Arielle Johnson

Visiting Appointments, Open Agriculture (OpenAg), Director's Fellows
  • Director's Fellow
  • Visiting Scientist

Arielle is responsible for the flavor and biochemical side of Open Ag’s phenome research, as well as experimental collaborations on environmental control of a variety of edible biological systems with chefs and restaurants. 

Her primary projects include stressing plants to activate their flavor-producing metabolic pathways and a microbial incubator affectionately nicknamed the fermentabot.

Arielle completed a BSc in Chemistry at New York University and a PhD in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry from UC Davis with a focus in flavor chemistry. Prior to joining the Media Lab she was the resident scientist at Restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, and the head of research at MAD, chef Rene Redzepi’s food symposium and think tank. She is a regular contributor to Lucky Peach and the Los Angeles Times, and her work has been featured in Wired, Nature Microbiology, Science, The Harvard Science and Cooking lectures, the World Bank, Tales of the Cocktail, Popular Science, and SXSW. Outside of MIT Arielle is also a regular collaborator with restaurants including Noma, Mission Chinese Food, Dandelyan, and Sqirl on creative a… View full description

Arielle is responsible for the flavor and biochemical side of Open Ag’s phenome research, as well as experimental collaborations on environmental control of a variety of edible biological systems with chefs and restaurants. 

Her primary projects include stressing plants to activate their flavor-producing metabolic pathways and a microbial incubator affectionately nicknamed the fermentabot.

Arielle completed a BSc in Chemistry at New York University and a PhD in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry from UC Davis with a focus in flavor chemistry. Prior to joining the Media Lab she was the resident scientist at Restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, and the head of research at MAD, chef Rene Redzepi’s food symposium and think tank. She is a regular contributor to Lucky Peach and the Los Angeles Times, and her work has been featured in Wired, Nature Microbiology, Science, The Harvard Science and Cooking lectures, the World Bank, Tales of the Cocktail, Popular Science, and SXSW. Outside of MIT Arielle is also a regular collaborator with restaurants including Noma, Mission Chinese Food, Dandelyan, and Sqirl on creative and scientific projects.

Her work emphasizes dismantling the disciplinary boundaries between the kitchen and the laboratory, drawing on her experience doing research and development in the sciences, fine dining, and food nonprofits; and using tools from chemistry, plant science, microbiology, ethnobotany, history, psychology, engineering, design, and experimental cuisine.