Atom resident wins prestigious KiwiNet award

Cynthia Hunefeld, Master's student and resident of The Atom Innovation space, received the Momentum Student Entrepreneur Award at the 2019 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards.

Dr Shalen Kumar and Cynthia Hunefeld
Dr Shalen Kumar and Cynthia Hunefeld

Cynthia, founder of HerbScience, has a background in clinical herbal medicine and clinical research, holding a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Research from the University. After using a plant extract to help her father overcome an antibiotic-resistant infection, she began researching plant-based treatments for different infections. She is currently working to develop a plant-based treatment for E. coli induced urinary tract infections, for which there is currently a shortage of new medicines. She is aiming to develop a dietary supplement by 2020 and an evidence-based integrative medicine within three years.

Cynthia has previously received a regional AMP scholarship and pre-seed Momentum funding for her work.

“Our awards finalists are the entrepreneurial champions that are leading the transformation of our economy from high-volume to high-value.  The success stories we are celebrating today are bringing vital science-based solutions to the world that will drive future prosperity for New Zealand,” says KiwiNet CEO James Hutchinson.

Dr Shalen Kumar, who is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the University’s School of Biological Sciences, won the Norman Barry Foundation Breakthrough Innovator Award for his start-up company AuramerBio.

Dr Brendan Darby, Postdoctoral Researcher in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences and CEO of Marama Labs, and Geoff Todd, former head of Viclink, were also finalists for the awards.