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UNAB Biotechnology Students Achieve Worldwide recognition in Scientific Innovation

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A group of five UNAB students studying Biotechnological Engineering are now founders of Platech, an project that pushes the boundaries of science innovation. Since its creation just over a year ago, Platech has already accomplished extraordinary feats.

This year, UNAB students Pablo González, Patricio Ávila, Cristóbal Curkovic, Gabriela González and María Ignacia von Unger participated in a world famous Tech-I Competition, a university entrepreneurship contest, which is sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The group was awarded with the “Science and Technology Excellence Award”; presented to the best overall science enterprise for the year 2015.

The Tech-I Competition is one of the biggest in the world dedicated to university entrepreneurship. This year, more than 794 enterprises participated from various countries around the world, with Platech being one of 30 finalists making it to the last round.

“To represent Chile and UNAB in this competition, I had to travel to Nairobi, Kenya, where the final was being held. It was an enriching experience, as we made key contacts for our enterprise,” explained Patricio Ávila, CEO at Platech.

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Meanwhile, Maria Ignacia Unger pointed out that “the competition’s judges were very impressed with our work, expressing a great interest in our plans for the future, and progress in our project. It gives us great satisfaction, as we feel that we have been doing a good job so far.”

Platech’s Contribution to Science

Through a brainstorming activity in their studies, the five Platech members created a technological device that will change the way laboratories work forever.

Their idea is to create a platelet extract (a component found in blood that stops bleeding) for laboratory use made from synthetic elements, which would eventually replace the fluid currently being used.

The platelet extract comes from animal serum which is used for cell culture conservation. To do this, however, bovine fetuses are sacrificed. “This formula does have a few problems, though. Firstly, 450,000 animals are slaughtered annually. Furthermore, in terms of use, it is difficult to control the experiments since each bottle has different characteristics, generating different samples,” explains Patricio Avila.

Finally, Pablo Gonzalez said the most noteworthy success this year has been to “develop high-impact, biotech venture. We are very motivated, especially that few Chileans dare to start such an enterprise, with only a tiny percentage doing so in biotechnology.”

 

Are you inspired by the Platech project? Are you interested in a career in Biotechnological Engineering? Visit UNAB to learn more.

 

Source – Universidad Andrés Bello

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Universidad Andrés Bello

Universidad Andres Bello has been consolidated as an institution with tradition and ideals, rooted in its entire university community since its founding in 1988. To date has more than 70 careers, in addition to daytime and evening programs.