2018-2022: Completed an undergraduate degree in chemistry at Queen's University Belfast. The focus of the final year project was developing ionic liquid materials for biocatalysis. The project found some success in the entrapment and stabilisation of enzyme horseradish peroxidase within soft ionic liquid-based gels to form active surfaces for recyclable heterogenous catalysis. The project demonstrated the potential for scale-up, where catalytically active gel beads could pack the inside of a pipe and reactive substrate passed over the beads in a continuous flow process. The investigated potential applications of this process at large scale included being used in the degradation of organic substrates in the purification of wastewater streams. The principles of green chemistry, as applied to the materials and methods used during the project, were of high importance throughout.

SeaFEED Research

The principle focus of the project is the development of methods of extraction and recovery of bioactives with antimicrobial properties from brown seaweeds, with the principles of green chemistry and sustainability being strongly considered throughout. The project focusses on developing ‘green’ ionic liquids as alternative extraction media to replace conventional methods which often involve using harmful organic solvents. Ionic liquids are liquids comprised entirely of ions and their properties are determined by which ions are selected. Sustainability and life cycle must be strongly considered when developing ionic liquid-based extraction media; the materials used should be renewably sourced, ideally coming from biological sources. The methods used in extraction should comply with green chemistry principles where possible, such as low energy input, low volume of solvent used, reusing solvents, and a single-step separation and recovery of materials. The extraction outcomes should be greater than or comparable to conventional methods using organic solvents.