University launches first degree in cellular agriculture

Posted: 4 December 2023 | | No comments yet

Tufts University has shared that it has launched the world’s first university undergraduate degree in cellular agriculture.


For students looking to deepen their knowledge and understanding of cellular agriculture, Tufts University has launched the world’s first degree focussed on this topic which allows undergraduates to take a “deep dive” into this groundbreaking field.

Over the course of the last year, New Food has reported on various breakthroughs in the food sector regarding cultivated meat, including UPSIDE Foods making history back in July 2023 by making its first consumer sale of cultivated meat in the US

Now, the Massachusetts based University is offering an undergraduate degree based entirely around the subject and numerous students have already taken this course. In fact, during his Value Creation project in Cell Agriculture class, Tufts senior Adham Ali completed an assignment with a brief reading “work with a group of peers to design a product that uses cellular agriculture to make life easier for consumers”.

In the Cell Agriculture class, students utilised design principles to create cell-ag solutions to problems, with Ali’s group creating an “endless essential oil diffuser” as part of their course.

“You would put your diffuser in the house and the cells would keep growing to create essential oils that make your house smell better,” he says. “You’d never have to go to the store for essential oils again,” commented Ali.

“It was incredibly eye-opening, and it changed the way I think about research,” he continued.

Another student who opted for the course is senior Olivia Calkins, who majors in chemical engineering: “I first discovered cell ag on my first day of freshman year, and I knew right away it’s what I want to do with the rest of my life. This is my dream. I started becoming involved in the Kaplan Lab, doing everything I could to immerse myself in the field. But it wasn’t until now that I could actually get a degree in it. I’m so excited about that—it’s a huge stepping stone for cell ag,” shared Calkins.

According to Professors at the University, the new course is “vital step forward” for research into the groundbreaking subject, with David Kaplan, Stern Family Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Executive Director of the Tufts University Center for Cellular Agriculture (TUCCA), sharing “Graduate students have had the opportunity to contribute to research and industry aims in cellular agriculture for a while now.

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“But while we’ve offered classes to undergraduates and welcomed them into the lab, ours is now the first program that allows them to graduate with an actual degree in the field. Now we’ll have the chance to guide and collaborate with students who have an interest in cell ag from their earliest days at Tufts,” he says. “Eventually, they’ll enter the field as professionals with a deep background and years of engagement in the subject.”

According to Tufts University, the minor in cellular agriculture has been designed to provide undergraduates with the opportunity to advance tissue engineering research and to translate cellular agriculture research into food industry innovation. For students considering this course, the minor is available to students in either Tufts School of Engineering or the School of Arts and Sciences.

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