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Tuesday, 11 February 2020

DOC-FAM doctoral students celebrate a welcome event

ICMAB coordinates CSIC’s DOC-FAM excellence DOCtoral training programme in Functional Advanced Materials, which is providing excellent doctoral students to collaborator institutions such as the ICN2. The predoctoral students hired in the second call of this H2020-MSCA-COFUND action offered a short presentation about their research and personal objectives. Two of them, Alejandro Astúa and Alejandro Astúa work at the ICN2 and were supported by their group leaders, Prof. Laura Lechuga and Prof. Pedro Gómez, respectively.

DOC-FAM is an excellence DOCtoral training programme in Functional Advanced Materials awarded to the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in the H2020-MSCA-COFUND-2016 Call and coordinated through the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB). It is developed in collaboration with several partner research Institutions from the area, four of them contributing to the co-funding of the programme: ICN2, IMB-CNM-CSIC, ALBA-CELLS and IREC.
On Thursday February 6 ICMAB celebrated a welcome day to gather all 11 doctoral students hired in the second call of the Programme. Two of them are already working at the ICN2: Alejandro Astúa, Doctoral Student, Nanobiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group led by Prof. Laura Lechuga, and Anukriti Pokhriyal, Doctoral Student at the ICN2 Novel Energy-Oriented Materials Group led by Prof. Pedro Gómez. Both of them, with the support of their group leaders, offered a brief presentation to introduce their research. Àlex Argemí, Head of the ICN2 Marketing and Communication Department, introduced the ICN2 to the programme participants.

In their own words, what the ICN2 DOC-FAM doctoral students are pursuing is:

Alejandro Astúa:
People undergoing critical bacterial infections require an accurate diagnose and treatment to guarantee survival and full recovery. Techniques for pathogen detection, antimicrobial susceptibility and therapeutic drug monitoring contribute with the correct use of antibiotics to limit the proliferation of resistant strains and, on the other hand, evaluate antibiotics with a narrow therapeutic range. Current methods applied in healthcare centers require complex sample treatments in specialized labs by properly trained personnel and expensive equipment.
Given this scenario, my PhD project is focused on developing a point-of-care biosensor based on nanophotonic technology developed by our research group. This device would make possible to monitor levels of narrow-range antibiotics in blood and it is intended to identify pathogens causing an infection and the antimicrobial response to a specific set of antibiotics. This way, we aim to offer an innovative and portable tool to provide results in shorter times allowing health specialists take timely decisions for their patients' health.

Anukriti Pokhriyal:
The PhD thesis is aimed at acquiring an interdisciplinary training around materials, electrochemical and electrical engineering. The primary objective is to develop novel materials and to deploy them in advanced devices to gain a competitive advantage for large-scale electrochemical energy storage that are superior to the state-of-the-art.
In parallel, technical and economic parameters will be studied to make these novel electrochemical energy storage systems economically competitive with the technology available currently.
The conclusion of the research work would be the concurrence of these two related research lines and merging the advanced functional materials research with economic evaluations. That is, answering the question, “what would make large amounts of energy storage (through electrochemical routes) competitive?”

We wish all the DOC-FAM predocs the best of lucks!