What you're reading

5 top trending innovation stories in Houston this week

Life Time Work announced its third location in Houston's City Centre. Courtesy of Life Time

Editor's note: Welcome to the inaugural edition of our weekly top stories roundup. Here's where you can see what's being read across InnovationMap. This week, futuristic gift ideas, DNA dating, top events, and more are catching the eyes of our readers.

10 futuristic products you can buy today in this Galleria store that's flipping the script on retail

B8ta has all the perks of a digital marketplace — but customers are able to physically test all the products. Photo by Natalie Harms

B8ta, which has its lone Houston store in the Galleria, will stock any types of products in its stores, as long as it fits the bill as an innovative product. Here are 10 that seem like are from the future. Read the full story here.

5 can't-miss Houston events for entrepreneurs to close out 2018

Check out these conferences, shopping events, networking, and more. Getty Images

Before most of Houston completely checks out for the holidays, the city is playing host to a few major innovation-focused events. Learn from thought leaders, network, and even shop at these five events taking place this week and next. Read the full story here.

Houston DNA-based dating app expands nationwide, launches next funding round

Pheramor takes users' DNA and social media habits and matches them with compatible partners. Courtesy of Pheramor

Houston singles can find their perfect match — even if it's someone across the country. Houston-based Pheramor — a DNA-based dating app — is available for download in every state. Read the full story here.

Life Time reveals details of first Houston coworking space

Houston snags only the third location of Life Time Work. It opens in City Centre early next year. Courtesy of Life Time

Houston is just the third city to be chosen to have a location of Minnesota-based Life Time's new coworking center. Life Time Work should be open in early 2019 in City Centre Five, adjacent to Life Time Athletic. Read the full story here.

3 Houston innovators to know this week

These three entrepreneurs are in the business of solving problems. Courtesy photos

Entrepreneurs see a problem, and solve it. This week's three innovators to know are no different. All three have personal stories of realizing there's something not right — and there's something they could do about it. Read the full story here.

Trending News

Building Houston

 
 

A team out of the engineering school at Rice University has created a technology for real-time wastewater monitoring. Photo via rice.edu

A team of researchers from Rice University have received a $2 million grant to develop a unique technology that speeds up the analysis of wastewater for viruses from hours to seconds.

The team is based out of Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering and led by Rafael Verduzco, associate chair and a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of materials science and nanoengineering. The four-year grant from the National Science Foundation will support the development of the technology, which includes wastewater-testing bioelectric sensors that deliver immediate notice of presence of viruses like SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, according to a news release from Rice.

The research project — with its partners at the Houston Health Department — have already developed water testing procedures and have analyzed samples from locations around the city. The current process includes taking samples and transferring them to Rice for analysis, but the new technology would be able to monitor systems onsite and instantly. The parties involved with this work are also collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Center of Excellence for wastewater epidemiology that was announced in August.

“Monitoring wastewater for COVID has been pretty effective as a way to get an idea of where we are as a population,” says Verduzco in the release. “But the way it’s done is you have to sample it, you have to do a PCR test and there’s a delay. Our selling point was to get real-time, continuous monitoring to see just how much of this virus is in the wastewater.”

The grant's co-principal investigators include Jonathan Silberg, the Stewart Memorial Professor of BioSciences and director of the Systems, Synthetic and Physical Biology Ph.D. program, and Caroline Ajo-Franklin, a professor of biosciences. Co-investigators also include Lauren Stadler, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Kirstin Matthews, a fellow at the Baker Institute for Public Policy.

“These are engineered microbes we’re putting into wastewater, and even though they’re encapsulated, we want to know if there are concerns from health authorities and the general population,” Verduzco said. “Kirstin’s role is to look at the policy side, and also gauge public reaction and educate people about what it means when we talk about engineered bacteria.”

Rafael Verduzco is leading the research and development. Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Trending News