Grand Challenges Scholar

Carly Blair

Carly Blair standing next to her poster presentation.
Carly Blair, biological sciences

Class year: 2023
Major: Biological Sciences
Challenge: Engineer the Tools for Scientific Discovery

Can you provide a short summary of your project?

My project was the 2022 iGEM project which focused around the maple syrup industry. There are multiple defects in the syrup that can arise throughout the maple syrup production process. Our project focused on detecting these defects before the sap turned into syrup and repurposing already defective syrup, providing sugarmakers with easy and cost-effective solutions to their problems.

Why did you want to address this particular challenge?

Our team felt that the project was very unique and impacted local people (New York is the second highest producer of maple syrup in the United States behind Vermont). We also thought that the maple syrup industry has largely been ignored by the scientific community and we wanted to raise awareness for the potential wide-reaching impacts of the maple syrup industry.

What was the most important takeaway or thing you learned through the course of the project?

Throughout this project I learned many valuable lessons, but most importantly I learned how to work with others on a team.

Now that you are graduating, what are your next steps?

I have a lab technician position in an immunology lab at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and I am excited to continue working on meaningful research.