› FREDsense: using synthetic biology to disrupt water monitoring
› Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology
› Genetic engineering for environmental applications
› Starting a hardware start-up
› Bootstrapping and creative ways to fund startups
› The future of work: skills students should be learning
› Harnessing Biotechnology for Disruptive Innovation
Biotechnology is a rapidly growing field. With massive improvements to writing and reading DNA, the fundamental unit of our genetic code, biotechnology is also becoming more accessible than ever before. In addition to significant advances in gene editing and control, we are also seeing the rise of DIY biology, where advancements are happening not only in top levels universities, but in garages, community centres and startups around the world. New discoveries in biotechnology will have significant impacts on a variety of industries such as agriculture, manufacturing and resource extraction to name a few. Startups are really on the forefront of this, creating new ways to do things with biology and cells. From measuring contaminants in our water to producing bio-based fabrics, the possibilities for innovation are exciting and game changing.
Emily Hicks is a graduate from the University of Calgary with a first class honors degree in Biomedical sciences as well as an alumnus of Singularity University. Always passionate about synthetic biology and how it can help the environment, Emily helped to lead the University of Calgary’s International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition team to multiple international awards for their environmental projects. An avid public speaker, Emily has received several recognitions including being a global finalist in the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Present Around the World competition as well as an invited speaker for Singularity University, The Atlantic and Oxford University. Currently Emily is President and co-founder of FREDsense Technologies. Coupling genetic engineering and electrochemistry, FREDsense creates portable devices that enable anyone, anywhere to measure trace contaminants in their water. Currently in-use by water utilities and mining companies, FREDsense has won a number of awards including the National Nicol Entrepreneurial award, The Queen’s Entrepreneurship competition, and Singularity University’s Global Grand Challenge for water. Having founded FREDsense directly out of her undergraduate degree, Emily is currently a Kairos fellow, a top 30 under 30 in Canada for Sustainability, one of Bay Street Bull’s Top 30 under 30 Canadians and featured on Real Leader’s list of 100 young visionary leaders. In 2018, Emily was the winner of the She Loves Tech Global finals in Beijing, China. Always passionate about DIY bioengineering, Emily mentors rural high school students in synthetic biology projects through the geekStarter program in Canada.