The secret ingredient.
These days, there are a lot of companies focusing on alternative proteins, but fats are essential in making them taste incredible.
These days, there are a lot of companies focusing on alternative proteins, but fats are essential in making them taste incredible.
Fat molecules give proteins the taste and texture that we’ve grown to expect – the experience simply isn’t the same without them. Think about a bowl of nonna’s rich, hearty Bolognese. A twist of frozen yogurt on a hot summer’s day. A piece of grilled fish – glistening, crispy skin. You can smell it. You can taste it. See it. But none of it would be possible without fats.
Please meet the Maillard reaction. This interactive alchemy takes place when a protein’s fats connect with heat, producing new flavours, aromas, and colours that get our noses’ attention and make our mouths water. It’s science, not magic, but the way this reaction so compellingly transforms our food certainly feels (and tastes) magical.
This is the part where we bum you out with a sad truth: many alternative proteins lack the fully developed, delicious fats needed to foster a superior Maillard reaction. But there’s hope! Our animal-free fats, specially engineered through precision fermentation, are Maillard makers. With Nourish as an integral ingredient in your plant-based foods, you can get the reaction you want, for your dinner and for your customers.
Animal-free fish oil. Sounds like an impossible contradiction, right? Not for Nourish CEO James Petrie and Chef Scientist Surinder Singh. This duo designed and built the world’s first synbio long-chain omega-3 alternative, completely changing the alternative lipids game. These guys are passionate about the future of animal-free fats, assembling a talented squad with 360-degree expertise. From lipid engineering science to global regulatory affairs to consumer relationships, we’ve got the theoretical and real-world experience to create products that not only work in a lab but also work in the market.
For more on our world-class team, check out the bios below.
James Petrie Co-founder and CEO
Dr James Petrie is an experienced crop metabolic engineer, who spent 13 years working at CSIRO as a research scientist as part of the Plant Oils Engineering Group before co-founding Nourish Ingredients. During his time at CSIRO, James was a part of the team who spearheaded the creation of omega 3 canola – the world’s first plant based and sustainable source of omega 3.
As CEO of Nourish, James is turning his expertise in synthetic biology to the plant-based meat and dairy space. He’s passionate about making tastier and more sustainable animal-free fats accessible to the world.
Dr Benjamin Leita is a founder and entrepreneur with a passion for bringing deep scientific technology to the market. He is an experienced manager and chemical engineer with a demonstrated success in the research and startup space. Ben’s past work includes engineering a way to create green bio-based PET Coke bottles, using eucalyptus oil.
As the Co-Founder of Nourish, Ben brings to the table a unique hybrid skill set in the deep tech startup industry, chemical engineering and renewable energy.
Nourish is fortunate to have the advice and mentorship of Dr Surinder Singh, Chief Research Scientist at CSIRO, Australia’s national science research agency. Surinder’s fields of research include agricultural biotechnology, biochemistry and cell biology, plant biology and renewable energy.
Surinder pioneered the successful genetic modification of fatty acid composition in the seeds of canola to offer the same health benefits that we get from eating fish. Among a long list of notable achievements, he is also a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.
Anna El TahchyChief Technical Officer
Dr Anna El Tahchy is a key innovator in Agriculture and Food, with extensive experience in lipid engineering and food chemistry.
During her time at CSIRO, Anna demonstrated success in leading complex R&D, such as the creation of new concepts for the engineering and production of novel food ingredients.
As Chief Technical Officer at Nourish, Anna will apply her extensive biochemistry experience to drive continued innovation and meet the needs of our customers and their consumers.
Robert de Feyter Head of IP
Rob is a highly experienced intellectual property manager who has used his plant engineering R&D background to create a uniquely blended skillset of science and IP strategy. Rob built the CSIRO RNAi and Omega-3 portfolios and brings a deep understanding of how to create a strong and enduring patent landscape around novel technologies to his role as Head of IP at Nourish Ingredients.
Anthony MusumeciCommercial Director
Dr Anthony Musumeci brings over a decade of commercialisation and early-stage technology investment experience from some of Australia’s leading universities and Venture Capital funds. He has extensive experience in the establishment, operation, and growth of deep-tech start-up companies from both a corporate governance and operational perspective.
As Commercial Directorat Nourish, Anthony focuses on core operations, financial and market strategies to enable rapid growth and success.
Technology Lead, Synthetic Biology
Dr Heinrich Kroukamp is a molecular biologist with extensive expertise in yeast genomics and biotechnology. Over the past 11 years, he has developed and led research projects in the fields of yeast genetics, biofuels, bioinformatics, synthetic genomics, protein and aroma compound production.
As the Technology Lead in Synthetic Biology at Nourish Ingredients, he brings his in-depth knowledge of yeast genetics, biotechnology, and synthetic biology to create biobased products for a more sustainable future.
Hanh NguyenFood Science Lead
Hanh Nguyen is a food scientist with expertise in food microstructure and rheology, food digestibility, fermentation, and fermented food products. Hanh has worked in food R&D for more than 17 years across several countries and a wide range of food materials, including dairy, meat, plants, and vegetables.
As the Food Science Lead at Nourish Ingredients, Hanh is passionate in applying her knowledge and experience to create new novel food ingredients and innovative processes to create tastier, healthier, sustainable foods.
Jane RedfernHead of Marketing & PR
Jane Redfern is a strategically-driven, creatively-minded marketer with 15+ years of multi-category brand and product marketing experiences. Jane’s experience has taken her internationally, working in New York, Toronto, London and now Sydney, with a diverse mix of local and global businesses, including brands in food & beverage, retail, lifestyle, technology and FMCG. As the Head of Marketing & PR at Nourish Ingredients, her objective is to support the team to create a strong and ownable brand and take their compelling story to the world in a way that creates strong commercial outcomes.
Kyle ReynoldsAssistant IP and Regulatory Manager
Dr Dandan Tian is a passionate biomedical researcher with a clinical medicine background. She has nine years of experience in molecular biology, and has managed both preclinical (laboratory) and early-phase clinical trial research. Dandan has also completed projects in blood cancer metabolism and treatment, nutrition and brain development, as well as intervention in liver diseases progression induced by genetic mutations or high cholesterol or a high fat diet.
As the Laboratory Manager at Nourish, she brings to the team her research capabilities and her experience in laboratory and project management, as well as her knowledge in human and health research.
Head of People and Culture
Katie Leupin is our passionate people person. In her role as Head of People and Culture at Nourish Ingredients, Katie is responsible for providing support to the business in key areas such as HR Management, Employee Engagement and Organisation Development and Culture. Katie’s goal is to build a supportive and positive culture where our people can enjoy a collaborative, cohesive and connected team environment – and approach their work with a one team, one mission mindset.
Pegah FarokhSynthetic Biology Scientist
Dr Pegah Farokh is a Synthetic Biology Scientist at Nourish Ingredients. She trained in plant cellular and developmental biology as a PhD candidate. As an active researcher, she has worked for the ACT Department of Crop Adaptation, and at CSIRO in a photosynthesis group studying increased carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in genetically modified wheat and tobacco, in collaboration with the Australian National University. Pegah’s strong interest in deep metabolic molecular concepts also led her to join the Plant Oil Engineering group at CSIRO where she was an active member of her team.
Ruth PurcellSynthetic Biology Scientist
Ruth recently graduated with a Bachelor of Philosophy from The Australian National University after completing her Honours in biomedical science and biochemistry. Through this research-intensive program, she developed a skillset spanning molecular & cell biology, genetics, and immunology. Ruth has also spent time in South Africa working in microbiology and pathology labs.
Ruth is passionate about technologies that simultaneously aim to improve human health and promote environmental sustainability. As a Synthetic Biologist at Nourish, she combines her experience working in a diverse range of research labs with her desire to contribute to the development of healthier and more sustainable foods.
Synthetic Biology Scientist
Grace is a dedicated biotechnologist, holding a Master of Biotechnology degree from the University of Queensland. Her skills span across the molecular engineering and protein synthesis fields. She has a keen interest in the commercialisation pathway of biotechnological products in a startup setting.
Alex studied Applied Science (Biotechnology, Biochemistry) with Honours at Queensland University of Technology, and has worked at CSIRO Agriculture and Food, dealing with both plants and yeast, in the area of lipid optimisation and analysis.
As Lipid Analyst at Nourish Ingredients, Alex is passionate about contributing to Nourish’s pursuit of high-quality cutting-edge lipid-based food development, through lipid analysis at the lab bench.
Lillian CarunaAnalytical Scientist
Lillian is an Analytical Scientist at Nourish Ingredients. She has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry at UNSW and has also recently completed her Honours degree, focusing on starch deuteration in yeast at the National Deuteration Facility at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.
Lillian’s current role at Nourish Ingredients focuses on the extraction and analysis of experimental fats produced in the Nourish lab. She is a huge foodie (in a previous life she worked as a chef) as well as passionate about science and encouraging young women into STEM.
Xiaomei LiLaboratory Support Officer
Xiaomei Li is the Laboratory Support Officer at Nourish Ingredients. She holds a Bachelor of Medical Science from Nantong University and went on to become a physician in China for a number of years. She is experienced in technician work, specifically in the field of microbiology and also has an interest in plant breeding.
Freddie LoymanAnalytical Team Lead & IP Assistant
Freddie Loyman is a food, medical and analytical scientist, with 20 years of experience working at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency. At CSIRO Freddie worked on a range of challenging projects – from increasing the yield production of wheat, to finding a herbicide to address the agricultural impact of the wild radish weed, as well as the analytical science behind canola, and extracting oil from yeast.
Freddie holds an MBA from the university of Canberra and recently completed a Master of Laws and Intellectual property at ANU. As Nourish’s Analytical Team Lead, Freddie applies his skills to the challenge of creating delicious plant-based alternative proteins that are as good as the real thing.
Fermentation Team Lead
Jiang is the Fermentation Team Lead at Nourish Ingredients. He holds a PhD in molecular biology and biotechnology from Murdoch University. Jiang has more than 30 years experience in academic and industrial research in fermentation, food science and microbiology. This involves the utilisation of microorganisms in the production of primary and secondary metabolites, including antibiotics, enzymes, antioxidants and food products.
Laila KalashLaboratory Support Technician
Laila Kalash is the Laboratory Support Technician at Nourish Ingredients. She studied at the Canberra Institute of Technology, has previously worked as medical technical assistant, and has excellent technical assistant skills, as well as being experienced in sterilisation equipment.
Laila is a lover of good food and is passionate about creating new taste experiences for the world that are also healthier.
Kat Allikian Fermentation Scientist
Kat has nearly three decades of experience in industrial fermentation process development, scale up, and tech transfer using a range of microbial platforms. Products from these processes include EPA from a continuous heterotrophic microalgal fermentation and a polysaccharide nutraceutical from the submerged fermentation of Ganoderma.
Having worked in the US, Singapore, and New Zealand in several start-up biotech companies as well as in government and multi-national organisations, Kat is well-prepared to help Nourish achieve its goals.
Outside of work, Kat has been known to enjoy the odd fermentation-produced beverage, especially those her partner brews. The stranger, the better.
Ella Bocquet-GaylardAnalytical Scientist
Ella is an Analytical Scientist at Nourish Ingredients. She has an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Melbourne and has completed her Honours degree at the Bio21 Institute, using click chemistry to investigate the various roles of lipids.
Ella’s role at Nourish Ingredients focuses on the extraction and analysis of experimental fats produced in the Nourish lab, as well as assisting the efforts of the Synthetic Biology team. Ella is passionate about translational research and using synthetic biology applications in the world of start-ups.
Whether it’s to feed your curiosity, or feed the world, get in touch via the contact form and we’ll get right back to you.