The main focus of my masters’ thesis was to develop an efficient plastic degrading consortia. Thanks to the European fund, BRISK2, I had access to a cutting edge private research facility, SINTEF, located in Trondheim (Norway). Onsite, I used high-throughput cultures as well as genetic sequencing to optimize plastic-degrading consortia with bacteria, which I isolated from plastic landfills. Later in the process, I analysed the plastic biodegradation with FTIR techniques on campus in Aalborg. This project is one of the first high-throughput plastic biodegradation studies, which is a current hot-topic research field. I was also able to participate in the writing of a book chapter on plastic biodegradation for an important scientific publishing house. Thanks to the study method of problem based learning, I was given the opportunity to design an experiment from scratch in collaboration with my supervisor. I also had the opportunity to use novel instruments and techniques which make me feel more confident when it comes to job searching.
Alba Martínez i Quer
During my masters' thesis, I collaborated with the company “FMC Corporation” to search for pesticide degrading bacteria. I had the opportunity to work on the Copenhagen and Aalborg campuses to screen the FMC pesticides factory wastewater, to identify a bacterial strain that could degrade the herbicide dicamba. Dicamba is known to spread from treated fields to neighboring fields, and has given rise to growing concern due to the development of dicamba-resistant crops. Hopefully, this research will facilitate the development of a bioproduct to reduce this pesticide persistence in soil. The knowledge gained through the project ultimately allowed me to write a book chapter about pesticide bioremediation in a prestigious editorial. I am now grateful for this blend of solution-oriented practical training and academic understanding that I have received at AAU and which is in high demand by external corporations outside AAU.
Increasing amounts of plastic waste pose a global threat to marine ecosystems and wildlife. In my masters’ thesis, I compared the biodegradability and possible toxic effects of conventional plastic and novel bioplastics in a coastal marine environment. Biobased and biodegradable bioplastics are in increasing demand and often suggested as a sustainable alternative to conventional plastics although limited research has so far been carried out in natural environments. The main objective of the project was to further understand the marine biodegradation process of bioplastics and contribute with data to the growing field of bioplastics research. My project involved collaboration and knowledge sharing with one of the major international bioplastic producers in Europe and a newly established Danish bioplastics company.
Ingrid Halvorsen Verpe
Encellin has developed a porous pouch improving treatment of Type 1 diabetes. Sponsored by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, I was able to spend 6 months as an intern at the company “Encellin”, located in sunny California. During my internship, I gained insight into and hands-on experience with product development, production processes, decision making in a start-up phase, etc. After the internship, I continued the research at Aalborg University and helped Encellin investigate how the pouch responds to sterilization, which is necessary to prevent infection prior to implantation. The equipment available at Aalborg University helped us solve this issue. Besides improving my engineering skills, the internship expanded both my personal and professional network which has been a stepping stone towards getting a job after graduation. I am thankful for the close connection between the industry and AAU