2021 CIDA Workshop Keynote_Roy Steiner - “The Periodic Table of Food – A revolutionary tool to understand our food"
From Gabriela Cestero
Senior Vice President, Food Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation
Tuesday, October 12, 3:15pm-4:45pm ET
Abstract: Food is at the center of the world’s most urgent challenges and largest opportunities. According to the World Health Organization, malnutrition is the leading cause of death and disease globally. Yet, our scientific understanding of the foods that nourish us is still quite rudimentary. At most, 150 of our food’s biochemical components are measured and tracked in conventional databases, which only represents a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of biochemicals in food. Beyond health, we also know today’s food production negatively impacts the quality of our water, soil, and air, and contributes to climate change. A food system that supports human and planetary health requires a better understanding of the interactions between food, health, nutrition, and environment.
The Periodic Table of Food Initiative (PTFI) will vastly expand our understanding of the biochemistry of our food and develop impactful demonstration projects that exhibit the power of this new understanding. Building on recent advances in data science and analytical chemistry, the initiative will develop low–cost mass spectrometry kits, standards, methods, cloud-based analytical tools, and a public database that will include a quantitative and qualitative analysis of a large variety of foods representative of geographic and cultural diversity worldwide. Once the database is in place, the scientific community and private sector will be incentivized to build on this public resource by adding analyses of additional foods, varieties, and preparation methods. The PTFI technical platform will enable conditions for a rapid acceleration in research and innovation in both the public and private sectors.
Bio: Roy Steiner, PhD, is the Senior Vice President for the Food Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation, where he leads a team focused on creating a more nourishing, regenerative and equitable food system.
Roy comes to The Rockefeller Foundation from the Omidyar Network, where he served as Director of the Intellectual Capital team since 2015, focused on helping Omidyar achieve its strategic objectives at all levels including in the agriculture space. He dedicated nearly a decade of his career to leadership positions at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he was a founding member of the Agricultural Development initiative and was instrumental in working to develop the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the creation of Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency, and dozens of other partnerships which addressed food insecurity around the world.
Before the Gates Foundation, Roy
spent eight years in Africa where he was founder and CEO of Cyberplex Africa,
one of the largest web development and knowledge management companies in
southern Africa. Early in his career, he was an original founder and managing
director of Africa Online, which pioneered the delivery of Internet service in
Zimbabwe. Additionally, he was a founding member of CH2MHill’s Strategies Group
and has consulted for McKinsey & Company in the areas of technology
innovation, growth strategies and international development. Roy holds a PhD
and a Master of Science in agricultural and biological engineering with minors
in economics and international development from Cornell University, as well as
two degrees in mechanical engineering and biology from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology.
CIDA hosts an annual research-oriented workshop to help drive thought and research around Digital Agriculture and the future of our agri-food systems. The workshop showcases projects awarded through our Research Innovation Fund (RIF) which provides seed grant funding to innovative, cutting-edge interdisciplinary research from Cornell faculty and students. Researchers and students from the Colleges of Engineering, Life and Agriculture Sciences, Business, Veterinary Medicine, Arts and Sciences, and Computing and Information Science participate in this cross-college initiative. Speakers from academia, industry, non-profits, and diverse private sector enterprises provide unique perspective and vibrant discussion around annual themes.