About Petridish

Welcome to Petridish!

We created this community because we, like you, love science. We love the thrill of a new discovery. And the chance to extend the bounds of human knowledge.

On Petridish, you can get involved first hand with research projects that are changing our world. Discover teams led by world-renowned researchers. Make science truly come to life by backing your favorite scientists and causes. Without your support, none of these projects could happen.

We hope you like Petridish as much as we enjoyed building it. For additional information on our community, please visit our F.A.Q.

Our Team

Matt Salzberg

Before founding Petridish.org, Matt was a venture capital investor at Bessemer, where he focused on the mobile, digital-media and software sectors and was involved with investments in Intucell, Millennial Media, and several others. Matt started his career as an analyst in the Blackstone Group’s private equity division, where he stayed until shortly after its IPO. There, he was involved in several transactions including the take-private of Nielsen and the dividend recapitalization of Centennial. Matt also worked in Blackstone’s Hong Kong office where he evaluated investments in the Thai, Indonesian and Australian markets.

Matt holds a B.A. in economics, summa cum laude , and an MBA, both from Harvard University. While pursuing his undergraduate degree, Matt served on the Board of Directors of Harvard Student Agencies and ran its laundry, dry-cleaning and linen-rental business, winning Manager of the Year for turning around its performance. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of SelectMinds, a social job recruiting company.

His favorite research projects on Petridsh include Astronomy, Archaeology, Marine Biology and Economics.


Ilia Papas

Prior to Petridish.org, Ilia was a director and technical architect at Optaros in Boston, where he teamed up with Walmart.com's product team to launch a new platform for the Health category, with progressive new features that were ultimately adopted organization-wide. He also helped architect, build, and launch RueLaLa.com, a popular private-event retail site, and has built solutions for CNN, PUMA, Turner Broadcasting, and Macy's.

Before Optaros, Ilia was a software engineer at Molecuar (now Isobar) and Bullhorn. He holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from Tufts University.

He has an avid interest in Social Sciences, Ecology, Physics, and Anthropology. He also enjoys golf, travel, and photography.

Media inquiries

If you'd like to be connected with any of the researchers featured on our site, or otherwise use our content, we'd be happy to talk with you. We are also available for interviews about Petridish.org. Please contact us here and we will get back to you shortly.