Taking the leap from academia to startup takes guts and a lot of heart. Not many succeed in taking such a risk, but Monash University alumni, founder and current Executive Director of Cellular Agriculture Australia and the newest member of ARMI’s Industry Advisory Committee (IAC), Dr Bianca Lê is one brave entrepreneur who is leading the way.
At Cellular Agriculture Australia, a non-profit company, Bianca is using her expertise in cell biology to promote and accelerate research and development in the cellular agriculture industry and help develop food more sustainably. “Founding a national organisation dedicated to accelerating an emerging field of research – cellular agriculture – has by far been my most challenging yet rewarding achievement,” said Bianca.
Bianca started as a cell biologist at Monash University, completing a PhD focused on understanding the link between premature birth and cardiovascular disease. During this time, Bianca was also involved in a not-for-profit organisation, taught undergraduates, volunteered for science communications gigs and learnt about the world of policy as an intern at the Academy of Technology and Engineering. This richness and breadth of experience helped Bianca develop a more holistic view of science and its role in society. Bianca explains, “I’ve been fortunate to have gained experience in a broad range of sectors within STEM, including academic research, tertiary education, policy writing, and science communication.”
This was her springboard into the industry. “I’ve been able to utilise all of the skills I developed during my career thus far to help promote cellular agriculture research and accelerate the growing industry in Australia,” Bianca stated. Now, she can combine her passion for science, innovation and modern technology and her desire to do good in the world.
This expertise and ethos have made Bianca a perfect addition to the IAC. Her recent venture into the agtech and food innovation space has given her a fresh perspective on applying stem cell science to fields outside of regenerative medicine. “This will help ARMI broaden their talent pool, diversify funding sources and increase research opportunities for our scientists,” Bianca commented.
In the meantime, her advice for budding entrepreneurs? Bianca says, “I’ve always been a huge fan of a cold email and a hot coffee – if I want to meet someone to pick their brain about their career, I’ve learnt over the years that you can just send them an email (or a LinkedIn/Twitter message) and 9/10 times they’re more than happy to have a 30-minute coffee with you to give you advice and share their learnings. I’ve met a lot of my mentors and role models that way!”
Welcome Bianca to ARMI’s IAC! We look forward to working with her to accelerate the translation and commercialisation of ARMI discoveries.