Researchers say YES to Commercialisation

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Teams representing the cream of UK university talent have been competing in regional heats across the country for the past three months.

In the face of this stiff competition, three teams of postgraduate student and research scientists from Newcastle University have succeeded in being selected to compete in the BiotechnologyYes final this December.

Newcastle University teams are becoming regular contenders for the top prizes and we have high hopes for this year’s entries.

Last Year's Winners: Team Allez and Team Fybre having fun after the final

BiotechnologyYES is an annual competition, now in its 14th year, which aims to help the UK’s early career bioscientists gain the skills and contacts necessary to turn research into a commercial reality.

Young scientists competed for places in the final, mentored by a team of advisors including financiers, intellectual property experts and spin-out company heads.

In the running for prizes and fame this year, are:

  • Team Aquaestus (pronounced a-quest-us):

Miguel Angel Galindo, Jennifer Hannant, Joseph Hedley, Jonathan Pate and Andrew Pike. Their Product Bio-ad Pro was developed to conserve heat through the use of a biochemical obtained from a bacterium. Once added to liquid Bio-ad Pro maintains a steady equilibrium and dissipates heat at a slower rate compared to conventional cooling processes.

  • Team Atmosphane:

Andy Goodhead, Joseph Harwood, Ernest Chi-Fru and Carla-Leanne Washbourne. Atmosphane will exploit methane clathrates, using a novel bacterium and biostimulant, to provide low cost methane as an alternative to traditional fossil fuel.

  • Team Ecosphere:

Susan Fitzer, Mohammad Mehedi Hasan Khan, Helen Pagett, Rebecca Herdman and Liadi Kola Mudashiru. Ecosphere uses a second generation antibiotic called iBiotic2G to reduce methane from ruminants. Thus increasing cow meat yield and milk yield and lowering meat to market period. iBiotic2g has a molecular size too large for absorption in ruminant stomachs and therefore avoids resistance build up to antibiotics and passing this resistance onto humans.

All of these teams are sponsored by local business woman and entrepreneur Caroline Theobald whose company Connect North East specialises in bringing together high-tech companies and investors.

Watch this space in the New Year for an update on how our teams got on at the December 14th final in London!

 ‘When one of the judges got his cheque book out I knew we had nailed it.’ Jennifer Hannant; Aquaestus 

‘At one point I thought this was a real business, but it wasn’t.’ Jonathan Pate; Aquaestus

 ‘Environment YES demonstrates the numerous career paths available to research scientists, presenting entrepreneurship as a realistic long-term occupation’ – Carla-Leanne Washbourne; Atmosphane

‘It was very intensive during the Oxford workshop, it was hard work but altogether a very enjoyable and beneficial experience. Plus the food was good!’ – Rebecca Herdman; Ecosphere 

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