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The Tale of my PhD
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PhD students 5-minute-long videos about the goals, work and challenges faced so far on their PhD.

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1 | Camila Ribeiro

Sustainable processing of advanced ceramics

In this video I present the tale of my PhD, starting with a brief description about me, followed by the motivation and expectations of my work.

2 | Joana Daniela Ferreira Gonçalves

Multifunctional magnetic bionanocomposites for simultaneous bone regeneration and cancer treatment

It is still a great challenge to find new medical approaches to treat malignant bone tumors and to handle bones with defects produced by the tumor resection. To achieve this multifunctionality, novel therapies associated to bone scaffolds have been proposed based on localized drug delivery, photothermal, and hyperthermia therapies. However, all these approaches have advantages and disadvantages. It is intended with this work to develop scaffolds to be applied after bone resection to, simultaneously, promote bone regeneration and avoid the remission of the cancer cells. Specific aims are: 1) to develop a chitosan-based scaffold with incorporation of hydroxyapatite to promote osteoconduction; 2) to produce magnetite nanoparticles with high thermal performance to induce the death of cancer cells by hyperthermia, and 3) incorporation of fucoidan on magnetite nanoparticles and chitosan scaffolds to potentiate the functionality with immunostimulatory and antitumoral activities. The chitosan-based scaffolds will be obtained by freeze-drying, 3D printing, and robocasting

3| António Lopes

Magnetic heat pumps with optimized heat transfer

Numerically simulating magnetic refrigeration devices still lack mature simulation frameworks that allow for efficient parametric sweeps. Novel magnetocaloric regenerator's geometries need optimal heat transfer characteristics. Correctly simulating the heat-exchange processes of magnetic refrigerants due to the temperature dependence of their specific heat and thermal conductivity is still commonly ignored by the research community. Going back and forth between 1D and 2D heat transfer models, we validate the models accuracy and try to find optimal operating device parameters through COMSOL Multiphysics simulations.

4 | Carolina Martins

Modulating the biodegradability of 3D printing filaments using food byproducts

My PhD Thesis project

5 | Cariny Maria Polesca de Freitas

Keratin extraction from poultry-processing industry waste

The poultry-processing industry generates high quantities of waste, mainly chicken feathers, which are currently landfill disposed or incinerated. The development of sustainable (low-cost and efficient) processes for the valorization of this type of wastes can be attained by using the chicken feathers as a raw material for the extraction of keratin, which can be used on the preparation of protein-rich films and scaffolds. To this end, tailored and low-cost bio-based ionic liquids (ILs) will be investigated as alternative solvents. ILs will be synthesized and characterized, followed by solubility assays of the keratin to identify the most relevant solvents. Selected ILs will be applied to protein extraction from waste samples, and operational conditions will be optimized. IL-protein-rich extracts will be applied to produce novel films and scaffolds, further allowing the IL recovery and reuse.

6 | Fernando Sá

Sustainable Piezoelectric Flexible Materials

Our world's technology is rapidly evolving into a great network of connections called The Internet of Things. This allows us to connect to people and devices no matter where we are, allowing for the automatization of everyday tasks. All this work is possible due to sensors installed in these devices that, unfortunately, suffer from short battery lives. Not only this, but the disposal of this materials already represents a concern around the world, leading to negative impacts in the environment. This pleads for a change by increasing the life-cycle of these devices as well as improving their sustainability. In my PhD work I intend to use piezoelectricity to turn these sensors and devices more energetically self-sufficient, as well mixing them with biopolymers in order to reduce waste produced. I also aim and adding flexibility in order to increase both the piezo performance and their range of applications.

7 | Sónia Pedro

Shaping the future of pharmaceuticals

Many drugs are insoluble or sparingly soluble in water and conventional pharmaceutical solvents, which difficult their formulation and drug delivery. In this PhD, deep eutectic solvents (DES) are purposed as emerging alternatives to improve drugs’ solubility, stability and bioavailability. Moreover, their combination into biopolymer-based drug delivery systems, enables to control the release of the respective active ingredients providing higher therapeutic efficacy. This PhD aims to develop innovative drug delivery systems that can offer more effective therapeutic options to conventional ones, shaping the future of pharmaceuticals and treatments as we know them.

8 | Sofia Zanella

Molecules with computing power

Welcome to my PhD tale! Here I am going to show you the main concepts of molecular logic and how we can use Boolean Algebra to interpretate our data. A special guest will help me in this video! Check it out!

9 | Mariana Rodrigues Ferreira da Silva

A skunks fight against slander (and more)

Beer that tastes bad, due to the presence of the compound 3-methyl-2-ene-1-thiol, has been called skunked for far too long! It is time for skunks to defend their good name by informing the public about those awful beers' correct name - light-struck beer. Along the way, you’ll find out how this compound forms, and it’s avoided in the beer packaging industry. You will also hear about the CLEVER project. This project aims to develop beer bottles that visually look like what consumers prefer - clear and colourless. However, to make their wish a reality, clear and colourless bottles need help to gain the ability to protect beer against radiation in a specific range (350 -500 nm).

10 | Jéssica Santos

Biodegradable and active fruit packaging using agrifood by-products as raw materials

Large amounts of fruit losses and wastes are generated worldwide mainly due to its high perishability. This problem has aroused interest in the development of active packaging systems capable of extend fruit shelf-life. The additional association of active agents to bio-based and biodegradable polymers, namely starch and cellulose, could contribute simultaneously for extending their quality and freshness, reinforcing the technical properties of matrix, and promoting the overall packaging sustainability. Within active components, ethylene scavengers have been boosted in recent years for preservation of fresh fruit. These components are able to remove ethylene, a phytohormone responsible for the induction of mechanisms related with their ripening and senescence, surrounding the fruits which improves the quality, safety, and shelf-life of these foodstuffs. However, an effective, low-cost, biocompatible, and sustainable platform for ethylene scavenging that fits a commercial packaging market is needed. Under a circular economy, this PhD project intends to explore agrifood by-products as alternative raw materials for the development of starch- and cellulose-based porous particles with ethylene scavenging capacity and starch-based composites and then study the feasibility of using these starch-based composites as active packaging of high perishable fruits.