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Aditya Vasan: Scaling Technology to Increase Microbial Fermentation Output

Aditya Vasan: Scaling Technology to Increase Microbial Fermentation Output

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Aditya Vasan, the cofounder and chief executive officer of SonoBac, Inc. Let’s learn what’s happening at SonoBac, and how Aditya is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Welcome, Aditya! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through SonoBac?

Aditya: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Microbes like bacteria have been used to make everything from nylon to food additives. The limitation with some of these manufacturing processes is that they cannot scale or are limited by the amount of product that can be produced. SonoBac is developing a technology that combines ultrasound and genetic engineering to increase microbial fermentation output.

Spiffy: Interesting! What motivates you to do it?

Aditya: My research during graduate school involved developing a technique called sonogenetics. Towards the end of graduate school, I realized that the work we were doing could be used in the microbial fermentation sector. Microbial fermentation can be used to produce products that are conventionally made using petrochemical,  but current microbial processes can't compete in scale and cost. My hope is that the application of sonogenetics to these processes increases yield, thus enabling eco-friendly manufacturing alternatives.

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Aditya: We help bio-manufacturing companies improve their processes, and our goal is to eventually enable bio-based alternatives to petrochemicals scale.

Spiffy: Wish you the best! Thanks for speaking with me today, Aditya—it’s been an honor!

Aditya Vasan is the cofounder and chief executive officer of SonoBac, Inc. He completed a PhD in the department of mechanical engineering at University of California, San Diego and the Salk Institute of Biological Sciences. His research lies at the intersection of ultrasound and genetic engineering to control aspects of cellular activity. He has authored several publications and patents associated with this work. (Nominated by Unshackled Ventures. First published on the Ladderworks website on October 06, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Shikha Tandon. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.