Larissa Zhou headshot

I am a food scientist and engineer.

I'm a 5th year PhD candidate in mechanical engineering and materials science at Harvard. My research is on improving how humans eat in low-resource environments, with a focus on cooking in space (video). I draw widely from food science, aerospace engineering, systems engineering, and international development.

My work has been supported by the NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship since 2019.

Previously, I spent 5 years as the food scientist at Modernist Cuisine, where I led technical R&D on the award-winning, extremely heavy, 5-volume Modernist Bread. I got my start in the field by designing and teaching classes on the science of cooking at Harvard and UCLA. I received my AB in Physics with a minor in Social Anthropology from Harvard in 2011.

I've also worked with the following organizations: Off Their Plate, Fundació Alícia, The Nordic Food Lab, and Black Sesame Kitchen.

Contact me at zhou6(at)

Aug 2023: I conduct an AMA in slack for the thoughtful community members of Scope of Work. Transcript upcoming.
Jan 2023: I'm at APS CuWIP @ BU, giving a talk about my research through the lens of physics identity and belonging.
Dec 2022: I play a game with Jiayang Fan on This American Life, where I talk about my accent. I start around 21:13. And for the record, the library ultimately accepted me because they wanted diverse voices.
Oct 2022: I'm at IAC, running an interactive session on Space Technology for Food System Resilience and Sustainability with co-conspirator Maggie Coblentz.
Sept 2022: Thank you to Harvard for putting together this 5-min video explainer about my work on H0TP0T.
Aug 2022: I stand up in front of strangers and talk about the supreme delight and fear of doing research on The Story Collider (start 15"20").