Leila has a Ph.D. and postdoctoral study in cell biology, with over 10 years of experience conducting research on fundamental cellular processes. Inspired by her own infant feeding challenges and background in microscopy, cell culture, and molecular biology, she co-founded BIOMILQ in 2020 with the idea to create cell-cultured human milk with breakthrough mammary biotechnology. She’s passionate about developing novel applications for cell culture technology to address the world’s most pressing problems. Additionally, Leila has worked extensively in scholarly publishing as an academic editor and in scientific communications as a writer and as a strategic consultant with global pharmaceutical companies. What started as a personal struggle to feed her newborn son in 2009 is now a full-throttle pursuit of nothing less than the betterment of our health and our planet.
Amy is an accomplished global business executive with extensive experience in the food technology and retail industries. Her expertise is joining early stage, rapid growth companies and building them from the ground up. Previously based in New York and Paris, she is a key strategist and motivational team leader with experience overseeing expansion, international business, and product commercialization throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. Most recently, she worked as Head of Product at Infarm, an AgTech company ranked the #1 food technology company worldwide in 2022. She created the first global product team at Infarm and directed their rapid expansion in the North American market. Before that, Amy was one of the first employees for luxury retailer Christian Louboutin in the Americas, where she built and launched multiple departments while launching new locations for the company throughout the Americas. She was then promoted to company’s Paris, France headquarters where she launched their world-renowned personalization global business unit in 35 countries. She received a business degree from Parsons School of Design in New York from their Strategic Design and Management program, which focuses on business strategy and innovation, and prepares a new generation of industry leaders for entrepreneurial positions.
Wade has over 20 years of experience and expertise in Bioprocess Engineering and membrane bioreactor design. He is committed to exploring and developing biotechnology production platforms that focus on sustainability. Wade’s background is in Biotech and Engineering, and he has previously founded & co-founded several start-ups in the biotech/engineering space. Some of his previous roles include COO at a bioreactor development company he co-founded and Director of Research & Development at a cellular agriculture start-up before joining BIOMILQ. Wade joined BIOMILQ initially as an engineering consultant before taking on the role of Director of Bioprocess Development. At BIOMILQ, Wade leads the Bioprocess Development team focusing on developing and optimizing bioprocesses for expanding BIOMILQ’s proprietary cell-cultured human milk biotechnology platform. Wade is passionate about human-centered design and seeking solutions to complex problems through biotechnology. His decision to join BIOMILQ was ultimately inspired by co-founder Leila Strickland’s vision of developing a technology platform to help build the future of food for infant nutrition.
As a mother of two young children, Katherine is keenly aware of the benefits of breast milk and humbled by the challenges and realities of breastfeeding. Katherine has a PhD from Harvard University in Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and has previous experience in small molecule drug development. As a cell biologist, her scientific background ranges from various methods of genetic engineering, high throughput small molecule screening, phenotypic cell characterization, and in vitro cell-based assay development. Katherine’s background also includes a wide range of analytical skills with a BS in Computational Biology and experience in bioinformatics for proteomics analysis and training in multiple programming languages. Prior to joining BIOMILQ, she led projects focused on discovery and applications of novel small molecules for cancer treatment. At BIOMILQ, Katherine leads a team of scientists and regulatory specialists centered around product development, including product strategy, analysis, quality and safety.
Jaci joined BIOMILQ following twelve years as a People Operations leader in high-growth food biotech companies. Previously Jaci joined Impossible Foods on day one of the company and spent eight years scaling the team and culture, including through FDA approval, market launch, and international expansion. From there, Jaci moved over to cultivated meat, spending the next four years at UPSIDE Foods, scaling the team tenfold through multiple first-in-the-world milestones. She’s excited about moving into cultivated breastmilk and joined BIOMILQ to continue her passion for building intentional culture and high-performing teams in mission-driven environments.
Chris Rivest joined the BIOMILQ Board of Directors in 2020 after BIOMILQ’s seed fundraising round, led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures. As a BEV investor and representative, Chris has vast industry knowledge of life sciences, biotechnology, business development, and clean technology and has a particular focus on finding climate-tech companies that leverage modern technology mega-trends to accelerate the rate of development and deployment of innovative technologies and business models. Chris received his BS from MIT in Mechanical Engineering.
Christine Ring, Ph.D., J.D., has served as a member of our board of directors since February 2022, and is now BIOMILQ’s Board Chair. Christine is currently the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Nurix Therapeutics, Inc. Prior to joining Nurix, Christine held multiple positions assisting companies protect intellectual property, engage in licensing transactions, raise capital, and transition from private companies into public companies. Christine holds an A.B. in Biophysics from the University of California, Berkeley, a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of California, San Francisco, and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Kartik Dharmadhikari joined the BIOMILQ Board of Directors in 2021 after the company’s Series A fundraising round, led by Novo Holdings. Kartik specializes in growth equity and venture capital, focusing on opportunities across food, nutrition, agriculture, and chemicals & materials. Kartik holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from Northwestern University.
Sara Eshelman joined the BIOMILQ Board of Directors in 2021 after the company’s series A fundraising round, which included Spero Ventures, a Venture Capital firm that invests in technology building sustainable and life-improving futures. Sara has experience in life science, pharmaceutical, and agricultural industries. As an investor at Spero, Sara seeks out and fuels the success of purpose-driven entrepreneurs building solutions to the challenges of working and living in the 21st century. Sara holds an MSc in Development Economics and International Development from The London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA from Northwestern University.
Associate Professor, School of Nursing & Dpt of Pediatrics, University of Texas Health Science Center