The Rice Business Plan competition is the premier STEM-based competition in the country.  First place is $350,000 in investment capital, $100,000 for second place, and $50,000 for third place.  20 additional cash prizes are provided.  Over the past 20 years the 700 teams that have participated have raised $2.67 billion in funding.  You may recall that a couple of years ago, Mito Materials Solutions, an OSU student startup, place 2nd in the competition.  That’s a distinction that we’re proud of to this day.

We don’t submit an entry each year, but we did this year—Paldara.  Paldara is an OSU student startup that has worked primarily with David Thomison.   Paldara Pharmaceuticals is led by Beau Blanchard, MBA and MSE, William Colton, Master’s in Microbiology and Cabeen Lab alumnus, and Jacob Miller, an undergraduate finance major.   The company is developing an innovative microbial gel coating to be used with existing catheters to reduce urinary tract infections (UTI) by 99 percent.   The near eradication of UTI will lower health care costs and improve patient quality of life.  Note—like Mito Paldara consists of MBA and STEM students (the two principals)—the combination that has produced our best startups.

This year 440 teams applied for Rice and 54 were selected to compete.  Now, for the fun. Click on the link shown below and fast-forward to about the 2:30 mark.  The person you’ll see speaking is the director of the competition.  Spoiler alert—Paldara made the top 54.  What’s interesting is the peer group of schools that Paldara is part of.  This speaks to how talented Paldara’s founders are, but also how far our program has come.  In terms of business plan competitions, our peers are the schools you’ll see on the screen in a minute.  Enjoy!!!

We take teaching seriously, and our PhD student Rabi Khadka was namesdthe Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Outstanding TA for 2019-2020. The runner up was Chris Hamm, another of our PhD students. Well done fellas!

Former Cabeen lab undergrad and now Accelerated Master's student William Colton is a founder of a young company, Paldara Pharmaceuticals, that has recently won seed funding to advance its research and development. Paldara is operating out of a private laboratory in Stillwater. Great work William!

OSU article at

The Cabeen lab has won a MIRA (R35) grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to support research in the lab for the next five years. We are grateful to the students who generated great preliminary data, mentors who offered critical feedback, colleagues who offered encouragement, and reviewers who carefully evaluated our proposal. Now to get to work making discoveries!

We are proud to announce that one of our undergraduate researchers, Sid Bush, received a Niblack Research Scholarship for 2020-2021. Sid was also a Wentz Scholar, making him the first student from the lab to have won both of these prestigious research awards. Sid hopes after graduation to have a career in science industry.

Two undergraduate Wentz Research Scholars will join the Cabeen Crew for the 2020-2021 school year. Eliza Kent developed her own research project to examine how micropatterned surfaces affect bacterial growth on those surfaces. Bryn Goldsmith developed her own project about the effectiveness of charcoal-containing toothpaste for whitening and protection against tooth decay. We look forward to their work with us!

Adam Bronson was accepted into a summer research program at the UCSF, and Nina Baggett was accepted into a program at UT-Southwestern. Both of these institutions are research powerhouses, and we are proud to have students participating in these highly competitive programs. Unfortunately these programs were canceled for this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are nonetheless proud that they WOULD have been there!

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