Kara Leong

UC Davis Cultivated Meat Consortium

Executive Director

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Kara Leong is the Executive Director and spearheaded the formation of the UC Davis Cultivated Meat Consortium (CMC), a cross-disciplinary group of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and educators with expertise in platform technologies and translational research approaches enabling the development of cultivated meat and high value proteins for use in sustainable food systems.

Leong has over 20 years of experience in executive board and volunteer management, corporate & major gifts fundraising, environmental and biological scientific research, sustainable agricultural production, and food/wine innovation.

Leong has a B.S. in plant molecular genetics & cell biology from UC Davis, a B.S.L.A. in Landscape Architecture from UC Davis, an M.S. in Viticulture & Enology from UC Davis, and is a certified philanthropic fundraiser. Leong was a research specialist for Biosource Technologies, Inc and Empire Farms Research.  She was the primary fundraising officer for the UC Davis Provost office and the Chief of Staff for the Singapore based alternative protein/food innovation company TurtleTree.  Leong is passionate about building an exceptional workforce and commercializing food innovation in the Greater Sacramento region.

Her mission is to leverage and expand the campus strengths in biotechnology, agriculture, food science and bioprocessing, and to build strategic partnerships with industry, academia, and philanthropy to advance the field of cell-based meat. I spearheaded the formation, funding support and management of the CMC, the first and largest academic research consortium in cell-based meat with $7 million in grant, corporate and philanthropic research funding since late 2020.

Leong manages and coordinates the CMC’s strategic partnerships and industry engagement with our research teams, external and internal communications and activities, grant and fundraising operations and supports student activities, workforce/technical training, and entrepreneurial development.