BioPACIFIC MIP Research: SET 4 - Degradation-optimized Materials
What is your research focus?
My research involves using an interdisciplinary approach to understand the potential impacts of plastic pollution on microbial communities in natural environments. Specifically, I aim to characterize microbially-driven plastic degradation using analytical chemistry methods and advanced genomic techniques such as metagenomics and transcriptomics. Observing shifts in microbial taxa or metabolism in response to different types of polymers can provide insights into the effects on microbial community function and possible mechanisms of microbially-driven plastic degradation. As plastic pollution continues to increase, it is essential to gain a better understanding of these processes in order to mitigate potential environmental and human health impacts and inform solutions for a more sustainable future. The insights gained from this research can advise future bioremediation efforts and the development of more sustainable new polymers. This research directly aligns with BioPACIFIC MIP SET 4, which aims to characterize polymer degradation in different environments and develop new degradable polymers with an emphasis on sustainability.
What excites you about NSF BioPACIFIC MIP?
By participating in the BioPACIFIC MIP Fellows program, I'm excited to become part of an interdisciplinary research community, collaborate with experts in the field, and access cutting-edge external research. I aim to gain a more well-rounded understanding of the complex issues surrounding plastic pollution and contribute to the development of sustainable solutions by learning about the chemical structure of polymers and their effects on function, degradation, and environmental impacts. This program provides an excellent opportunity for me to expand my professional network and gain access to training and state-of-the-art tools for advanced biomaterials characterization, automated synthetic biology, and chemical synthesis. I’m looking forward to learning through collaboration and from other SET projects, as well as developing more multidisciplinary approaches to my own work.