REWIRE fellowships awarded to Clara-Magdalena Saak and Natalia Castejón


Clara-Magdalena Saak and Natalia Castejón receive each a 3-year Postdoc fellowship from the REinforcing Women In Research (REWIRE) COFUND Programme, a Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions COFUND project funded by the European Commission.

The BioactALGAE project

Natalia Castejón will join the research group led by Doris Marko, head of the Department of Food Chemistry and Toxicology.The BioactALGAE project will explore novel cascading approaches based on the principles of Green Chemistry to valorize microalgal biomass by providing potential biological activities. The originality of the project relies on the use of multi-step extraction methods for green designs as innovative strategies for the valorization of microalgae. The complete optimization process of microalgal biomass allows to produce numerous functional bioproducts without any wastes from an original raw material. BioactALGAE will provide scientific knowledge for the development of new products in the near future, which are particularly relevant for food industry and address commercial opportunities for application in functional products.

The PC-ATMOS project

Clara-Magdalena Saak will conduct research in the group of Ellen Backus, deputy head of the Department of Physical Chemistry, investigating heterogeneous photochemistry at atmospheric aqueous surfaces. Photoinduced processes commonly take place in the atmosphere as they can be induced by solar radiation, in particular UV light. In aerosols the resulting formation of highly reactive radicals and their subsequent oxidative reactions with other solutes can drastically alter the surface composition. This so-called 'aerosol-ageing' process is especially important in understanding the impact aerosols have on climate as it is closely linked to their ability to seed cloud condensation, which currently forms the largest source of uncertainty in predictive climate models. The PC-ATMOS project aims to selectively study the photochemical reactions that take place at the surface of aqueous aerosols. We focus on the surface enhanced photodissociation of nitrate ions under different conditions, providing a detailed mechanistic understanding of these reactions and how they contribute to aerosol ageing.

REWIRE fellowships awardees Clara-Magdalena Saak (l.) and Natalia Castejón (Copyright: C. Saak; N. Castejòn)

Natalia Castejón will investigate novel cascading approaches based on the principles of Green Chemistry to valorize microalgal biomass (Copyright: Natalia Castejón)