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Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry


Gabriella Bocchetti ©University of Cambridge

Dr Jenny Zhang has been shortlisted for the 2022 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science UK & Ireland Rising Talent Award, and the five Awardees will be announced on the 24th May 2022.

Zhang is shortlisted for the Sustainable Development Award, which recognises her research proposal to build an automated platform to accelerate electroactive biocatalyst discovery. The  L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme has uplifted early career researchers since 2000. This will complement the development of sustainable devices that convert energy into different forms using a combination of technology and biology. She had brought cyanobacteria, naturally found in oceans, into the lab to incorporate their photosynthetic properties into biohybrid devices for electron and fuel generation.

"This is a testament to Jenny's hard work, innovation, and vision," said Dr James Keeler, head of the department. Recently, the Zhang lab designed and built a 3D-printed electron pump prototype that, when flooded with light, produced a flow of electrons. This design increased the electron output from the previous iteration of the device by ten times. The electrons, which would normally be used by the bacteria to create sugars, can be harnessed instead to produce other useful chemicals. This prototype electrode outcompetes the efficiency of biofuel generation.


Dr Myriam Haltalli in the Wellcome – MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute at the University of Cambridgehas also been shortlisted in the Life Sciences category.