Bioscience startup develops test to detect coronavirus in wastewater and on surfaces

By | About THBD, Business Resources, News, Press Coverage, Startups, Tenants, THBD | No Comments

August 9, 2020
Temple Daily Telgram | Shane Monaco

There’s a new tool to help protect people against the coronavirus after a local company announced their new test.

Industrial Genetics, a startup from the Temple Health and Bioscience District Incubator, announced Wednesday that it had developed a way to detect the coronavirus in wastewater and on surfaces.

The test — which is now available to business or municipal customers — is able to genetically determine the amount of coronavirus at a location. The cost for one test is $400.

Dr. David Sprague, founder and president of the company, said the test can be used for high-traffic areas to allow businesses and organizations to have more information on COVID-19 risks.

The first step to winning the war against COVID-19 is to determine where the outbreaks are taking place before the effects of COVID-19 have taken hold,” Sprague said. “Our diagnostic testing is the ideal way to see if there is a problem at your organization by determining the amount of virus in your wastewater and on surfaces. By providing evidence-based understanding of (the coronavirus) and the pandemic, our customers can then proceed confidently to identifying the correct solution.”

Sprague said all of the testing would be done locally at their lab within the Bioscience district.

Clients can use the company’s proprietary testing kit to take samples of the wastewater or surfaces, shipping them back to the company. The testing done by the lab will then be able to verify the species and strain of a virus, but also can detect its strength to infect others.

Sprague said that the company, which is currently small, has a two- or three-day turnaround for clients on testing results but the speed will increase with automation when demand goes up.

Industrial Genetics is partnering with Xenex Disinfection Services, which will be helping by offering their new Trend surface testing service.

The two companies said they have already started testing some facilities and plan to continue expanding both locally and around the globe.

“We recently tested a nursing home, retirement community and a corporate headquarters,” Dr. Mark Stibich, president of Xenex, said. “Testing determined the presence of the virus, so those organizations recognized the need to improve their infection prevention strategies.”


Local start-up lab taking different approach to COVID-19 testing

By | About THBD, Business Resources, Industry Happenings, News, Press Coverage, Tenants | No Comments

August 4, 2020
Fox 44 News | Cameron Stuart

Industrial Genetics, LLC is forging a fresh approach to COVID-19 testing – examining environments rather than people to show how places like schools and office buildings can reopen safely.

Dr. David Sprague started the company in April to provide accurate data and clarity to the pandemic.

“There seems to be a lot of misinformation about how COVID works and what to do to protect yourself against it,” Sprague said. “This company was really designed to provide data to businesses so they can have meaningful information so they know when to open up.”

Industrial Genetics takes two different kind of tests – analyzing surfaces, as well as waste water, to find out where people may be most susceptible to the virus.

The goal is to make the buildings safe enough for life to begin moving on.

“What I’m trying to do is bridge the gap between business just shutting down totally and everything just being open,” Sprague said. “I think the real need right now is for more information.”

The tests can show where “hot spots” can be inside the buildings, no matter who has the virus or who has been exposed.

“There was a study that came out, and it actually mapped out the restaurant. And the people who got the sickest were at the air return vent. And so, that makes perfect sense when you think about a flow issue in a building,” Sprague said. “If you have someone sitting right next to somebody who had COVID, yet the air was blowing away from you, you probably wouldn’t get it. But the guy sitting next to the air vent probably would.”

With some businesses still closed and school campuses set to reopen next month, Industrial Genetics may play a big part in opening back up safely.

“We want to provide Central Texas businesses and schools with just an extra amount of information,” Sprague said. “Right now, I think people are walking around either thinking 1: They don’t have it, or 2: Everybody else has it, and everybody is scared.”

To learn more about their testing, you can click here.


Upping Your Health and Wellness to Combat COVID-19

By | About THBD, News, Webinar | No Comments

As communities across the globe band together during the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual education has surged. Temple Health and Bioscience District (THBD) recognized the need to shift virtual events early on and launched the E-Learning Series Webinar program as an online education portal. In the latest webinar on July 28, 2020, THBD was honored to host Dr. Patricia Sulak as she discussed “Upping Your WELLNESS Game: Building Your Defense to Take on Any Offensive Attack.”

Dr. Sulak is a nationally recognized physician living in Temple, Texas with a practice at Baylor Scott & White Health, researcher, speaker, and medical school professor. She graduated from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Medicine and was named a Distinguished Alumnus. In addition to her busy clinical practice, she presents throughout the country to businesses, organizations, and healthcare institutions on disease prevention through healthy living. Her book “Should I Fire My Doctor?” and comprehensive wellness program Living WELL Aware empower individuals to take ownership of their well-being.

Dr. Sulak kicked off her presentation with a COVID-19 update, the topic front and center on everyone’s mind. Based on an April 2020 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study, Dr. Sulak shared that men are at a higher risk for developing COVID-19, and patients with severe cases typically have pre-existing health conditions including hypertension (57 percent), obesity (42 percent), and diabetes (35 percent). While physicians project more than 200,000 deaths in the U.S. alone from COVID-19 in 2020, Dr. Sulak provided some practical tips everyone can follow to strengthen immunity and protect from viral attack, as well as other serious illnesses.

The seven things Dr. Sulak recommends everyone does to improve their overall health and wellness are:

  • Eat real food. Choose real foods (veggies, fruits, lean meats) that promote health instead of processed foods that can propagate disease and illness. Dr. Sulak recommends a plant-focused diet for overall wellness.
  • Control glycemic levels. Diabetes increases the risk for infection, as witnessed in the complications associated with COVID-19. Reduce carbohydrate intake and increase protein and healthy fats in your diet to control your glycemic levels. Looking for a place to start? Explore the ketogenic diet (Keto), which Dr. Sulak praises as more than just a fad.
  • Reduce calorie intake. One of the hottest trends in wellness is fasting, and Dr. Sulak emphasizes that as humans we do not need to eat all day long. Occasional, controlled starvation caloric restriction through fasting can help burn fat and increase cardiovascular health. The best way to start? Talk to your doctor and if intermittent fasting is a good fit for you, skip or enjoy a late low carb breakfast.
  • Exercise! One of the best ways to strengthen your immunity is to move more. Movement is critical, and American Cancer Society and other medical organizations recommend 300 minutes of exercise a week, which can burn fat and reduce inflammation.
  • Lower stress. Stress affects hormones, immunity, and neurotransmitters in our bodies. By STOPPING our busy lives, turning off all the electronics, breathing deeply, and paying a visit to ourselves, we can all take a big step toward improving overall health. Dr. Sulak recommends that individuals find the meditation plan that works best for them, whether it’s mindfulness, thoughtfulness or even prayer.
  • Sleep more. Sulak says Americans don’t get enough adequate sleep. On average, we all need 7-8 hours of sleep a night, which should not be overwritten by other engagements or obligations.
  • Supplement your diet. Sulak stated that many nutritional experts and functional medicine physicians are recommending older patients consider taking 1,000 international units (IU) of Vitamin D each day, 1 gram of Vitamin C, zinc and selenium. While a plant-based diet will offer plenty of these, others may need to increase intake of these non-harmful, natural supplements.

By following these tips, Dr. Sulak encourages an optimal state of health, known as wellness. While she focuses on the physical component, she also encourages individuals to consider and improve their psychological, social, economical, and spiritual health.

To view Dr. Sulak’s webinar recording in full, visit At the Living WELL Aware website, Dr. Sulak offers a free wellness score that individuals can use to gauge their overall health. To utilize this tool and Dr. Sulak’s free weekly blog, visit

Be sure to tune into THBD’s next upcoming monthly E-Learning Series webinar, which will be on Tuesday, August 25 from 12 to 1 p.m. covering “Innovation in the Time of COVID-19: The Grant Process” with Earle Hager of The Neutrino Donut. Go to to register free today!

Bioscience district cuts 3D printer software to save $27,000

By | About THBD, News, Press Coverage, Tenants | No Comments

July 24, 2020
Temple Daily Telegram | Shane Monaco

The Temple Health and Bioscience District will now save thousands of dollars in taxpayer money after cutting unused software Thursday.

Members of the district voted Thursday to approve not renewing a contract with a 3D printer software due to its lack of use. The move will save the district more than $27,000, which accounts for about 2.25 percent of the district’s annual budget.

The software was being used by a startup, SiMMo3D, which was a part of the district until it left due to the coronavirus.

“Since the software will no longer be utilized to its full potential, the cost was no longer warranted,” Tami Annable, executive director of the district, said. “At THBD, we are meticulous with our funds and make sure every dollar spent is spent for good reason and has a purpose. If there becomes a need in the future for the software, we can certainly relicense it.”

The software, Materialize Mimics Base, was a series of programs that increased the specificity of a model when it was being 3D printed.

District officials said this software was useful for some medical device projects that they were participating in. The software can take MRI or CAT scan images of an object and turn it into a file usable by 3D printers.

Annable said the software was also valuable as a teaching tool for both college and high school students working with these printers.

While the program’s license will no longer be renewed, the district said startup companies within its common laboratory can still use its 3D printer in which the software was not a critical component of.

Due to the effects of the coronavirus, the district is looking at ways it can significantly cut its budget in order to burden residents with fewer taxes. The district said it aims to get the most out of the tax money it receives as possible.

“(The district’s) aim is to take the lowest tax rate possible so that, in the current economic climate, we are not a burden for Temple citizens,” Annable said. “We are reviewing all programs to make sure the taxpayer dollars are getting the most value for the money spent.”