An innovative idea for treating sepsis wins at this year’s Falling Walls Lab Slovakia

Bratislava, 31 May 2018: Young scientists and innovators presented their ideas for solving various problems at this year’s Falling Walls Lab Slovakia event, which took place on 31 May 2018 at Comenius University in Bratislava. The event offered a unique forum for inspirational ideas and research projects and was won by Lucia Lauková from Comenius University, who presented on how to lower a death rate at patients with sepsis by targeting an extracellular DNA. The event was held under the auspices of the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, Peter Pellegrini, who listened to the young scientists’ inspirational ideas and presented the awards.

01. 06. 2018 08.07 hod.
By: CU Public Relations Office

“As was said last year at this event by the American astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, education can get you everywhere. And in this spirit, I would like to wish our innovators all the best in achieving their scientific or life goals which they have in mind using their knowledge, enthusiasm, and creativity,” said Comenius University Rector, Professor Karol Mičieta.

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the erasing of borders inspired the founder of Falling Wall Lab, Jürgen Mlynek, to organize in 2009 a forum of inspirational ideas where scientists will smash the usual approaches and obstacles. “For young scientists and innovators, it is a unique opportunity to present breakthrough ideas, projects, and research results in a competitive format. There is simply no future for a society, country, or nation without talented, hardworking, and motivated young people,” said Comenius University Vice Rector and President of Falling Walls Lab Slovakia, Professor Peter Moczo.

In her research, the winner of the event, Lucia Lauková, tried to break down the barriers surrounding treating sepsis. The treatment of this serious infectious disease is currently undertaken with antibiotics, but 30 to 50% of people still die of the disease. “Given that the disease is usually detected very late, treatment with antibiotics does not have enough time to be effective,” Lauková said. Patients with sepsis have a high concentration of extracellular DNA, and the aim of the research was to see how this could be reduced. She was able to show the sepsis mortality rate can be reduced by using the DNase enzyme.

Second place was won by Marek Schnitzer from the Technical University of Košice, who spoke about clinical 3D printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing. He showed how it was possible to make an implant for a new-born baby with a cleft palate immediately after birth so that it may be properly breastfed from the very beginning. Dr Katarína Janšáková from Comenius University finished third; she spoke about a new method of diagnosing patients with Crohn’s disease. “Upon the basis of saliva samples, we have been able to determine who is healthy and who has Crohn’s disease,” she said of her discovery.

Scientists from Comenius University in Bratislava, the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, the Technical University of Košice, Matador Automation and Eyeblink presented on topics from the humanities, medicine, and technology. They discussed such problems as inadequate blinking when using the computer, the myth of cola causing metabolic syndrome, the development of a quick and accountable simulator for extinguishing forest fires, how joint rituals enrich living together, and a new perspective on robot manufacturers.

The winner received a financial award and a place at the global Falling Walls Lab final, which will take place on 8 November 2018 in Berlin, as well as a ticket to the prestigious Falling Walls Conference one day later. The final in Berlin will welcome 100 participants from around the world. Three winners will receive a financial reward and an opportunity to deliver their presentations at the Falling Walls conference. 

There is a photo gallery of this event on Comenius University’s Facebook page.