Professor, postdoc win pitch award for COVID-19 efforts

A University of New Mexico professor and her team have recently won a $7,500 award in the 2020 Pitch-In Social Enterprise Challenge for their efforts related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Above: postdoctoral fellow Tye Martin

Heather Canavan, professor of chemical and biological engineering, and her team, which includes postdoctoral fellow Tye Martin and graduate students Ben Matheson and Christian Denny, pitched their idea to help with coronavirus efforts in the Albuquerque area. In particular, their goal is to transport locally-made 3D-printed personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer to those in need on the front lines, while also helping those left unemployed by the virus’ economic impacts.

The team, recently rebranded as ScrubHub ABQ, received the funds that will support volunteers with a stipend to help with 3D printing PPE parts/equipment, as well as transporting and delivering storage supplies to the Broken Trail Brewery & Distillery for production of the hand sanitizer. A portion of the funds will go to volunteers at the brewery as well.

The contest was sponsored by Bernalillo County, Nusenda Credit Union, UNM Innovation Academy and the Sandia National Laboratories’ Center for Collaboration and Commercialization (C3).