Young Researchers

Young Researchers

Heleena Moni Bottu

Heleena Moni Bottu, obtained her Master’s degree in Biotechnology in 2005 and obtained a PhD in 2018 from the department of biology, University of Napoli Federico II, Italy.

She has a diverse set of research experience like the study of mitochondrial dysfunction in aetiology of insulin resistance and obesity by nutrient metabolism in various organs of Winster rats and C57BL/6 wild mice. She also studied mechanistic efficacy properties of poly herbal formulations in Breast cancer and macrophage cell lines. In addition, she trained to work extensively with BRL, CHO and fibroblast cells for attachment of synthetic membranes for initiation of fibrosis. Furthermore she identified ancestral Manu lineage of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from a south Indian population by genotyping. In addition, Heleena earned a two year Indo Italian fellowship as a young Indian research scholar at University of Sassari, Italy.

Dr. Heleena is currently a post-doctoral research fellow working with Prof. Lorraine Brennan at University College Dublin on the SusFood project for validation of Pomace bioactive compounds for prophylactic factors and interacting bio markers with metabolic aspects as evidence in cosmetics and improved foods with significance to cell culture systems.

Marijke Jozefczak

Dr. Marijke Jozefczak has a PhD in Environmental Biology (Hasselt University, Belgium). Currently, she is a researcher of the Department of Pomology at the Research Center for Fruit (pcfruit). She is working on topics including valorization of fruit wastes, foodpairing, the link between fruit polyphenols and neurodegenerative diseases, and grape/wine analyses.

Ruth Decock

Ruth Decock graduated in 2015 as a Master in Biosciences (KULeuven), specialized in Food industry. She performed her internship and Master thesis at Konings. Afterwards she was hired by the company as junior R&D Engineer mainly working on cider fermentation and new product development. Since almost 2 years she’s responsible for the quality in the food processor and cider fermentation of Konings. Besides that, she contributes as a link between R&D and the production site by involving in new product and innovative site specific projects.

Ine Maes

Ine Maes graduated in 2017 as a Master in Bioscience Engineering, specialized in Food Technology (KULeuven). She also has a Master in Industrial Engineering, with focus on Biochemistry (UHasselt, 2015). In November 2017, she started working at Konings as a R&D lab technician. Her main task was being responsible for the equipment in the R&D lab. Besides that, she learned a lot about fruit processing and development of beverages by being involved in some innovation projects at Konings. Since January 2019, she is active as a Jr. R&D engineer, extending the knowledge inside the innovation center and supporting the different production plants.

Zeba Husmani

Dr. Zeba Usmani is an Indian researcher, working at TalTech for the SUSFOOD2 project on “Innovative (pre) Pomace Valorization Process” in the field of Biodegradation of Deep Eutectic Solvents and their significance in establishing Green Chemistry for a sustainable world under the guidance of Prof. Nicholas Gathergood.

She has been awarded a doctorate from the Indian Institute of Technology (Dhanbad) in the field of Bio-remediation using earthworms under the guidance of Dr. Vipin Kumar. Her work has been key in creating sustainable models for waste disposal from power plants.

She has completed her Masters in the field of Zoology from Lucknow University (India) and Bachelors (Hons.) in Zoology from Delhi University (India).

She has several publications in the field of Bio-remediation in reputed journals such as Royal Society of Chemistry and Journal of Environmental Management to name a few.

Angelica Mero

She earned her bachelor degree in “Chemistry” in February 2015 and she obtained the master degree in “Organic Chemistry” in December 2017 at the University of Pisa. During his degree he worked on the synthesis fimbrolide analogues, as model Quorum Sensing Inhibitors (QSIs), and to their encapsulation in polymeric nanoparticles based on (poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid)-PLGA) as a promising approach to a safe delivery of the developed QSIs to the desired site of action in a controlled fashion. In November 2018 she started his PhD studies in “Science of Drugs and Bioactive Substances” at the University of Pisa. The focus of her research is about the valorisation of biomass waste by a combined use of ionic liquids (ILs) and deep eutectic solvents (DESs). She acquired experience in synthesis and characterization of these classes of solvents and their employment for extraction of added value products from different sources.

She has several publications in the field of Bio-remediation in reputed journals such as Royal Society of Chemistry and Journal of Environmental Management to name a few.

Nicholas Moody

He obtained a master’s in chemistry specialising in biological chemistry from the University of York in 2013, and a PhD in Chemistry specialising in enzymology from the University of Sheffield in 2019. His PhD project was on the evolution of the enzymology carbon fixing enzymes in C4 plant species.

He is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Francesca Paradisi in the School of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham. He is looking at enzymes suitable for the degradation of lignose and cellulose from pomace in an industrial application.

Elena Hușanu

Professional experience, former employers:
Pisa University, Department of Farmacy 2014-present

Extraction of added value compounds from pomace resulting from processed fruits by NADES and ILs
I concentrate on the synthesis and characterization of bio-based ionic liquids (BIOILs) and natural deep eutectic solvents (DES) in the pretreatment of the pomace resulting from processed fruits. The obtained green solvents are involved in the extraction of the high added value compounds (polyphenols). Furthermore, the residual pomace is treated in order to obtain cellulose and lignin. Also, giving my background, I am interested in how biomass treated with ionic liquids/ DES can be involved in catalytic processes.

Study of the recycling and reversibility of ionic liquids involved in the treatment of algae.

Were synthesized and characterized some reversible ionic liquids (es. tetramethyl guanidine methyl carbonate (TMGMeCO3) or 1,8-Diazabicyclo(5.4.0)undec-7-ene methyl carbonate (DBU MeCO3)). After the algae lysis was performed with the ionic liquids synthesized above.

Studies regarding the synthesis and stability of metal (Au, Ag), metal oxides nanoparticles in ionic liquids for catalysis and drug delivery.

Was studied the ability of some ionic liquids to design the shape and the crystal structure of some metal and metal oxides involved in catalytic process.

Postdoctoral Fellow
Worked in project Growth of defect free GaP NWs in Chemical Beam Epitaxy, morphological and structural characterization using SEM and TEM. Development of growth strategies for tuning the properties of NWs. The projects were in straight collaboration with researchers working in novel physics based studies of transport phenomena, photoluminescence, and terahertz detection. Guidance of graduate and undergraduate students in their research projects

Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa 2012-2013
Postdoctoral Fellow

Growth of complex radial and axial heterostrucures inserting InP segments as a barrier in InAs nanowires. These heterostrucures were used further for the investigation of highly-controllable single-electron devices. I was involved in the growth of catalyst free InAs, GaAs, GaAs-GaP NWs on Si and GaAs substrates.

Technical University “Gh. Asachi” from Iasi, Romania 2008-2011
PhD student in the Department of Chemical Engineering, section chemistry-physics

PhD Thesis: Studies regarding the memory effect of layered double hydroxides (LDH)-like anionic clays.
Objectives of the PhD Thesis:
-fabrication of new nanostructured ensembles using the structural reconstruction of layered double hydroxide
(LDHs) anionic clay matrix that leads to nanostructured ensembles of nanoparticles of metal or metal oxides
deposited on the anionic clay.
– studies regarding the physical and chemical properties and some applications of the samples synthesized.

Blaise Pascal University- France
Research stage at Laboratoire Thermodynamiques et Interactions Moléculaires

Template synthesis of MgAlLDH and ZnAlLDH and study of the memory effect of the new structures obtained.