BioInnovation Institute (BII), an international non-profit foundation incubating and accelerating world-class life science research, today announces this year’s winners of the BII & Science Prize for Innovation.
The annual award hosted by BioInnovation Institute and Science aims to recognize and celebrate bold researchers who are asking fundamental questions at the intersection of life sciences and entrepreneurship. The three winners will have their essays published in the journal, Science, and will be invited into BII’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. In addition, the Grand Prize winner will receive USD 25,000 and each finalist will receive USD 10,000 at a grand award ceremony in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 27th.
The Grand Prize winner for 2023 is Dr Jordan Squair, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s NeuroRestore Center (EPFL), for his research into neuroprosthetic technologies following spinal cord injury (SCI). His research paper, ‘Invisible consequences of paralysis’, published in Science, led to the discovery of a neuroprosthetic baroreflex, which is a treatment that provides real-time control of blood pressure during severe orthostatic challenges by leveraging epidural electrical stimulation of the spinal cord.
One of the two finalists is Dr Samuel Bakhoum of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) who was recognized for his work on chromosomal instability in cancer. His research, ‘Targeting the undruggable‘, identified several vulnerabilities that arise from chromosomal instability and can be used to selectively target genomically unstable cancers.
Dr Kaira Wagoner, of the University of North Carolina Greensboro, is the other finalist, who was recognized for her research into honey bee pests and diseases. Her research, ‘Helping honey bees help themselves’, involves the development of a tool which can inform breeding and management decisions, with potential to improve pollinator health, crop pollination, and global food security.
Dr Jordan Squair, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s NeuroRestore centre said: “I am truly honoured to receive this award for my research, which I hope will make a real difference for people with spinal cord injuries. I hope to continue my work at EPFL and further refine our understanding of the neuroprosthetic baroreflex.”
Jens Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer, at BioInnovation Institute, said: “This year’s finalists have conducted some truly exceptional research and the standard of all entries was extremely high. Their work combines cutting edge science with entrepreneurial spirit, aligning with BII’s goals of improving human and planetary health.”
The BII & Science Prize for Innovation is in its second year, with applications received from around the world.
Last year’s Grand Prize went to Associate Professor Benedetto Marelli, of MIT, for his Laboratory for Advanced Polymers, which re-engineers materials from nature to create new forms of polymers.