Georgia Institute of Technology: Environmental Health Engineering Graduate Student Wins CRIDC Innovation Competition

Mo Jarin, a doctoral student in Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering has won the Career, Research, and Innovation Development Conference’s Innovation Competition for her VoltaPure water disinfection technology.

Jarin, who is pursuing her degree in environmental health engineering, earned a $1,000 cash prize for her efforts.

The annual event is sponsored by VentureLab, which helps Georgia Tech researchers explore market opportunities and create startups based on their work.

In her three-minute pitch, Jarin explained more than 800 million people worldwide lack consistent access to clean drinking water due to the high cost of treatment plants, difficulties in transporting chemicals, and the aftermath of carcinogenic disinfection byproducts.

“With the current trend in water disinfection centered on alternative solutions to standard chemicals like chlorine, we are excited to continue exploring the market opportunities for VoltaPure,” Jarin said. “I am honored and extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to present to a panel of experienced judges — and especially female entrepreneurs — on our current progress with the commercialization efforts for VoltaPure.

VoltaPure’s novel co-axial electrode copper ionization cell enables superior water disinfection, while producing a low-level, safe effluent copper concentration.

“Mo made a compelling case for the commercial potential of her VoltaPure water disinfection technology,” said VentureLab Director Keith McGreggor. “Her idea illustrates why the Innovation Competition is a great opportunity for Georgia Tech student researchers to think about what it might take to start a business based on their work.”

To better understand her technology’s potential, Jarin has already participated in Georgia Tech’s inaugural Female Founders program and audited the CREATE-X Startup Launch program. She was also awarded a $50,000 grant through the National Science Foundation’s Innovation-Corps program to participate in a seven-week bootcamp focused on experiential education to gain insight into her startup’s industry. She is advised by Xing Xie, the Carlton S. Wilder Assistant Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Strong Contenders

Two other student presenters were selected as runners-up and will each receive $500. Nathan Zavanelli, pursuing a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering/bioengineering, and advised by Woon-Hong Yeo in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, explained the benefits of his “smart patch” for sleep apnea assessments. The disorder affects more than 900 million adults worldwide, but most often goes undiagnosed.

Amirtha Varshini Anbuchezhiyan Sindhanai, a computer science master’s student in Tech’s College of Computing, and advised by James Rehg, described how her technology uses machine learning and machine vision to help job applicants review and enhance their nonverbal communications skills.

LaVonda Brown, a Georgia Tech alumna and founder of startup EyeGage, served as a judge alongside Nammy Vedire, director of platform and operations of Engage, the Georgia Tech-affiliated incubator for enterprise-focused startups.

VentureLab will provide ongoing support, reaching out to all the competitors to offer guidance and help them pursue programs and grants that support the transition from success in the lab to success in the market.

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