GreenLabs Recycling: An Innovative Answer to Lab Waste

GreenLabs Recycling

Several years ago, Brenda Lemos and David Waterman, at the time Brandeis graduate students working in Jim Haber’s lab, noticed that clean, polypropylene (#5 plastic) pipette tip boxes were being thrown away. Although never contaminated in the lab, these boxes are typically labeled “medical waste” and blocked from recycling, ultimately ending up in landfills. This is a problem given that 10 million pipette boxes are purchased each year and most often can’t be reloaded and reused. The boxes end up becoming part of the 6 million tons of plastic waste that are produced by 20,500 research institutions world-wide.

That is when the now Dr. Waterman and the future Dr. Lemos, created the GreenLabs Recycling program. Rather than the pipette boxes being disposed of in a landfill, they are now being diverted into recycling at the point of use by the people who are using them.

Pipette box binThe system works this way: GreenLabs Recycling places recycling bins at participating labs. Scientists in the labs place the pipette boxes into the recycling bins as they are used. “Participation in this program has been great. Other scientists understand the importance of recycling these materials,” David said.  Brenda and David collect the bins and bring the materials back to a facility in Acton. There the boxes are sorted by cleanliness, color and type of plastic. After sorting, the boxes are granulated and used at local manufacturers. They prefer to use Massachusetts-based manufacturers in order to reduce the environmental impact of shipping the materials.

They are currently collecting lab plastics at five locations – Brandeis, other universities, and small and large biotech companies in the area. They expect to be soon working with two additional locations.

What are the future plans for GreenLabs Recycling? David said that they would eventually like to take the recycled plastics and manufacture their own long-lasting, permanent products such as trash cans, recycling bins, and non-disposable office products.

David credits the Brandeis Innovations Sprout Program and Icorp™ Program for their support. “They have been a huge help”, he said.

GreenLabs will be participating in the Mass Innovation Nights event on Thursday, March 14. This event will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Faculty Club and features new, innovative products from Brandeis students, alumni, and staff. This event is free and open to the public.

2019 Sprout Awards Competition Announced

SPROUT logoThe Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) is excited to announce this year’s SPROUT awards competition!  SPROUT was created to help you bring your scientific research and entrepreneurial ambitions to life by providing seed funding and training to make your innovation a reality.

“It’s not just about the funding. It’s about all the opportunities that arise from participating in SPROUT” – Michael Rosbash, 2018 SPROUT PI

OTL, with support from the Office of the Provost & the Hassenfeld Family Innovation Center, will award up to a total of $100,000 divided among the most promising proposals seeking funding for lab-based innovations that require bench research, lab space and/or lab equipment.   All members of the Brandeis science community, including faculty, staff and students, are invited to submit an abstract for the 2019 round of funding. The preliminary application for abstract submission is now online.  These pre-applications must be received prior to 11pm on March 8th, 2019

In the past, successful SPROUT applications have come from all departments in the sciences including Biology, Biochemistry, Physics, and Chemistry.  Past candidates have proposed projects ranging from early-stage research and development to patent-ready projects.  Many undergraduates, graduates, staff and faculty have all pitched various projects from Vaccines Targeting HIV Sugars (Krauss Lab) to an Assay Kit for RNA-binding Protein Target (Rosbash Lab).

Have questions?  OTL is offering 20 minute appointment slots the week of February 28 at our office in Bernstein-Marcus, room 140.  Sign up here.

HackMyPhD to be held Thursday, July 26

HackMyPhD is Brandeis’ annual event to showcase the latest opportunities available to science, math, and applied arts graduate students. Students will be exposed to a variety of educational and professional opportunities for growth through funding, networking, and internship and job opportunities.

At the event, students will learn how to apply for SPROUT and NSF I-Corps grants available through Brandeis Innovation. They will be shown current projects of NSF I-Corps Fellows and have the opportunity to network with potential mentors in the private industry and entrepreneurial sectors. Finally, they will get a review of their CV and be able to speak directly to the Brandeis Innovation Center team about available support and resources for their research.

There will be a series of panels during the day, all sharing their professional and personal experiences, giving advice and guidance. Each panelist has been in the shoes of a recent graduate, looking for their next move after their PhD or postdoc. These panelists have succeeded in crafting unique, rewarding careers for themselves and are here to share their wisdom. There is plenty of time to interact with these panelists one on one, with Q&A sessions after every presentation and intimate lunch sessions with the speakers. Many panelists have openings on their research teams, so attending HackMyPhD is a great way for recent PhD graduates to find opportunities post-graduation.

Students will receive a great deal of valuable professional guidance from attending this event. They will get a professional headshot, a review of their CV, and can also discuss possible startup ideas based on their research.

The keynote speech, delivered by Jonathan Thon, PhD, is guaranteed to be illuminating! His talk will revolve around dispelling common myths that surround research-based business. He asserts that working in industry/startups doesn’t mean that industry dictates research; it is actually scientist-driven, and academic integrity is preserved.

HackMyPhD will be a helpful and engaging event that every student should attend! Sign up today: http://www.hackmyphd.org

SPROUT Awards Information Sessions to be held Jan. 24 and Feb. 1

SPROUT logoThe SPROUT Awards are back! If you are interested in the SPROUT program, which offers funding for bench research, the Office of Technology Licensing is hosting Information Sessions for you to learn more on how to apply. Get your questions answered by the program’s administrators. There will be two separate sessions for your convenience: January 24th, 3-4 PM at Carl J. Shapiro Science Center Library and February 1st, 3-4 PM in Volen 201. Light refreshments will be served.

New this year, SPROUT winners may also be eligible for up to an additional $3,000 of I-Corps funding from the National Science Foundation. This extra funding is specifically earmarked for teams to conduct early customer discovery and validation of their technology. Those that go through the Brandeis I-Corps program then become eligible to apply to the National I-Corps program which provides grants up to $50,000.

In the past, successful SPROUT applications have come from all departments in the sciences including Biology, Biochemistry, Physics, and Chemistry. Past candidates have proposed projects ranging from early-stage research and development to patent-ready projects. Many undergraduates, graduates, staff and faculty have all pitched various projects from a New Strategy to Treat Chronic Infections (Hedstrom Lab) to Development of a New Crystal Screening Chip (Fraden Lab) to a panel of outside judges in the hopes of receiving funding.  Read more about SPROUT and learn about past projects.

The 7th Annual SPROUT Awards Are Available

Post written by Fern Shamis.

The 7th Annual SPROUT Awards are back and want to help you bring your research and entrepreneurial ambitions to life! Have a great idea? Does your research have the ability to impact the world? Need funding support to make your innovation a reality? Consider applying for a SPROUT award.

In the past, successful SPROUT applications have come from all departments in the sciences including Biology, Biochemistry, Physics, and Chemistry.  Past candidates have proposed projects ranging from early-stage research and development to patent-ready projects.  Many undergraduates, graduates, staff and faculty have all pitched various projects from a Therapy for the Diseases of Aging (Anne Lawson, Hedstrom lab), to a Circadian Rhythm Incubating Device (Jae Jung, Rosbash lab) and the use of carrot fiber as an antidiabetic (Michelle Landstrom, Hayes lab) to a panel of outside judges in the hopes of receiving funding.   Articles about past SPROUT winners are available on Brandeis Now.  A list of additional winners and their executive summaries are also available online.

This year, the award pool once again is up to $100,000 to be dispersed among this year’s successful candidates.  The final deadline for preliminary applications is February 20th by 11 p.m.  Information sessions will be held on Thursday, February 2nd, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. in Volen 201 and on Tuesday, February 7th, 3:00.-4:00 p.m. Shapiro Science Center, 1st Floor Library.  More information and to submit our preliminary application is available on the SPROUT website!

Sprout Award Winners Announced

The recipients of the 6th annual Sprout Awards have been announced. There will be eight teams from labs in the Biology, Biochemistry, and Chemistry departments sharing the $100,000 in funding in FY 2017. The Sprout program’s grant pool was doubled this year in order to expand the support for the promising innovation and research that is happening here at Brandeis University.  The Sprout program, created 6 years with the intent to encourage entrepreneurial activity, is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Hassenfeld Family Innovation Center. It is administered by the university’s Office of Technology Licensing

(read more at Brandeis Now).

 

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