Dr. Sruthi Sreekumar and Dr. Carolin Richter won the prestigious start-up NRW transfer grant to set up their own biotech start-up greenCAP

Last month, our alumnae Dr. Sruthi Sreekumar and Dr. Carolin Richter had their pitch to defend their start-up proposal in front of the high-ranking start-up NRW transfer jury and today, they were informed their proposal was selected for funding! Carolin obtained her PhD in our group in 2008 working on the molecular basis of the unusual disease resistance of dandelion. Ten years later, after a postdoc period, a few family leaves for her three sons, and work as a science journalist, she returned to our lab, supporting different projects, all in the area of chitosan-induced plant disease resistance. Sruthi obtained her PhD in our group in 2018, working on nano- and microformulations of chitosans to improve their performance as drug delivery systems for both agriculture and medicine. She then also supported different of our recent projects as a postdoc, where-ever nanoformulation could boost the efficacy of chitosan-based applications. Both Caro and Sruthi were involved in developing our novel enzymatically optimized chitosan oligo- and polysaccharides with defined, non-random patterns of acetylation and improved, targeted bioactivities. Together, they developed the idea for their own start-up greenCAP which aims to transfer our ample experience in the nano- and microformulation of bioactive chitosans from the lab to the market. Winning the start-up NRW transfer grant will allow them to do the first crucial steps towards foundation, such as developing the business plan and securing follow-up financing, but also to continue performing R&D work in our group to further strengthen their scientific basis. In this way, both of them will stay strongly connected to our group so that our students can continue profiting from their experience and spirit. Congratulations Sruthi and Caro – you make us proud and happy!