Zhao bild hemsidaZhao Wang, PhD from Umeå University has joined RISE Processum’s Biotechnology group as Senior Scientist. She will, among other projects, participate in the development work for bacterial nanocellulose which Processum started in April this year.

- In 2007 I began my studies in Chemical Engineering Technology at Beijing Institute of Technology Beijing, China and got my Bachelor of Engineering in 2011,” says Zhao Wang. “During that time I got four years Academic Excellence Award, which is given to the top 10 % of the students every year.”

- I wanted to complete my studies with a Master in Chemistry abroad and therefore went to Umeå University, studied two more years and got my Master in 2013. The dissertation was about pre-treatment and hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass for sugars production. One part of the thesis work was to investigate how different temperatures and pressures influenced pelletizing of aspen, birch and spruce and the followed hydrolysis treatment.

- Having finished my Master I continued as PhD student in the same group headed by Professor Leif Jönsson. During my PhD work I led and finished five research projects and published a record of six research papers. The PhD work comprised recalcitrance of wood to biochemical conversion including feedstock properties, pre-treatment, saccharification, and fermentability.

- I detected the chemical composition and structural factors of three woody biomass and GMO plants and evaluated the enzymatic conversion potential of these lignocellulosic materials. The optimal conditions of three biomass pre-treatments, dilute-acid, ionic liquids, and steam explosion, for improving enzymatic conversion of lignocellulose materials at lab or pilot scale were determined and interpreted. The toxicity ranking of ten detected inhibitors in the pre-treatment liquid that caused the inhibition of microorganisms in fermentation of pentose and hexose was established. The important role of protein bioinformatics in the adsorption of individual fungal proteins to lignin preparations with protein assays, enzyme activity assays, and proteomic analysis was discovered.

- When my PhD was approved I was looking for a job and sent an application to Processum, got this job and I am now a member of the Biotechnology team. One of my initial research areas will be in the bacterial nanocellulose project. It is an area with great potential for many applications the future. I will also be involved in single cell projects, in which Processum is since many years very successful.

- It is really encouraging to see that very skilled researchers from other parts of the world find Processum to be an attractive employer with stimulating research projects going on, says Björn Alriksson, Group manager Biotechnology. Zhao Wang has very interesting research experiences bringing in new knowledge to our team and her contributions will be of significant importance in our projects.

Finally, what do you do you are not working?

- For the time being I live in Umeå and I have a lot of friends so I often socialize with them. I also like to travel as well as hiking. On the musical side I play a traditional Chinese string instrument called zither, Zhao ends

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