Biophysicist Amy Rowat, associate professor and vice chair of integrative biology and physiology at UCLA College, has received a BRITE Fellow award from the National Science Foundation that will provide $995,000 in research funding over five years.
This is the first time that the foundation has awarded these prizes, which allow researchers to explore bold and ambitious ideas. Rowat, the Marcie H. Rothman Professor of Food Studies, will research cells as materials to help sustain food production despite climate change and disruption from natural disasters or disease outbreaks.
BRITE by Rowat Companion award will advance knowledge of cells as materials, including fundamental studies to identify new molecules that regulate how cells sense and respond to physical and mechanical signals. The award will also support Rowat’s work translating knowledge about cells into materials to be developed cutting-edge scientific methods to meet the food needs of a growing world population, without slaughtering animals.
Its objective is to cultivate animal proteins in a laboratory for food. Rowat will research meat grown from cells taken from an animal’s muscles – also known as slaughter-free and clean meat.
Rowat is a fellow at UCLAfrom the Department of Bioengineering, Center for Biological Physics, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Broad Stem Cell Research Center. She also leads activities at UCLA Rothman Family Institute for Food Studiesincluding expanding its popular science and food course and public events, and expanding the chef-in-residence program.