Ghent University

Dr Marcella Fernandes de Souza

Marcella is currently working as a project manager in the Department of Green Chemistry and Technology, Ghent University, Belgium. She is responsible for the “New Biomasses” line of research at Ecochem, in which ALG-AD is included. Within the project, her main activities are on WPI3, which aims at constructing and running a pilot-scale cultivation facility at Innolab, Oostkamp, Belgium, and on WPT1, which focus on studying the cultivation of microalgae in liquid fractions of digestate. Marcella holds a degree in Chemical Engineering (2013) and a PhD in Technology of Chemical and Biochemical Processes (2017), both from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her PhD research focused on the cultivation and processing of microalgae for obtaining bioproducts. She has experience in the area of Biotechnology, working mainly on the following topics: selection of microorganisms of industrial interest, production of enzymes, enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic and microalgal biomasses, microalgae cultivation and microalgae characterization methods. You can find out more about Marcella by visiting her Research Gate profile here:

Margherita Genua

Margherita Genua is communication and community officer at the Biorefine Cluster Europe, also involved in the ALG-AD project. She has worked as communication officer in different European projects on renewable energy and resource recovery. Within the ALG-AD project, her activities are mainly focused on dissemination and communication of project’s activities and results via the cluster

Dr Erik Meers

Professor Erik Meers is the principle investigator for the ALG-AD project at Ghent University.

Erik Meers is a Professor in the Department of Green Chemistry & Technology of Ghent University, Belgium.

His main interests are in resource recovery in the biobased economy.

His research topics focus on removal and recovery of nutrients from waste streams and wastewaters and their application as mineral biofertilizers in agriculture.

He is currently involved in more than 10 international research projects within these topics (of which several as the lead partner), including ALG-AD.

He is the coordinator of Biorefine Cluster Europe, in which ALG-AD also takes part.

Find out more about Erik and his research by visiting: 

Jai Sankar Seelam

Jai Sankar Seelam is a doctoral student enrolled at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at the University of Ghent, Belgium since mid-2018. His PhD research will be performed within the framework of ALG-AD project focusing on digestate pre-treatment, culture growth optimization, biomass characterization and upscaling trials. He will also be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the pilot reactor at INNOLAB (Investment site 3). Jai hails from Kakinada (India) and graduated with a Master’s degree in Water Technology from Wetsus Academy, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands and Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T), Kharagpur, India. Prior to joining UGent, he worked as a junior process engineer, project assistant and guest researcher at several water-tech based organizations in the Netherlands and Belgium. His prime research interests include sustainable agriculture, wastewater treatment and resource recovery from wastes and wastewaters. He is an active backpacker, sports enthusiast and long distance runner visiting over 23 countries and ran at 5 marathons across Europe. Connect him on LinkedIN to know more :

Dr. Ivona Sigurnjak

Ivona is currently working as a Scientific Officer in the Department of Green Chemistry and Technology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. Her research experience is in the field of animal manure processing and valorization of produced derivatives as substitutes for synthetic mineral fertilizers. Ivona holds a PhD in Applied Biological Sciences from Ghent University (2017) and is currently involved in several nutrient oriented projects such as Systemic, ReNu2Farm, Nutri2Cycle and ALG-AD. In ALG-AD project, Ivona will contribute to WPT1 that focuses on the recovery of waste nutrients and optimization of processed digestate and/or liquid fraction of digestate. She will also be involved in WPI3 that deals with construction and operation of ALG-AD technology in Belgium.

Angela Sainz Arnau

Angela is the Communications and Community Manager of the Biorefine Cluster Europe (BCE) and she is currently in charge of communication activities for ALG-AD within UGhent. She has worked in the communication unit of different European organisations and has spent the last 6 years of her professional career in the energy field. Angela holds post-graduate studies in Communication and EU Policies and a Master in Journalism from the Universitat de Valencia (Spain). She speaks English, French, Spanish and Italian.

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