Grand Challenges Scholar

Sarah Chiaradonna

Sarah Chiaradonna standing next to her poster.
Sarah Chiaradonna, biological sciences

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

Can you provide a short summary of your project?

I was part of the 2022 iGEM team where we addressed several problems that arise during the process of producing maple syrup. We developed several biosensors to detect defective sap before it is boiled into unsellable syrup, and we also devised a method to repurpose syrup that is contaminated with bacteria.

Why did you want to address this particular challenge?

We decided to work with maple syrup because New York is a major part of the global maple industry, and we wanted to do our part to develop tools to benefit the industry. Since many of our tools can be used in other ways besides the maple industry, this challenge was clearly the best fit for our project!

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

I learned a lot during the project, but the most important takeaway was how a lot of people, each with their own unique backgrounds and experiences, can come together for a common goal and accomplish something really cool!

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

After I graduate, I plan to work as a research technician at the University of Rochester Medical Center.