Where to be

10+ can't-miss Houston business and innovation events for March

From startup competitions to thought-provoking panels, here's where you need to be in March. Getty Images

Rodeo has kicked off and spring break is around the corner, which can only mean one thing: March in Houston. The month is chock full of business, entrepreneurial, and innovation-focused events, but we've plucked out over 10 to highlight this month.

If you know of innovation-focused events for February, email me at natalie@innovationmap.com with the details.

March 5 — Unlock Team's Creativity - Innovative Management Tools

Learn new teamwork tools and applications and hear about how companies have changed their organization and manage innovation, creativity, and teamwork.

Details: The event is from 5:30 to 7 pm on Tuesday, March 5, at Station Houston (1301 Fannin St., Suite 2440). Learn more here.

March 5 — Women Who Code Houston Launch

Women Who Code is bringing its network and resources to Houston. Celebrate the launch and network with like-minded, tech-savvy women.

Details: The event is from 6 to 8:30 pm on Tuesday, March 5, at AIG Building's Lobby (2727 Allen Pkwy). Learn more here.

March 6 — From ICOs to STOs: The Nuts & Bolts of Security Token Offerings

New to the innovation scene, Houston Blockchain Alliance, a networking group of blockchain professionals, has its first learning event. This STO Primer Course will provide an introduction to STOs, the applicable rules and regulations governing STOs, fundraising options and the process, timeline and estimated costs to launch a compliant STO.

Details: The event is from 6 to 8 pm on Wednesday, March 6, at Ranch Office (1220 Blalock Rd). Learn more here.

March 6 — Case Study: Digital Transformation in Energy Fortune 500

Who's down for pizza, beer, and talking about the digital transformation process of a Fortune 500 company with the Houston Industrial Digital Transformation & Connected Work meetup group? Dimitri Karastamatis, board adviser of operations at PowerIn Energy will lead the discussion.

Details: The meetup is from 6 to 8 pm on Wednesday, March 6, at ChaiOne HQ (9 Greenway Plaza, Suite 850). Learn more here.

March 7 — Entrepreneurship Education Series: Building a Startup Sales Team

Sales can be tough for entrepreneurs and innovators, so getting a good team in place is crucial. Neal Benedict, president and Founder of Silver Brick Sales Solutions, weighs in on the best steps to take when building your sales team.

Details: The event is from noon to 1:30 pm on Thursday, March 7, at Station Houston (1301 Fannin St., Suite 2440). Learn more here.

March 7 — French American Innovation Day 2019

Promoting innovation collaboration between the United States and France, the conference is organized by the Office for Science & Technology of the Embassy of France in the United States in collaboration with the TMC Innovation in Houston, the French American Chamber of Commerce in Houston and the French Foreign Trade Advisors.

Details: The event is from 7 am to 7 pm on Thursday, March 7, at TMC Innovation Institute (2450 Holcombe Blvd., Suite X). Learn more here.

March 7 — Selling Innovation and Creative Digital Cities

What can we learn from other digital cities? This discussion lead by three different experts will analyze and ideate new ways of innovation.

Details: The event is from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Thursday, March 7, at Techspace - Houston (2101 CityWest Blvd.) Learn more here.

March 8 — Startup Pains: What I Wish I Knew

This monthly series hosted by the University of Houston lets you learn from someone else's mistakes and successes. This month's speaker is Seamus Curran, Ph.D, who is a professor of physics at UH and the CEO of Integricote.

Details: The event is from 4 to 5 pm on Friday, March 8, at the UH Technology Bridge (Innovation Center, building 4, floor 2, 5000 Gulf Fwy). Learn more here.

March 11 — HATCH Pitch Summit 2019 Livestream

Houston-based HATCH Pitch is headed for Austin with its four finalists focused on startups making the world a better place. Read more about the competition here.

Details: The free stream is from 10 am to noon on Monday, March 11, and available here.

March 12 - Info Session: Techstars Energy Accelerator

Energy acceleration can be tough in the industry, but Audun Abelsnes, managing director of Techstars Energy Accelerator, is at your disposal for all your questions.

    Details: The event is from noon to 2:30 pm on Tuesday, March 12, at Station Houston (1301 Fannin St., Suite 2440). Learn more here.

    March 14 — eMan Lunch n' Learn: Boosting Safety & Productivity in O&G by Leveraging IoT

    Every startup can learn from industrial innovation, and eMan works alongside Fortune 500 companies doing just that. Hear from the company's execs about their services, clients, and how they are enabling emerging tech in the industrial space.

    Details: The event is from 11:30 am to 1 pm on Thursday, March 14, at The Cannon (1336 Brittmoore Road). Learn more here.

    March 21 — Visionaries panel: The present is female.

    Forget this "future" stuff. Get ready for b8ta Houston's next Founders Series is all about the ladies in honor of International Women's Month. Four female leaders will take the stage to talk about the challenges they face and obstacles they've overcome.

    Details: The panel is at 6:30 pm on Thursday, March 21, at b8ta Houston in the Galleria (5115 Westheimer Road, #c3575). Learn more here.

    March 26 — WeWork Labs Houston Launch Party

    Houston has a new space for startups to incubate, accelerate, and receive mentorship thanks to WeWork and Alice. Read all about the new WeWork Labs location here. To celebrate, the organization is hosting a little shindig.

    Details: The celebration starts at 6 pm on Tuesday, March 26, at WeWork Downtown Houston (708 Main Street, 10th Floor). Learn more here.

    March 28 — 2019 H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge - Startup Competition

    Ten Rice University-affiliated teams — from students to recent alumni — are competing for $60,000 and other prizes. Click here to learn more about the finalists and the judging panel.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 9 pm on Thursday, March 28, at Rice University (Liu Idea Lab For Innovation & Entrepreneurship — Cambridge Office Building). Learn more here.

    March 28 — Houston Open Innovation Conference

    The third annual Houston Open Innovation Conference is a full day conference where businesses, government entities and academic representatives can collaborate to spark more development, collaboration and dialogue for the city.

    Details: The conference is from 8:30 am to 4 p.m on Thursday, March 28, at Houston Exponential (410 Pierce St.). Learn more.

    Breakthrough research on metastatic breast cancer, a new way to turn toxic pollutants into valuable chemicals, and an evolved brain tumor chip are three cancer-fighting treatments coming out of Houston. Getty Inages

    Cancer remains to be one of the medical research community's huge focuses and challenges, and scientists in Houston are continuing to innovate new treatments and technologies to make an impact on cancer and its ripple effect.

    Three research projects coming out of Houston institutions are providing solutions in the fight against cancer — from ways to monitor treatment to eliminating cancer-causing chemicals in the first place.

    Baylor College of Medicine's breakthrough in breast cancer

    Photo via bcm.edu

    Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Harvard Medical School have unveiled a mechanism explains how "endocrine-resistant breast cancer acquires metastatic behavior," according to a news release from BCM. This research can be game changing for introducing new therapeutic strategies.

    The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and shows that hyperactive FOXA1 signaling — previously reported in endocrine-resistant metastatic breast cancer — can trigger genome-wide reprogramming that enhances resistance to treatment.

    "Working with breast cancer cell lines in the laboratory, we discovered that FOXA1 reprograms endocrine therapy-resistant breast cancer cells by turning on certain genes that were turned off before and turning off other genes," says Dr. Xiaoyong Fu, assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology and part of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor, in the release.

    "The new gene expression program mimics an early embryonic developmental program that endow cancer cells with new capabilities, such as being able to migrate to other tissues and invade them aggressively, hallmarks of metastatic behavior."

    Patients whose cancer is considered metastatic — even ones that initially responded to treatment — tend to relapse and die due to the cancer's resistance to treatment. This research will allow for new conversations around therapeutic treatment that could work to eliminate metastatic cancer.

    University of Houston's evolved brain cancer chip

    Photo via uh.edu

    A biomedical research team at the University of Houston has made improvements on its microfluidic brain cancer chip. The Akay Lab's new chip "allows multiple-simultaneous drug administration, and a massive parallel testing of drug response for patients with glioblastoma," according to a UH news release. GBM is the most common malignant brain tumor and makes up half of all cases. Patients with GBM have a five-year survival rate of only 5.6 percent.

    "The new chip generates tumor spheroids, or clusters, and provides large-scale assessments on the response of these GBM tumor cells to various concentrations and combinations of drugs. This platform could optimize the use of rare tumor samples derived from GBM patients to provide valuable insight on the tumor growth and responses to drug therapies," says Metin Akay, John S. Dunn Endowed Chair Professor of Biomedical Engineering and department chair, in the release.

    Akay's team published a paper in the inaugural issue of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society's Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology. The report explains how the technology is able to quickly assess how well a cancer drug is improving its patients' health.

    "When we can tell the doctor that the patient needs a combination of drugs and the exact proportion of each, this is precision medicine," Akay explains in the release.

    Rice University's pollution transformation technology

    Photo via rice.edu

    Rice University engineers have developed a way to get rid of cancer-causing pollutants in water and transform them into valuable chemicals. A team lead by Michael Wong and Thomas Senftle has created this new catalyst that turns nitrate into ammonia. The study was published in the journal ACS Catalysis.

    "Agricultural fertilizer runoff is contaminating ground and surface water, which causes ecological effects such as algae blooms as well as significant adverse effects for humans, including cancer, hypertension and developmental issues in babies," says Wong, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in Rice's Brown School of Engineering, in a news release. "I've been very curious about nitrogen chemistry, especially if I can design materials that clean water of nitrogen compounds like nitrites and nitrates."

    The ability to transform these chemicals into ammonia is crucial because ammonia-based fertilizers are used for global food supplies and the traditional method of creating ammonia is energy intensive. Not only does this process eliminate that energy usage, but it's ridding the contaminated water of toxic chemicals.

    "I'm excited about removing nitrite, forming ammonia and hydrazine, as well as the chemistry that we figured out about how all this happens," Wong says in the release. "The most important takeaway is that we learned how to clean water in a simpler way and created chemicals that are more valuable than the waste stream."