Speaker Bios

Speakers from around the world have come together to discuss aspects of Creativity and Commerce– our themes for this 2022 event– within the cellular agriculture industry.
Can Akcali | Biftek Inc.

Can Akcali is an M.D. Ph.D and Professor of Cellular and Molecular Biology at Ankara University, School of Medicine. He is an expert in stem cell and developmental biology and vice president of Stem Cell Research Institute at Ankara University. He is CSO and co-founder of Biftek Inc. Biftek focuses on developing microbiota-derived products to substitute Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) in the culture medium for cultivated meat technology. These microbiota products are natural, safe, GMO-and animal free and cost-effective compared to FBS.

Rebecca E. Kreipke, PhD | Molecular Devices

Rebecca Kreipke is a Western Markets Field Applications Scientist at Molecular Devices, based out of Seattle, WA. She has over 5 years’ experience consulting with companies to automate and scale up R+D processes to meet the demands of the market. With a robust understanding of both a scientist’s needs in the lab and the constant drive to reduce timelines, she helps groups introduce technology to their workflows to both fast track their current discovery programs and to scale for the future as demand dictates. She holds a B.A. in Neuroscience from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Brandeis University.

Chandrashekhar Sonar, Ph.D. | BlueNalu

Trained as a food engineer with extensive experience in the seafood (surimi) industry in product development and commercialization, cost and process optimization, food packaging, and quality assurance. Currently, I am working at BlueNalu Inc. as a Senior Food Technologist. 

Vicky Andriessen | Mosa Meat

My cultured meat journey started when I realized the impact of the current meat industry. I started looking for alternatives and found out about cultured meat. Realizing I could contribute to the development of cultured meat, I decided to focus my master studies on tissue engineering – specifically cultured meat whenever possible – and I performed an internship at Mosa Meat in 2019. To extend my knowledge of food beyond hobby cooking, I followed extracurricular courses in Food Technology. For my master thesis research, I moved to Auckland, New Zealand, to research the suitability of sheep muscle cells for cultured meat applications at the Domigan Lab as a New Harvest Seed Grantee. Currently, I’m a Junior Scientist at Mosa Meat and I focus on improving fat differentiation through tissue engineering techniques.

Alexia Krispin | VitroLabs

Alexia is the Chief Operating Officer at VitroLabs, the California-based company leading the commercialization of cell cultivated leather using its proprietary large-scale tissue engineering platforms. At VitroLabs, Alexia oversees all aspects of company scale up and long term business planning; and is responsible for financial management, people operations, and the development of its 45,000 sq ft pilot manufacturing facility. She is known for her tenacious leadership driving teams towards openness and strategic alignment; and advocates for organizational culture, gender equality, animal welfare, and the planet. She is a Business Mentor at YearUp, and is also receiving an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. 

Nicky Quinn| Aleph Farms 

Nicky is the VP Marketing at Aleph Farms. With 15 plus years of experience in marketing and branding across multiple sectors, including finance, biotech, and consumer goods, Nicky leads Aleph Farms’ global marketing strategy. She is responsible for driving company growth, new product development, and commercialization into markets all over the globe. Aleph Farms grows beef steaks from non-genetically engineered cells isolated from a living cow without harming animals and significantly reducing the environment’s impact.


Nur Guven Kuzey, MSc, MEng | Orbillion Bio

I am currently working as a Senior Process Development Engineer at Orbillion Bio and the second employee of the company. Graduated from Keck Graduate Institute(KGI)/ Claremont Colleges and was awarded with the “Matthew and Kathy Croughan Endowed Scholarship in Bioprocessing” as a representation of underprivileged woman in bioprocessing.  Previously worked in bio-pharmaceutical & pharmaceutical industries for 12+ years, for several departments including; R&D, Data Integrity, Business Development & Production Planning. Originally from Turkey (Turkiye), worked for Turkish academia as a chemistry lecturer in engineering departments for a year, and played a role creating more diverse environment via opening English language-based hands-on courses for successful international undergrad students including Afghan, Iraq and Syrian refugees. 

Jessica P. O’Connell | Covington & Burling

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.

Dr. Kasia Gora | SCiFi Foods

Kasia Gora is the Co-founder and CTO of SCiFi Foods, a food tech company combining cultivated meat with plant based ingredients to make burgers shockingly close to the taste of conventional beef. Since completing her PhD. in Biology at MIT, Kasia has spent more than a decade working at companies that harness cutting-edge science to create more sustainable solutions for some of the world’s most pressing needs. Most recently, Kasia served as head of portfolio at Zymergen, focused on resource allocation for numerous R&D projects that leveraged synthetic biology to create value for external customers and internal product development. Kasia is an experienced leader in the world of science with a multi-disciplinary background in industrial fermentation and business development. She is passionate about cross-functional team development and about achieving the rapid progress necessary for startup success. Kasia lives in Berkeley, and when she’s not working to create the future of meat, she can be found putting her lab skills to work in her home kitchen to create gourmet food, drinks, and desserts for friends and family, or at the local food pantry getting food to people in need.

Azamat Kokov | Ivy Farm

Azamat is the CFO/COO of the UKs leading Cultivated Meat company, Ivy Farm Technologies, an innovative food-tech scale-up on a mission to create the best guilt-free, real meat, to tackle one of the world’s biggest climate polluters – industrial agriculture – and to help the world reach its net zero goals. His latest achievement is building Ivy Farms’ pilot plant at low cost and on time. Azamat is also driving external communication with investors and partners. He has spent most of his career in technology investment banking at Goldman Sachs, Société Générale and more recently Barclays, advising technology companies on various corporate finance transactions, including fundraising, initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, and others. He has been especially focusing on food tech, working closely with such companies as Gousto, Delivery Hero, Just Eat Takeaway, Oda, Hungry Panda, and others.

Andrea Camattari | Ginkgo Bioworks

Andrea Camattari is a senior project manager focused on developing biotech ideas into industrial realities, enthusiastically facing the many challenges involved in the biotech business, both technical and due to the occasional hiccups in human interaction. His speciality is strain engineering and fermentation, with an acute interest in what can be the trends of tomorrow.

Jordan Jones

Jordan grew up in Memphis, TN. At Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Jordan worked under Dr. Glenn Gaudette working on a number of research projects including the use of fibrin microthreads in the regeneration of damaged heart muscle tissue and the decellularization of small mammalian organs and various plant tissues. He then returned to WPI to pursue a PhD in biomedical engineering. In Jordan’s research was displayed at The Centre Pompidou in Paris, France in the exhibit “La Fabrique Du Vivant”. Shortly after returning to WPI, Jordan became a New Harvest research fellow where he is currently working on developing lab-grown meat. Jordan uses decellularized plant tissues such as spinach leaves to form a vascularized scaffold suitable for 3D bioengineered tissues, including structured meats such as steak. Jordan is now an alumnus of New Harvest and is continuing his research on structured lab-grown meat products.

Rio Stamler, PhD, California Cultured

Lead Scientist at California Cultured.  Focused on maximizing high-value metabolite production from plant cell culture.  Industry scientist located in the Davis area for the past 6 years.  Education from New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Agricultural and Molecular Biology.  Background in plant-microbe interactions, metabolomic analyses, and protoplast based gene editing and transformation.  Passionate about contributing to sustainable agriculture and food production for the modern world.

Grace Lee | Eppendorf

Field applications specialist for Central US for Eppendorf Bioprocess. Cell therapy expert with extensive experience in primary immune cell culture, expansion, and gene editing.


Minami Ogawa | Co-founder of Optimized Foods, Director of Cultivated

Minami and the team at Optimized Foods have developed the world’s first cell cultured caviar. As a Food Scientist, Minami has studied novel foods and used her background to develop a technology platform harnessing mycelium to grow animal cells in a sustainable and scalable way.

Andrew Noyes | Eat Just, Inc.

Andrew has nearly 20 years of experience operating at the intersection of business, policy and politics in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. He currently serves as Head of Global Communications & Public Affairs at Eat Just, Inc., a food technology company on 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 one of America’s fastest-growing egg brands, which is made entirely of plants, and the world’s first-to-market meat made from animal cells instead of slaughtered livestock. Andrew previously implemented and oversaw public relations and marketing campaigns as well as grassroots advocacy efforts and partnerships involving industry, government, nonprofit and academic stakeholders during formative early years for Facebook and Uber. Earlier in his career, he was a staff writer for National Journal Group and served on the adjunct faculty at American University’s School of Communication, from which he received a B.A. in Public Communication and M.A. in Journalism & Public Affairs.

Björn Örvar Ph.D. | ORF Genetics

Björn is a co-founder of ORF Genetics. Björn received his Ph.D. in plant molecular genetics in 1997 from the University of British Columbia, Canada, and was a post-doctoral fellow at McGill University, Montréal for three years before moving back to Iceland. Björn is CSO of ORF Genetics and responsible for business development with a special focus on developing a portfolio of animal growth factors derived from bioengineered barley seeds for cultivated meat and cellular agriculture

Eric Schulze, PhD | UPSIDE Foods

Eric Schulze, PhD is a professional molecular biologist, genetic engineer, and former federal biotechnology regulator. He is currently Vice President of Product and Regulation at UPSIDE Foods, where he leads both design and development of the company’s meat products as well as its regulatory-, policy-, and government affairs. Dr. Schulze also serves in a company spokesperson capacity. He previously served as Senior Scientist for UPSIDE Foods where he led the cell line development efforts. 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 currently works with the National Academy of Sciences on undergraduate STEM education transformation. He holds a doctorate in genetic, cellular, and molecular biology with a specialty in embryonic stem cell engineering and is trained in broadcast communication, speechwriting, and risk assessment.

Shiraz Ziya | Sartorius

An advocate for the cultured meat field within the biotechnology sector, bringing insights and perspectives from the UK & Europe region. Currently an Account Manager for Sartorius within their Bioprocess Solutions division.

Marc Johnson | Texture Technologies

Marc Johnson is President and owner of Texture Technologies. He is a frequent lecturer on texture measurement and physical characterization issues. He designs test methods to quantify the textural behaviors that are of interest to his customers.  He has been with TTC since the early 1990’s. Before that he worked for the Government of Singapore, Aldrich Eastman & Walch, and Salomon Brothers. Marc has an MBA from The Wharton School and a BA in Economics from Hobart College.

Yoonchan Hwang | SeaWith

My career started with research in several research labs like dNTP regulation, protein interaction, demyelination disease, and more. I started as a researcher in SeaWith, and now transitioned to be a senior manager of business development in SeaWith. SeaWith is specialized in food-grade scaffold and media development and differentiation bioreactor for the whole cut of meat.

Shannon Theobald | Founder of Alternative Protein Advising

Shannon helps alternative protein founders secure funding and retail distribution *without* working 15+ hour days, so they can get back what they do best – making world-changing products. She is the founder of Alternative Protein Advising.


Her background is in corporate strategy and merchandising at fortune 50 retailers such as Walmart and Kroger, where she worked alongside C-Suite leaders. She is also an alternative protein author (Printing Your Dinner), Podcast Host (Big Food Big Future), speaker, and strategist.  She stopped eating meat at the age of 3 when her mother jokingly told her pepperoni was made out of butterfly wings.

Susanne Wiegel | Nutreco NuFrontiers

Susanne is the Investment Manager for Alternative Proteins at Nutreco NuFrontiers, the strategic innovation and investment department of Nutreco, a global leader in animal nutrition and aquafeed. The aim of NuFrontiers is to accelerate technological change to enable ‘Feeding the Future’ and to identify, develop and invest in next generation sustainable products, models and services throughout the feed and food protein value chain. Susanne dedicates her time to building an investment portfolio of alternative protein start-ups and scale-ups, and exploring business opportunities for Nutreco as cell feed supplier to the cultivated and fermentation-based protein industry. Prior to joining Nutreco, she worked as deputy head of business development at a leading European biopharmaceutical company and in strategy consulting with McKinsey&Co.

Justin Kolbeck | Wildtype

Justin Kolbeck is co-founder and CEO of Wildtype, which is on a mission to create the cleanest, most sustainable seafood on the planet. Before Wildtype, he spent nearly five years as a consultant at Strategy& helping companies develop and launch products, grow into new markets, and operate efficiently. Justin started his career as a Foreign Service Officer, serving in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Australia, and Washington DC.  He is a graduate of the Yale School of Management, L’Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, and UC Berkeley. 

Elysabeth Alfano | VegTech Invest

Elysabeth is the CEO of VegTech Invest, Advisor to the EATV ETF.  She is also the Founder of Plant Powered Consulting and the Host of The Plantbased Business Hour

Brian P. Sylvester | Covington & Burling

Brian Sylvester is Special Counsel at Covington & Burling where he is a member of the firm’s internationally leading Food, Drug & Device Practice. His experience includes advising multinational brands, leading start-ups, and trade associations on complex and novel FDA and USDA regulatory matters, drawing on more than a decade of experience in private practice and at the USDA where he served as a lawyer for 5 years.  


Brian has specific expertise in developing regulatory strategies to commercialize a range of food tech innovations, including transgenic crops and alternative proteins, among others.  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 leading industry publications. 


As an expert on food tech regulation, Mr. Sylvester serves as a regulatory mentor to Food Tech start-up accelerators and incubators in Israel, Hong Kong, New York, Switzerland and Singapore.

Dr. Anne-Sophie Mertgen | Micro Meat

Before founding Micro Meat, I spent many years in academic tissue engineering and biomaterials engineering research. I have a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from ETH Zurich in did a PostDoc in bioprinting at TEC de Monterrey in Mexico. 1.5 years ago I founded Micro Meat where I use all me previous experience to make cultivated meat processes more cell-friendly. 

Oron Catts | The University of Western Australia

Oron Catts is the Co-Founder and Director of SymbioticA: The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Human Sciences at the University of Western Australia (UWA). SymbioticA was awarded the inaugural Golden Nica for Hybrid Arts in the Prix Ars Electronica in 2007, and the WA Premier’s Award in 2008. In 1996 he founded the Tissue Culture & Art Project with Ionat Zurr. As part of this project they were the first to grow (2000) and eat (2003) cultured meat, and in 2004 they rissue engineered lab grown leather which they referred to as “Victimless Leather”.

Catts was a Professor at Large in Contestable Design at the Royal College for the Arts UK, a visiting Scholar at the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University and a Visiting Professor at the School of Art, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Helsinki.

Catts curated thirteen exhibitions, published several books and more than a hundred book chapters, journal articles. His art projects featured in venues such NY MoMA, Centre Pompidou, Mori art Museum, Science Gallery London and Dublin, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Ars Electronica, National Art Museum of China, and more.

Dr. Natalie Rubio | Ark Biotech

Dr. Natalie Rubio is a Cellular Agriculture Scientist at Ark Biotech (Cambridge, Massachusetts), a start-up company developing industrial-scale bioreactors and operating systems for the cultivated meat industry with emphasis on automated, efficient, and scalable solutions. Natalie received her Ph.D. in Cellular Agriculture/Biomedical Engineering (2016-2021) from Tufts University where she studied in Dr. David Kaplan’s tissue engineering and cultivated meat research group. Prior to Ark, Natalie held positions at New Harvest, Perfect Day Foods, Quartzy, Bond Pet Foods and Matrix Foodtech.

Joshua Errett | Cult Food Science

Joshua Errett is the Vice President of Product Development at Cult Food Science, an innovative investment platform focusing exclusively on cellular agriculture.  Previous to joining Cult Food Science, he was the cofounder of Because, Animals, a startup developing cell-based meats for pet food. Joshua managed Because, Animals’ finance, marketing and operations efforts while helping develop the company’s future cellular agriculture products. He successfully placed products in stores like Petco, Chewy and other pet retail around the United States. Joshua lives with his wife, daughter and three black cats in Oakland, California. Email him at joshua@cultfoodscience.com

Timothy R. Olsen, PhD | Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany


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, 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 The College of New Jersey and the University of California, Davis.


Yuki Hanyu | Founder CEO of IntegriCulture Inc.


Yuki founded in 2014 the “Shojinmeat Project”, a citizen science community for DIY open-source cultured meat so that hobbyists can brew meat at home. Based on the low-cost species agnostic cell culture technology that later evolved into CulNet System, he founded a spin-off startup, IntegriCulture Inc. to build a universally accessible cellular agriculture infrastructure that enables farmers, hobbyists, startups and food companies to design and make new protein sources.

Peter Nesaei | OceanTastes Inc

Peter (Saeper) is an entrepreneur and experienced R&D engineer with over 15 years of industrial and research experience. Throughout his professional career, Peter has always been passionate about finding solutions to global humanitarian and environmental problems. As a Co-founder at OceanTastes Inc., he aims to address the challenges of our global food market. OceanTastes Inc is a cellular agriculture startup based in California that will produce flavorful, nutritious & safe Cultivated Seafood using its core proprietary technologies.

Deniz Kent, PhD | Co-founder & CEO, Prolific Machines Inc

Deniz started his career working with adenosine blockers in a cancer immunotherapy lab at the University of Bristol, receiving a number of awards including most innovative research project and best student to continue in research. Next, Deniz went to GlaxoSmithKline to work on a single-dose cure for Asthma, receiving the Glaxo award for “outstanding contribution to research”. Next, Deniz conducted a PhD in the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London, where he co-discovered a new human liver stem cell population and conducted the world’s first high throughput small molecule screen using IPS-derived hepatocytes. During his PhD, Deniz conceived of the idea for Prolific Machines, and he spent three years searching for the right co-founders. He eventually found and convinced Declan and Max to quit their jobs, and together they developed the idea into the company you are looking at today.

Venue Information

Cultured Meat Symposium

Bespoke Events
845 Market Street
Suite 450
San Francisco, CA 95656

Parking & Venue Access