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.

Annelies Dewaele

 Annelies Dewaele graduated in 2012 as a Master in Bioscience Engineering (KU Leuven) and obtained her PhD at the same faculty in 2016. She joined Konings in November 2017 as R&D Engineer, to provide knowledge and support for the different production sites. Besides, she is responsible for the application and monitoring of long-term strategic projects in function of market/customer demands. From November 2018, she will be taking the role of innovation manager. 

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. Her main task is being responsible for the equipment in the R&D lab. Implementing new measuring methods and solving equipment problems are some of her daily activities. Besides that, she learns a lot about fruit processing and development of beverages by being involved in some innovation projects at Konings.  

Brief description of Konings and their Innovation Centre

Konings is an independent producer and co-packer of beverages with focus on (non)-alcoholic beverages for premium and private labels. The expertise of the development of beverages is founded on years of experience in the field of juices, ciders, cocktails, soft drinks, distilled drinks,… Konings has 6 plants: K1, K2, Konings Juices and Drinks (KJD), Konings Drinks (KD), Konings Juices and Drinks UK (KJDUK) and Konings Spirits and Drinks France (KSDFR). At K1, KJD, KD and KSDFR mainly preparation and filling of beverages in glass, can, tetra or PET takes place and at K2 and KJDUK fruit processing is the main activity (KJDUK also has a PET-line). To provide a complete support for the customers, all plants are supported by the Innovation Centre.

The Konings Innovation Centre provides dedicated high level support during the development of new beverages and process optimization. First, the concept will be defined in strong collaboration with our customers after which an experimental and practical setup will be scheduled. Throughout the process the expertise of the Innovation Centre will be provided through our technical knowledge as well as a smooth project transfer from laboratory, to pilot and then to industrial scale. A good internal working relationship with our Operational Department is absolutely essential in ensuring a premium product is achieved from original idea to bottled beverage.

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.