Meet our experts

GFI’s scientists, lawyers, analysts, and business strategists are leading experts in the alternative protein space. Our team is dedicated to accelerating innovation to make plant-based, cultivated, and fermentation-derived products as delicious, affordable, and accessible as conventional animal products.

If you are a member of the media and would like to connect with one of our experts, please contact media@gfi.org.

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Our experts

Bruce friedrich

Bruce Friedrich

PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER

Bruce Friedrich serves as GFI’s chief thought leader and relationship-builder, working in close partnership with GFI’s global teams and food system stakeholders around the world.

Areas of expertise: alternative proteins generally, GFI’s global programs and strategy, bicycling in heavy traffic.

Ilya sheyman

Ilya Sheyman

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Ilya leads all aspects of GFI’s programmatic and administrative operations in the U.S., working alongside the U.S. leadership team to ensure GFI is executing towards maximal impact in transforming our food system while building an inclusive, equitable culture where every team member can thrive.

Areas of expertise: strategic plan implementation, program leadership, infrastructure and operations

Jessica almy, j. D.

Jessica Almy, J.D.

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, POLICY

Jessica Almy, J.D., leads GFI’s Policy team in setting legislative and regulatory strategy to promote fair policies and public research for plant-based, cultivated, and fermented foods.

Areas of expertise: regulation, legislation, science and public policy, public health, environmental law, food policy.

Liz specht, ph. D.

Liz Specht, Ph.D.

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Liz Specht oversees GFI’s Science and Technology department to build a roadmap for accelerating alternative protein research while empowering scientists to execute on this vision.

Areas of expertise: plant-based meat, fermentation, technical analyses, forecasting and modeling, synthetic biology, public speaking.

Caroline bushnell

Caroline Bushnell

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT

Caroline Bushnell leads GFI’s Corporate Engagement team in their work with companies and investors around the world to accelerate the alternative protein industry.

Areas of expertise: food industry, alternative protein ecosystem, market trends, consumer insights, CPG marketing, emerging industry opportunities.

Sheila voss

Sheila Voss

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, COMMUNICATIONS

Sheila Voss oversees GFI’s strategic awareness and action campaigns, data-driven storytelling, and communications-related partnerships.

Areas of expertise: plant science and sustainability, agricultural education, biodiversity and climate change messaging.

Nir goldstein

Nir Goldstein

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ISRAEL

Nir Goldstein leads GFI Israel, pushing plant-based and cultivated meat innovation in what is often called “Startup Nation.”

Areas of expertise: food tech entrepreneurship, business strategy and development, policy, intellectual property.

Gus guadagnini

Gus Guadagnini

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BRAZIL

Gus Guadagnini leads GFI Brazil, building partnerships with many of the world’s leading meat and agricultural companies.

Areas of expertise: Brazil, plant-based proteins, entrepreneurship, startups, strategic planning, project management, marketing.

Richard parr, mbe

Richard Parr, MBE

GFI ALUM

Mirte gosker

Mirte Gosker

MANAGING DIRECTOR, ASIA PACIFIC

Mirte Gosker leads GFI Asia Pacific as managing director, accelerating the markets for plant-based and cultivated meat through research and innovation.

Areas of expertise: entrepreneurship, business strategy and development, project management, people management, philanthropy.

Erin rees clayton, ph. D.

Erin Rees Clayton, Ph.D.

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ADVISOR

Erin Rees Clayton, Ph.D. oversees our plant-based protein, cultivated meat, and fermentation research funding efforts.

Areas of expertise: scientific research, plant-based meat, grant writing, research project management.

Christina aguila

Christina Aguila

SENIOR UNIVERSITY INNOVATION SPECIALIST

Christina works with GFI’s university innovation team to build the alternative protein workforce needed to reimagine our protein supply.

Areas of expertise: university programs, curriculum development, academic support, chemical engineering

Marika azoff

Marika Azoff

SENIOR CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT SPECIALIST

Marika leads GFI’s work with foodservice operators, retailers, and distributors to inspire and accelerate their shift toward alternative proteins.

Areas of expertise: foodservice, retail, distribution, alternative seafood, relationship development, public speaking

Claire bomkamp, ph. D.

Claire Bomkamp, Ph.D.

LEAD SCIENTIST, CULTIVATED MEAT & SEAFOOD

Claire Bomkamp is focused on cultivated seafood and driving forward GFI’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative.

Areas of expertise: the science and technology of cultivated seafood, cultivated seafood startups, research, and university programs, scaffolding, science communication, fish puns.

Laura braden

Laura Braden, J.D.

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF REGULATORY AFFAIRS

Laura Braden works on domestic and global regulatory issues affecting cultivated meat and plant-based foods.

Areas of expertise: U.S. and global regulation, patents, litigation.

Laura clark

Laine Clark

INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP MANAGER

Laine serves as an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Manager, helping to position GFI as a valuable resource for emerging companies in the alternative proteins sector as they launch and scale.

Areas of Expertise: entrepreneurship, strategic planning, team building, market validation, mentorship

Simone costa, phd

Simone Costa, Ph.D.

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY & INNOVATION

Simone Costa oversees SciTech’s technical solutions team to evaluate and advance technological readiness across alternative protein platforms.

Areas of expertise: biomolecular and protein engineering, fermentation, cell biology, strategic planning

Lucas eastham

Lucas Eastham

SENIOR FERMENTATION SCIENTIST

Lucas Eastham is focused on analyzing fermentation technologies, and progressing their applications in the alternative protein industry.

Areas of expertise: microbial biotechnology, upstream strain and process development, downstream process development, bioprocess product commercialization

Carolyn englar

Carolyn Englar

MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Carolyn Englar crafts compelling stories to advance alternative proteins and transform the global food system.

Areas of expertise: global communications, media strategy, public relations, relationship management

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Faraz Harsini, M.Sc., Ph.D.

SENIOR SCIENTIST, BIOPROCESSING

Faraz analyzes how best to scale the cultivated meat industry and ensure that products can enter and grow in the marketplace as quickly as possible.

Areas of expertise: biotechnology, cultivated meat, technical analysis and research

Amy huang

Amy Huang

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF SCIENTIFIC ECOSYSTEMS

Amy Huang oversees GFI’s efforts to transform universities into engines for alternative protein research and education.

Areas of expertise: university programs, academic ecosystem-building, global health, design thinking, effective altruism, public speaking.

Image of emma ignaszewski

Emma Ignaszewski

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE & INITIATIVES

Emma Ignaszewski oversees the corporate engagement team’s industry intelligence and initiatives to catalyze corporate innovation that will radically transform the food system and deliver alternative protein products that compete on the key drivers of consumer choice: taste, price, and convenience.

Areas of expertise: alternative protein market landscape, research & analysis, strategy, marketing & communications, alt protein sustainability & climate impacts.

Adam leman

Adam Leman, Ph.D.

LEAD SCIENTIST, FERMENTATION

Adam is focused on engineering a new paradigm in food production.

Areas of expertise: microbial fermentation, precision fermentation, molecular biology

Priera panescu

Priera Panescu, Ph.D.

LEAD SCIENTIST, PLANT-BASED

Priera Panescu is focused on analyzing plant-based meat and proteins and how to best expedite their progress.

Areas of Expertise: food and agriculture systems, materials science, polymer chemistry, plant-based ingredients

Elliot swartz, ph. D.

Elliot Swartz, Ph.D.

PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST, CULTIVATED MEAT

Elliot Swartz analyzes scientific progress and bottlenecks in cultivated meat.

Areas of expertise: cultivated meat: cell culture media, costs, and environmental impact

Explore our focus areas

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Science

Explore the science of plant-based, cultivated, and fermentation-derived meat. Discover research ideas, funding opportunities, and open-access tools.

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Industry

Find market opportunities, open-access resources, and tailored guidance for producing and selling alternative proteins.

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Policy

Learn why alt proteins offer solutions to the issues that governments want to address. As a nonprofit, we advocate fair policy and public funding.