After completing her Bachelor of Science in Genetics (UCD) in 2019, Ciara is now undertaking a PhD in Biotechnology, researching the production of valuable protein products using bacterial hosts. Her skills include biomolecular lab techniques such as SDS-PAGE, mammalian tissue culture, recombinant protein expression, as well as bioinformatic skills such as Python programming, and genome analysis through Unix shell.
Currently in her first year of her PhD, Ciara is researching the use of spent cell media waste in the production of recombinant proteins using E.coli host systems. She has completed a scripting project with a Python script for statistical analysis of Microarray data. Ciara is also a part of the Atoms to Products CDT for Sustainable Chemistry co-funded by SFI-ESPRC, tied in with the University of Nottingham. Through this programme, Ciara is collaborating with scientists of other fields within the study of the bioeconomy.
BSc Genetics, University College Dublin
Léa Braud is a PhD Researcher in the UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering. Passionate about photosynthetic organisms and their potential in the emerging biorefining industry, she recently completed a MSc in Biotechnology at AgroParisTech (France). She developed a strong interest in microalgae and wrote her Master’s thesis at Wageningen University and Research (The Netherlands) in the Bioprocess Engineering Department. She worked on microalgae cultivation for omega-3 fatty acids production in the frame of the European MAGNIFICENT project (H2020 – BBI).
Her current research is part of the European SpiralG project (H2020 – BBI) and focuses on the environmental, social, and economic impact assessment of phycocyanin production from Arthrospira platensis (i.e. Spirulina) in a concept of biorefinery. A key element of her work is to carry out Life Cycle Assessment studies on microalgae cultivation, biomass processing, biomolecules extraction, and co-products valorisation. The SpiralG project allows her to apply her knowledge and experience in microalgal biotechnology and bioprocess engineering, and to develop a strong background in LCA methodologies and their use as a tool to implement sustainable development in the bioeconomy.
MSc Biotechnology, AgroParisTech, France
BSc Life Science Engineering, Agrocampus-Ouest, France
Kieran’s research interests focus on ensuring that a move away from pollutant industries is achieved in a manner which maintains the living standards of those employed in industries which create carbon emissions. The thesis for his MSc in Environmental Policy entailed developing a framework for achieving a ‘just transition’ in coal producing jurisdictions. A core interest in Kieran’s work is ensuring that a connection is made between the merits of environmental policy and the daily lives of citizens. Central to this is Kieran’s use of qualitative research skills such as interviews and focus groups, alongside reviewing grey literature.
At the Centre, Kieran’s research is focused on producer perspectives on the bioeconomy. This research seeks to identify what are the perceptions of producers within the agricultural industry towards the bioeconomy and whether there is the potential for the bioeconomy to reduce producers’ dependence on agricultural activities, which provide them with an income but also contribute significantly to Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas emissions.
MSc Environmental Policy, University College Dublin
BA Geography, Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin
Luis Alejandro Vergara is an Ecuadorean PhD researcher at University College Dublin. He obtained his Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. In addition, he holds two Master’s of Science in Energy Engineering and Environmental Management granted by KTH Royal Institute of Technology and The Technical University of Madrid, respectively.
Throughout work experiences in Ecuador, United States, The Netherlands, and Ireland, Alejandro has focused his career over the valorisation of diverse types of biomass such as water hyacinth, algae, biochar, and grass. His main area of interest is the application of these feedstocks over sustainable transitions in the electricity, fuels, food, and feed industries. He has expertise in processing technologies, such as enzymatic hydrolysis, microbial fuel cells, and green biorefineries, as well as over softwares, such as GaBi and ASPEN.
At UCD, Alejandro is working for the EU LIFE Farm4More project which focuses on maximising animal performance while mitigating the climate change impacts of the dairy farming industry. For such he is working on the techno-economic development of novel animal feed additives based on grass-silage, algae, and biochar. His research includes the incorporation of life cycle assessments for process optimisation, products certification, and business development through schemes, such as the carbon offsets market.
MSc Energy Engineering, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
MSc Environmental Management, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
BSc Environmental Engineering, Pennsylvania State University
Viruja completed her primary degree in food technology. Her work interests include food processing technologies for improved efficiency and reduced energy and water consumption across agri-food chains.
Her PhD research involves the development of innovative clean and green technologies for the extraction of bioactive molecules from seaweeds. The aim is to reduce the use of chemicals during extraction, whilst reducing energy consumption, and without compromising the yield and quality of the end product.
Innovative clean and green technologies employed in her PhD research have the potential to develop novel ingredients for a range of agri-food applications. The main focus is on high value ingredients extracted from Irish seaweeds, such as sulphated polysaccharides (e.g. fucoidans), soluble dietary fibres, proteins and bioactives (e.g. phlorotannins and fucoxanthins).
Master of Technology in Processing and Food Engineering, Punjab Agricultural University, Punjab, India
Bachelor of Technology in Food Technology, Punjab Agricultural University, India
Tomislav obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of Zagreb in 2016 and 2018, respectively, in chemical and chemical process engineering. His PhD work focuses on chemical and bioprocess design for producing biobased and biodegradable plastics. He is adept at using software for process design (Chemcad) as well as MATLAB and Simulink. He also used various CAD software. His primary interest lies in chemical process engineering. He is also interested in biological processes, such as fermentation to produce biobased compounds that can be processed further into usable products. His latest area of work involves the fermentation, separation and purification of lactic acid to produce polylactic acid (PLA).
Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering, University of Zagreb
Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, University of Zagreb
Simon has an interest in bioprocessing and biotechnology in the area of bioscience, such as upscaling suitable bioconversion processes to produce bio-based materials.
At present, Simon’s research is focused on the valorisation of dairy side streams with a focus on whey permeate and delactosed permeate. He is carrying out his PhD with Glanbia Ireland as part of the research and development group on the Agrichemwhey project to confirm the techno-economic viability of the bioprocess. The overall goal is to take whey permeate and delactosed permeate waste streams and use them as the carbon feedstock in a large scale first-of-a-kind dairy processing biorefinery.
BSc Food Science and Health, University of Limerick
Raphaël has an interest in the development of a “greener” society, based on a better use of our current resources and technology. He hopes that his career will lead him towards being part of the required societal behaviour transformation and technological advancements. His skills include basic chemistry and advanced material sciences (characterization/synthesis/properties), as well as having knowledge on “Large scale facilities” (Synchrotrons/Neutron Sources). Recently, he completed an internship in ALBA which focused on catalyst characterization using GISAXS, while his current PhD project focuses on the upgrade of lignin through heterogeneous catalysis.
Master’s in Material Sciences, University of Turin (UniTo)
Peter is a PhD student working within the UCD School of Chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Eoghan McGarrigle. His research focuses on catalytic methods in organophosphorus chemistry, with the aim of developing more efficient routes to useful phosphorus containing compounds. He is a member of the SFI-ESPRC joint funded CDT in sustainable chemistry, a partnership between BiOrbic and the University of Nottingham.
Peter completed his undergraduate degree at UCD. His final year research project focused on organocatalysis in organophosphorus chemistry giving him a strong background in these fields. As part of the CDT in sustainable chemistry, Peter has also received training on sustainable practices for synthetic chemistry.
BSc Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology, University College Dublin
Nishtha joined Biorbic as a PhD student in January 2020. She did her Master’s degree in Food Engineering in UCD which led to her interest in agri-waste management and treatment processes. She has worked on a nationally funded project developing new sustainable biobased value chains in Ireland as a part of her thesis research. She has co-authored a published article in an international peer- reviewed journal. She also assisted with mentoring a group of undergraduate students for biosystem design challenge.
Currently, Nishtha is associated with the sustainability platform and is working on life cycle assessment of the bioeconomy technologies. Her core research revolves around environmental life cycle assessment.
MEngSc Food Engineering, University College Dublin
BTech Food Technology, Lady Irwin College, Delhi University
Natalia is currently undertaking a PhD focusing on nanomaterials in the TCD School of Chemistry, where she has learned new techniques, such as rotavap, vacuum filtration, SEM, circular dichroism and FTIR.
Her interests lie in educational and outreach work, both of which she is involved in through schemes, such as Spectroscopy in a Suitcase which gives school students the chance to learn about spectroscopy (UV-Vis and IR) through hands-on experience. She has been a judge for SciFest, a demonstrator in undergraduate labs, as well as acting as a representative for postgraduates in the ChemEd group in TCD.
Natalia is currently working on developing new membranes for nanofiltration using 2D nanomaterials.
Bachelor of Applied Science in Biochemistry, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Nadezda’s work interests include the development of sustainable materials and interdisciplinary approaches to problems, with expertise in inorganic, physical chemistry as well as previous experience in cell biology. She is currently working on the fabrication of novel polymer membrane materials with a focus on functionalisation and filtration.
Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin
Lynda Jordan is an experienced scientist with proficiency across multiple sectors from business development to teaching, possessing a keen interest in the advancement of scientific discovery and promotion of STEM in teens. She holds a primary, double honours, degree in Physics and Chemistry with expertise in the fields of synthetic organic chemistry, specifically in the areas of chirality, enantioselective drug synthesis, and catalysis. She has also worked as an analytical environmental Chemist for eight years gaining proficiency in numerous laboratory analytical techniques and instruments. She was also the co-founder of a small manufacturing company and has previously worked in secondary education for ten years.
Currently a PhD student in the School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Sciences, she is exploring the natural synthesis of the biopolymer, Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), using various PhaC1 engineered mutants of the P.putida KT2440 bacterial strain. Furthering the understanding of the in-vivo catalytic mechanism of PhaC1, isolation of its S-enantiomer and the development of an in-vitro study, are important steps in improving the rate and economic viability of the production of the versatile mcl-PHAs, creating a viable alternative to the use of petrochemically derived plastics.
Honours Diploma in Applied Sciences
BSc Applied Sciences
Post Graduate Diploma in Education
Graduate Diploma in Special Needs Education
Fabiana Coelho is currently pursuing her PhD in Microbiology at National University of Ireland, Galway. Her project is focused on the fermentation of grassland biomass for the production of butyric and caproic acids using anaerobic digestion technology. She was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s degree in the Technology of Chemical and Biochemical Process from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil. She has several years of experience in research acquired while working as an undergraduate research assistant and Master’s student at the Biological Systems Engineering Group (UFRJ) and as an intern in the Research and Development department at TEADIT. She also took part in the Science without Borders programme in 2013 as an exchange student at Swansea University (Wales, UK).
Fabiana’s expertise, documented in five papers, is related to bioprocess engineering, biofuels, reactor operation, lignocellulosic feedstock fermentation, synthesis gas fermentation, anaerobic and aerobic processes. Moreover, her expertise includes modelling, optimization and programming. Her interests are teaching, anaerobic digestion technology, fermentation and programming.
MSc Technology of Chemical and Biochemical Processes, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil
BSc Chemical Engineering, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil
Emma has a keen interest in drug design, with a focus in biotherapeutics. This interest lead her to obtain a Bachelor’s degree from University College Dublin in Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology.
After getting her Bachelor’s, Emma decided to stay at UCD and pursue a PhD, also in Medicinal Chemistry. By utilizing her Chemistry knowledge, Emma has been able to synthesize non-natural amino acids and through her knowledge of Chemical Biology she has been able to introduce these non-natural amino acids into proteins through amber stop codon suppression techniques.
Her latest project in her PhD is working with bacterial cells to isolate cyclic peptides that are potential antifungal biotherapeutics. This is with the hope of establishing an optimized, biologically compatible method for fluorination of said cyclic peptides.
Eadaoin is in her third year of her PhD. She graduated from University College Dublin with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science. Finding a more sustainable way of feeding animals (in particular pigs) using natural ingredients, while increasing productivity and profitability is her key focus. Her project is looking at utilising waste mushrooms from Monaghan Mushrooms and turning them into a value-added product through animal feed. Mushrooms can be naturally enriched with vitamin D therefore providing a health benefit to both animals and humans.
Bachelor of Agricultural Science, University College Dublin
Declan is a first year PhD student in Professor Pat Guiry’s research group of UCD, starting in September 2019, where he is working in the field of asymmetric catalysis. For his undergraduate he attended UCD from 2015 to 2019, receiving a 1st class honours degree in Chemistry. Here he completed his final year project under the supervision of Professor Declan Gilheany in the area of ligand design. He is interested in methodology, with his project focused on palladium catalysed decarboxylative asymmetric protonation/allylic alkylation (DAP and DAAA respectively) of Lactams.
BSc Chemistry, University College Dublin
Andrew holds a B.A. in Plant Sciences from Trinity College Dublin and an M.Sc. in Development Practice dual degree from Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. He has previously conducted research projects examining organic farming systems in Rwanda and completed fieldwork exploring climate perceptions and adaptation in Fiji.
More recently he worked with the European Investment Bank regarding natural capital financing in Europe. His PhD project, supervised by Prof. Jane Stout in TCD and Prof. Cathal O’Donoghue in NUIG, is focused on bio-economic activities in Ireland and their implications for Ireland’s natural capital. This research involves a trans-disciplinary approach, bringing together different perspectives and stakeholders regarding bio-economic development. This project contributes to BiOrbic, Ireland’s bioeconomy research centre, and is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Andrew is passionate about environmental sustainability, sustainable development, ecosystem services and effective policy and decision-making.
MSc Development Practice, Trinity College Dublin
BA Plant Science, Trinity College Dublin
Alison is an animal science graduate who is currently undertaking a PhD in monogastric nutrition in UCD. She is researching the use of mushroom powders in monogastric nutrition.
Aoife graduated with a BSc in biochemistry from UCD in 2017, before starting her PhD project with BiOrbic in January 2018. Her interests lie in microbial metabolism and metabolic engineering of microbes for the production of value-added products. Her PhD studies focus on the engineering of the bacterial strain Ralstonia eutropha for the production of bioplastic building blocks, using CO2 as the carbon source. These products are unnatural to R. eutropha, so this aim will require genetic manipulation of the microbe’s central metabolism, along with adaptation to increase its ability to utilise the chosen carbon source.
Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, University College Dublin
Dennis Bengtsson is a PhD student at BiOrbic and at UCD School of Chemistry, Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology. His research focuses on the utilization of lactose as a low value starting material for chemical synthesis to generate higher value products. Currently, he is working on the large scale synthesis of the S. pneumoniae type 14 CPS repeating unit trimer, as well as the synthesis of various Selenium- and Fluorine-containing Lactose- and Lactosamine derivatives, to be used for NMR-based Galectin-Carbohydrate interaction studies.
Master’s in Biotechnology, Lund University, Sweden
Julia Virgolino is a Ph.D. researcher at UCD School of Biosystems Engineering. She completed her Honor Bachelor Degree in Environmental Engineering at the Federal University of Paraiba- Brazil as the top student of the class. Through her undergradute period, she was awarded two times with research grants from the Institutional Scientific Initiation Scholarship Program. Undertaking academic researches in the areas of Hydraulic Sanitation and Solid Waste Engineering. In 2016 she worked as an intern at FUNETEC (Paraíba Foundation for Technological and Cultural Education), developing Municipal Sanitation Plans and environmental classification maps for the Rural Land Registry. Julia also spent 3 semesters of her bachelor’s at The University of Adelaide, in Australia, as part of a scholarship award. Before joining UCD, she was a volunteer at the Institute for Education, Citizenship, and Culture of Sustainability (IECCUS), a non-profit organization focused on environmental education and social technologies. Among your most relevant projects, she worked in the construction of an Educational Reference Centre in Social Technologies applied to Sustainability, located in a Brazillian vulnerable community. She is highly motivated to work with LCA and Social LCA in addition to the holistic understanding of the bioeconomy and its implications for both environment and society.
1st year Doctor of Philosophy in Biosystems & Food Engineering, University College Dublin- UCD, Dublin- Ireland
BSc Environmental Engineering. Awarding Institution: Federal University of Paraíba-UFPB, Paraíba- Brazil
Fellow Researcher in the INSTITUTIONAL PROGRAM OF SCHOLARSHIPS TO SCIENTIFIC RESEARCHERS – PIBIC/CNPq/UFPB, Awarding Institution: LARHENA (Laboratory of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering), Brazil
Feb. 2013- Aug. 2014:
Exchange Program of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Awarding Institution: The University of Adelaide, South Australia- Australia
Fellow Researcher in the INSTITUTIONAL PROGRAM OF SCHOLARSHIPS TO SCIENTIFIC RESEARCHERS – PIBIC/CNPq/UFPB, Awarding Institution: LENHS (Laboratory of Energy Efficiency and Hydraulic Sanitation), Brazil
Mr. Maneesh Kumar Mediboyina is a Ph.D student at School of Biosystems and Food Engineering at UCD. His research focuses on life cycle sustainability assessment of food systems, with special interest in dairy processing and waste valorisation. His work aims to understand, quantify and assess the potential environmental impacts of multifunctional food systems throughout its life cycle. He is proficient at using environmental assessment software tools like GaBi and OpenLCA for life cycle modelling of products, processes and systems. Currently, he is working on evaluating the life cycle environmental performance of a first-of-a-kind, integrated industrial scale biorefinery for conversion of dairy side streams to high value bio-based chemicals under the EU’s bioeconomy flagship project AgriChemWhey.
Master’s in Food Engineering and Technology, Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Punjab, India
Bachelor’s in Food Science and Technology, Acharya N.G Ranga Agricultural University- Bapatla, Guntur, India
Michelle is a PhD student at BiOrbic and the School of Biosystems and Food Engineering, UCD. She graduated as a Geologist from the Federal University of Parana (Brazil) in 1996, subsequently working as a Senior and Lead Geologist on major mining, environmental and civil engineering projects all over Brazil for the next 17 years, specialising particularly in site investigation, soil and rock analysis, analytical interpretation of geotechnical data, project management and risk assessment of geological hazards. During this time, she also pursued further studies, including post graduate studies in Environmental Management Systems – PUC (Catholic Pontifical Unversity – Brazil) 2001, and Post Graduate studies in Geotechnics Applied to Mining – Federal University of OuroPreto (Brazil) 2011. Having moved to Europe, she then completed a UCD Masters in Environmental Technology in 2018. Her PhD research will develop and refine Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment models of bio-based products, which can have real life relevance for agri-business in Ireland.
MSc Environmental Technology, University College Dublin
Post-graduation Geotechnics Applied to Mining, Federal University of Ouro Preto
Post-graduation Environmental Management Systems, Catholic Pontifical University Parana
BSc Geology, Federal University of Parana
Siobhan is interested in applying proteomic approaches, such as mass spectrometry to gain a better insight into how PHA is produced in bacteria. She is currently comparing the proteins involved in PHA production in a number of different bacteria.
Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), University College Dublin
Burcu Akkoyunlu is a PhD student at BiOrbic and the School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, UCD. She is a strong research professional with a Master of Science in Advanced Chemical Engineering from The University of Edinburgh.
She is interested in designing novel processes by combining biology and chemical engineering principles. She is skilled in Membrane Separation Technologies, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), 3D Printing, Biotechnology, Bioprocess Design and MATLAB. Her PhD research involves developing and optimising novel process for producing bioeconomy products.
Kenneth Denbigh Scholarship, The University of Edinburgh
Chemical and Biological Engineering Senior Project 1st Place, Koç University
Vehbi Koç Scholar Award, Koç University
Koç University 50% Scholarship
Sandra has been fascinated with science since childhood and her keen interest in organic chemistry was sparked during undergraduate studies, especially during practical laboratories. After obtaining her Honours Bachelors of Science degree with specialisation in medicinal chemistry and chemical biology from University College Dublin in 2017, she has undertaken PhD studies in Professor Pat Guiry’s group in the same university.
It is hoped that developing a novel chemical application for lactose will provide a use for this multi-tonne waste product in the milk processing industry. Sandra, is working on the design and development of lactose-derived ligands for application in asymmetric catalysis. Her PhD project involves performing chemical reactions under inert conditions, working with sensitive substances, synthesis, purification and analysis of compounds, and supervision of undergraduate laboratories.
She also has a keen interest in the application of organic chemistry in the synthesis of biologically active compounds, which was the topic of her 4th year undergraduate project, and she hopes to pursue application of her chemistry skills in that area in the future.
Bachelor of Science (Honours), University College Dublin
Academic year 2018/2019:
Supervision of 4th year undergraduate project and thesis