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Icelandic Scientist Wins Innovation Award

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Icelandic Scientist Wins Innovation Award

From the left: Sigrún Shanko, Margrét Júlíana Sigurðardóttir, Sandra Mjöll Jónsdóttir, Hjördís Sigurðardóttir, Þorbjörg Jensdóttir

From the left: Sigrún Shanko, Margrét Júlíana Sigurðardóttir, Sandra Mjöll Jónsdóttir, Hjördís Sigurðardóttir, Þorbjörg Jensdóttir

Sandra Mjöll Jónsdóttir, co-founder of the biotech company Platome, was awarded the highest honor at a conference hosted last week by the Global Women Innovators and Inventors Network and the European Union Women Inventors & Innovators Network (GWIIN/EUWIIN), reports RÚV. She is the first Icelandic woman to be so honored.

As well as being the CEO at Platome, Sandra is an adjunct professor in human genetics at the University of Iceland and a Ph.D. candidate in molecular life sciences. She co-founded Platome with scientist and stem cell biology specialist Ólafur E. Sigurjónsson after five years of collaborative research. In her work at the company, Sandra has recently developed new ways to grow cells in laboratories by using platelets from the Blood Bank.

“We are developing and selling nutritional solutions for cells, a kind of environment where cells can survive in a research lab, outside of the body. We are not selling cells or stem cells, but rather, these solutions for cultivating them,” Sandra explains. “The idea has been immensely well-received and earned both prizes and news coverage, and of course, we’ve published our findings in peer-reviewed journals. Founding the company was my doctoral project, which I will defend at the University of Iceland this coming September.” Platome has also received a grant from the Icelandic Technology Development fund whose role is to support research and development activities that aim towards innovation in Icelandic industry.

Forty women from around the world were nominated for 15 GWIIN/EUWIIN awards, the majority of which were won this year by Icelandic women. In addition to Sandra’s award, Hjördís Sigurðardóttir, founder of Aldin Biodome Reykjavík, Margrét Júlíana Sigurðardóttir, founder of Mussila, Dr Þorbjörg Jensdóttir, founder of Hap+, and Sigrún Lára Shanko, an artist and carpet-making entrepreneur, were also honored at the conference. The group travelled to Italy to receive the awards with QUIN- Iceland.
(Icelandic Women Inventors and Innovators Network), led by Elínóra Inga Sigurðardóttir.

The GWIIN/EUWIIN award is Sandra Mjöll’s third this year. In January, she was named a ‘young and promising scientist of the year’ at the University of Iceland’s Conference on Research in Life and Health Sciences, and her company, Platome, was named Start-Up of the Year by Icelandic business magazine Viðskiptablaðið.

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