LARISSA ZHOU

DEHYDRATION AND REHDYRATION IN FOOD SYSTEMS
I use the tools of soft matter physics to 1) understand the kinetics of dehydration and rehydration of complex food structures and 2) develop food processing technologies that extend shelf-life without reducing palatability.

The results from this project can improve eating conditions for astronauts on long duration missions to the Moon and Mars. Many demographics on Earth, including soldiers, refugees, and outdoor recreationists, also stand to benefit.

Press: Harvad GSAS Profile, Harvard SEAS Profile.

SIRONA, A BIOREGENERATIVE LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM
SIRONA is a radical new design for a Martian greenhouse, born out of my collaboration with Heather Hava of CU Boulder, Lizzie Lombardi of Cornell, and other great colleagues.

I contributed elements related to post-harvest processing, kitchen layout, and nutritional analysis.

SIRONA won the award for Most Innovative Concept at the 2019 NASA BIG Idea Challenge in Langley, VA. In 2019, we also presented SIRONA's architecture and technology at ICES and its design philosophy and projected performance at IAC.

Our next step is to build and test prototypes of SIRONA subsystems in Mars analogue environments.

MODERNIST BREAD
From 2012 to 2017, I was the food scientist at Modernist Cuisine, an R&D-lab/publishing-house in Seattle founded by Nathan Myhrvold, former CTO of Microsoft.

I designed and conducted experiments that established the scientific groundwork for the recipes and techniques covered in our books. I managed a small group of research assistants, coordinated experiments with chef colleagues, and collaborated with the editorial team on science communication.

Our entire team's work culminated in the publication of Modernist Bread, a 5-volume book on the science and art of bread, in November 2017. It won a James Beard Award and an IACP Award in 2018.

Press for Modernist Bread: NY Times, WSJ, Physics World, The New Yorker, Wired.

FACT-CHECKING
I freelance as a fact-checker in science journalism, with topics ranging from the Parker Solar Probe to illegal tree cutting in Thailand. I'm motivated to help writers communicate science clearly and accurately.

Clients include Scientific American, Knowable Magazine, Science News, The Alpinist, and Amazon Publishing. Book work includes chapters of Eliza Griswold's Amity and Prosperity, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.

The NYTimes explains what is fact-checking, and why it is important.