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Smita Shankar

Chief Business Officer / SVP of Biomanufacturing / VP of R&D

Fermic / Former Impossible Foods

The Impossible Path- My journey to sustainable food production using Biotechnology

October 4, 2023 at 4:20:00 PM
Eagle Theater
Smita Shankar

Science, Technology

In my talk, I will share a bit about my educational background and my journey from basic molecular biology to biotechnology in making fuel alternatives and eventually to sustainable food technology. I will also describe my transition from science in a lab to technology at scale, and eventually how scientifically sound businesses can impact the world. I will share lessons learned and what I hope we can achieve with biotechnology in the future.

Meet the Speaker:

Smita is an executive in the field of Food technology, Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing, the process of using biological systems to manufacture commercially relevant molecules.

Smita holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular & Cell Biology from Cornell University and Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Biotechnology from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). She completed a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society post-doctoral fellowship at UCSF.

Following her post-doctoral work, she worked as a scientist at Codexis, a protein engineering company and her first foray into industrial biotechnology. She joined Impossible Foods as employee #31 in 2013. Over the following 9 years, she led the development and manufacturing of a protein ingredient that was critical to establishing Impossible Foods as a leader in alternative proteins. During this time, Smita built a team of scientists and engineers that drove research, development and production of this protein, all the way from the lab benches to large factories. She is currently the Chief Business Officer at Fermic, a large biomanufacturing facility that specializes in producing novel products using microbes.

Smita is passionate about mentoring and coaching. At Impossible, she served as the executive sponsor for the “Women at Impossible” Employee Resource Group. She is a recipient of the U.S. House of Representatives Americans by Choice Award and was selected as a San Francisco Business Times 40 Under 40 honoree in 2019. She has a daughter in middle school and when not working, she loves to play board games with her daughter, cook, sing and dance.

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