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Seven finalists will compete for the $50,000 Global Impact Award

April 26, 2018

Seven finalists have been selected to compete for an award of up to $50,000 in the 5th annual Global Impact Award (GIA) finals in October.

Hosted by the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Skandalaris Center), GIA is made possible by the generous donation of alumnus Suren G. Dutia and his wife, Jas K. Grewal. The competition is for early stage ventures that are scalable, sustainable, and quick-to-market with proof of concept and a broad impact. In order to apply, ventures must have at least one Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) student, postdoctoral researcher, or recent alumnus (less than 10 years) holding a significant role on the team.

Each of the finalists will be assigned mentors who are experts in fields relevant to their ventures. Over the next six months, finalists will work alongside their assigned mentors and Skandalaris Center staff as they prepare their deliverables for the final pitch competition in October.

Dr. Ralph S. Quatrano, Interim Director of the Skandalaris Center, commented, “We are all truly excited about this group of finalists for the Global Impact Award. We are looking forward to their final presentations in the fall to see the progress they have made. It is impressive to see the entrepreneurial interest of our students, faculty and alumni and their commitment and dedication to addressing some of the major challenges of this century.”

Congratulations to the finalists:


BIRANO develops precision fertilizers using aerosol technology which are more effective than existing known fertilizers in the market. It enhances nutrient uptake, increases crop yield, and nutritional quality. The technology is not only economically viable and easy to adopt but also address environmental sustainability challenges.

WashU team members:

  • Pratim Biswas, PhD ’85, Chemical Engineering
  • Ramesh Raliya, PhD ’12, Chemistry & Nano-Biotechnology


Cellatrix provides a 3D tissue-engineered cell culture system that accurately recreates the cancer microenvironment for use in biological research, drug discovery, and personalized medicine.

WashU team members:

  • Kareem Azab, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Cancer Biology division of the Department of Radiation Oncology
  • Pilar de la Puente, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow
  • Feda Azab, BPharm, Senior Researcher
  • Amanda Jeske, BS ’16, Biomedical Engineering


Cubic is an online platform that connects storage renters to neighbors with available space in their homes.

WashU team members:

  • Rebecca Resnic, Architecture ’18
  • Kelly Wisneski, Architecture and Computer Science ’18
  • Shadi Davari, Computer Science and Financial Engineering ’20
  • Maddy Angstreich, Communication Design ’20
  • Alex Baker, Computer Science ’20

CyberPowered Home

CyberPowered Home sells a smart breaker box that saves homeowners energy, provides smart homes features, and helps utilities manage an increasingly volatile electric grid.

WashU team members:

  • Will Blanchard, Computer Engineering, Systems Engineering, and Economics and Strategy ’18
  • Allen Nikka, Electrical Engineering ’17, MS Computer Science ’19
  • Danny Andreev, BS MS Electrical Engineering, BS Computer Science ’20

Empower Through Health

Harnessing mobile technology to improve access to healthcare and to empower patient choice in Uganda.

WashU team member:

  • Shanti Parikh, PhD, Associate Professor, Sociocultural Anthropology and African and African-American Studies
  • Kay Park, Biomedical Engineering ’18
  • Wayne Warner, PhD Candidate in Biology ’19
  • Jae Lee, MD Candidate ’21


Mental and behavioral health disorders account for 22% of years lived with disability worldwide, making them a leading contributor to the global burden of disease. Mindset addresses this problem with evidence-based, personalized and scalable software. In independently-run studies, Mindset has been shown to reduce the burden of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression and Substance Use Disorder.

WashU team members:

  • Elizabeth Russell, Biomedical Engineering ’14
  • Ravi Chacko, MD/PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering

The Women’s Bakery

The Women’s Bakery is a social enterprise that trains East African women to launch and profitably manage nutrition-centric bakeries in their communities.

WashU team member:

  • Markey Culver, MBA ’17


Editor’s Note: Updated on September 27, 2018 to list Kay Park, Wayne Warner, and Jae Lee as additional WashU team members on Empowered Through Health. Previously, it only listed Shanti Parikh.