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UToledo students’ winning biodesign projects to compete in New York

Two groups of UToledo students will compete against more than 30 teams from around the world Thursday and Friday, June 20 and 21, at the Biodesign Challenge Summit at the Parsons School of Design and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The two teams, PlastiGrow and btilix, won the chance to travel to the Big Apple at the UToledo competition this spring at the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion.

Btilix team members are, from left, Tyler Saner, Sarah Mattei, Courtney Kinzel, Timothy Wolf and Sherin Aburidi.

Presented by The University of Toledo, the Biodesign Challenge offers art and design, bioengineering, and environmental sciences students the opportunity to envision future applications of biotechnology and biomaterials that address complex global challenges. Students are connected with community experts to develop innovative solutions through interdisciplinary research and iterative prototyping.

“Normally, our jurors award one team with the honor of competing in New York, but this year we have the opportunity to award not just one team — a team that will compete against all schools — but we are also putting up for consideration another team for a special prize, so we are happy to announce our two winning teams, btilix and PlastiGrow,” Eric Zeigler, assistant professor of art, said.

Students on the PlastiGrow team are, from left, McKenzie Dunwald, Michael Socha, Colin Chalmers and Ysabelle Yrad.

The overall winner of the UToledo competition was btilix. This team developed a disinfectant spray for combatting antibiotic-resistant superbugs. The students on the btilix team are Tyler Saner, art; Sarah Mattei, environmental science; Courtney Kinzel, environmental science; Timothy Wolf, bioengineering; and Sherin Aburidi, bioengineering.

The UToledo team, PlastiGrow, is applying to compete in New York for the ORTA Sustainability in Textiles Prize. The team engineered a biodegradable plastic material that can be used in the creation of everyday products to greatly reduce the cost and energy spent on waste and recycling efforts. Team members are McKenzie Dunwald, art; Michael Socha, bioengineering; Colin Chalmers, art; and Ysabelle Yrad, environmental science.

For more information on the competition, visit the Biodesign Challenge website.