Anna Zhenova is a Ph.D. student in the RenewChem program at the University of York's Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE), where she is learning about industrial needs and practices in addition to her research project. Anna’s research focuses on the development and application of greener replacements for hazardous halogenated solvents. Replacing conventional solvents with safer bio-based derivatives can improve worker safety and health, reduce accidents, and accelerate the transition to a bio-based economy, while also avoiding difficulties with future regulation under REACH and other chemical legislation. Her project combines computational and experimental approaches to maximize candidate libraries while reducing the expense and hazard of laboratory testing.
Before beginning her Ph.D., Anna worked at the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3), which promotes adoption of green chemistry in industry. In her time there, she led a collaborative project with the ACS Green Chemistry Institute that fostered dialogue on current research, created and populated a professional development curriculum, and worked with industry leaders to develop green chemistry solutions to industrial problems. She learned a great deal about how chemistry is applied in industry, and the differences between academic and industrial approaches to research and development.
Outside of her studies, Anna works closely with initiatives that aim to support early-career researchers in sustainable science. She is co-chair of greenSTEMS, an organization that brings together students and staff in sustainable research at the University of York to work on education and outreach projects. She has served as Director of Communications for NESSE, the Network of Early-Career Sustainable Scientists and Engineers, and assisted with development and marketing of an online course on solvent selection.
Anna earned her B.Sc. from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and her M.Sc. from Carnegie Mellon University with research in low-cost ionic liquids for carbon capture. Through summer research fellowships, she has worked on various aspects of sustainable chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Oregon, as well as Caltech.
Originally hailing from Birmingham, England, Andy joined the University of Liverpool in 2011 and subsequently graduated four years later with a BSc in Chemistry with a Year in Industry. He spent a significant part of his degree in industry with Ineos Techonologies Vinyls Ltd where he worked on the preparation and application of novel agents for suspension PVC production. Following completion of his final year, Andy was also fortunate to spend some time within Dr Tom McDonald’s group exploring the synthesis of thermoresponsive hydrogels.
In 2015 he enrolled on the MSc in Green Chemistry and Sustainable Industrial Technology at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE) where his 6 month research project titled “Synthesis of a new green solvent: Cygnet” explored the potential of the novel bio-based compound Cyrene as a platform molecule in synthesis.
Still based at the GCCE, he is currently studying towards a PhD entitled “Natural Humectants and Plasticisers for Aqueous Confectionery Fillings” in collaboration with Nestle (BBSRC Industrial CASE Studentship). This work is principally interested in how common ingredients give rise to important water-mediated macroscopic properties. The overall aim of the project is to develop alternatives to archetypal saccharide/derivatives. It is hoped that this will not only facilitate a movement towards healthier confectionery products but also adhere to a clean label mandate, which is becoming of increasing importance for competitiveness in the consumer marketplace.
Thus far in his PhD, he has been able to publish and present aspects of his work within a variety of different settings including at a three-day PhD symposium held at the Nestle Product Technology Centre, York. Outside of his studies, he is actively involved in outreach and the communication of science to students, teachers and the general public and has recently presented at the 2017 York Festival of ideas and The Association for Science Education, Northern Conference (2017). Lastly, he helps to run the World Food Waste Network which is an international collaboration between industrial and research institutes stemming from the EUBIS COST action which finished in late 2016.
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Maneffa, Priecel, Lopez Sanchez,2016,Biomass-Derived Renewable Aromatics: Selective Routes and Outlook for p-Xylene Commercialisation, ChemSusChem, 9, 2736-2748
Maneffa et al., 2017, Water activity in liquid food systems: A molecular scale interpretation, Food Chemistry, 237, 1133-1138
Roxana Milescu is originally from Romania, where she gained her BSc in Engineering and Chemistry from The Faculty of Applied Chemistry and Materials Science from the University Politehnica of Bucharest, Romania in 2010.
She spent a significant part of her BSc working in industry and also carrying out outreach and teaching at local high schools.
After her BSc she worked in industry, with Arena Group S.A., Bucharest, assuring the quality of medicines in use in Romanian health care under EU-GMP regulations.
In 2015 she enrolled on an MSc by Research in Green Chemistry at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE) where she completed a thesis entitled ''Adsorption of small polarisable molecules using mesoporous carbonaceous materials''. During her MSc she was part of Starbon® group, where new ideas, innovations and applications were regularly discussed by its members. During this time she also worked on a number of small industry projects and also demonstrated in undergraduate lab classes.
In autumn 2017 she started her PhD entitled “Applications of the novel bio-derived solvent Cyrene in polymer chemistry'' in collaboration with Circa Group Pty Ltd. Cyrene is recognised as one of few new safer alternatives to traditional solvents coming to market and this work is principally directed at manufacturing processes using ultrafiltration water membranes, polyamidoimide resins for wire enamels, and in coating removal, especially in cleaning graffiti.
She is also a team member of Green Impact, a sustainability accreditation programme used by nearly 400 organisations across the UK, which empowers their members to collaboratively address key issues to transform into a sustainable union and campus environment.
Outside of her studies, Roxana is a mentor for the new Graduate Teaching Assistant trainees from Department of Chemistry, University of York and administrates the Green Chemistry Network ‘’G2C2’’, which was born out of the need to promote more communication between the many green chemistry centres scattered around the world. She is also organising this year’s Annual Workshop and Symposium, an event preceding the 14th edition of the International Conference on Renewable Resources & Biorefineries, Ghent, Belgium.
Alisa earned her BSc and MSc first-ranking degrees from the National Technical University of Ukraine with research in material chemistry studying modified silicates surface functionality. In Ukraine she participated in a range of research competition for students and won many prizes including all-Ukrainian competition of scientific work (field of “Chemical Engineering”, 2015), Award from the Kiev City State Administration (for the best students in Kiev, 2014-2015), Honorary Diploma from the Mayor of the Kiev V. Klitchko (2015) and others.
She spent the last year of her Masters degree in LSI (Laboratoire des Solides Irradies) in Ecole Polytechnique, Paris enhancing her knowledge and experience in Electron Paramagnetic Resonance, Raman and Photoluminescence spectroscopies to study solids.
Alisa won an Overseas Research Scholarship from the University of York to conduct research in the GCCE and became a part of RenewChem program through additional funding from Circa Group.
Alisa’s research focuses on the development of heterogenous catalysts for implantation in biomass / waste biomass processing to selectively give platform molecules. The focus of her work is on pyrolysis of biomass, a well-established and accessible method. Her project includes conventional and microwave assisted heating approaches to maximize the yield of valuable molecules in the presence of the developed heterogeneous catalysts.
In 2017, Alisa was involved as an intern in G2C2 network which promotes communication, knowledge exchange and secondements between the many green chemistry centres scattered around the world, with a membership of over 30 collaborators. She was an organiser of the annual G2C2 Conference successfully held in Melbourne (27-28 July 2017).
Thus far in his PhD, she has been able to present aspects of her work within a variety of different conferences and is looking forward to more and greater success!
Outside the lab, she is a friendly girl with a variety of interests: swimming, playing volleyball and playing music, specifically the guitar and piano.