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Workshops & seminars

Simplifying detection of water contamination with synthetic biology

Date & time

Tuesday, September 22, 2020
12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

Speaker(s)

David Lloyd, Emily Hicks, Ana Fernandez

Cost

This event is free

Organization

District 3

Contact

Rosa Addario

Where

Online

Re-designing biological systems can help us tackle pressing challenges in health, energy and the environment. From biochemical bacterial detectors to green petroleum substitutes, the applications of synthetic biology are countless.

Join us on September 22 to learn how FREDSense is turning engineered microbes into electrochemical sensors to detect contamination in water. Register here.

Using synthetic biology, founders Emily Hicks and David Lloyd have built a biosensor platform that can be rapidly customized to detect nearly any contaminant and chemical in water. Using the billions of genetic sequences available in databases and libraries, FREDsense identifies specific segments of DNA that selectively respond to the chemical of interest of their customer. This DNA is incorporated into their patented bacterial system, which results in a custom product for the chemical of interest.

As experienced entrepreneurs and experts in synthetic biology, Hicks and Lloyd will give their perspectives on:

  • Their journey through the international iGEM competition in synthetic biology and breaking out of the lab into entrepreneurship.
  • The typical challenges synthetic biology scientists face when seeking to commercialize their research.
  • Their experience with scaling operations and managing a large team.
  • How they overcame financial challenges through investment and funding opportunities.

 

Speakers

Emily Hicks

Hicks is a graduate from the University of Calgary with a degree in biomedical science. She has led diverse technical teams on the world stage, resulting in awards at Stanford, MIT and more. Hicks has been profiled in multiple Top 30 under 30 lists and was recognized as a distinguished alumnus for Early Career Achievement in 2019. Emily has successfully developed and deployed biotechnology products in the field and leads the Product and Operations teams at FREDsense.

David Lloyd

Lloyd’s work ranges from managing complex innovation programs to working in projects as diverse as DNA assembly, environmental remediation and biosensors. He leads FREDsense in business and development and has been instrumental in establishing first clients in the water industry, guiding the company to receive several awards including the Singularity University Global Grand Challenge award in Water and the PwC Vision 2 Reality award. Lloyd is a board member of Ars Biotechnica supporting students in peer review biotechnology publications and a judge and committee member of the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition.

Ana Fernandez

Fernandez coordinates the Life Sciences Hub at District 3 Innovation Center, fostering the powerful intersection between research and entrepreneurship. By supporting the implementation of different programs and by animating a dynamic ecosystem involving researchers, entrepreneurs, public agencies and mentors, Fernandez's work paves the lab-to-market path in order to create high-impact companies that will strengthen Canada’s economy and solve pressing human and society needs.

Prior to District 3, Fernandez worked and studied for extended periods in three different continents, focusing on the application of quantitative and qualitative methods to solve usability problems, understand everyday decisions and study impairments in brain function.

About FREDSense

Water is essential to our lives, almost every industry and our environment. It is our most precious resource. Despite this, our ability to monitor the quality of our water assets is lacking. Tools are expensive, complex, and require processing steps. This costs time, money and means that decisions can’t be made in real-time.

FREDsense combines biology and engineering to detect chemicals in your water. They have built a biological platform for the rapid customization of sensors for field use. By working with a custom sensor design specialist, they can build a custom, field-based solution for the parameters you are interested in monitoring.

 

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