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Two biological sciences students received $10,000 on May 3 to develop their entrepreneurial pitch during the second annual Regnier Venture Creation Challenge held at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Bloch School of Business.
The students, Vanessa Mahan, a junior, and Catherine Pollman, a senior, comprise the Bionic Bowel team. By combining their biology studies with some ceramic engineering ideas, they are using bioactive glass to potentially change the pH level in the body of a Crohn’s disease sufferer. By including the biomaterial in an oral medicine that dissolves and prevents scar tissue, the two realized that they could implant the glass in the human body via a pill to repair the damaged area.
Mahan and Pollman were the only undergraduates to compete at the Kansas City competition. Their participation was funded by the University of Missouri System. Their $10,000 prize supplements the $5,000 they won in April in the third and final phase of the UM System Entrepreneurial Quest (EQ) Competition in Columbia.
The students’ mentors include:
- Dr. Julie Semon, assistant professor of biological sciences, through her BioDesign and Innovation course
- Dr. Bonnie Bachman, professor of economics and leader of Missouri S&T’s EQ Accelerator Program.