polymeric fibers – polymeric foams – biocomposites
My research career
“Margarita Salas” Postdoc
Ana Isabel Quilez Molina is a young researcher with experience in the processing and characterization of polymeric materials.
During her Ph.D. period, Ana Isabel Quílez Molina delved into the ecological problems related to polymers, as well as alternative materials and methods that could reduce its environmental impact. She worked on many projects that involved the creation of polymeric composites using industrial by-products, reducing polluting reagents, and applying the bases of the circular economy.
She pursued the doctoral degree of material engineering in the research group “Smart Materials”, based at the technological institute called Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) located in the north of Italy (Genova). Herein, she got expertise in the employment of different processing techniques, like extrusion, injection molding, and spraying. Besides, she acquired acquaintance in the characterization of polymeric composites applying several techniques (SEM, AFM, XRD, and more). The three years of thesis resulted in the publication of one book chapter in the editorial Elsevier, 7 research projects (5 as the first author) published in high-impact journals such as Advanced Sustainable Systems (IF: 6.271), or Food Packaging and Shelf Life (IF: 6.429). In these articles, she conducted the fabrication of different polymeric composites using natural compounds that exhibited antioxidant properties, suitable as food-packaging materials. In March 2021, she presented the Ph.D. thesis entitled “Functional and antioxidant bio-based polymer biocomposites with potential application in food packaging”. Working in an international and multidisciplinary group (more than 40 people) provided self-organization and good communication skills in different languages (Italian and English). Besides, she participated in two international conferences, N.I.C.E (Nice, France) and Biopol19 (Stockholm, Sweden), as well as public presentations at a local level of the group work (in both English and Italian languages).
The active collaboration of Smart materials group with companies facilitated her introduction to industrial projects. She participated in two industrial projects: JoinLab Camozzi-Smart and IZP CARD, where she acquired knowledge of the processing of promising commercial materials (ex. polyesters). In the first project, she worked for Marzoli-Camozzi group S.p.A, which consisted of the fabrication of composite materials by combining cellulosic discards from the textile industry with thermoplastic polymers. In the project IZP CARD, she worked in the fabrication of multi-layer polymeric composites with biodegradable properties to substitute the actual materials used in the elaboration of credit cards and plastic thread located in the banknotes by other sustainable polymers. This project was performed in collaboration with the public company “Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato Italiano”. After six months, the new materials exhibited promising characteristics to substitute the actual commercial product.
In November 2020, she upgraded her studies developing a research project in the University research Institute in Bioeconomy “BioEcoUva” in Valladolid, Spain. During this period, she took experience in the employment of metallic nanoparticles to fabricate active electrospinnable polymeric fibers, or polymeric foams with a wide range of applications. This work resulted in a publication in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (IF: 10.38). Moreover, she participated in different projects, an international conference in Genova (Italy), and she tutorized an international PhD student during his mobility at the University of Valladolid.
Recently, she obtained the postdoctoral Spanish grant “Margarita Salas” where she will developed her work in collaboration with the Organic Polymer Chemistry Laboratory in Bordeaux (France) and the Institute in Bioeconomy (Spain). For two years she will get experience in the different fabrication and characterization techniques for obtaing materials using biopolymers derived from wood and recycled plastics.