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QIU’s alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) means that we are constantly pushing the research envelope, looking for ways to create a more sustainable world.

And of course, any time that our academics are able to share their sustainability-related studies with the world is a proud moment for us!

Our own Senior Lecturer from the School of Biological Sciences Dr Hema Ramachandran did just that when she was invited to speak at the Global Biotechnology Conference earlier this month.

Dr Hema delivered a talk titled ‘Polyhydroxyalkanoates: The Sustainable Alternative to Plastics’, which explored the use of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) as an excellent substitute for synthetic plastics – due to their ease of processability, tailor-made physical characteristics, biodegradability and biocompatibility.

And as the icing on the cake, she was named as the Best Speaker of the Conference!

In her talk, Dr Hema noted that the current prominence on sustainability, eco-efficiency and green chemistry has generated a “tremendous search for materials that are renewable and environmentally friendly.”

She observed that biopolymers – which are renewable materials from microorganisms – can provide a sustainable alternative to petroleum-derived plastics.

PHAs are one of the more versatile classes of biopolymers, with important ecosystem functions and high biotechnological potentials.

Dr Hema is no stranger to this field, having developed an interest in microbial biopolymers when she pursued her doctoral degree in Microbial Biotechnology. Her current research also focuses on the medical application of PHAs.

Dr Hema was one of more than 20 speakers at the Global Biotechnology Conference, which aims to discuss the current biotechnology research that has a key role in producing desired health and medicinal benefits.

The conference, which was conducted online, provided a platform to share knowledge of cellular and biomolecular processes to create technologies and products that help improve our lives.

Congratulations Dr Hema! Well done and keep making us proud!

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