Liz specht, ph. D.

Liz Specht, Ph.D.


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.

Liz uses she/her pronouns.

Liz works to identify and forecast areas of technological need within the alternative protein field. Her efforts also catalyze research to address these needs while supporting researchers in academia and industry to move the field forward. Liz has a bachelor’s degree in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Johns Hopkins University, a doctorate in biological sciences from the University of California San Diego, and postdoctoral research experience from the University of Colorado Boulder. Prior to joining GFI in 2016, Liz had accumulated a decade of academic research experience in synthetic biology, recombinant protein expression, and development of genetic tools. She is a firm believer in the power of technology to enable us to meet growing food demands in a sustainable way.


Around the web

1a npr podcast

What is cultivated meat?

NPR’s 1A podcast interviewed Dr. Liz Specht on the long-term benefits and science behind cultivated meat.

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How we’ll eat in 2050

GFI’s Dr. Liz Specht talks to CNN about the major role alternative proteins play in the future of food.

National geographic

Is it time to start eating algae?

GFI’s Dr. Liz Specht talks to National Geographic about algae’s potential in the world of alternative proteins. GFI grant recipient Umaro Foods is also featured.

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Liz Specht is shaping the next generation of meat alternatives

Scientists, investors, and entrepreneurs want in on the meat-free revolution. Specht has been there to guide them — and accelerate the whole field.

The new york times logo

The future of food: how the agriculture industry could go from farming to “ferming.”

GFI’s Dr. Liz Specht on the science behind precision fermentation and why governments need to invest in R&D for it to reach its full potential.

Time logo

The next hottest alternative milk comes from microbes

GFI’s Dr. Liz Specht talks about precision fermentation and its potential to help bring plant-based alternatives to the next level.

The economis

The future of food: are there some things we shouldn’t eat?

Listen to GFI’s Dr. Liz Specht talk about the future of food on The Economist podcast The World Ahead.

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Meat grown from fungus? It could save the world’s forests.

GFI’s Dr. Liz Specht explains how eating meat made from microbes could stave off half the world’s deforestation — but at a certain point, the land-saving effect is diminished.

Podcast_sam harris_making sense

Making Sense with Sam Harris: Food, climate & pandemic risk

GFIers Dr. Liz Specht & Bruce Friedrich join Sam Harris for a discussion of GFI, food, climate, antibiotic resistance, and pandemic risk.

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Modernizing meat production will help us avoid pandemics

GFI’s Dr. Liz Specht explains how the Covid-19 outbreak stresses the need to change how we make meat.


Homemade plant-based burger with sweet potato fries

Meat by the molecule: Making meat with plants and cells (The Biochemist)

This article from The Biochemist provides a high-level overview of plant-based and cultivated meat.

Clean meat production cover art

Analyzing cell culture medium costs

This white paper explains different routes to lowering the cost of cell culture medium and making cultivated meat economically viable.

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Translating biomedical advances to cultivated meat (Biochemical Engineering Journal)

This peer-reviewed article discusses how advances from the biomedical cell culture industry can contribute to the development of cultivated meat.

Featured blogs

Background with hamburgers

Why plant-based meat will ultimately be less expensive than conventional meat

Right now, plant-based meat commands a premium in most restaurants and grocery stores. That’s going to change.

Liz specht, ph. D.

Meet Dr. Liz Specht, GFI’s associate director of science and technology team

A Q&A with The Good Food Institute’s Associate Director of Science and Technology about her past, her future, and the future of science in food.

Fermentation state of the industry report cover with vector graphic background

GFI releases first-ever State of the Industry Report on fermentation in alternative proteins

Plant-based and cultivated meat have been recognized as two primary pillars of the alternative protein industry, but fermentation is increasingly proving its incredible promise for the future of alternative proteins.

Science graphic

Tackling the cell-based meat cost curve

The GFI Science & Technology team analyzes the primary cost drivers of cell culture media and highlights where innovation is needed to bring cell-based meat down the cost curve.