Kathryn Polkoff joins Breakthrough Energy’s Innovator Fellows program from Hoofprint Biome in Raleigh, North Carolina. She has spent more than 10 years working at the intersection of livestock and biotechnology. At Hoofprint, Kathryn and her team leverage biology to achieve symbiotic livestock production: a mutually beneficial relationship between humans, animals, and the planet.
Cattle farming is responsible for nearly one-third of global methane emissions – methane is a greenhouse gas that’s both potent and fast-acting. Hoofprint Biome is developing a probiotic to release enzymes that inhibit methane producing bacteria. This has the potential to dramatically reduce livestock greenhouse gas emissions while also improving animal health and productivity. Feeding cows just a mouthful of Hoofprint’s probiotic yeast can increase farm profitability while making cattle farming a part of the climate solution.
Kathryn earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in animal sciences from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Doctor of Philosophy in veterinary sciences (cell biology) from North Carolina State University.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Always be aware of your surroundings.” It’s useful in the present moment and useful to make you think about your place in the world.
What is the most impactful book that you have read?
“Foundation” by Isaac Asimov. I think about it all the time. It’s about the forces that drive science, nature, and human behavior.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A large animal veterinarian… until I discovered the magic of biotechnology.
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