Bioengineering Tools for Next-Generation Cellular Agriculture

CellAg: Bioengineering Tools for Next-Generation Cellular Agriculture



Building the world's leading initiative focused on cutting-edge biosensors and innovative solutions to prevent microbial contamination in cellular agriculture (CellAg). The program aims to address the outstanding need for bioengineering tools that support industry growth and tackle key manufacturing challenges related to microbial contaminants,in areas such as cultured meat, seafood, milk production, to name a few.


Programme Leads:

Dr. Shlomo Yitzchaik, MSc, Ph.D. is a Professor of Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Isreal

Prof. Nam-Joon Cho, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

List of Principal Investigators: HUJI - Assaf Friedler*, Zvi Hayouka, Shlomo Yitzchaik, Mattan Hurevich, Singapore - Nam-Joon Cho*(NTU), Xuewei Liu(NTU), Weibiao Zhou (NUS)

Visiting Scientist: Steve Oh, Joshua A. Jackman

Collaborators:Subra Suresh, Vinayak Ghate

Participating Universities and Organizations: HUJI, NTU, NUS, MIT, SKKU

Cellular agriculture (CellAg) offers a sustainable way to produce meat and milk, promising a greener future for food. However, scaling up this technology means safeguarding against microbial contamination. Our mission is to drive innovation in this critical area, ensuring the safety and success of the CellAg industry.

Our team  tackles a critical challenge in the booming CellAg industry - preventing microbial contamination. We are building cutting-edge biosensors to detect contaminants at ultralow levels and also developing innovative, non-antibiotic solutions. This will help the industry achieve antibiotic-free production, implement real-time quality control, and train future leaders, paving the way for a more sustainable and secure food future.

The research activities in this programme are divided into two main tracks : 

  • Next-Gen Biosensors: Developing innovative biosensors using advanced molecular recognition elements to detect and identify microbial contaminants with unmatched sensitivity in cultured meat production
  • Antibiotic Alternatives: Exploring effective and sustainable mitigation strategies to ensure the safety of cell-based products,replacing antibiotics.

Protein-Protein Interactions (PPI) mediate most of the vital processes in cells and are involved in numerous diseases. However, it is extremely challenging to make PPI drug targets. This becomes even more difficult when the interactions involve disordered protein domains. The research in the Friedler lab focuses on using peptides for the quantitative biophysical and structural analysis of PPI in health and disease. Based on this, we develop lead peptides that modulate PPI for therapeutic purposes. We are looking at PPI in biological systems that are affected in disease, such as cancer-related pathways. We are using an interdisciplinary approach combining:

  • Peptide chemistry: developing new methods for the synthesis of peptides and modified peptides
  • Protein biochemistry: new methods for protein expression and purification
  • Biophysical and biochemical studies of structure, interactions and activity of peptides and proteins

Within the CellAg project we are using our strategy for developing novel peptide-based antibacterial mitigants and PPI-based sensors for specific bacteria.