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Meet the finalists of Research Pitching Competition by Slush & Skolar 2019

These eight postdoc-researchers will pitch their ambitious research ideas in Research Pitching Competition at Slush on Nov 22.

Esther Broset: Can bacteria hear?

Esther Broset wants to find out if bacteria can hear. We already know that bacteria react to light, smell, touch and taste but can these tiny organisms also react to sound? If bacteria can hear, sound could be used instead of chemicals to activate the release of therapeutic molecules, such as medicines, in the human body. Esther aims to first study if and how bacteria react to sounds and then engineer probiotic bacteria to endow them the ability to sense and respond to sounds. Esther comes from the University of Pennsylvania. Read more about Esther.


Carla Elliff: Helping coral reefs fight climate change

Coral reefs are extremely threatened by climate change. Still some corals are coping better than the others. Why is that and what are the best strategies to help coral reefs survive in changing climate conditions, that’s what Carla Elliff wants to explore. Carla’s research idea is to collect more data on what makes a coral better fighting climate change and how human can tap into this advantage. Carla comes from the University of São Paulo and the project is part of the Reefbank Project of Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. Read more about Carla.


Chiara Gandini: Speed-grow wheat indoors to tackle the food crisis

The food crisis will demand innovative and sustainable solutions. Chiara Gandini proposes an entirely new approach to indoor farming, focusing on whether indoor-wheat can feed the world. Growing crops in a controlled, indoor environment could secure global food production whilst reducing the environmental impact of farming. Chiara Gandini comes from the University of Cambridge. Read more about Chiara.


Thomas Hausmaninger: Creating a breathalyser for plants

Large scale indoor farming has the potential to become the next big thing in food production. Thomas Hausmaninger wants to create a breathalyser test for plants to understand and create ideal conditions for indoor farming. This test would provide a way to detect and monitor factors such as water and nutrients usage, amount and spectrum of light, or pest invasion in real-time and in a non-invasive way.  Thomas Hausmaninger comes from the National Metrology Institute of Finland, VTT MIKES. Read more about Thomas.


Colm Mc Caffrey: Making mobile phone recycling smart and profitable

Colm Mc Caffrey’s research idea aims to create a smart contract between smartphone manufacturers, consumers and recycling operators to substantially change the way we manage electronic waste. His idea will tackle the issue of e-waste by combining research from blockchain technology, biodegradable electronics and electronic waste management. Colm Mc Caffrey comes from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Read more about Colm.


Tim Rademacher: Data revolution with wood

Wood contains a great amount of information which could be useful in the battle against climate change. Tim Rademacher wants to collect that information and share it with the world. His idea is to automate the collection of the information from wood samples and create a large, open database to share it. Tim comes from Harvard University and Northern Arizona University. Read more about Tim.


Tiina Saanijoki: Brain mechanisms regulating physical exercise motivation

What happens in the brains of couch potatoes when they start to exercise? Tiina Saanijoki wants to study the brain mechanisms behind physical activity. Her aim is to recruit a group of inactive adults, who will undergo a six-month physical exercise intervention, and then use modern brain imaging techniques to study the function of their brain’s reward system before and after the intervention. Tiina comes from the University of Turku, PET Centre. Read more about Tiina.


Igor Vassilev: Electrifying bacteria to turn carbon dioxide into food

Igor Vassilev wants to convert carbon dioxide into food using microbial electrochemical synthesis. This biotechnology allows to power slow-growing microorganisms with renewable electricity from solar energy. These supercharged microbes have enough energy to transform the C02 into vinegar, which is then eaten by fast-growing bacteria allowing rapid biomass formation. The whole process happens in a bioreactor and the result is environmental-friendly, safe and nutritious food. Igor comes from the University of Tampere. Read more about Igor.


The finale of Research Pitching Competition by Slush & Skolar is held on Nov 22, at Slush. To see these researchers taking the stage, make sure to secure your Slush Pass.