I was a part of Core Research team at Ecovative Design for an internship from June to August 2018. Ecovative is using mycelium to create sustainable alternatives for leather, foams, and particle board along with potential uses for clean meat and tissue engineering.
My work spanned from developing lab scale bioreactors for fundamental fungal research to running an experiment I designed, helping with the operation of large-scale reactors, and making cost models for potential clients and markets.
In brief (and following my NDA), the development of the bioreactor included gathering user preferences and technical requirements, analyzing pressure losses in the system, CAD, outsourcing machining, selecting and purchasing off-the-shelf components, and assembly. Additionally, I made preliminary concepts for low cost sensing and automation. Although these concepts weren’t incorporated into the bioreactor, I included them in a final report that explained my design decisions and suggested future improvements.
During that summer, I attended the New Harvest Conference at the MIT Media Lab to help set up Ecovative’s booth and learn about cellular agriculture.