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Low Cost, Efficient Water Analysis

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Originally from Romania, Dr. Stephana Egli, came to Memorial University with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and environmental science from South Africa in 2009 to do her master's degree in analytical chemistry and quickly converted to the PhD program.

Her work, which started in Dr. Christina Bottaro's group, has led her to develop a cost-effective, portable water analysis method that is of great interest to the oil and gas industry as it can be used to assist in oil cleanup operations. The compound is a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP), which when exposed to water, can absorb certain compounds that normally dissolve in water. Up until now, a one-liter water sample had to be brought to the laboratory to analyse for oil in water. The MIP, in contrast, is the size of a quarter and can also be deployed via a remotely operated vehicle if needed.

Dr. Egli also went through the Evolution Program with the Genesis Centre and came first in their Pitch & Pick competition and acknowledges the Genesis Centre, (MaRS on the Rock), and the Entrepreneurship Training Program in enabling her to learn the skills required to successfully commercialize the MIP.

Together with Drs. Christina Bottaro, Kelly Hawboldt and Carlos Bazan, she received an Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) in March 2017 to develop MIP-based systems for water quality assessment.

Already in December 2016 Drs. Egli and Bottaro were awarded a $248,400 provincial ArcticTECH grant to translate the MIP into a market-ready product. The result: Intelligent Materials, a Memorial spin-off company. The Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office (a Springboard Member) has worked with Dr. Egli along the way, supporting the commercialization of her research.

To read the full article in The Gazette, click here.