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Novel Farms


Food and Agriculture


Berkeley, California



Michelle Lu

Chief Science Officer and Co-Founder, Novel Farms

Michelle Lu joins Breakthrough Energy’s Innovator Fellows program from Novel Farms in Berkeley, California. She has spent her career focused on cell biology, synthetic biology, and protein biochemistry. At Novel Farms, she heads all research and development efforts as chief science officer.

Novel Farms has developed a unique scaffolding technology that eliminates the need for expensive cell culture components for the creation of cultivated meat. This advancement not only significantly cuts production costs but also imparts the necessary structure for producing whole cuts of meat, thereby appealing to a broader consumer base while reducing the need for carbon-intensive industrial farming. The Breakthrough Energy Fellows program will help Novel Farms take the next step towards scaling its cultivated meat production.

Michelle received her Bachelor of Arts in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley and her Doctor of Philosophy in molecular and cell biology from the University of Oregon. She completed her postdoctoral training at her undergraduate alma mater with David Drubin.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Keep an open mind and be willing to accept change. Diversifying your thought process can lead to solutions you would’ve missed otherwise!

Who has had the greatest impact on your career path?
My parents and family have provided the emotional and financial support making it possible for me to explore various topics of interest and find a career I love. I am very fortunate to have an amazing support system.

What is the most impactful book that you have read?
“Catfish and Mandala” by Andrew Pham. It really helped me begin to understand my identity as a child of immigrants in this country.

Share a fun fact about yourself:
In an effort to conquer my fear of flying, I learned how to fly airplanes and can now fly airplanes!