BME-powered startup wins first place in Memphis tech event

BioNanovations, a startup company based on technology developed at Vanderbilt, claimed first place at the NewME Accelerator PopUp event held in Memphis June 28-30.


According to The Daily News in Memphis, the company was awarded prizes worth $45,000 and earned a seat in the 12-week NewME Accelerator program in Silicon Valley.

BioNanovations focuses on bringing nanotechnology to the medical device world, such as its real-time system for monitoring and diagnosing bacterial infections.

The company was founded by Vanderbilt biomedical engineering graduate student Charleson Bell and Todd D. Giorgio, chair of the department of biomedical engineering. The pair developed the fast and effective staph infection test during Bell’s doctoral studies. Other such diagnostic tests take several days to yield results. The test offered by BioNanovations takes just 30 minutes.


“The purpose of BioNanovations is to decrease patient morbidity and mortality,” said Bell. “Right now, we are really just focused on getting to that end goal of saving lives.”

Bell praised the other startups and entrepreneurs in the Memphis PopUp event, calling them the “cream of the crop.” He said this win is a testament to the foundation built during his studies at Vanderbilt and his entrepreneurial training in Memphis. He hopes the 12-week accelerator in Silicon Valley will allow him to expand his network – primarily by meeting fellow entrepreneurs and venture capitalists – and push BioNanovations to the next level.

Bell also offered some words of wisdom for any aspiring entrepreneurs.

“It’s a roller coaster ride – physical, mental, emotional – and you have to believe in your vision. If you lose your vision, the company or whatever you’re building is dead.”

To learn more about BioNanovations, click here or watch this short video.