Recognition and Awards

Recognition & Awards

The SymbiOx team takes first place at the TriNet Challange

Dr. Egaña (SymbiOx scientific leader) presenting our technology at the MIT Media Lab in Boston, MA (June 2013).


SymbiOx was recently the first place winner of the TriNet Innovation Challenge 2014 (out of 40 innovation projects) – Sponsored by Scripps Foundation & Von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center


SymbiOx was one of the 5 teams (out of 35 teams) accepted for the accelerator program from the Rady School of Management (StartR) that recently graduated (March 2014).



We were recently accepted to be part of the Springboard Program 2014 from CONNECT®, program that catalyzes the creation of innovative technology and life sciences products. SymbiOx Inc, was assigned three mentors in the following fields: FDA regulatory affairs & Business Model (Marketing and Finance).


SymbiOx was named the 2014 Life Science Winner of the e-Entrepreneur Challenge Competition (June 2014). Sponsored by numerous key players in the tech and life sciences industries in San Diego, including the John G. Watson Foundation, Connect, Janssen and Qualcomm.

SymbiOx team receiving the Life Science Winner award at the e-Entrepreneur Challenge Competition


Development of photosynthetic biomaterials for in vitro tissue engineering

Tissue engineering has opened a new therapeutic avenue that promises a revolution in regenerative medicine. To date, however, the translation of engineered tissues into clinical settings has been highly limited and the clinical results are often disappointing. Despite decades of research, the appropriate delivery of oxygen into three-dimensional cultures still remains one of the biggest unresolved problems for in vitro tissue engineering. In this work, we propose an alternative source of oxygen delivery by introducing photosynthetic scaffolds. Here we demonstrate that the unicellular and photosynthetic microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii can be cultured in scaffolds for tissue repair; this microalga shows high biocompatibility and photosynthetic activity. Moreover, Chlamydomonas can be co-cultured with fibroblasts, decreasing the hypoxic response under low oxygen culture conditions. Finally, results showed that photosynthetic scaffolds are capable of producing enough oxygen to be independent of external supply in vitro. The results of this study represent the first step towards engineering photosynthetic autotrophic tissues. Hopfner U, Schenck TL, Chávez MN, et al. Development of photosynthetic biomaterials for in vitro tissue engineering. Acta Biomater. 2014;10(6):2712-7.

Photosynthetic biomaterials: a pathway towards autotrophic tissue engineering

Engineered tissues are highly limited by poor vascularization in vivo, leading to hypoxia. In order to overcome this challenge, we propose the use of photosynthetic biomaterials to provide oxygen. Since photosynthesis is the original source of oxygen for living organisms, we suggest that this could be a novel approach to provide a constant source of oxygen supply independently of blood perfusion. In this study we demonstrate that bioartificial scaffolds can be loaded with a solution containing the photosynthetic microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, showing high biocompatibility and photosynthetic activity in vitro. Furthermore, when photosynthetic biomaterials were engrafted in a mouse full skin defect, we observed that the presence of the microalgae did not trigger a native immune response in the host. Moreover, the analyses showed that the algae survived for at least 5 days in vivo, generating chimeric tissues comprised of algae and murine cells. The results of this study represent a crucial step towards the establishment of autotrophic tissue engineering approaches and suggest the use of photosynthetic cells to treat a broad spectrum of hypoxic conditions. Schenck TL, Hopfner U, Chávez MN, et al. Photosynthetic biomaterials: a pathway towards autotrophic tissue engineering. Acta Biomater. 2015;15:39-47.

Generation of Viable Plant-Vertebrate Chimeras.

The extreme dependence on external oxygen supply observed in animals causes major clinical problems and several diseases are related to low oxygen tension in tissues. The vast majority of the animals do not produce oxygen but a few exceptions have shown that photosynthetic capacity is physiologically compatible with animal life. Such symbiotic photosynthetic relationships are restricted to a few aquatic invertebrates. In this work we aimed to explore if we could create a chimerical organism by incorporating photosynthetic eukaryotic cells into a vertebrate animal model. Here, the microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was injected into zebrafish eggs and the interaction and viability of both organisms were studied. Results show that microalgae were distributed into different tissues, forming a fish-alga chimera organism for a prolonged period of time. In addition, microscopic observation of injected algae, in vivo expression of their mRNA and re-growth of the algae ex vivo suggests that they survived to the developmental process, living for several days after injection. Moreover microalgae did not trigger a significant inflammatory response in the fish. This work provides additional evidence to support the possibility that photosynthetic vertebrates can be engineered. Alvarez M, Reynaert N, Chávez MN, et al. Generation of Viable Plant-Vertebrate Chimeras. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(6):e0130295.

Press Release

Materials Today – Algae breathe new life into tissue engineering

The body’s vascular network of capillaries supplies oxygen to tissues and organs. But if that network is damaged, tissue can become deprived of oxygen – known as ‘hypoxia’. So researchers from Technische Universität München and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Germany and Universidad de Chile looked to the original source of oxygen for living organisms – photosynthesis – for a solution. – Cordelia Sealy – Algae for Wound Healing

Oxygen is essential at every stage of wound healing. The main distributor of oxygen in the body is blood. But what happens when the blood, and therefore oxygen can not reach the area in need? A research team from Germany and Chile suggests a novel solution to the serious and costly problem of chronic wounds. – Aspasia Daskalopoulou