Job title: Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Future Fields.
Why he’s a 2019 Top 40 Under 40: He doesn’t shy away from unique pathways and opportunities.
Matt Anderson-Baron is reimagining what contemporary agriculture might look like in a prairie city.
In 2017, when he was still a graduate student, he co-founded Future Fields, a biotechnology company that’s expanding cellular agriculture beyond the lab. His goal is to work toward making cultured meat products an assessible and sustainable consumer option, while raising Edmonton’s profile as an emerging biotech hub.
“The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Edmonton is really great,” says Anderson-Baron. “Our intention has always been to stay here.”
Future Fields is the first biotechnology company of its kind in Canada. While Canadians are becoming more familiar with meat alternatives, Anderson-Baron envisions a different route to meat production. Specifically, his lab is developing lab-grown chicken, which will be virtually indistinguishable from chicken as we know it, without the need to slaughter an animal. Although his research is in an early phase, cultured meat could offer an ethical and affordable supplement to traditional livestock agriculture.
“It’s an idea that’s been around for a long time,” he explains. “Now we’re starting to learn how to do it.”
Since creating the start-up, Anderson-Baron has gone on to complete a Doctorate in Cell Biology, and he currently works as postdoc in the Department of Surgery at the University of Alberta. He’s also an active participant in Edmonton’s CrossFit scene and a volunteer with ElderDog, an organization that provides dog-walking services to those with mobility challenges.
A self-proclaimed “diehard Edmontonian,” Anderson-Baron finds balance in community, and a support system of local entrepreneurs that keep him motivated.