Professor Tillman Gerngross, following on the heels of his successful GlycoFi yeast manufacturing system (which he and co-founder Professor Charles Hutchinson sold to Merck in 2006 for $400 million), is driving progress at his latest biotech start-up, Adimab, which re-engineers yeast cells to create antibody factories. “We’ve created a synthetic human immune system in yeast, and the yeast will do what a normal B cell does, which is create an antibody,” says Gerngross. Adimab recently announced major new research collaborations with Merck and Roche.
Assistant professor Petia Vlahovska has earned a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. Her research aims to mimic the design of biological cells.
Professor Ian Baker has been named the Sherman Fairchild Professor in Engineering in recognition of his research, scholarship, teaching, and mentoring. His most recent research is developing iron nanoparticles for cancer treatment.
Thayer School has been awarded a grant to support two women as Clare Boothe Luce Graduate Fellows in its new Ph.D. Innovation Program, the nation’s first such program addressing the need for engineers with both technical and entrepreneurial expertise.
Ashifi Gogo Th’09 and Shivam Rajdev Tu’09 placed first in the United States and second globally in the 2009 Global Social Venture Competition, earning $10,000 for their business plan for mPedigree Logistics. Citing the “huge problem” of counterfeit drugs in developing countries, the World Economic Forum also recognized mPedigree as a Technology Pioneer for 2009, and Forum Nokia awarded mPedigree first place in the emerging markets category of its Calling All Innovators competition. With mPedigree, all drugs distributed in participating countries are labeled with a scratch panel that reveals a unique code, or “pedigree.” When a drug is purchased, the patient can text the code to a designated number and receive a response confirming whether the drug is genuine or fake. Piloted successfully in Ghana in January 2008, mPedigree is now working to expand its platform to all 48 sub-Saharan African countries, starting with a trial in Nigeria this summer. Gogo is in Thayer’s Ph.D. Innovation Program.
Alison Stace-Naughton ’11, an engineering major, has been awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in recognition of her drug delivery research. Receiving the scholarship “has really confirmed my desire to become a great bioengineer,” she says. The foundation awards scholarships to outstanding students who intend to pursue careers in science, mathematics, and engineering.
Engineering majors Sarah Rocio ’10, Mike Wood ’10, and Lucas Schulz ’08 are the technical experts for the fifth annual Big Green Bus summer cross-country tour. The 15 crew members of the veggie-oil-powered bus want to raise public awareness of energy conservation and environmental responsibility. Follow the tour at thebiggreenbus.org.
For photos of more breakthrough work, visit our Research and Innovations set on Flickr.