Candice HovellCandice Hovell studied chemical and biological engineering at the University of Alabama from 2008 to 2012. After earning her bachelor’s degree from the Capstone, she pursued a PhD in biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech. In 2017, Candice completed her PhD and joined Space Pharma, a start-up company focused on providing researchers access to microgravity conditions. Candice’s experience at Space Pharma encouraged her to take on new challenges as an independent consultant. As a consultant, Candice worked on several projects to facilitate the development and production of plant-based oils. During this time, Candice was alarmed by the unsustainable methods used in the industry to produce compounds derived from plant secretory structures.

Candice noticed that companies would grow and harvest whole plants just to obtain specific compounds that accounted for a small fraction of the available biomass. Moreover, manufacturers relied on processes that demanded significant expenditures of labor, energy, and water, leading to a high carbon footprint. These inefficiencies concerned Candice and motivated her to pioneer a more sustainable means of generating products from plants. Ultimately, this inspiration led her to start her new company InViTri.

InViTri applies advances from tissue engineering and microfabrication to develop novel bioreactor systems for the culture of several specialized secretory structures found in plants. This innovation makes it easier to mass produce compounds typically sourced from these structures. As a result, manufacturers can generate higher quantities of product while reducing their water and carbon footprints. Candice hopes that by helping industry run more efficiently, InViTri will help conserve natural resources and protect the environment for future generations.