Sofia Navalho

Bioengineer

Sofia Navalho

Bioengineer

About me

Sofia Navalho holds a Master of Science in Biological Engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Lisbon,Portugal. Currently, she is working as a Bioengineer at the GreenCoLab (GCL) in the scope of the PERFORMALGAE (P2020) project, which aims to improve industrial microalgae for the production of biostimulants and functional foods and feeds. For this purpose, Sofia has been working in multidisciplinary fields related to microalgae biotechnology, namely photobioreactor modulation and design, biostimulant activity of microalgae and mainly in strain improvement of industrial microalgae using random mutagenesis. In this way, Sofia is working in close cooperation with the partners of the GCL to develop sustainable products such as food, feed and nutraceuticals from these sun-driven micro-factories. During her MSc studies, Sofia built a solid background in bioengineering, strongly complemented by other scientific areas such as biology, mathematics, physics and chemistry. During her stay at IST, Sofia actively participated in the student community, being part of the Brewer club (CCIST), Biological Engineering Students’ Group (NEB) and the board of the Students’ Association of IST (AEIST). These activities made her develop specific and soft skills, namely, fermentative bioprocesses, teamwork, resource and team management.In 2020, Sofia stayed for one semester abroad to perform her master thesis at the Bioprocess Engineering group, at Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands. During this work, Sofia studied microalgae strain improvement using adaptive laboratory evolution, which has led to a recent co-author publication in the Biotechnology journal (Barten et al. 2022, DOI: 10.1002/biot.202100659). The interest and fascination for microalgal biotechnology is also reflected in the professional research experiences of Sofia. Already back in 2016, Sofia performed a summer internship at the microalgal producing company Allmicroalgae in Pataias, Portugal, where she learnt culturing techniques to produce microalgae in photoautotrophic and heterotrophic mode following the scale-up of microalgae cultures from lab to industrial scale. The second summer internship in 2020 was at Necton, Olhão, Portugal, which is a different company for microalgae production. Here, Sofia worked in the R&D team and acquired skills in the industrial domestication of new microalgae. Moreover, at Necton, Sofia gained experience in different drying methods for microalgae,which is a work in the scope of the MAGNIFCIENT project and a manuscript for publication is in preparation.And lastly, after her graduation in January of 2021, Sofia worked in GCL as a Trainee, further improving her skills in microalgal biotechnology.

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