by Mallory Wallace
The CSU Ventures’ Ambassador Program, now in its fifth year, enhances the vital connection between Colorado State University faculty, students and the tech transfer arm of the university.
Twenty-three graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from 15 departments across seven colleges have served as ambassadors since the start of the program in 2012.
Each academic year, CSUV hires the ambassadors to make an impact on the culture of innovation at the university. After training, which includes learning through case studies, the ambassadors are ready to identify innovative research, creative works, potential inventions and startups on campus.
Ambassadors also help plan and implement the Graduate Student Showcase and the CSU Collegiate Challenge and Innovation Symposium.
2016-2017 Graduate Student Ambassadors
Megan Aanstoos, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Aanstoos has a Ph.D. from the School of Biomedical Engineering at Colorado State University and is studying gait patterns in horses and other large animals with Assistant Professor Yvette Nout-Lomas.
Nathan Byers, Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Byers is studying the underlying mechanisms of epileptic disorders and searching for potential targets to alleviate symptoms for people with epilepsy.
Aimee Colbath, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Colbath has a D.V.M. from the University of Pennsylvania and completed an animal surgery residency and master’s degree at CSU. Her research focuses on mesenchymal stem cell and induced pluripotent stem cell use in horses, as well as the treatment of equine sarcoidosis.
Michael Friedman, Department of Biology, College of Natural Sciences. Friedman’s work focuses on enhancing crop production to support bioenergy technology and food security needs through plant molecular biology, biotechnology, and gene discovery.
Sarah Hipps-Shipp, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, College of Health and Human Sciences. Hipps-Shipp is evaluating the associations between parent health characteristics, the home food environment, and child weight status.
Noelle Juengling, Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Warner College of Natural Resources. Juengling’s work focuses on implementing sustainable practices within the tourism industry that improve environmental impact, food and agriculture growth, and water and energy reduction.
Miles McKenna, Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. McKenna, who served as an ambassador last year, is studying environmental and genetic influences on DNA damage and repair. He also works for KromaTiD, a biotech company that provides products and services for mutation detection and disease diagnosis.
Michael Somers, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering. Somers’ research focuses on engineering process modeling of microalgae-based biofuel production systems and corresponding sustainability analysis, including life-cycle analysis and techno-economic analysis.
Through the Ambassador Program, participants gain exposure and experience within their own fields, and opportunities that can lead to direct participation in startup companies and other job paths.
Former ambassadors include:
Scott Fulbright, Living Ink Technologies. Fulbright is CEO and founder of Living Ink, which uses a patent-pending time-lapse ink created from a sustainable algae-based product. He has a Ph.D. from CSU in cell and molecular biology.
Lyndsey Linke, SiVEC Biotechnologies. Winner of the 2016 Colorado State University Collegiate Challenge business pitch competition, Linke studied infectious disease epidemiology at CSU and is CEO and founder of SiVEC Biotechnologies, which is developing a new antiviral technology to prevent the spread of avian flu virus in poultry.
Jason Prapas, Factor(E) Ventures. Prapas is the chief technology officer and co-founder of Factor(E), which supports early-stage entrepreneurs with a mission to improve lives in the developing world through increased access to sustainable energy. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from CSU.
Duncan Ryan, TP Microscopy. TP Microsopy is developing 3D imaging instruments, specializing in light-sheet microscopes for rapid, non-destructive, and high-resolution characterization of biological structures. Duncan is a Ph.D. candidate in physics at Colorado State University. His research interests include quantum dots, nanocrystals, plasma physics, and x-ray sources.
Eric Tauchman, Biogen. Tauchman provides information to health-care providers about the disease state of multiple sclerosis and available therapies. He also organizes and offers educational programs at Biogen, a Massachusetts-based biotech firm that has the leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis.