Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but freezing it can lead to loss of nutrients and changes in flavor that babies reject.

A Princeton family’s firsthand experience with feeding their infant sparked the beginning of an innovation journey.

Justin Silpe, a postdoctoral researcher working with Professor Bonnie Bassler in the Dept. of Molecular Biology, developed an all-natural, infant-safe powder that can be added to breast milk before storage to retain its structure when frozen, preventing it from going sour and losing vital nutrients.

As a first step toward getting their innovation out of the lab and onto the shelves to benefit parents in need, the team participated in the I-Corps Northeast Hub, a National Science Foundation-funded program based at Princeton that provides funding, mentorship, and training to develop innovations into products and services for societal benefit. Now, the team is forming a startup called PumpKin, with Bassler in an advisory role, to bring their innovation to the world.

Read their story: