DURHAM – Next up in LaunchBio‘s monthly Larger Than Life Science series features projects and products from Triangle-area high school and college students, a presentation by JP Morgan, a talk with the founders of local biotech company Ribometrix and an expo featuring community labs and workspaces.

The event will be held this Thursday from 4-7 p.m. at The Chesterfield in downtown Durham.

LaunchBio’s Jason Nelson says this month’s theme, dubbed “Brilliant Minds,” focuses on STEM and biotech entrepreneurship led by students and accomplished professionals who are “sharing their bold ambitions and unique journeys.”

“We wanted to highlight how young scientists are changing the world—and doing so right in our backyard,” Nelson added.

The event will kick off with a panel of high school and college students:

  • Davis Upchurch, a high school student at Durham’s North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics who founded Carolina Truffieres, a startup that’s using mycorrhiza analysis to identify host tree inoculation levels and species.
  • Chris Fesmire, a graduate research assistant in NC State’s Biomedical Engineering program and co-founder of Vital Guide, a vital sign monitoring system for emergency department settings.
  • Meera Deva, a biostatistics undergraduate student at UNC Chapel Hill and president of The Helping Hand Project, a nonprofit that’s working to provide prosthetic devices for children.
  • Elizabeth Schwabe, a student researcher of surgical oncology at UNC Health Care and chief logistics officer of Feelin’ DNA, an organization that’s creating STEM education tools for visually impaired students.

After the panel, Joe Lee and Peter Meath of JP Morgan’s life sciences arm will present the results of a record year of investment in biotech and life science startups. They’ll discuss technologies attracting interest, valuations and deal size, as well as trends defining the future in 2019.

Another panel will be led by Kevin Weeks and Katie Warner, the founders of Ribometrix. Working out of Durham’s Biolabs space, the startup has developed a platform that explores small molecule drugs targeting 3D RNA structures to treat diseases. Back in November, Ribometrix closed a $30 million Series A round led by Amsterdam-based M Ventures. Before that, the company received seed funding led by Hatteras Venture Partners and SV Health Investors.

In the panel, Weeks and Warner will share the story of how they turned their research at UNC to into a company.

Larger Than Life Science will close with a hands-on expo featuring community labs and makerspaces—First Flight Venture Center’s Hangar6, Durham-based SplatSpace, NC School of Science and Mathematics’ Fab Lab and Triangle DIY in Durham.

Tickets to the event are free on Eventbrite.