Published: Nov. 4, 2022

From Business at Leeds 2022 | Full issue

Camila and Johnny working with a laser in their 3D printing lab.

Camila Uzcategui, left, and Johnny Hergert make adjustments to a laser in their east campus lab as they work on a 3D-printed dental aligner. The PhD graduates co-founded Vitro3D, which 3D prints implants and aligners, below, that could soon be rapidly created in a dentist's office. 

Closeup of a 3D-printed aligner next to a penny.When the Rustandy Building opened its doors in 2021, we knew that the fusion of the engineering and business schools would ignite exceptional opportunities for students. One year later, we wanted to see what that looked like. Here are a few stories that caught our eye.

When Camila Uzcategui (MMatSci'18; PhD'21) pitched an industry-changing idea for dentistry at CU's New Venture Challenge Finals, the engineering student said "it was the most rewarding experience of my PhD." 

She and Johnny Hergert (MMatSci'18; PhD'21) founded Vitro3D in their New Venture Launch class, taught by Leeds professor Jeff York, where business and engineering students turn innovative technologies into viable businesses; the unique class was made possible through a gift from the Robert and Kathleen Dobbin Intuitive Foundation. For Vitro3D, the founders benefited from the business acumen of teammate Jennifer Howard (MBA'22). 

The company, which is grounded in Uzcategui and Hergert's research in materials science, plans to bring 3D printers directly to dental offices to produce retainers, aligners and mouthguard quickly and inexpensively. Last spring, the team won second place at NVC, with a cash prize of $33,500.

Next, Vitro3D intends to use volumetric 3D printing that mimics the materials inside the human body to help with life-saving medical procedures. 

Camila and Johnny walking across east campus on a sunny day. The Flatirons are visible in the background.

More creative collaborations: Taylor Bata | Doha Shahba | Julie Gentile | Diego Alvarez

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