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Design Student Part of Winning Biodesign Challenge Team

A team of students representing UC Davis took the Biodesign Challenge for the first time and came away with the Outstanding Science Award and was runner up for the top prize at the event. Team Sorbit from UC Davis, which included design and economics double major Julie Xu, created a diaper of bacterial cellulose with enhanced absorbency and biodegradability. The event was recently held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

On June 21 and 22, Team Sorbit joined student teams from around the world at the Biodesign Challenge Summit. The teams, chosen from more than 400 participating students, showcased their projects and competed for prizes including the Glass Microbe.

The founders and creators of Sorbit are four students enrolled in a BioDesign class. The basis of the class is to have students from multiple disciplines learn about the kombucha byproduct, bacterial cellulose, and come up with an application for this versatile material. The team was composed of students from majors all across the board: a genetics and genomics major minoring in nutrition science, a material science and engineering major, a design and economics double major (Xu), and a biomedical engineering major. The team’s objective is to design a diaper with bacterial cellulose integrated in it for enhanced absorbency, biodegradability and a more eco-friendly life cycle. ​

Julie Xu is a second-year design and economics student who is curious about a wide variety of things such as biology, business, fashion, sustainability, and more. She is excited to collaborate with science students to make world-changing innovations. Julie is a active member/officer in EBSA (Economics and Business Student Association) and CSA (Chinese Student Association). She works as a classroom and laboratory assistant in UC Davis Design Department. 

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