We believe in a better life through science and design.
LifeLabs is a materials science company founded by Professor Yi Cui, director of Stanford University’s advanced materials laboratory, and Meng Sui, a chemist and CEO of clean-energy foundry EEnotech.
EEnotech’s history of developing innovative solutions to society’s most pressing issues: clean energy storage, water purification, thermoregulation, combined with Professor Cui’s background in energy and environmental technologies - from electric car batteries to wind and solar energy storage to soil filtration - promises a focus on sustainability unprecedented within the textile industry.
Every LifeLabs technology is developed scientifically to reduce energy consumption. To date, we have 11 patents designed to allow humans to use less energy. Our vision is to drive these solutions further by making these technologies and materials available to companies across different industries, shifting the way that we think about fabric and its environmental impact.
From clean-energy storage to water purification, thermoregulation to air filtration, Professor Yi Cui, of Stanford University’s Materials Science and Engineering, has supported sustainability through science for more than 15 years. But his latest venture, LifeLabs, promises a new level of sustainability, energy efficiency and long-lasting technology unlike any of his previous ventures. Director of Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy, with more than 500 research publications and 50 patent applications, Professor Yi is an expert in the fields of nanotechnology, materials science, energy, and wearable and environmental technology. His research contribution has been recognized with numerous awards including the Lawrence Award (one of the highest awards given by US Department of Energy) and the Materials Research Society Medal (one of the highest awards in materials science).
Professor Yi was born in Guangxi, an autonomous region of China, in 1976, and earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Science & Technology of China. He completed his doctorate in physical chemistry at Harvard in 2002 and then became a Miller postdoctoral fellow at the University of California Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Professor Yi is Co-Director of the Battery 500 Consortium (funded by the US Department of Energy), a Co-Director of Stanford StorageX Initiative and Co-Director of the Bay Area Photovoltaic Consortium. The educator is also an entrepreneur, having founded the clean tech foundry EEnotech, Inc, Amprius, 4C Air, and EnerVenue, Inc. Professor Yi is an elected Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, Materials Research Society, Electrochemical Society, and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Professor Yi lives on the Stanford University campus with his wife, Meng Sui, LifeLabs co-founder, and his two sons, who are competitive swimmers. A collegiate soccer player, Professor Yi enjoys soccer, travel and wine.
With 20 years of experience in the chemistry and nanotechnology field, Meng has worked as a chemist, a researcher, a patent agent and analyst for major international law firms, and an entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of EnerVenue, the CEO of 4C Air, Inc, and the co-founder and CEO of sustainability technology accelerator EEnotech.
As a medicinal chemist, Meng developed novel medicine for Alzheimer’s Disease and was the inventor of multiple patents. After working as a patent agent, she co-founded EEnotech, Inc with Stanford University Professor Yi Cui, to accelerate the commercialization of patents from schools in sustainability, new materials, energy, environmental technologies and textiles. With a passion for launching energy and environment technology start-ups to support global sustainability, Meng has developed and scaled some of the most innovative science from Stanford’s Labs. From clean energy storage to water filtration to thermal textiles to air filtration, Meng’s foundry and companies aim to support sustainability on a global scale.
Meng was born in China and holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of Science and Technology in China and an MA in Chemistry from Boston University. She lives on Stanford Campus with her husband and two sons, both competitive swimmers.
LifeLabs™ CEO Scott Mellin is a global leader in innovation and entrepreneurism. With more than three decades of varied experience, he’s developed highly successful global brands, technologies, products and marketing concepts. Scott is a rare breed: a visionary creative innovator, a conceptual thinker, and an authentic mountain athlete, with a deep experience in managing multi-billion dollar global brands.
From his earliest experience in product development—developing and commercializing the first shin guards and arm guards for ski racing in 1984 while attending the University of Colorado Boulder—to leading the strategic development of the Nordica skis and bindings as VP of Product for the Benetton Group a decade later, Scott has a rich and diverse background. He revived Factory Design Labs, which he grew to a global full-service advertising agency in 10 years, representing Audi, The North Face, Callaway Golf, Oakley, HEAD, POC, Scott Sports, Aspen Snowmass, Winter Park and more.
In the last four years at The North Face, as its Global VP of Mountain Sports, he led the brand—and its Global product innovation , marketing campaigns, partnerships, athletes —forward through the lens of authenticity, true innovation, athlete connectivity and global partnership programs. Scott developed the vision and three-year strategy for the 1.5B Mountain Sports territory, which led to Fast Company awarding The North Face the Most Innovative Brand award in 2020.
Scott famously led the creation of the FutureLight fabric technology (and personally tested the product while ski mountaineering in his home mountain range), which changed the outdoor industry and was named among Time’s Best Inventions of 2019, earned the 2020 Design and Innovation Award by DI.A and won ISPO Product of the Year for 2020. Part of Scott’s mountain sports sustainability strategy for TNF, FutureLight was applauded by Wired, Outside, Popular Mechanics and others for its sustainability benefits. Within two years, Scott helped increase The North Face’s recycled content from 7 percent to 70 percent. Scott also developed The North Face’s Advanced Mountain Kit, touted as the highest level of athlete-driven textile and design development which spawned 7 unique innovations including the 50/50 Down Jacket which was awarded the acclaimed ISPO Product of the Year Award in 2020, and most recently the Vectiv footwear project from concept to market delivery.
Scott lives in Aspen Colorado with his wife of 30 years, Heidi. His daughter and son attend college in Pennsylvania and Colorado. Scott is a ski mountaineer, climber, and alpinist who moves thru the mountains around world.
JJ Collier Global
VP Product Design
A master of combining innovative textiles with modern design, JJ Collier brings a deep understanding and studied execution of technical and lifestyle apparel creation to LifeLabs. Over the past 20 years, JJ has led teams at Ralph Lauren, Spyder, and Triple Aught Design driving compelling design, development, and modern storytelling. With his design house, Collier Brands, JJ emphasizes conscious design with richly considered styles, streamlined product creation, waste reduction and the future of sustainability in apparel.
A former professional snowboarder, JJ’s design approach is rooted in authentic functionality. With an eye for proportion and style, JJ acquired a sewing machine in 1997 and set out apply his ideas and concepts to tangible products. In between snowboard contests and training, he began constructing highly conceptual outerwear garments. After launching a small custom clothing studio, he was hired by Salomon to design the company’s first apparel collections from its headquarters in Annecy, France. He was later recruited by Ralph Lauren as RLX Outerwear Design Director in New York City and went on to lead the product team at Spyder Active Sports, in Boulder, Colorado, as Senior VP of Design. Recently, as Senior Director of Apparel Innovation Concepts at VF Corp, JJ led charges into long-term sustainability.
In his new position at LifeLabs, he will utilize and hone every part of his experience and philosophy. JJ believes that innovative textile technology, elegant design, true sustainability, and authentic consumer engagement are central to the future success of the apparel industry.
JJ lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife, Shannon and two sons. He enjoys restoring old Porsches, snowboarding, and mentoring new designers.
Global VP of Supply Chain
A globally recognized expert in the textile industry with a proven track record of driving innovation and supporting sustainability, Vijay Somasundaram brings broad leadership experience in the apparel, fashion, outdoor, and sportswear industries. He has a reputation for building excellent relationships with textile mills, yarn, dye and chemical suppliers, as well as machinery manufacturers around the world. Multilingual, with a deep understanding of the cultures where he works, he facilitates raw materials negotiations around the world . Always thinking outside the box and approaching challenges with competence and grace, Vijay is a natural problem solver and an authority on supply-chains.
From his last role as Director of Materials Strategy for VF Outdoor, Vijay brings a varied skillset ranging from operations management to vendor relations to purchasing to garment manufacturing. With a vast understanding of complex fabrics, he has supported textile mill lab accreditation, enhanced the use of recycled materials, managed teams of material and trim experts, and more. Vijay led an initiative to replace Durable Water Repellency (DWR) long-chain (C8) fluorocarbon-based chemicals with environmentally preferable options. He initiated the Himalayan Take Back project, collecting waste bottles from the Himalayan region and recycling them into yarns, creating new sustainable supply chains. While working at VF, he won The North Face’s Nuptse Award, an award presented for outstanding performance for sustainability, multiple times, as well as the FutureLight Award for leading an effort between materials, design, product development, sourcing and quality assurance.
Vijay was born in Malaysia and raised in Sri Lanka, where he studied Commerce and Economics from Royal College, one of the leading Educational institutes in Sri Lanka. After 14 years in Hong Kong, Vijay immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1997. Vijay lives in San Francisco’s East Bay, where he raised his two children with his wife of 35 years. Vijay enjoys playing badminton and soccer, and hiking. He is engaged in volunteer service both in the U.S. and Sri Lanka.
An experienced materials researcher with a demonstrated history of driving innovation within the apparel and footwear industries, scientist Cindy Lau brings skills in materials science, thin films, colloids, scanning electron microscopy, and polymers. Strong analytical and problem-solving skills helped Cindy earn a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) focused in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science from Princeton University. She’s known for her ability to turn cutting-edge ideas from academia into successful commercial products.
As a Senior Materials Researcher for Global Innovation at VF Corporation, Cindy explored and evaluated innovative materials and processes for future apparel products and manufacturing. She established methodology to test materials and collaborated with design, product development, sustainability and supply chain teams to execute projects from concept to commercialization. At LifeLabs, inspired to develop materials and life-changing technologies, Cindy led a small team to execute a pilot program, from research and design to manufacturing and product presentation. Basing product development on firsthand data, she has filed multiple patents and commercialized corresponding products.
Cindy has worked as a research associate at the University of Cambridge, where she developed advanced materials for thermo chemical oxygen storage and production. As a Ph.D. Candidate at Princeton, she studied the formation of submicrometer features in polymer thin film through electrohydrodynamic patterning. As a research intern at the Singapore’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, she developed a low-cost and rapid technique to enhance ordering in gold nanoparticles self-assembly.
Cindy lives in Palo Alto, California with her husband and son. She enjoys traveling with her family, cycling and crafting.
A materials scientist who is working to commercialize patent technology, Pei Zhu is inspired to reduce personal and global energy consumption through advanced materials.
Pei’s experience spans the polymer materials field. Her research has focused on composite polymer materials (membranes), and researching and characterizing their potential application in textiles and lithium batteries. With a Ph.D. in Fiber and Polymer Science from North Carolina State University, Pei has led and participated in several projects working on nanostructured polymers and their applications in lithium battery systems. By studying polymer fiber materials as separators and solid electrolytes, she helped to improve the electrochemical performance and thermal safety of lithium batteries. As a research assistant at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University in China, she explored the correlation between product performance and human sensory comfort. She also worked on environmentally friendly solvent and a water-borne based alkyd coating to replace traditional alkyd coatings with high VOC levels. This research, in addition to her work with lithium batteries, prepared her for her current role as a materials scientist at LifeLabs, where she researches in thermoregulation in textiles. Pei runs in-house experiments and coordinates external tests for LifeLabs.
Pei was born in Zhejiang, China and earned her Master of Engineering in Textile Chemistry from Zhejiang Sci-Tech University in Zhejiang Province, China. She lives in Santa Clara, California and enjoys watching movies, going to the gym and reading.