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Friday 13 May 2016 3:57pm

The innovators . . . (left photo) Dr Carla Meledandri and (right photo, from left) Researchers Associate Professor Stephen Moratti, Emeritus Professor Brian Robinson, Professor Lyall Hanton and Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon Mr Simon Robinson, with some of the new healing super gel derived from crab-shell and squid.

Two innovative Otago researchers have been selected as finalists in the fourth annual KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards, which celebrate commercialisation success within New Zealand's universities and Crown Research Institutes.

Dr Carla Meledandri and Associate Professor Stephen Moratti, both of the Department of Chemistry, have been named as finalists in the Norman F. Barry Trust Emerging Innovator and Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur categories, respectively.

Dr Meledandri was recognised for her work on harnessing the antibacterial properties of silver nanoparticles to treat and prevent dental disease, and Associate Professor Moratti for leading a team working on healing gels from natural products.
About the Otago finalists:

Dr Carla Meledandri received her PhD in Chemistry at Dublin City University in 2009 specialising in nano-materials. Since completing her PhD, Carla's career has focused on pushing the frontiers of science to solve real world problems. The result is a rapid accumulation of commercial opportunities, including a technology licenced to a multinational dental company. Having achieved such great progress so early in her career, Carla is certainly an inspiration to other early career scientists and is well on the way to transforming her science into excellent economic outcomes for New Zealand.

Associate Professor Stephen Moratti is in charge of a team that has developed and commercialised an exciting new gel material for post-surgical healing based on natural polymers, soon to be launched in the US. Using private capital a company has been formed and manufacturing has started in Wellington, with the product to be launched in the US later this year. This gel dramatically reduces complications such as adhesions, infection and bleeding in many types of surgeries and was developed entirely through government and University funding.

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