Swansea University

Mathilde Castagnet

Mathilde is the project manager in charge of delivering the €5.5 million ALG-AD project

Mathilde is the project manager of ALG-AD, a 5.5 million euro project part funded by INTERREG North West Europe and involving a collaboration of 11 key partners from the UK, France, Belgium and Germany. The project is investigating combining algal and anaerobic digestion technology to reduce and reuse nutrient rich digestate by converting nutrients to create algal biomass for sustainable animal feeds.

As project manager, Mathilde is responsible for ensuring that the project delivers on its aims and objectives successfully. Mathilde brings a wealth of experience in science having previously successfully managed large scale research projects in big data and sophisticated data linkage for scientific analysis and service improvement within Swansea University.

In her previous roles, Mathilde also successfully led the creation of key research partnerships and secured research funding from UK research organisations. Mathilde has many years’ experience managing large scale research projects for key funders including UK Research and Innovation Group, Medical Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council and Welsh Government. Mathilde is very enthusiastic about exploring innovative solutions to benefit future sustainability and the circular economy.

Mathilde comes from from the Bordeaux region of France, and obtained her Masters degree in International Management from Swansea University. She has worked in the UK since 2012.

You can find out more about Mathilde by visiting her LinkedIn profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/mathilde-castagnet-27716478

Dr Carole Llewellyn

Dr Llewellyn is the principle investigator for the ALG-AD project.

Carole Llewellyn, Associate Professor in Applied Aquatic Bioscience provides overall leadership on the ALG-AD project and for the Swansea Team. 

Carole’s interests are in all things algae mainly microalgae but also macroalgae.  She is particularly keen to develop algae for the benefit of humans in terms of developing environment friendly products and in terms of their capacity to remediate waste (nutrients, CO2 and metals).  ALG-AD brings both of these aspects together to develop a circular economy solution; it’s a very exciting project in that respect. 

Carole has led a number of national and international applied algal projects. 

Find out more about Carole and her research by visiting:  

https://www.swansea.ac.uk/bioscience/research-and-impact/algal/

You can visit her LinkedIn profile here:

Dr Alla Silkina

Alla is a senior post-doctoral researcher, Research Officer within algal biotechnology group at Swansea University.

Alla’s role for the ALG-AD project will be to act as the main point of contact for the activity of WP3, collecting data for the mechanistic modelling, Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Decision Support Tool (DST). This responsibility is shared between Swansea as the lead partner and those involved in the work package. 

In addition, Alla will contribute to WP1, particularly towards the Best Practice guidelines on optimal nutrients removal and algal uptake, and the guide looking at mechanistic modeling on nutrient recovery efficiency and biomass productivity. Her activity on WP2 will be related to assessing the storage of biomass and the fractionation and characterisation process. 

Alla’s responsibilities span arange of projects and research undertaken by the group, including research design, coordination of research programmes and management of technical staff.  Her own research interests are in algal biotechnology, mass cultivation and the application of algal biomass for end-uses including energy, food and feeds and higher value products.  

Dr Alla Silkina is an algal biotechnologist with 17 years of international experience, and she has worked in the UK , France, Malaysia, Ukraine, Russia and Thailand. Her main expertise is in academic business interaction related to algal biotechnology and physiology focusing on lab and mass scale cultivation, algal biofouling, algal pigments and products development from algal biomass. She has published 16 papers in international peer review journals.

She has an Honours Degree in Phycology & Biology from V.Z. Kharazin National Kharkov University in Ukraine (2002), Alla holds a PhD in Marine Biology from the University of Southern Brittany, France (2007), a postdoctoral fellow from the Institute of Marine Biotechnology at University Malaysia Terengganu, Malaysia (2008-2010).

Alla is a globetrotter, visiting 42 countries. She loves music, playing piano and dancing Argentine tango and other Latin dances including salsa, bachata and kizomba.

Dr Claudio Fuentes Grunewald

With a wealth of experience in algal cultivation, Claudio is responsible for:

  • optimizing the processing of NRD across three pilots
  • leading on nutrient removal assessment and culture growth optimization
  • commissioning ALG-AD technology at three sites
  • leading on modelling and best practice in validating algal biomass production and nutrient recover
  • leading on the production of algal biomass
  • mentoring and guiding team members

Claudio obtained his degree in Aquaculture in 2001 from Arturo Prat University, Iquique, Chile. In 2008 he was awarded his Masters degree in Environmental Studies, and in 2011 he obtained his PhD in Environmental Science and Technology. Both titles came from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.

Claudio is currently working as a Research Officer in the Department of Biosciences, College of Science, Swansea University, Wales, United Kingdom. An algal physiologist, he has over 20 years’ experience in algal growth in bioreactors (including delicate flagellate species), biochemical analyses and purification of materials external to the cells. He also has experience  across applications from aquaculture to medicine.

Claudio has more than 20 publications on microalgae, with half of his career working in industry developing and commercializing novel techniques in microalgal biotechnology.

Among his major scientific interests are applied research in marine biotechnology, marine/freshwater microalgal production, bioenergy, aquaculture, photobioreactor design & construction, and environmental science.

His specialisms include microalgae production at industrial scale, isolation, metabolite production, upstream and downstream processes, environmental studies, aquaculture, bio-energy, gas chromatography, lipids analysis and biochemical composition.

Claudio is passionate about the sea. He has been a keen surfer for more than 30 years, surfing in several countries around the world, and was one of the founders of the Chilean Surfing Federation. He loves music,  travelling and getting to know different cultures.

You can find out more about Claudio by visiting his LinkedIn profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/cfuentesgrunewald

Fleuriane Fernandes

Fleuriane Fernandes is an experienced research officer.

Her main role in the project focuses on:

  • The process of optimising the NRD
  • Producing best practice guidelines on treating and preparing the NRD
  • Characterisation of the biomass

Fleuriane is an aquaculture scientist, specialising in algae (macro and micro) cultivation and ecophysiology with a focus on water quality and nutrient remediation.

After achieving a master degree on aquaculture technics and fisheries, Fleuriane worked in France on the INTERREG funded EnAlgae project looking at developing seaweed farming technics, before joining Swansea University in 2014 to work on the EPSRC funded Macrobiocrude project. As part of this, Fleuriane develoepd successful collaborations with local several Welsh companies.

In 2016, Fleuriane lead the installation of a new aquaculture facility for the cultivation of macroalgae in Pembrokeshire as part of a collaboration with Milford Haven Port Authority.

She has also worked on the SEACAMS2 project, focusing on water quality analysis, and is now part of the ALG AD project, working as a research technician.

Fleuriane has also been accepted as a PhD candidate and will be looking at algae-bacteria interactions and their impact on waste remediation.

You can find out more about Fleuriane by visiting her LinkedIn profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/fleuriane-fernandes-4690b96a

Catharine Jones

Catharine is in charge of communication for the ALG-AD project and supports Mathilde with managing delivery of the project.

Catharine is currently on her third career. She started out as a journalist in 1994, first as a trainee reporter on the Llanelli Star newspaper and later spending over a decade as a broadcast journalist working for ITV Wales.

A change of career in 2010 saw her take up a post as communications officer for Dyfed Powys Police. In 2010 she left the force to take up an opportunity to work on another EU funded project, EnAlgae, becoming publicity officer for the project from 2014 until the project ended in December 2015.

Following this, Catharine worked on her project management skills, studying for her APMP qualification and APMG change management qualification while working on improving the student experience within the University's the Planning and Strategic Projects Unit.

Following that, Catharine continued following the student journey, working as a student partnership and engagement officer within Academic Services.

Catharine is looking forward to once again working with international partners on an EU funded project.

You can find out more about Catharine by visiting her LinkedIn profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/catharine-jones-40284523/

Eleanor Wood

Eleanor Wood is a Research Technician on the ALG-AD project working on small scale and large scale experiments.

She is planning on spending 18 months working on the project at Swansea University and a further 18 months at Ghent University.

Previously, she has worked as an Algal Technician producing microalgae for Xanthella, a photobioreactor company.

Prior to that she completed her Master of Science by Research at the Scottish Association for Marine Science where she studied Palmaria palmata, a red seaweed.

Outside of work, Ellie enjoys running and completed the Paris Marathon last year. She plans to do another one next year.

 

Jose Ignacio

Jose is a biologist specializing in environmental biotechnology, with a special focus on bioremediation.

His studies were carried out at the University of Oviedo, where in addition to the degree in biology, he completed a two-year masters degree in biotechnology of the environment and health.

His first steps in the world of biology were in the company Biogas Fuell Cell S.A. where he controlled the necessary parameters of anaerobic biodigesters for the production of biogas.

Subsequently, he moved into the field of plant biotechnology conducting research for the SERIDA (Regional Service for Agrifood Research and Development) in which the antifungal potential of chestnut tannins was investigated against two species of fungus.

He has also work on microbiological and physical-chemical analyzes of food and water for the company LILA/ALCE CALIDAD, S.L.

During the last year and a half, Jose has researched in the field of bioremediation in the Research Group of Technology, Biotechnology and Environmental Geochemistry (BIOGEOAMB) of the University of Oviedo, where he did his masters thesis on the responses of microbial populations of soils contaminated with heavy metals to decontamination treatments with nanoparticles.

 He is now part of the INTERREG funded project ALG AD as a internship student.

Vanessa Ndovela

Vanessa is a research technician working on small and large scale cultivation of microalgae biomass for the ALG-AD project.

The majority of her time on the project will be spend in Devon growing microalgae in photoautotrophic mode on a large scale using nutrient rich digestate in a 5000L bioreactor.

This will then be followed by a mixotrophic cultivation that focuses on biomass production. 

Having completed her high school education in South Africa, Vanessa obtained her undergraduate degree in Marine biology from Swansea University in 2018. The degree was a sandwich degree which included a year in industry for work experience.

Vanessa has also undertaken a 10-month internship working with one of the professors at Swansea university alongside a PhD student. And for this she did small scale Cultivatation of Phytoplankton and Zooplankton, which included small scale experiments of varying lengths.

This progressed on to a three month project that looked at the use of microalgae for bioremediation of waste water. This project was a partnership between Swansea university researchers and Welsh Water and looked at how efficient microalgae were at nutrient removal in waste water, as well as their macromolecule composition.  

Following that Vanessa had a two month contract that looked at the application of microfiltration technology in algal harvesting.

Dr Rahul Vijay Kapoore

Dr Kapoore is a research officer for ALG-AD project.

Rahul is leading WP2 of ALG-AD project. He is mainly responsible for fractionation of algal biomass and later developing algal biomass into commercial products.

  • Rahul obtained a first class degree in Bachelor of Pharmacy in 2006 from M.G.V’s College of Pharmacy, Nashik (Pune University, India). Subsequent to the completion of his degree, Rahul came to U.K. in 2006 to peruse his MSc in Pharmacology and Biotechnology at Sheffield Hallam University, which he graduated from in November
  • Rahul holds a PhD in Metabolomics (2010-2014) from The University of Sheffield (TUOS) and his doctoral research involved development and optimisation of mass spectrometry based hyphenated techniques for microalgal and mammalian metabolomics.
  • Rahul joined the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE) at TUOS (2014-2017) as a Postdoctoral Research Associate (PDRA) on a BBSRC-DBT funded (£1.22 million) project (BB/K020633/1): “Sustainable Bioenergy and Biofuels from Microalgae: A Systems Perspective”. The research involved GC-MS and LC-MS based metabolome level characterisations of microalgal strains and thereby developing a systems level understanding in combination with other systems biology approaches (proteomics and transcriptomics), that will lead to sustainable processes for bio-energy generation from microalgae.
  • Later, he worked as a Teaching Staff (30%) and Research Associate (70%) at TUOS (2017-2018). He was mainly responsible for preparing and delivering lectures, designing lab-based practical’s and assessing reports of UG, MSc and MEng modules in Chemical and Biological Engineering discipline. Module taught: Bioenergy, Liquid Effluents, Research Ethics and Integrity. During this period, he worked on three Phyconet funded Business Interaction Vouchers (BIV’s):

(1) “Characterisation of info-chemical induced EPS from Scenedesmus for sustainable production of bioemulsifiers and biosurfactants” in collaboration with TeeGene Biotech Ltd. (Redcar, UK);

(2) “Efficient cell lysis for extraction of intracellular products from microalgae using pulsed electric field” in collaboration with C-Tech Innovation Ltd. (Chester, UK);

(3) Contributed to writing and drafting the BIV titled “Pilot-scale production of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and fucoxanthin in a diatom using a Phyco-FlowTM system” in collaboration with Varicon Aqua solutions Ltd. (Worcester, UK).

  • Rahul is highly experienced in omics technologies (metabolomics and proteomics) and his research is mainly focused on developing an optimised workflow for algal cultivation, co-culture techniques, microbial consortia, microalgal biotechnology (biorefinery), info-chemicals characterisation, microalgal biosurfactants and bioemulsifiers, anaerobic digestion, digestate characterizations, nutrient remediation and resource recovery.
  • Rahul has authored 12 scientific publications (Click Here!) within last 4 years.

 

  • You can find out more about Rahul by visiting his LinkedIn profile

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