Konstantina (Nadia) obtained a BSc in Materials Science, and later on, she pursued an MEng and PhD at the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Patras, Greece. During her PhD, her research was focused on wastewater valorization for the bacterial production of bio-based and biodegradable polymers (in the form of polyhydroxyalkanoates-PHAs), using either mixed or pure culture systems.
Her postdoctoral research activity was initiated in June 2014 through a Marie-Curie Individual Fellowship Grant, hosted by the Biochemical Engineering Group, FCT-UNL, Caparica, Portugal (FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IEF 625774). Her project aimed at screening several bacterial strains, in order to examine their potential to simultaneously secrete biosurfactants and/or bioemulsifiers in the fermentation broth, while accumulating PHAs inside their cells. After her fellowship, she was collaborating with the Laboratory of Biochemical Engineering & Environmental Technology (University of Patras, Greece), until September 2017, when she joined the Food & Bioprocessing Group of the Food & Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Reading. Her research took place in the framework of the H2020-BBI-JU-BioSMART project that aimed at developing active and smart bio-based packages by incorporating/coating bio-active antimicrobial and anti-oxidant compounds into flexible plastic films for enhanced preservation of food quality. Since September 2019, she is an Assistant Professor in Sustainable Process Engineering at the Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering and part of the Green Chemicals Beacon of Excellence team.
During her career, she had been working as a researcher in several EU and National research projects that promoted academia-industry partnerships (EU Horizontal Research activities involving SMEs Co-Operative Research, EU LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance, EU CIP EIP Eco-Innovation, EU FP7 SME-BSG, EU H2020-BBI-JU etc.). She is an expert for the evaluation of EU-H2020 proposals and has served as an evaluator for the French National Research Agency (Agence Nationale de la Recherche - ANR). She is also a reviewer of scientific articles in 15 peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Nadia is a member of the Green Chemicals Beacon of Excellence and of the Sustainable Process Technology (SPT) Group. Her current research is focused on the development of integrated biorefinery schemes, aiming at waste by-products and biomass holistic valorization towards the production of high value-added materials and chemicals.
Her research interests also include the design aspects of microbial fermentation for the bespoke production of materials and chemicals, the employment of greener alternatives for biomass fractionation and downstream processes, the extensive characterization of bio-extractives/bio-products in order to identify high-value applications, the formulation of bio-based and/or biodegradable polymers and bio-composites with tailored properties.
Renewable Energy from Wastes (CHEE4075)
Industrial Process Analysis (CHEE3011)
Year 1 Practical Laboratories
Year 4 MEng Projects (H84MEP)
Year 4 MSc Projects (H84MPR)
Having a background in materials science and bioprocess engineering, research is focused on:
- the fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass;
- the development of integrated biorefinery schemes for the biological conversion of waste by-products and biomass to high value-added fuels, materials, and chemicals (i.e. biogas, biohydrogen, polyhydroxyalkanoates, bacterial cellulose, biosurfactants/bioemulsifiers),
- the recovery and assessment of antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of bio-based compounds, such as phenolics, chitin oligomers, lipopeptides,
- the development of bio-based and/or biodegradable polymers and green composites with enhanced properties,
- the physicochemical, thermal and mechanical analysis of chemicals and materials, as well as the assessment of their cytotoxic effects,
- identifying high-value applications for such bio-based products and materials, i.e. in the bioremediation, biomedical, pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical and food industry.
For more details on my research activities and outcomes you may check the following links:
KONSTANTINA KOURMENTZA, XABIER GROMADA, NICHOLAS MICHAEL, CHARLOTTE DEGRAEVE, GAETAN VANIER, ROZENN RAVALLEC, FRANCOIS COUTTE, KIMON ANDREAS KARATZAS and PAULA JAUREGI, 2020. Antimicrobial activity of lipopeptide biosurfactants against foodborne pathogen and food spoilage microorganisms and their cytotoxicity Frontiers in Microbiology: Food Microbiology.
I welcome inquiries from highly motivated individuals from Home, EU and international countries who are interested in pursuing a PhD in the following research areas: Lignocellulosic biomass pretreatment and fractionation, Enzyme production via solid-state fermentation, Biorefinery development, Bioprocess engineering and intensification, Process Development and scale-up, Production of bespoke bio-based products for specific applications, Synthesis of functional bio-based and/or biodegradable composites.
Available PhD studentships
If you are interested in pursuing a PhD at the Department of Chemical & Environmental, the following PhD studentships are available on biotechnological research themes within the Green Chemicals Beacon of Excellence