A.I. veteran to lead company’s deep learning strategy to unlock the full potential of seeds
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 21, 2021 — Enhancing efforts to effect sustainable improvements through the deep understanding of plants’ complex biological code, Inari – the SEEDesign™ company – has welcomed Dr. Rania Khalaf to its leadership team as its first chief information and data officer.
Khalaf brings more than a decade of artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing experience to further expand a team that is central to Inari’s mission. She will lead the company’s work in machine learning to further advance its predictive design, tapping into deep learning to map highly complex genetic networks and identify how to best address critical challenges such as resource use inefficiencies. These systemic discoveries identify unique gene pathways that will lead to improved plant performance to support a more sustainable food system.
“To transform the global food system for a more sustainable future, we are building a deeper understanding of some of nature’s most complex systems to determine the multiplex edits required for the desired outcome,” said Ponsi Trivisvavet, chief executive officer at Inari. “Our team has built a lot of momentum in this area over the past five years, so Rania’s experience in building digital platforms will accelerate our product development.”
Khalaf joins Inari from IBM Research, where she created and led the global research strategy on AI-infused automation. She ran an organization that developed foundational, award-winning innovation in cloud-native AI platforms, human-centered AI and serverless computing, leading to the launch and enhancement of an array of products. Khalaf held multiple leadership and research positions within IBM, laying the industry foundation for service-oriented computing and co-authoring core web service standards. She holds several patents and has over 90 peer-reviewed publications.
“I was drawn and inspired by the mission of Inari to drive impactful change,” Khalaf said. “Accelerating this journey by scaling machine learning pipelines and interleaving computation with biological systems to create a more sustainable future is a unique and challenging opportunity that I’m excited to take on.”
Khalaf serves on the board of the Hariri Institute for Computing at Boston University. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a doctorate in computer science from the University of Stuttgart.
Inari is embracing diversity to build a new, more sustainable food system using unsurpassed technology to unlock the full potential of seed. Through its SEEDesign™ platform, Inari unlocks new possibilities to bring step-change products to market. Founded by Flagship Pioneering in 2016, Inari is based in Cambridge, Mass., with additional sites in West Lafayette, Ind., and Ghent, Belgium. Inari is a growing team of more than 180 employees. To learn more, visit Inari.com.