WOBURN, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Modular Genetics, Inc. (Modular) is a sustainable chemistry company utilizing advanced technology in synthetic biology to produce specialty chemicals that are cost competitive, provide superior performance and are environmentally friendly.
The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation has announced the winners of the 2014 Clinton Ideas Matter Essay contest. https://www.facebook.com/clintoncenter/photos/a.375681147996.158513.63936082996/10152504956752997/
The contest challenges high school students to propose actionable strategies for achieving goals such as: improving health, creating economic opportunity and managing the effects of climate change. Second place went to Taryn Imamura for her essay entitled: Creating Economic Opportunity and Growth in Arkansas using Rice Hulls to Produce Green Surfactants. Consistent with the spirit of the competition, Taryn put her ideas into action, working at Modular’s research laboratory to demonstrate the feasibility of the concept.
“Taryn’s award highlights the potential of synthetic biology to create valuable commercial products while making better use of our agricultural resources and creating “green” manufacturing jobs. Synthetic biology is transforming the chemical industry by enabling manufacturers to accomplish “synthetic organic chemistry” (the purposeful execution of chemical reactions to obtain a product) using biological catalysts that convert renewable raw materials into products,” said Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President, Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).
“The key to transforming Taryn’s dream into commercial reality is cooperation. No group working alone can implement this vision. We have been fortunate to have support from investors, large corporate partners and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which partially funded Taryn’s project and will provide funding for Taryn to expand the project during the summer of 2015,” said Kevin Jarrell, PhD, Modular’s CEO.
“We have evaluated the fermentation-derived surfactants described in Taryn’s essay. We find these surfactants have a level of performance, and a level of purity, consistent with their use in commercial formulations,“ said Pete He, Senior Research Fellow, Henkel Consumer Goods.
“Unilever’s ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing the overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing positive social impact. Unilever is committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling growth from environmental impact. To achieve these ambitious targets, we work together with partners like Modular Genetics. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/. We therefore congratulate Taryn Imamura on her innovative research in the area of renewable resources, and winning 2nd prize in the Clinton “Ideas Matter” essay contest,” said Dr. Jason Harcup, Vice President of R&D, Unilever Personal Care Division.
Professor Somasundaran, Director of the NSF funded Industry & University Cooperative Research Program (I/UCRC) at Columbia University, offers this perspective: “The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation is well known for creating public-private partnerships aimed at achieving the same goals they have challenged the students to achieve. Taryn’s project is a testament to the vision that the next generation of scientists can be trained as direct participants in the conception and implementation of ideas with the potential to create great benefit for health, the environment and the economy.”
Modular (www.modulargenetics.com) is applying its proprietary advanced technology in synthetic biology to produce products that are cost competitive, provide superior performance and are environmentally friendly. Based in Woburn, MA, Modular is a privately-held company.