Superfund Research Program

June 2020

Dora Taggart

Dora Taggart, president of Microbial Insights and principal investigator of their SRP grant, participated in the 2020 I-Corps program.
(Photo courtesy of Microbial Insights)

NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) small business grantee Microbial Insights is taking the next steps to commercialize its tools that monitor the break down of environmental contaminants. The company was one of 23 small businesses selected to participate in the 2020 Innovation Corps (I-Corps) at NIH, an eight-week intensive program that teaches researchers how to accelerate commercialization of their products.

Microbial Insights uses big data and molecular tools to assess conditions that affect the ability of bacteria to break down harmful contaminants in the environment, a process called bioremediation. For their SRP-funded project, they are refining monitoring tools to measure molecules related to active metabolism. This monitoring capability provides insight into microbial community function and health at hazardous waste sites.

As part of their I-Corps experience, the team interviewed more than 100 potential customers, partners, and other stakeholders to explore business opportunities for its monitoring tools. They also attended a three-day kickoff workshop in Houston and participated in six weekly webinars on customer relationships, cost, and revenue streams from biotechnology experts.

At the end of the program, the Microbial Insights I-Corps team traveled to Bethesda, Maryland where they presented lessons learned and new commercialization ideas to a panel of advisors.