Jana Arroyo, High School Student from the Escola IPSI, discovered ICMAB while reading a paper on bio-nanocellulose meshes being used to improve hernia repair surgery. The publication, “In vivo soft tissue reinforcement with bacterial nanocellulose”, was authored by some members of the Nanoparticles & Nanocomposites (NN) Group. Now, Jana Arroyo is joining the team and working with them on the lab.
This was possible thanks to Joves i Ciència, a programme by the Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera that allows high school students experience scientific research up close. “It is a unique opportunity to get closer and learn first-hand how researchers develop their day to day to arrive at the results of experiments.”, says Jana Arroyo about the programme. After reading the paper, she contacted Anna Roig, who helped her enter ICMAB as an Intern to ICMAB Researcher Thomas Meslier:
“I am very pleased to supervise Jana's project, we started the experiments a week ago. Jana is an enthusiastic high school student, she came at ICMAB with a lot of good ideas and together with Anna Roig we have refined her Joves i Ciència project. We will work together for two months and I will help her to write a scientific article for Joves i Ciència. I am looking forward to this collaboration!”, says Thomas Meslier.
The project Jana Arroyo is developing will develop into a publication concerning the hydrolysis of cellulose using the cellulase enzyme, in search of the most favorable conditions for the cellulase to degrade the cellulose as quickly and efficiently as possible. This research can be applied in the future in processes such as the conversion of biomass to renewable energy, making it a simpler and more economic process.
To achieve this, Jana Arroyo is already considering her work in the NN laboratory, under the supervision of Thomas Meslier: “The first thing I will do in the lab is take the last step to synthesize bacterial cellulose. Then, I will place the bacterial cellulose films obtained in jars with solutions of different types of cellulases (enzyme that degrades cellulose and converts it into glucose). Working with different temperature and concentration variables, we will check how much glucose is in our samples. This way we will know if the cellulose has been degraded more or less.”
This publication will mark the ending of her Joves i Ciència internship, but it might be the beginning of her career: “The field of science is an area that has interested and captivated me since I was a child. I like to ask many questions and I also wonder how to improve our world. [...] I am still not entirely sure which particular field I want to study, but for now, if I had to say one, it would be something related with chemistry (chemical engineering, biochemistry…)”.
Jana Arroyo and supervisor Thomas Meslier in the NN group lab