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 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.


Articles and op-eds

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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.

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Microbes, the third pillar in the alternative protein industry

GFI’s Liz Specht explains why fermentation is such an efficient and powerful tool for producing alternative proteins.

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Alt-meat trounces animal meat’s massive inefficiencies

GFI’s Dr. Liz Specht explores why animal meat production is slow, rigid, and wasteful, while modern plant-based and cultivated meat production is swift, nimble, and sustainable.

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Food insecurity is a real threat. Meatless meat could help protect us.

GFI’s Caroline Bushnell and Liz Specht explain how alternative proteins can mitigate the risks of food insecurity.

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Tiny organisms, huge potential

GFI director of science and technology Liz Specht explores how microbes can help us make alternative proteins in the December 2020 issue of IFT’s Food Technology.

Uc san diego

Doing the impossible with alternative meats

GFI’s Liz Specht talks all things alternative proteins in this Q&A with U.C. San Diego — from current technological challenges to potential future bottlenecks.

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Your first lab-grown burger is coming soon—and it’ll be “blended”

Learn why combining plant-based and cultivated meat could be the key to making cultivated meat affordable more quickly.


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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.