On the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science
by Tal Zeltzer, CTO & Co-founder, Phytolon
Being Soviet immigrants in Israel in the 1980’s was a struggle for my parents, trying to make ends meet in a new country, after living all their lives behind the Iron Curtain. My grandmother, Liza, a Holocaust survivor, had a tough life (to say the least), but she loved reading to the 5-year-old me the classical Russian adaptation of “Dr. Dolittle” by Korney Chukovsky, named “Dr. Ow-It-Hurts”. In the imaginary world of the Doctor, he could speak the language of the animals, favoring them over humans.
That book ignited something in my young self, contemplating about the imbalance between humans and animals, and the collateral damage behind transforming habitats to agricultural fields, poultry, or livestock farms. Just because it’s green, doesn’t mean its nature.
I was certain that I will also be a veterinarian (I was also a vegetarian since the age of 10), but during my BSc studies in Biology, I began thinking of how I can use my newly acquired knowledge to drive a positive environmental impact, concluding that only through solid scientific and technological developments, balanced with economical and scalable production, we can promote and drive a change.
Nowadays, by harnessing robust biotech and automation tools, we can develop and commercialize high quality and and economic bio-based products that will dramatically change global resource usage. Companies based on fermentation technologies offer a wide range of food ingredients, proteins, and cultured meat cuts that replaces polluting agriculture and farming.
For the young women reading this, a quick advice - the glass ceiling is only in your head.
Keep your chin up through challenging times. Select strong partners. Work hard every day. Leave your ego out of the office door. Achieve milestones. And most important - don’t fear your own voice. Trust me, everyone will listen.
For the love of science.