European Master in Biological and Chemical Engineering for a Sustainable Bioeconomy

Sara Piedrahita Rodríguez, PhD student from Universidad Nacional de Colombia - Sede Manizales

Sara Piedrahita Rodríguez is a PhD student in chemical engineering from Universidad Nacional de Colombia - Sede Manizales (Colombia), which is a Bioceb associated partner. She works in Professor Carlos Ariel Cardona Alzate’s research group. Professor Carlos Ariel Cardona Alzate took part in the 2nd edition of the Bioceb Summer School in Estonia. Sara Piedrahita Rodríguez was invited as a scholar because of the collaboration between Bioceb and Universidad Nacional de Colombia - Sede Manizales. She also benefited from a PhD student hosting agreement with INRAE and a scholarship from the Saclay Plant Sciences Labex for a one-month stay at the UMR “Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin” in Versailles, under the supervision of Stéphanie Baumberger. During this stay, she analysed some Colombian biomasses of interest for her PhD thesis on sustainable biorefineries and discussed future collaboration. She stayed in France from October 3rd to November 6th 2022.

Testomonial from Sara Piedrahita Rodríguez:

"During the scholarship at AgroParisTech - Université Paris Saclay in Palaiseau, France, and at Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin (IJPB, INRAE, AgroParisTech, Université Paris-Saclay) in Versailles, France, the following activities related to the Bioceb program were carried out:

• Participation as an attendee at the first "Biosphera Scientific Days", held on October 13-14, at AgroParisTech - Université Paris Saclay in Palaiseau, France:

The first day consisted of talks on the eight thematic axes. The topics were initially presented, followed by a lecture by doctoral students and scientists related to the topic. Additionally, Bioceb students participated with posters of their project, receiving recognition for the best poster in the Master category. The second day also consisted of cross-thematic conferences and a workshop in which Bioceb students, Professor Stéphanie Baumberger, and I participated (Thematic axis in bioeconomy). The workshop was very dynamic. Each of the attendees gave one’s perspective on the concept of bioeconomy according to one’s academic background and what we are currently studying. In this talk, I could see in the students a great interest in what they do and the initiatives they have to contribute to scientific development. During these days, I had lots of informal exchanges with the students and shared with them my experience of carrying out a PhD thesis in Bioeconomy. Moreover, my participation demonstrated the international dimension of Bioceb through its associated partners’ network.

• Visit the Pasteur Institute:

On October 20 in the afternoon, I accompanied the Bioceb’s students with Professor Stéphanie Baumberger for the visit at Institute Pasteur. I attended with them a lecture given by David Bikard, related to the research topics in his research group and laboratory. It was a very interesting talk that helped Bioceb students discover the applications and approaches other scientists have developed through understanding bioeconomy. Moreover, we met a Bioceb’s graduate from the 1st intake, who starts her PhD thesis in David Bikard’s group, where she already achieved her Master’s thesis topic. Thus, I learnt that fundamental biology Research in such a well renowned institute as Pasteur Institute offers opportunities for Bioceb students. After the talk, we visited the museum, where the guide told us the Louis Pasteur’s life and his important contributions to science and biology.

• Lecture given by Sara Piedrahita Rodríguez:

On October 21, I presented the talk entitled "Towards a methodology in search of sustainable transformation routes and integrated biorefineries" to all Bioceb students of the M2 BIP BEB. During this session of approximately 1.5 hours, I presented the concepts of bioeconomy, biorefineries, and biomass in the Colombian context. In this way, students could identify that other countries’ and regions’ approaches and needs may differ. Additionally, I presented two solutions to two problems related to the design of biorefineries. First, I explained the proposal of a qualitative algorithm to select the integration rate of feedstocks in biorefineries (an issue solved in my master’s thesis and published in a research article). Finally, the other problem is finding the best transformation route from lignocellulosic biomass. In this part, I presented the global idea of the doctoral thesis project that I am currently working on. The participation of the students was active and interesting, so I feel very honoured and happy to have given them this talk.

• Tutoring in projects:

On October 21, I also had the opportunity to discuss with each group of students about their Value chain-related projects of the “Green Line Project” module. My contribution was more precisely to coach them for the value chain assessment, as a complement to the lab work they perform during their semester at AgroParisTech. Each has a project idea in which they propose and evaluate a biomass value chain. It was interesting to identify the progress of both groups, the ideas, and how they structured it all. Participation was active and very interesting."

- Updated December 2022 -