Ryan Phelan

Executive Director, Co-founder
Revive & Restore

Ryan Phelan is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Revive & Restore, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on bringing biotechnologies to conservation. As a serial entrepreneur living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ryan founded and successfully sold two innovative health-tech companies—both designed to empower medical consumers—before co-founding Revive & Restore in 2012.

Ryan has led the organization in its mission to enhance biodiversity through the genetic rescue of endangered and extinct species. To this end, she brings together leading molecular biologists, conservationists, and representatives of governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, and citizens’ groups to advance and evolve conservation practices. Key species-specific projects supported by Revive & Restore include de-extinction of the Passenger Pigeon, enhancing the genetic diversity of the Black-footed ferret (North America’s most endangered mammal), and advocating for the adoption of Recombinant Factor C (rFC) as an equally efficacious synthetic alternative to the use of horseshoe crab blood in pharmaceutical testing.

Ryan represents the work of Revive & Restore as a convener and participant in conservation meetings of international significance. In December 2015, Ryan was a principal investigator at a weeklong meeting held by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This “Biodiversity Conservation in the Context of Synthetic Biology” meeting was integral in helping the IUCN plan for the potential of synthetic biology in conservation.

This June, Ryan will lead a forum, the New Genetic Rescue Toolkit for Ocean Conservation, at IUCN in Marseille, France. She will also convene a workshop entitled Intended Consequences. The purpose of this workshop, attended by a group of 30 invited conservationists, regulators, and ethicists, is to critically assess and develop guidelines for ecological interventions in the Twenty-first Century.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.