Mohammad Reza Naghdi, RENA Biotech


Clean Tech, Food Manufacturing, Mining, Pharmaceutical


Synthetic Biology


Mohammad Reza Naghdi, Ph.D.


Natural & Synthetic Biological Molecules for Metal Detection

With a PhD in biology from Quebec’s National Institute of Scientific Research at the Armand Frappier Santé-Biotechnologie Centre, Mohammad Reza Naghdi sought to apply his expertise and background in bioinformatics, noncoding RNA, biotechnology and microbiology, by developing a biosensor for metal detection. Industries such as cosmetics, foods and public health organizations require detecting heavy metal contamination, and existing methods are time-consuming and expensive.

The Solution

RENA Biotech uses natural and synthetic biological molecules for metal detection. The detection can take place by direct usage of biological molecules or by cloning these molecules in microorganisms such as bacteria. The metals can be detected with their platform. Their on-site testing significantly lowers the cost of transportation and carbon consumption. Aside from cosmetics, foods, and public health, RENA Biotech’s solution can assist the mining industry. Mining companies need to collect cobalt from the bottom of the oceans to develop new electrical batteries. By using RENA Biotech’s microorganisms, they can protect the environment and mitigate significant damage to the environment.

The Journey

As a scientist, Mohammad Reza wasn’t sure how to launch his venture; with the Quebec Scientific Entrepreneurship program’s (QCSE) frameworks and support from experts, he learned how to develop his initial idea based on market needs.

According to the founder, “being a scientist means being curious and asking questions to solve problems, which is the key element for entrepreneurship. The QcSE program is an excellent starting point for scientists to assess whether entrepreneurship is for them before taking the plunge.”

RENA Biotech received funding and awards from MITACS and Arbour Foundation for reaching their milestones. The startup is going through the customer discovery program as part of Concordia University’s District 3 Innovation Hub.