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UCSC team reaches the finals in Nanochallenge 2005

By Tim Stephens

A team of UCSC researchers was among 20 finalists who traveled to Italy in November to present their ideas to a panel of expert judges in a nanotechnology business plan competition. The UCSC team ultimately placed fifth out of 70 entrants in the Nanochallenge 2005 competition, organized by Veneto Nanotech.

David Deamer, professor and chair of biomolecular engineering, participated in the competition together with graduate student Roger Chen, who was responsible for the financial aspects of their business plan. The group also included Holger Schmidt, assistant professor of electrical engineering, Mark Akeson, adjunct professor biomolecular engineering, and Aaron Hawkins of Brigham Young University.

Their project involved the use of nanotechnology in a device for rapidly identifying single molecular structures. Called "Aropor," the fluorescence-activated molecular identifier could be used, for example, to detect virus-infected individuals passing through airports if a pandemic occurs, Deamer said.

The contest was a valuable opportunity to present nanotechnology ideas in terms of business proposals and get feedback from potential investors, Deamer said.

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