McMaster MBA students pose after Synapse compeition

April 13, 2017

DeGroote MBA candidates win Synapse Life Science Competition

DeGroote MBA candidates Gabriella Demmings and Philipp Kolb recently earned top honours at the Synapse Life Science Competition, and each came home with $6,250 in prize money and a new outlook on the union between business and science.

The annual event pairs top innovators with business and entrepreneurship students, and is designed to help transition various life science products and services from the lab to the market. Demmings and Kolb worked alongside McMaster alumnus Dr. Kha Tram of InnovoGENE, a self-described "research-driven biotechnology company," based in Burlington. The company develops sensors for targeting pathogenic bacteria, including a system used to detect E. coli and other pathogens in recreational water supplies.

On March 29, the top three teams in the Synapse Competition delivered 20-minute presentations to a panel of industry experts and executives at the Innovation Factory, which involved a 10-minute pitch followed by a 10-minute Q&A session.

"Everything was based off a very robust and comprehensive market commercialization plan, and Gabriella and I worked closely with Dr. Tram and InnovoGENE to put their ideas into a business context," Kolb explains. "The experience was incredible, and it really opened my eyes to how valuable a DeGroote MBA is. It can take you anywhere, and for me that place is the interface between business and science."

"Working with InnovoGENE and the Innovation Factory was a fantastic experience," Demmings adds. "In addition to the hands-on learning opportunity that this competition provided, it was also a great chance to apply the skills and knowledge acquired through our first semester at DeGroote. Overall, it was an invaluable part of my education thus far at DeGroote."

Several other DeGroote MBA candidates participated in the competition, including: Amy Gorth, Saad Asif, Navneet Makker, Sarrah Lal, and Roman Korytnikov.