BaseTrace In the News

Check out coverage of BaseTrace in the news:


1776 Challenge Cup: Winner Spotlight: Justine Chow Seeks Big Opportunity in Environmental Issues. October 27, 2014

Imagine a liquid barcode—what if you can trace back leakages in power plants to individual tanks or fluid systems? BaseTrace makes it happen. BaseTrace, a Washington, D.C. Challenge Cup winner, is a breakthrough application of cutting-edge DNA tracer technology for environmental monitoring.
Click here for article.


1776 Challenge Cup DC: BaseTrace wins the 1776 Challenge Cup DC Energy Track. October 21, 2014

The Challenge Cup kicked off its second year tonight with a hotly contested showdown in the nation’s capital. It was a crowded scene at 1776′s campus, as nearly 40 D.C.-based startups presented their ideas in the fields of education, energy, health and smart cities. Their pitches followed a day of networking, round tables and coaching. 
Click here for article.


Harvard Asian Alumni Sumit: BaseTrace among the ELEVATE 2014 Finalists. October 14, 2014

The 2014 Harvard Asian Alumni Summit is proud to announce our finalist teams who will go on to compete for over $35,000 in cash and prizes.
Click here for article.


1 Million Cups: BaseTrace is invited to present at 1MC, RTP, and receives the coveted 1MC Mug. June 18, 2014

1 Million Cups (1MC) is a simple way to engage entrepreneurs in communities around the world. Each week, the 1MC program offers two local entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their startups to a diverse audience of mentors, advisors, and entrepreneurs. Presenters prepare a 6 minute educational presentation and engage in 20 minutes of feedback and questioning after they present.
Click here for article.


Cupid's Cup: BaseTrace listed as semi-finalists for the Cupid's Cup Grant Competition, a $115K National Business Competition Chaired by Under Armour Founder and CEO, February 14, 2014


Fourteen student startups were selected from nearly 150 nationwide entries to advance to the semifinal round in the 2014 Cupid’s Cup Business Competition, presented by Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. The entrepreneurs will present on February 20 at Under Armour’s global headquarters in Baltimore, MD. The top five startups will compete for $115,000 in the final round to be held April 4 at the University of Maryland in College Park.
Click here for article.


NC Health News: Local Technology Could Help Ease N.C. Fracking Concerns, January 9, 2014


How to tell if fracking fluid has leaked from a well? A local company is trying a new technology to trace potential leaks.
Click here for article.


GreenBiz: Southern exposure for startups: The Cherokee McDonough Challenge, October 25, 2013


What do these four things have in common: 1) DNA that can track materials long distances and prove exactly where they came from – where a thimbleful is enough to trace fluid from 11 Olympic swimming pools; 2) extremely hip shoes assembled locally in minutes without plastics or toxic glue; 3) bricks literally grown by microorganisms; 4) a cheap, plentiful replacement for platinum catalysts.
Click here for article.


The Analytical Scientist: Tracking Fracking. October 25, 2013


Startup company BaseTrace applies DNA tracer technology to track contamination from hydraulic fracturing. Fracking is a hot-button issue. So, when they co-invented a technology to identify associated contamination problems, Justine Chow and Jake Rudulph saw an opportunity. They set up a company together, BaseTrace (, to commercialize it. Here, they answer our questions.
Click here for article [free registration required].


StartUp Beat: The case for investment in green startups—big problems mean big opportunity. October 4, 2013


Why invest in environmental startups? The answer to this question is not simple. It actually raises more questions. Do investments in these ventures produce lower financial returns in favor of environmental goals? Are policy makers and non-profits better equipped to manage environmental problems?
Click here for article.


WRAL TechWire: First Flight Venture Center celebrates unsung RTP success story - its own and its startups. October 4, 2013


At a third annual pig picking celebration this week, entrepreneurs at the First Flight Venture Center pitched in to recognize the 37 startups currently based there and the achievements over the past five years. Highlights include bioMASON winning an international "green challenge" and Center tenants landing more than $5 million in grants and equity financing.
Click here for article.


Get in the Ring: BaseTrace selected as one of 40 semifinalists for Get in the Ring. September 19, 2013


The Kauffman Foundation in November is bringing the international competition Get in the Ring to the United States for the first time as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013. The first U.S. national finals of "Get in the Ring: The American Startup Clash" will give America's most outstanding entrepreneurs an opportunity to compete against founders from across the country and around the world.
Click here for article.
Click here for event page.


WRAL TechWire: NC Biotechnology Center awards $3.5M in grants, loans. August 23, 2013


Life science start-up companies, event sponsors, researchers and educators received $3.58 million in loans and grants from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center during the final quarter of the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013.
Click here for article.


High Country News: New tech to trace fracking fluid could mean more accountability. August 22, 2013


As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency comes under fire for abandoning studies that linked contaminated water to hydraulic fracturing, and oil and gas companies consider how to fix their public image around the issue, states are trying to figure out how much transparency to demand from the industry. Meanwhile, researchers are racing to find the most effective tracer to mix with fracking fluid that could dramatically change how the industry works.
Click here for article.


Triangle Business Journal: Through challenge, early stagers getting help. July 12, 2013


RALEIGH – The founders of startup BaseTrace had been incorporated as a business for about a month in 2012 when they found out they had been chosen as one of four winners in the first-ever Cherokee Challenge, a venture startup contest sponsored by Cherokee Investment Partners.
Click here for article (full article requires subscription).


The North Carolina Disciple: Tracking our Christian DNA. Summer, 2013


Nestled next to global corporate giants lik IBM in Durham's Research Triangle Partnership (RTP) is the First Flight Venture Center. The Center's name is a fitting one. The publically-funded facility is an incubator for fledgling tech companies, keeping them safe as they grow stronger and prepare to launch themselves into the blue yonder with all of its demands and dangers. BaseTrace is one such newly-hatched enterprise, the brainchild of Justine Chow, a young adult in the Diocese of North Carolina. Her patent-pending technology with take synthetic DNA and mix it into the slurry injected into friable rock in the controversial process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Click here for web-PDF (article on Page 24).


The American Scholar: Fracking Sleuths Apply DNA. Summer, 2013


[...] Fracking fluid, water seeded with sand and a proprietary mix of chemicals, fractures the shale, opening fissures in the rock through which gas can flow to the surface. Each company’s brew of chemicals is a trade secret, thanks to a clause in the 2005 Safe Drinking Water Act that made disclosure optional. Now a company founded by five current and former students of Duke University is working on a new kind of disclosure.
Click here for article.


NC IDEA: BaseTrace receives NC IDEA Spring 2013 Grant. June 13, 2013


NC IDEA, an organization committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that it has awarded $220,000 in grants to five North Carolina startups. Since its inception in 2006, NC IDEA’s grant program has awarded nearly $3M to 77 companies across the state, with these most recent awards resulting from the 15th cycle of the program.
Click here for Press Release.


Megawatt Ventures: BaseTrace among 10 finalists for the $100,000 Megawatt Ventures competition. June 13, 2013


Ten promising cleantech companies from throughout the Southeastern US have been selected for MegaWatt Ventures—an annual clean technology business plan competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. These teams will compete for $100,000 and other opportunities in front of a panel of renowned venture capitalists and Fortune 1000 company technology scouts.
Click here for Press Release.


Conservation Magazine: Fingerprinting Fracking Fluid. June 11, 2013


[...] What if there were a reliable way to prove that some of the nasty stuff sent a mile down a well does or does not migrate into the water table? A few enterprising teams are starting to emerge with some low-cost methods that do just that. BaseTrace, a startup led by CEO Justine Chow, is synthesizing individualized DNA molecules that can be used as tracers in fracking fluid. DNA has countless numbers of unique sequences, so BaseTrace can create tiny bits of the stuff that serve as a kind of fingerprint for individual drilling operations.
Click here for article.


First Flight Venture Center: North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Visits BaseTrace HQ at First Flight Venture Center. June 7, 2013


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker listened to the entrepreneurial viewpoint during a visit at First Flight Venture Center (FFVC) today. Her goal was to better understand the view of the seed stage startups in the area and to learn how First Flight supports the growth of high potential, high technology companies here in North Carolina.
Click here for Press Release.


The State Journal: BaseTrace may have solution for O&G groundwater accountability. By Pam Kasey. May 31, 2013


What if it were possible to track groundwater contamination to a specific hydraulically fractured gas well? Would that accountability provide some measure of assurance to surrounding landowners? If so, BaseTrace may have a solution. Based in North Carolina's Research Triangle Park, the company is testing a tracer now that could link escaped hydraulic fracturing fluid to the well where it originated.
Click here for article.


Marcellus Drilling News: Using Tracers in Fracking Fluid – Ready for Prime Time? By Jim Willis. May 31, 2013


What’s this: An anti-drilling idea MDN can endorse? Say it ain’t so! But it is…Several groups that oppose drilling in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia want the federal government (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture) to require the use of tracers in fracking fluid...
Click here for article.


Duke Chronicle: Duke alums create DNA tracer prototype. By Imani Moise. April 29, 2013


A startup led by recent Duke alums is developing technology to help build trust between fracking companies and the communities they affect. The company, BaseTrace, is designing a DNA tracer that could be added to fracking fluids to end speculation about the fluid’s effect on water supply. They have been working closely with the Triangle Research Institute and have received support and funding from the Nicholas School of the Environment, Cherokee Challenge and the Duke Start-up Challenge.
Click here for article.


Duke Environment Magazine: Godparents of Invention - Nicholas School Graduates Team up to Develop World’s First Tracer for Fracking Fluids. By Tim Lucas. April 11, 2013


If necessity is the mother of invention, Justine Chow and Jake Rudulph might be its godparents. Chow and Rudulph are 2012 Nicholas School graduates who lead a young company called BaseTrace. Operating on a modest budget out of a 200-square-foot lab in Research Triangle Park that doubles as their corporate office, they’re working to develop and market the world’s first synthetic-DNA- based tracer specifically designed to detect if fluids used in a controversial natural gas extraction process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, end up in drinking water.
Click here for article.
Click here for full issue.


NC IDEA Grant Semi-Finalists: NC IDEA Spring 2013 Semi-Finalists — Check back soon for final results! April 3, 2013


NC IDEA, an organization committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that it has selected 30 semi-finalists from across the state in its 15th grant cycle to-date. These semi-finalists were chosen from the 159 applications received from NC-based startups focused on software, information technology, medical devices or material sciences.
Click here for more.


The Herald Sun: RTP incubator opens doors to showcase start-up companies. April 2, 2013


The Research Triangle Park-based start-up hub First Flight Venture Center opened its doors Monday to showcase companies that have office or lab space at the center, such as one start-up that wants to commercialize environmentally friendly bricks made using bacteria.
Click here for more.


The News and Observer: Tracers may ease public’s fracking fears. March 4, 2013


MORRISVILLE — The future of fracking could include a patented, proprietary truth serum that would turn every backyard well into an oracle. Given its potential value in the courtroom and in public relations, a thimbleful of this magic potion could cost as much as a luxury automobile.
Click here for more.


NPR, StateImpact Texas: Tracing the Culprit if Fracking Pollutes Water Supplies. January 22, 2013


Scientists are developing ways to add non-toxic tracers to drilling fluid so if groundwater is contaminated, investigators would be able to pinpoint if an oil or gas drilling operation was to blame.
Click here for more.


Fast Company, Co.Exist: A New Test To Find Out If Your Water Has Been Fracked. January 16, 2013


There is a lot of talk about the dangers of fracking, but few hard facts. BaseTrace’s new technology--using DNA--will let you test to see if the natural gas extraction process has contaminated your water.
Click here for more.


Industrial Minerals: Fracking DNA could prevent water contamination disputes. January 10, 2013 [Registration Required]


A new technology developed in the US could solve hydraulic fracturing (fracking) contamination disputes by assigning a unique 'tracer' code to individual projects.
Click here for more.


New York Times, DotEarth: Ideas to Watch in 2013: Traceable Gas-Drilling Fluids by Andrew C. Revkin. January 8, 2013


For several years now, I’ve been assessing policies and technologies that might allow the United States and other countries with vast shale deposits of natural gas to harvest this resource with the fewest regrets. Below you can learn about one nascent technology to watch in 2013: harmless chemical I.D. tags that could make the fluids used in drilling every single gas well individually identifiable, potentially ending fights over the source of any subsequent contamination of water supplies in a drilling area.
Click here for more.



Cherokee Challenge

Cherokee Challenge, Class of 2012: Read the press release about our induction into the Cherokee Challenge class of 2012. September 13, 2012



(Raleigh, September 13, 2012) -- The Cherokee Challenge announced today that it has officially added SafeTNA (Safe Tracking of Non-native Aggregate) to its 2012 class of high impact environmental ventures. “SafeTNA is an exceptional team of wonderful, young and determined entrepreneurs who have developed a timely technology,” said JT Vaughn, who oversees the Challenge for Cherokee Investment Partners. “We believe in their technology, but even more so in their individual character and ability to make things happen.”


The Herald SunThe Herald Sun: Tracing Goes Underground: Read coverage of BaseTrace in the Herald Sun paper. Article hosted on PassFail. October 8, 2012.




Justine Chow, founder and CEO of the start-up company BaseTrace, said a small amount of the tracer they've developed to detect hydraulic fracturing fluid in water sources is needed. She said what's pictured is a demonstration of the amount needed, although the picture does not show the prototype they've developed.