Elliot Swartz, Scientist, Good Food Institute
September 18 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Topic: Opportunities for leveraging stem cell technology in the emerging clean meat industry
Abstract: As the demand for meat increases, severe resource constraints, climate considerations, and global food security concerns are motivating the search for new alternatives to our inefficient current system of feeding animals in order to feed ourselves. Clean meat — meat produced through cell culture rather than animal slaughter — presents a feasible alternative for producing real meat to satisfy this demand and can dramatically reduce the environmental footprint of meat while alleviating the severe public health threats and animal welfare concerns posed by factory farming. Recent developments in stem cell biology, tissue engineering, and large-scale bioprocessing for cellular therapies have spawned a multitude of technologies that are applicable to clean meat production. For example, insights on increasing the proliferative capacity of various stem cell types and increasing the efficiency of directed differentiation down desired lineages are critical for large-scale cultivation and maturation of cells like muscle and fat for producing meat. In addition, the regenerative medicine field has pioneered techniques for cultivating co-cultures of multiple cells types and structuring them into the desired 3D arrangements. However, many of the recent insights and tools developed within the stem cell and regenerative medicine fields have yet to be applied to clean meat. This talk will discuss the current state of the clean meat industry and highlight several areas of opportunity to apply stem cell and regenerative medicine advances to active areas of clean meat research. We will also discuss the need for academic research collaborations with the emerging clean meat industry as well as career opportunities with the nearly two dozen startup companies that have launched in the past two years to commercialize this technology.