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May 19, 2015

Alex Richter Wins Lemelson-MIT Student Prize

RichterGraduate student Alexander Richter has won a prestigious Lemelson-MIT (L-MIT) Student Prize for work to improve agricultural pest control that could strengthen the global food supply.

The L-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize Competition "honors promising collegiate inventors around the country. The student prize competition is open to teams of undergraduate students, and individual graduate students who have inventions in categories that represent significant sectors of the economy."

Alex won his prize in the "Eat It" category, which rewards students working on technology-based inventions that can improve food and agriculture. A member of Dr. Orlin Velev's research group, Alex is developing a novel approach to deliver antimicrobial and antifungal pest control agents via lignin-core environmentally benign Nano Particles (EbNPs).

These biodegradable EbNPs could be the basis for Reduced Risk Conventional Pesticide Products that have the potential to reduce the amount of chemicals used in plant protection by as much as 90 percent. That amount of reduction could save farmers more than 25 percent on pest control initiatives and help increase crop yields. The technology is being developed by BENANOVA Inc., a startup company founded by Alex and Dr. Velev.

Alex was the first-prize winner in the 2015 Shoenborn Symposium Oral Presentations category. In 2013 he was selected as one of seven graduate finalists in the Collegiate Inventors Competition, "a national competition that recognizes and rewards innovations, discoveries, and research by college and university students and their faculty advisors." A native of Austria, he earned his B.S. in Environmental/Biotechnology Engineering with an emphasis on Environmental Engineering at MCI University-The Entrepreneurial School, Austria, in 2009.

Congratulations to Alex for your outstanding accomplishments!

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