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8. Alice Guarneri

Apparently I am supposed to write about myself and the incoming PhD trip to Israel.
Maybe I should start telling you that I just started my PhD at the Wageningen University within a Marie Skłodowska-Curie research network. I moved to the Netherlands from Italy, where I was born and where I graduated in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology.

Beside the horrible weather and the lack of any kind of soil bump resembling a hill, I like the Netherlands. This is mainly due to the stroopwafels and the Dutch fries. But let’s be honest: I also have awesome colleagues and co-workers, which (since I am doing a PhD and therefore I basically live in the lab) are my new family.
But I can imagine you are more interested in finding out what my research is about than continuing reading about how weird I find the Dutch habit of planning months ahead.

I fell in love with enzymes during my master so you can already guess that my project here involves enzymes and, since I am working in an organic chemistry laboratory, biocatalysis.
In particular I am using redox enzymes to obtain high value products, such as pharmaceuticals. Though, the redox enzymes I am working with require nicotinamide cofactors which are usually expensive and unstable. This is why I am also trying (succeeding?) to develop synthetic nicotinamide cofactors that can replace the natural one and still catalyze the enzymatic reaction.
Biocatalysis is a fundamental tool for green synthetic routes and I am interested in developing solutions for overcoming biocatalysis current limitations, thus making enzymes and microorganisms attractive alternatives to the classical chemical routes, possibly also at industrial scale.
As a scientist, I strongly believe that working in biocatalysis represents a major cultural, ethic and scientific investment for my generation.
And this is one of the reasons I will join the PhD study trip to Israel.

Stay ready, stay tuned,
(A big hug to our present and future sponsors),

Alice

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