Modern Synthesis makes leather-like materials from cellulose.
Modern Synthesis is a London-based biomaterials company focusing on replacing non-woven materials such as leather. They create a layer of microbial cellulose and then reinforce it with scaffolding to give it extra strength. Additionally, they are able to customize the material by genetically modifying the microbes to express certain traits e.g. modifying the microbes to express melanin to get a naturally black material.
Jen started out her career at Adidas where she stayed for 5 years and eventually ended up on the creative direction team. Here she designed and scouted new materials and figured out how to work with them and incorporate them into Adidas’ product lines. She then went to get her MA in Material Futures at the University of the Arts London. During her master's, she worked as a freelance designer. In 2020 she became a Creative Resident at Bolt Threads before starting Modern Synthesis a couple of months later.
Ben got his MA in Biological Sciences from Cambridge and then went on to Imperial College where he got a PhD in Bioengineering & Synthetic Biology. Upon completion he founded Puraffinity, a material science startup focused on removing harmful PFAS (per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) from the environment. Applications include water treatment. Ben was the CTO and then an advisor until founding Modern Synthesis with Jen in 2020.