Alliance Partner My Green Lab: Chemistry Made Safer and More Sustainable

Guest writer: Erika Daley, Program Manager, My Green Lab

Do you remember your first semester of organic chemistry? Have you ever thought about the environmental impact of the work you did in those labs?

Perhaps you working in an organic chemistry lab, or are teaching organic chemistry right now – have you thought about the impact of your experiments?  What if we could create lab spaces that were safer, more cost-effective, and had a reduced impact on the environment?

A new resource: A Guide to Green Chemistry Experiments for Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Labs is available for free. It includes:

  • 10 ‘drop-in’ experiment packages for undergraduate organic chemistry teaching labs
  • Greener alternative experiment(s) 
  • Traditional teaching experiment
  • TA guide
  • Example quiz questions

The substantial introduction section in the guide applies to all teaching and research laboratories. This includes greening common laboratory techniques, solvent and reagent substitution guides, ‘Green Chemistry 101’, and an explanation of the EH&S safety ranking system used within the guide. 

My Green Lab is a 501c3 non-profit with a mission to create a culture of sustainability through science. We envision a world in which all of the life-saving drug discoveries and cutting-edge materials that chemists design in the world around us are made in a way that follows the principle of ‘do no harm’. 

The guide was developed in partnership with Beyond Benign, a 501c3 non-profit focused on green chemistry education, and with support from Millipore Sigma. To learn more about the guide, watch the webinar we gave with Beyond Benign.

We hope you find this guide to be a useful, enlightening resource! For questions or inquiries please contact info@mygreenlab.org.

From Lab to Market: An Intergenerational Discussion

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We recently hosted From Lab to Market: An Intergenerational Discussion with Judith Sheft, Associate Vice President of Technology Development at New Jersey Institute of Technology. This webinar was a collaboration with curiousSCIENCEwriters, Young Women in Bio, and the Westchester Biotech Project focused on inspiring, educating, and providing advice for high schoolers heading into STEM careers.

Akila Saravanan, Editor-in-Chief of curiousSCIENCEwriters, hosted.
Click for her Blog post

Click for Our Podcast Recording

The Westchester Biotech Project and curiousSCIENCEwriters provide emerging pre-collegiate science students with inspiration and opportunities for collaborative communication. They encourage those interested to seek out the advisement of experts, in order to network and build a foundation of conceptual structure to draw upon in future years.
— Erin Colfax, Science Educator: Morristown High School / Summer STEM Director: College of Saint Elizabeth

Are You an Inventor, or Are You an Entrepreneur?

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We hosted Russell Thomas, CEO of NIRvana Sciences, for a webinar tailored to inventors considering making a business out of their scientific discovery. This was a part of our Commercialization A-Z web series and was recorded for the benefit of the community.

Click for More and Recording

Examples were given for the types of personalities and skills needed in a new venture, noting along the way that management teams and investment approaches should be carefully considered. While the technology may have potential in the market, the people surrounding it will ultimately determine its commercial success.

Each year you see a few technologies so compelling that they are pulled into the market regardless of management, but for the other 95% it is the people that make the difference.
— Russell Thomas, CEO, NIRvana Sciences

“Do people bet on the jockey (management), or do people bet on the horse (technology),” asked Russell Thomas early on. “Each year you see a few technologies so compelling that they are pulled into the market regardless of management, but for the other 95% it is the people that make the difference.”

Are You an Inventor, or Are You an Entrepreneur? asked for introspective approaches by inventors to identify which roles in the new venture process they can handle and which ones they will need help with.

Mr. Thomas gave examples of the likely roles an inventor will play in a startup, such as supporting further development of a technology to de-risk it commercially or acting as a CSO. Realistically, more often than not an inventor will need to identify a CEO or COO with extensive entrepreneurial experience to drive the company and bring in additional support. Laid out were common approaches startup CEOs take along with the personality traits and skills required to successfully manage the position.

“The skills sets between inventing and being an entrepreneur are substantially different, and it is very rare that an individual overlaps with both of those worlds,” he says. “Many people are solely inventors and not entrepreneurs,” he stated in the spirit of honest introspection backed by his experience.

Beginning a new company is a complex and risky endeavor one should not assume they can handle on their own. Bringing together a competent team is critical, and whether or not your team understands the complexities and can proactively address them will determine if your technology bears fruit commercially.

Reported by Christopher Kinzel

Christopher Kinzel, Associate for Communication, is a biochemist with a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Molecular Biosciences. He has a research and technology transfer background and is using his experience in business development and communications.

 

Rigor and Reproducibility: Minimizing Scientific Risk for Investors

In a recent webinar, Rick Huntress of The Jackson Laboratory identified key roadblocks for moving scientific discoveries through the development pipeline, part of our web series Commercialization A-Z. Click for More and Recording

Rigor and Reproducibility: Presenting Data for Funders and Investors discusses significant evaluation criteria employed by investors, academic publishers, and companies engaged in licensing or acquisition.

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“When a researcher or company enters into an agreement with a licensee or investor, the valuation of their underlying capabilities, intellectual property, and market potential drives the deal,” said Rick Huntress. “Experienced investors and companies value research that demonstrates a drug response, and helps to de-risk their investments from the traditional points of failure,” he says. “Unfortunately, it is still true that majority of drugs fail to move into the clinic after licensing.”

Mitigating Risks from the Beginning:

It’s crucial for researchers to understand and position their data with the investor’s perspective in mind. According to recent analysis, including work by the NIH, a much higher % of peer-reviewed in vivo animal data is unrepeatable than many researchers would expect. This reproducibility gap is creating barriers for trust and makes the need for well-defined models and methods essential.

When a researcher or company enters into an agreement with a licensee or investor, the valuation of their underlying capabilities, intellectual property, and market potential drives the deal.
— Rick Huntress

Animal models and cell lines must be carefully critiqued and selected based on clinically relevant characteristics. With some interesting examples, Rick underscores his guidance that failing to address the criteria investors appreciate in your research design will reduce the appeal of your technology.

The session offers multiple ways to de-risk your discovery and navigate the complex process of attracting more investors through building and presenting robust data.

Thanks, Rick and Eileen!
Rick is on our Advisory Board. At JAX, he works directly with researchers, sponsors, engineers, and data scientists to design and execute early-stage drug efficacy evaluations.

The session is moderated by Eileen Geoghegan, Ph.D., Research Fellow, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a member of WBP’s Scientific Advisory Board.

Reported by Neha Nigam, Ph.D., and Christopher Kinzel

Neha Nigam, Ph.D., Strategy Project Manager at HITLAB, New York, is passionate about the applied aspects of innovative scientific discoveries and their impact. She strives to be at the interface of business and science and help in the commercialization and advancement of science to its right audience.

Christopher Kinzel, Associate for Communication, is a biochemist with a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Molecular Biosciences. He has a research and technology transfer background and is now using his experience in business development and communications.