Five pharmaceutical sciences graduate student teams receive Innovation Challenge awards

Fargo, North Dakota – April 17, 2018 – Five teams of pharmaceutical sciences graduate students received two first place, a second place and two third place awards in the NDSU Innovation Challenge at an award ceremony held on April 17.

First place winners are:  Shrindh Joshi for Ace2Stem, advised by Dr. Yagna Jarajapu; Raquib Hasan, Abbey Wohlers and Meredith Schroeder (microbiological  sciences) for OsteoFill, advised by Dr. Amanda Brooks.

Second place winners are:  Matthew Confeld and Abigail Zikmund (microbiology) for T-Prime Therapeutics advised by Dr. Sanku Mallik.

Third place winners are:  Babak Mamnoon and Chad Rehovsky (mechanical engineering), advised by Dr. Sanku Mallik and Dr. Dilpreet Bajwa, and Divya Sharma and Shrinidh Joshi for Breathe Smarter, advised by Dr. Yagna Jarajapu.

Their entrepreneurial research covers moldable putty for bone infections, stem cells to help repair diabetes complications, a 3D chamber to monitor cancer drug treatments, a cancer vaccine, and ways to improve patient outcomes with a cloud-based data platform for asthma patients.

The NDSU Research and Technology Park recognized the students who gave their final presentations and had been selected as winners. NDSU President Dean Bresciani and Provost Beth Ingram both spoke about the inspiration that students show to others during their hard work and dedication through the Innovation Challenge. The NDSU Research and Technology Park, in collaboration with the NDSU Office of the Provost, are proud to announce the 2018 Innovation Challenge winners in the Product, Service and Social Impact tracks:


1st: Raquib Hasan, Abbey Wohlers, and Meredith Schroeder working on “Osteo-Fill,” a moldable putty-like substance that works to cure infections.

2nd: Hanaa Mansour and Matthew Crouse, have created a 3D printed “flask holder” to increase efficiency in laboratories.

3rd: Babak Jahani, creating an antibacterial coating to reduce the spread of disease.


1st: “Ace2Stem” by Shrinidh Joshi, developing “designer” stem cells that assist in repairing the body when struck by disease.

2nd: “T-Prime Therapeutics,” another project of Matt Confeld’s alongside Abigail Zikmund, developing a genetically unique vaccine for cancers in family generations.

3rd: Babak Mamnoon and Chad Rehovsky created “3D Biotumoroids,” a 3D printed chamber that helps to grow and monitor drug treatments of breast cancer.

Social Impact

1st: Jesse Riley, Nikki Ellingson, Elsie McGuigan, and Mackenzie Alexander created “Songbird Creations,” a way to help schools fundraise and increase interest in STEM fields while reconnecting students to nature, away from their screens.

2nd: “PlusOne” by Ted Zipoy, Ian Gilley, and Michael and Timothy Straus, empowering students to donate extra dining center meals to those in need.

3rd: “Breathe Smarter” by Shrindh Joshi, another student with multiple projects, and Divya Sharma, a way of improving patient outcomes and increased efficiency through cloud-based data platform for asthma patients.

In addition to presenting the awards to students, a panel of individuals discussed their entrepreneurial journey and how they assist entrepreneurs in launching their businesses. Panelists included founder and CEO of Stoneridge Software, Eric Newell, co-founder of Fargo 3D Printing, John Schneider, and Jenni Huotari, partner and director of Business Outsourcing and Strategy at Eide Bailly. Each brought a unique perspective.

The event concluded with the winners receiving checks for $5,000 for the first place grand prize, $1,000 for second place and the third place winners taking home $500. The Innovation Challenge will resume again next year in January with Bison Brainstorming and Pitch Night.

The NDSU Research and Technology Park is dedicated to enhancing the investments in North Dakota State University by the citizens of North Dakota. Through partnerships with international, national, and regional centers of excellence, as well as high technology-based businesses and the research community at NDSU, we help develop technology-based businesses and broaden the economic base of North Dakota.

Located in the College of Health Professions, the NDSU School of Pharmacy includes pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy practice. The NDSU School of Pharmacy supports, educates and trains undergraduate, professional and graduate students to become highly skilled and caring health care professionals and creates new knowledge through excellence in the practice of pharmacy and pharmaceutical research. The school is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, and is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

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