Two graduate research assistants at the University of Tennessee are creating a more efficient future for the research community.
Nima Tamaddoni, Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering, and Graham Taylor, Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering, are starting their own company, intended to assist researchers who work in different fields including bioengineering, electrophysiology, biophysics and molecular biology.
Both Tamaddoni and Taylor shared ambitions of starting a company when they began their graduate work at the Bioinspired Materials and Transduction Laboratory, which is a part of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering at UT and is directed by Andy Sarles, assistant professor in mechanical engineering.
After multiple discussions on the start-up's first product debut last spring, the company, known as T&T Scientific Corp, and its founders decided to start out with a single-use and disposable liposome extruder called LipX.
Liposomes are intracellular vesicles that can be used to transport nutrients and pharmaceutical drugs. Tamaddoni and Taylor hope LipX will assist researchers who already create and size liposomes through the standard extrusion method as faster and cleaner solution to liposome extrusion.
“(Liposome extrusion) is a field that is quickly increasing in popularity, and our product is very simple, but it’s the kind of thing that could really transform the way things are done,” Taylor said.
Unlike the LipX product, Taylor explained that other liposome extrusion tools, such as the Avanti Mini-Extruder, take an unnecessary amount of time to properly set up for use and slows down the liposome extrusion process. If the researcher needs to use the method multiple times, the instrument would require more cleaning and less time focusing on its designated task.
“We’ve gotten some pretty good preliminary feedback from potential users that are really happy with our products just because of the time saved and the compliments for not having to worry about contamination,” Taylor said. “What we’re making is helping ultimately to protect and extend the life of really expensive materials.”
In addition to time-saving tools for researchers, the company will also offer educational seminars, webinars and workshops for those wanting to expand in their specialization in the United States and Canada. These will be lead by Ph.D. specialized experts who will design the course based on group size, content, location and dates available for attendees.
As the second pillar of T&T Scientific's foundation, Tamaddoni provided insight on why the company wants to provide a wide array of services.
“We think that there big opportunities for different labs all around the U.S. that can use our product and services to grow their lab and bring more funding opportunities for themselves,” she said.
The company is currently checking the shelf life of the products to ensure those products last an appropriate amount of time after packaging and shipping is completed.
Advertisements about the pre-release of their LipX product are in the works, and both Ph.D. students hope to have their first units available for sale in December.
The first webinar hosted by Tamaddoni and Taylor's company is available on the website to register for $45.