student wins collegiate inventors competition

The key is Jell-O. So says Timothy Lu, a visiting scholar in biomedical engineering at Boston University, who won the 2008 Collegiate Inventors Competition: Grad student's discovery earns national prize.

Lu discovered a way to break through nearly impenetrable protective biofilm, which surrounds and protects the bacteria that cause many ailments, preventing patient recovery. This is one of the crucial obstacles in treating patients with conditions like cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disease for which there is no cure.

According to Lu, it's like fruit Jell-O. The fruit is the bacteria themselves and the Jell-O is the protective layer. Lu's work was about weakening the bacteria's defense systems by chewing up the protective biofilm. That is awesome. Bust through that biofilm, baby.

The biofilm project was one of two projects involving bacteria that convinced the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation to award Lu the $25,000 grand prize. Pretty damn brilliant.

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