Big News! Meet Our New Team
We just went from a team of three to a team of eight, and we can’t wait to tell you all about our new hires! 

We’ll be introducing everyone individually to you lovely folks in the coming days, but because we’re practically bursting with the news, here’s a quick primer on the brilliant minds who are helping us create a more sustainable future for food.

But wait! If you need a refresher on what all of these people will actually be working to promote, take a sec to let Bill Gates explain:

First, there’s our new communications manager. Surprise! This is me (Emily Byrd). You may have read a couple of blogs from me already. Nod your head, please. I’ll be here to help spread the word about the work done at The Good Food Institute and in the world of plant-based meat alternatives and “clean” (i.e., cultured) meat. You’ll be hearing enough from me though, so on to everyone else! 

Our two new senior scientists, Christie Lagally and Liz Specht, will work to bring the most exciting plant-based products and technology to market as quickly as possible. Remember, Bill Gates said that 92 percent of plant proteins have not been tested as meat alternatives—Christie and Liz are going to get that number to zero!

They’re also going to clear the path to commercialization of clean meat by studying and creating a plan for getting past any scientific roadblocks.  

As a former mechanical engineer for Boeing, Christie has problem-solving skills worthy of the lead in a prime-time drama. She’s worked on a variety of projects—from natural gas engines to roller coasters to commercial airplanes. She has also investigated the engineering side of catios (yes, a catio is exactly what it sounds like: a patio for a cat). Christie is a top-notch systems analyst, and she’ll be around to analyze and improve the machines producing the meatless alternatives of the future. 

Liz—Dr. Liz, actually—has a decade of academic experience in synthetic biology and has worked with both cultured acellular and cellular products. Translation: she’s got a wealth of knowledge to bring to the table, and she’s ready to bring it to your table too in the form of animal-free clean meat.

Nicole Negowetti will be our new policy director. Nicole is a founding member of the Academy of Food Law & Policy and has also spent time teaching law with a focus on food law and policy, agricultural law, and sustainability. She’s joining the team to help level the playing field for plant-based and clean alternatives. 

Reannon Branchesi, our new executive assistant, knows her stuff in the field of nonprofit management, having worked to reform animal agriculture through a variety of channels. She’s a mission-driven powerhouse and the founder of Generation Veggie, which provides resources on how to feed a family an animal-free diet. This girl’s commitment to sustainability in food goes deep. 

GFI has also added the amazing Jaime Surenkamp as a senior advisor. Jaime helps link chefs and restaurateurs to plant-based and clean meat, dairy, and eggs—which are trending even among non-vegetarians. She’s already worked with industry leaders in foodservice, such as OpenTable, Daiya Foods, and HotSchedules, and now she’ll leverage those connections to get plants to the center of the plate at restaurants across the nation. 

With this new group of smart, savvy individuals, we’re better equipped than ever to build a better food system.

Stay tuned for behind-the-scenes looks at each of our new powerhouse staff members!

For more information on exactly what we do, check out our website

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