In photos: DeGroote MBA candidates win Synapse Life Science Competition

Andrew Baulcomb, Advancement Officer | Hamilton | April 10, 2017

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.

The experience was incredible, and it really opened my eyes to how valuable a DeGroote MBA is.

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. Below, Kolb relives all of the excitement and energy of the Synapse Competition in a series of photos:

All three finalist teams stand alongside industry expert judges and Innovation Factory staff, hosts of the 2017 Synapse Life Science Competition. The three finalists were selected from 12 teams, based on the quality of their 10-15 page commercialization plans.

All three finalist teams stand alongside industry expert judges and Innovation Factory staff, hosts of the 2017 Synapse Life Science Competition. The three finalists were selected from 12 teams, based on the quality of their 10-15 page commercialization plans.

Team InnovoGENE (Kha Tram, Mimi Deng, Philipp Kolb, Gabriella Demmings) pose with the judges after being awarded first place for their business pitch.

Team InnovoGENE (Dr. Kha Tram, Mimi Deng, Philipp Kolb, Gabriella Demmings) pose with the judges after being awarded first place for their business pitch.

Dr. Kha Tram, a PhD graduate from McMaster University, presents the business pitch which awarded InnovoGENE first place. The pitch was based off of a 15-page commercialization plan designed by Dr. Tram alongside DeGroote MBA students Philipp Kolb and Gabriella Demmings.

Dr. Kha Tram, a PhD graduate from McMaster University, presents the business pitch which awarded InnovoGENE first place. The pitch was based off of a 15-page commercialization plan designed by Dr. Tram alongside DeGroote MBA students Philipp Kolb and Gabriella Demmings.

DeGroote MBA candidate Philipp Kolb, alongside Dr. Kha Tran, speaks with attendees after delivering the team's business pitch.

DeGroote MBA candidate Philipp Kolb (right), alongside Dr. Kha Tran, speaks with attendees after delivering the team’s business pitch.

This year’s panel of industry experts discuss presentations prior to awarding nearly $60,000 in cash prizes and professional resources to competitors. Judges included executives from GlaxoSmithKline Canada, Stryker Canada, Novatio Ventures, and Labtician Ophthalmics Inc.

This year’s panel of industry experts discuss presentations prior to awarding nearly $60,000 in cash prizes and professional resources to competitors. Judges included executives from GlaxoSmithKline Canada, Stryker Canada, Novatio Ventures, and Labtician Ophthalmics Inc.

A record number of attendees watch as keynote speaker Jim Magahey of IBM Canada discusses the link between technology and life science innovation within Canadian communities.

A record number of attendees watch as keynote speaker Jim Magahey of IBM Canada discusses the link between technology and life science innovation within Canadian communities.

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Contact Info

For media inquiries, please contact:

Oanh Kasperski
Associate Director, Advancement
DeGroote School of Business
McMaster University
(905) 525-9140 ext. 24871
kasperso@mcmaster.ca

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