Excellence Awards honor bioscience leaders in Piedmont Triad

Five of the Piedmont Triad region’s most impactful individuals and organizations in the life sciences have been honored with Excellence Awards.

The awards were given at Triad BioNight, a celebration of the region’s life sciences industry organized by the Piedmont Triad Office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. About 400 people attended the networking and awards event June 27 at the Grandover Resort and Spa in Greensboro.

The recipients were chosen by an independent awards committee after nominations were solicited from the region’s life sciences community. The following individuals and organizations won awards.

Academic Development Excellence Award: Sherine O. Obare, Ph.D.

Obare is the incoming vice chancellor for research and engagement at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. 

Sherine Obare
Sherine Obare

Her research in environmental chemistry and engineering has led to innovations in the detection and remediation of environmental contaminants, the design of nanoscale materials for drug delivery, improved healthcare, biomass conversion, alternative energy and anthropogenic nanomaterials. 

She has published over 100 articles, garnered over $20 million in grant funding, trained over 100 students in her laboratory and won several awards. She has been highly active promoting science to elementary and middle school students and is a role model to many scientists. 

Prior to her new role at UNCG, she was dean of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, an innovative collaboration between North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and UNCG. She is also a full professor of nanoscience at UNCG.

Biotechnology Community Leadership Excellence Award: Molding Kids for Success

Molding Kids for Success is a non-profit organization in Greensboro that exposes youth to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. 

Molding Kids for SuccessThe organization created a summer program allowing upper-elementary students or middle school students to perform STEM-based activities and to see first-hand how STEM principles are applied in industrial manufacturing rooms. The curriculum is aligned with the North Carolina Essential Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. 

The organization is a partner with NCBiotech on a Build Back Better federal grant that supports training and career opportunities in life sciences manufacturing for underserved and distressed communities, including historically excluded populations.

Biotechnology Support/Service Excellence Award: InfoPathways

InfoPathways is a newly recruited information technology systems company in Winston-Salem. 

InfoPathways

The Maryland-based company has worked directly with the life sciences industry for over 20 years and expanded into North Carolina to support one of the Triad region’s largest and most promising life sciences companies. 

Over the last two years, the company has also supported and collaborated with several other bioscience firms in the Triad region. It offers comprehensive solutions that encompass IT support, cybersecurity, data management, technology planning and more.

Entrepreneurial Excellence Award: BRINTER Inc.

BRINTER is a three-dimensional bioprinting company in Winston-Salem. 

BrinterThe company is developing bio-synthetic mesh implants for soft tissue repairs in tendon management, aiming for faster tissue healing and lower patient complications. The platform technology enables future application in areas such as cartilage, vascular tissue and patient personalization. 

The company has raised $2 million in pre-seed funding and $4 million in grant funding and is now raising $2.25 million to reach the commercial stage. BRINTER has three approved patents and six patents pending.  

Research and Development Excellence Award: Ayla Burns Harris

Harris is R&D manager at Burlington-based Labcorp

Ayla Burns Harris
Ayla Burns Harris

A native of Stokesdale, she started as a technologist in the company’s molecular infectious disease department, then transitioned into research and development and has been integral to assay development, validation and deployment across multiple disciplines. 

In 2020 she led the validation experiments for Labcorp's real-time PCR assays targeting COVID as well as Flu A/B and RSV. The COVID assays were the first from a commercial lab to receive Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in the laboratory, at home and over the counter. 

More recently, Harris led the R&D team to develop a test for Alzheimer’s disease risk. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from UNCG. 

Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer
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