The Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship(VACE), part of the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics, announced that one of its Fall 2017 Bootcamp teams, OptiMol Enzymes, has been accepted into the Clean Energy Trust Competition in Chicago, on Feb. 8, 2018. 

The Clean Energy Trust announced eight of the most innovative and promising student-led cleantech companies in the Midwest as finalists for the Cleantech University Prize (UP), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. OptiMol Enzymes is represented by doctoral candidate Corey Brizzee, from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry in the UK College of Medicine. The other team members in support of Brizzee are chemical engineering doctoral candidate Ishan  Fursule and chemical engineering senior Patrick Ryan.

Their patented technology is based on research disclosed to the Office of Technology Commercialization at the University of Kentucky from Professor Matthew Gentry and Associate Professor Craig Vander Kooi, of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry and Center for Structural Biology in the UK College of Medicine.

The organizing group "Switched On: Student Innovations in Cleantech" will give attendees a glimpse into the early stages of research commercialization and science entrepreneurship, the opportunity to learn more about how Midwestern universities are supporting student companies, and a chance for high level networking with university and civic partners.

The winner of the Midwest Cleantech University Prize will be determined by a panel of expert cleantech industry judges. The winner will receive a $50,000 grant and the first, second and third place finishers will go on to present at the national Cleantech UP competition.

Gentry said, “Corey and the team have worked hard to get to this position. They have made a lot of progress and should be commended on being named as a finalist.”

Corey Brizzee is excited about the opportunity.

“I look forward to representing the University of Kentucky at the Clean Energy Trust competition," Brizzee said. “I want to thank Mariam Gorjian and Warren Nash from the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship for all of their hard work. The 2017 Entrepreneur Bootcamp really helped me to focus my business plan and improve my pitch techniques.”

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