Dr Luisana Avilan
I am a biologist working with plastic-degrading enzymes in the engineering group in the Centre for Enzyme Innovation (CEI) at the University of Portsmouth. We are looking for solutions to tackle the environmental devastation caused by plastics, using biological catalysts. My expertise in biochemistry and molecular biology allows me to contribute to this important project, looking for new and optimized enzymes with new properties, that permit the recycling of different plastic materials including textiles.
My research interests include biochemical analysis of enzymes and metabolism in eukaryotic microorganisms, with an emphasis on the studies of metabolic regulation. For this purpose, I use tools from classic biochemistry, synthetic biology, and metabolic engineering, these approaches being useful in our project about plastics.
After finishing my undergraduate studies in biology at the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas, I moved to the mountains in the west of the country to work at the Universidad de Los Andes, where I learned molecular biology in an important group in this theme in Latin-America. At this University, I started to be interested in the metabolism of eukaryotic organisms. This interest brought me to pursue my PhD studies in enzymology, at the Institut Jacques Monod, Université Paris-Diderot, studying the regulation of metabolism in algae by enzymes interactions. Then, at the Universidad de Los Andes, and at the Université Aix-Marseille, I continued studying enzymes of microorganisms, including kinetoplastids, green algae and diatoms. In 2019, I joined the CEI.