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Contact Info:
Advanced Technology Lab
Tufts University
200 Boston Ave.
Suite 2600
Medford, MA 02155

Natalie Rubio
Graduate Student
Department of Biology

Natalie Rubio earned her B.S. Chemical & Biological Engineering degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2015. During her undergraduate career, she worked with the non-profit organization New Harvest and the food biotechnology company Perfect Day Foods. After graduation, Natalie worked for laboratory management software company Quartzy in Palo Alto, California for a year before starting graduate school with a New Harvest Cultured Tissue Fellowship at Tufts University in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, co-advised by Dr. David Kaplan and Dr. Barry Trimmer. She is currently in the 3rd year of her PhD program and her research interests are focused on tissue engineering for both nutrition and soft robotics applications.

Research Project
Technical challenges impeding the commercialization of cultured meat include cost-effective scale-up, serum-free media formulation and fabrication of three-dimensional muscle and fat tissues. While mammalian cells are the primary target of cultured meat research, insect cells have a number of benefits including single cell suspension culture, ease of serum-free media adaptation and tolerance to environmental conditions. Natalie’s research focus is on generating insect-derived meat-relevant cell cultures and designing scaffold systems to support 3D culture of insect tissues. Functional in vitro insect muscle tissue is also applicable for bioactuator purposes. A second research interest is the production of contractile cultured insect muscle fibers for soft robotics research.