforming the food system to become more sustainable and humane. Uma has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Aspen Ideas Festival and SXSW. In 2019 he was named a “Global Thinker of the Decade” by Foreign Policy magazine. Uma is a Mayo Clinic-trained cardiologist and an adjunct professor in Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford University.

Bruce Friedrich

Founder & President, The Good Food Institute

Bruce Friedrich 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), that works on alternative protein policy, science, and corporate engagement. GFI is accelerating the production of plant-based and cultivated meat in order to bolster the global protein supply while protecting our environment, promoting global health, and preventing food insecurity. Find out more at gfi.org

Mark Post

Chief Scientific Officer, Mosa Meat

Dr. Mark Post, MD/PhD, has had several academic appointments at Utrecht University, Harvard University, Dartmouth college, Eindhoven University of Technology and Maastricht University. He currently is professor of Sustainable Industrial Tissue Engineering at Maastricht University. He is visiting professor at Harvard, University of Modena and faculty at Singularity University. His main research interest is the engineering of tissues for various applications. Dr Post co-authored 200 papers in leading peer- reviewed scientific journals and coordinated several national consortia with funding and awards from different sources including government, charity and industry. He is a frequent speaker at international events on innovation in the agrifood sector. He presented the world’s first hamburger from cultured beef in the August 2013 for which he received the World Technology Award from AAAS/Times/Forbes. Dr Post is CSO and co-founder of Mosa Meat and of Qorium, two companies that aim to commercialize meat and leather applications of tissue engineering. Together, these companies have 170 employees, 105 of whom are scientists.

Isha Datar

Executive Director, New Harvest

Isha Datar is the executive director of New Harvest, a nonprofit dedicated to building the field of cellular agriculture: growing foods like meat, milk and eggs from cells instead of animals. After publishing one of the first papers to discuss cultured meat in academic literature, she coined the term "cellular agriculture" to create a new category for agricultural products produced from cell cultures rather than whole plants and animals. In 2014, Datar co-founded two of the world's first cellular agriculture companies: Perfect Day Foods (formerly Muufri) and The Every Company (formerly Clara Foods). She promptly donated all of her founding equity to New Harvest to establish a public endowment for cell ag research. Now, she works to accelerate scientific breakthroughs and steward cultured meat such that it serves the public good.

David Block

Professor and Chair, UC Davis

Dave Block has conducted research on various topics, from fermentation optimization methods to metabolic engineering of yeast for improved wine production, as well as on single-plant resolution irrigation sensing and control. More recently, his research has focused on computational fluid dynamics models for red wine fermentations and process optimization for cultivated meat production. He played a key role in designing the UC Davis LEED Platinum-certified Teaching and Research Winery. Prof. Block has received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the UC Davis Academic Senate, the highest teaching award given for teaching alone on the UC Davis campus. Prior to joining UC Davis, he worked for Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc. working on biopharmaceuticals, both in process development and in manufacturing. Dr. Block was recently elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). He leads the UC Davis Cultivated Meat Consortium, founded in October of 2019, and has received funding from GFI, New Harvest, and the National Science Foundation for work in this area. David holds a B.S.E. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, both in Chemical Engineering.

Reza Ovissipour

Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech

Reza Ovissipour is an Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech. He holds a Ph.D. in Bioprocessing and a Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering. Reza’s program is FutureFoods Lab and Cellular Agriculture Initiative, focusing on alternative proteins, cultivated meat, cell line development, media optimization, and scaffold development. Reza has been working with startup companies and has extensive experience working on food safety, HACCP, and food quality.

Andrew Stout

Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University

Andrew Stout received his PhD from Dr. Kaplan's group in the fall of 2022. At Tufts, Andrew's work focused on cell line and media development to improve cultured meat nutrition, and to reduce the cost of production. Before Tufts, Andrew worked on animal-free scaffolds for cultured meat in Dr. Mark Post's group at Maastricht University, and on microbial strain engineering for recombinant gelatin production at San Francisco-based Geltor, Inc.

Natalie Rubio

Cellular Agriculture Scientist, Ark Biotech

Dr. Natalie Rubio is a Cellular Agriculture Scientist & New Harvest Research Fellow, having recently graduated from Tufts University with a Ph.D. Cellular Agriculture/Biomedical Engineering. Her graduate research focused on engineering and characterizing cultured meat from unconventional cell types as well as serum-free media development, scaffold fabrication and organoleptic analysis. She has broad and extensive experience in cellular agriculture and cultured meat throughout the non-profit (New Harvest), academic (Tufts University, University of Colorado, Boulder) and start-up (Perfect Day Foods, Bond Pet Foods, Matrix Meats) sectors. She currently works at Ark Biotech, a Cambridge-based start-up designing bioreactors and operating systems for cultured meat.

Aletta Schnitzler

Chief Scientific Officer, TurtleTree

Aletta joined TurtleTree as Chief Scientific Officer in 2021, spearheading an innovation roadmap and leading the R&D teams to bring nutritious cell-based dairy and protein alternatives to market. Previous to joining TurtleTree, Aletta co-founded Merck KGaA’s Cultured Meat Innovation program and directed technology development to advance platforms enabling rapid development, validation and manufacture of cell-based products. Aletta received her PhD in 2007 from Boston University School of Medicine in the fields of immunology and neuroscience, and is an editorial board member of Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

Tim Olsen

Head of Cultured Meat, Merck KGaA

Tim joined Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in 2020 and is currently Head of Cultured Meat. The focus of the program is developing and commercializing technologies that enable large scale, cost effective, safe, 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 and exosome manufacturing technologies. His skillsets include stem cell culture optimization, media development, and scaling manufacturing in bioreactor systems. Next, he transitioned into Commercial Operations at RoosterBio to leverage his technical skillset to bring solutions to customers. Tim has a PhD in Bioengineering from Clemson University and BS in Biomedical Engineering from The College of New Jersey. Additionally, he sits on the External Advisory Boards of The College of New Jersey and the University of California, Davis.

Timothy A. Bouley

CEO and Founder, BioFeyn

Timothy is founder and CEO of BioFeyn, a life sciences company pioneering new forms of nutrient delivery to improve efficiencies for food systems and sustainability. Previously, he established several of the first programs in planetary health at the World Bank, investing in climate change, one health, and oceans. He has published and lectured widely on the relationship of human health to the environment and served as a regular advisor to governments, financial institutions, and industry. He has held fellowships with the US National Academy of Sciences, Rockefeller Foundation, and University of Exeter and has degrees in biology, bioethics, geography, and medicine from Tufts, Harvard, Oxford, and Duke.

Cozette Cuppett

Director Marketing Strategy, Global Food & Environmental Markets, Waters Corporation

Cozette Cuppett is responsible for Strategic Marketing in the Testing and Lab Services Business Segment at Waters Corporation. Within this role, she explores emerging markets and high growth business opportunities for the company’s analytical technologies and services, and as such, has developed a strong interest in alternative proteins. Cozette’s 23 years of experience at Waters in supporting the food, environmental, and (bio)pharmaceutical end markets give her a broad-based perspective on the unique challenges faced by the cellular agriculture community from a scientific, R and D, regulatory, commercialization, and ESG standpoint. Cozette holds MS degrees in chemistry from the University of Delaware and Bucknell University as well as an MBA from Boston College.

Nicole Tichenor Blackstone

Assistant Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University

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.

Luke MacQueen

Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Tender Food

Luke MacQueen is a co-founder and chief scientific officer at Tender Food, an alternative meat company based in the Boston area. Tender was founded in 2020 with the mission of making meat alternatives that have the same texture, taste, and consistency as real meats. Prior to founding Tender, Luke was a research associate at Harvard University where he developed tissue engineered models of muscle tissues. Luke obtained his PhD in Engineering Physics from the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal and then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto in the field of cellular mechanobiology. Luke’s research interests include material science, tissue engineering, synthetic biology, and emerging bioprocess applications.

Rachael Floreani

Associate Professor, University of Vermont

Dr. Rachael Floreani is an Associate Professor at the University of Vermont in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Biomedical Engineering, and Food Systems. Over the years, Dr. Floreani’s research interests have transitioned from biomedical materials research to creating new technologies for sustainable food systems. Recently, Dr. Floreani’s work has focused on novel materials for cultivated meat, i.e., designer materials platform technology. These novel materials have the advantage of using an under-valued proteins, to create mechanically tailored scaffolds to enhance tissue formation and development.

Bob Hibbert

Senior Counsel, Wiley

Bob is a leading practitioner in the food and agricultural area, with over 30 years of experience counseling clients on federal regulatory matters involving the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), as well as other USDA agencies such as the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). He also has extensive involvement with oversight of the food industry conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This has included his involvement in some of the largest food product recalls in US history, success in obtaining government approvals for numerous new products and processes, ongoing regulatory counsel on food labeling matters and a history of successful litigation against the federal government in this area.

Amir Zaidman

Chief Business Officer, The Kitchen FoodTech Hub

Amir Zaidman is a seasoned executive with close to 20 years of experience in business development and venture capital investments. Since 2014 Mr. Zaidman is serving as the Chief Business Officer of "The Kitchen Hub" - the first FoodTech focused seed investor and technology incubator in Israel. In this capacity he provides biz-dev and marketing support to portfolio companies and is also in charge of The Kitchen's new investments and had led the investment process in 24 portfolio companies. Amir serves on the board of directors of numerous private and publicly traded FoodTech companies. Amir is a leader in the FoodTech community in Israel. He created and manages the Israel FoodTech Innovation LinkedIn group (with more than 4,500 members). Prior to joining The Kitchen founding team, Amir held several executive business development positions in the Innovation and Tech sectors. He is a CPA (Israel) and a registered lawyer (Israel Bar).

Daphna Heffetz

CEO and Co-Founder, Wanda Fish

Daphna Heffetz, PhD, is the CEO and Co-Founder of Wanda Fish, an innovative food-tech company with a disruptive platform that produces delicious, nutritious cultivated fish fillets. Our flagship product is cultivated bluefin tuna. Unique in the industry, Wanda Fish’s combined technologies enable us to produce high-quality fish fillets that are closest to those from wild catch: thick, whole-cut fillets using the fish’s own fat and muscle cells. Along with developing a portfolio of cell lines from various fish species, we have already made meaningful headways in developing our fillet prototypes. The company works closely with Prof. David Kaplan, a leading cellular agriculture academic authority, through exclusive licensing and sponsored research agreements with Tufts University. Daphna has over 20 years of experience and a proven track record in establishing and growing successful biotechnology companies. She earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry and completed her post-doctoral fellowship in molecular biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cellular Agriculture Innovation Day?

Presented by Tufts University, join leading members of the cellular agriculture community to discuss the state of the industry, cutting edge research as well as the latest innovation and investment trends shaping the future of food.

When and where will the event be held?

The event will be in person on January 19, 2023 at District Hall Boston.

Is there parking? How do I get there?

Public Transportation: District Hall is located in the Seaport neighborhood of Boston. It is steps away from the Courthouse stop on the Silver Line and a 15 minute walk from South Station.

Cars: There are a number of parking lots in the area:

1. Pilgrim Parking – One Marina Park Drive Garage
One Marina Park Drive
Boston, MA 02210

2. LAZ Parking – Watermark Seaport
85 Seaport Boulevard
Boston, MA 02210

3. One Seaport Parking Garage – Entrance located on Sleeper Street across from the Envoy Hotel
1 Seaport Blvd
Boston, MA 02210

How can I attend?

For the first year, this event is invite only. Please reach out to the team at cellag@tufts.edu if you are interested in attending.

How can I support Cellular Agriculture Research at Tufts?

You can support the work by making a contribution HERE. 

Your support enables students to conduct research, participate in an internship, or be part of a team or student organization.

What activities will be happening throughout the day?

The event consists of a State of the Industry keynote, panel discussions, open networking, company presentations, and an evening reception.

Will the event be recorded?

The sessions at the event will be recorded. By attending you consent to being recorded.

Note: This conference and its sessions shall be telecast to a broader audience and be recorded and photographed. By registering for this conference, you are hereby consenting to such telecast, recording and photography and the use of such materials by Tufts University.

Who is putting on this event?

Tufts Cellular Agriculture Innovation Day is presented by Tufts University in partnership with Innovation Studio.