Tomorrow, if everything goes as planned, I’ll officially earn my PhD in bioengineering.
It all began when in 2017 when I was deciding on a research topic to pursue for graduate school. I wanted to channel my childhood passions and interests into a meaningful research career. Having been an active member of animal rights organizations and a vegetarian since the 4th grade, it hit me: what if we could use tissue engineering strategies to grow animal tissue in a lab for food consumption? It was brilliant! Why did I not think of this sooner?!
Since I began, the Rowat lab has been awarded millions in funding for cultured meat research including government grants from the NSF, USDA, and the State of California.
Our lab has grown and supported over a dozen cultured meat researchers.
We have built collaborations with other labs on campus and across other universities—including labs which had not previously worked on projects within the field of cellular agriculture—and are continuing to build a network of cultured meat researchers at UCLA. I have become a cell ag leader on campus having started a GFI Alt Protein Project chapter to bring together other students that are interested in the field.
New Harvest is the catalyst that started it all.
They are dedicated ecosystem builders. They embark on that uphill journey beside you and pave the path to make things easier for those who follow.
Along the way, you become an integral part of a collaborative community, working together with a global network of incredible people to truly make a difference. Undoubtedly, it has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.
A huge THANK YOU to New Harvest and all of its supporters. I can confidently say that I would not be where I am today without you all, and for that, I am forever grateful.
My next goal is to pay it forward by continuing important work to advance the field of cellular agriculture. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Stephanie Kawecki (almost*) Ph.D.
UCLA, Rowat Lab
*Cross your fingers with me that my committee members approve my PhD!