Science and technology: Brenda Parker

Science and technology: Brenda Parker

Science and technology: Brenda Parker

Introduction

Heavy metal pollution from old industrial sites is a significant issue worldwide. In the UK some 1,500km of rivers are affected by it, and in post-industrial areas like Devon and Cornwall there are elevated levels of cadmium and zinc in streams and rivers.

“Travelling on my Fellowship gave me the time and space to consolidate my ideas." - Brenda Parker, Fellow

Biochemical engineer Brenda Parker (CF 2014) is a lecturer at University College London working on interdisciplinary approaches for bio-integrated design of our human habitat. Following her Fellowship, she developed a new postgraduate programme at UCL that brings together biotechnology and architecture to create new ways of thinking about the built environment.

In 2020, Brenda was awarded an Activate Fund grant to prototype a sustainable bioremediation system based on the collaborative project Indus. This uses ceramic tiles inlaid with algae, a natural micro-organism that can help to capture contaminants in water. Through her work with architects, Brenda hopes to show that these ceramic tile-based systems can be beautiful as well as functional. As a result, the team has been nominated for a Beazley Designs of the Year award. Brenda is now collaborating with partners in Delhi to show that algae and bacteria can work together to break down other toxic compounds such as textile dyes.

Brenda has been working in the field of biochemical engineering since 2009 and became curious as to why many laboratory methods for bioremediation (using plants or microbes to clean up pollution) were not implemented in those places most starkly impacted by pollutants. Her Fellowship explored biological approaches to land and water restoration in China, India and Mongolia.

Brenda says, “Travelling on my Fellowship gave me the time and space to consolidate my ideas and the confidence to propose a new path forward to connect disparate fields. It has helped me to nurture a network of collaborators and mentors, and I try to perpetuate these opportunities for others as a way of recognising the enormous generosity I have experienced through the Churchill Fellowship.”

“Travelling on my Fellowship gave me the time and space to consolidate my ideas." - Brenda Parker, Fellow

Biochemical engineer Brenda Parker (CF 2014) is a lecturer at University College London working on interdisciplinary approaches for bio-integrated design of our human habitat. Following her Fellowship, she developed a new postgraduate programme at UCL that brings together biotechnology and architecture to create new ways of thinking about the built environment.

In 2020, Brenda was awarded an Activate Fund grant to prototype a sustainable bioremediation system based on the collaborative project Indus. This uses ceramic tiles inlaid with algae, a natural micro-organism that can help to capture contaminants in water. Through her work with architects, Brenda hopes to show that these ceramic tile-based systems can be beautiful as well as functional. As a result, the team has been nominated for a Beazley Designs of the Year award. Brenda is now collaborating with partners in Delhi to show that algae and bacteria can work together to break down other toxic compounds such as textile dyes.

Brenda has been working in the field of biochemical engineering since 2009 and became curious as to why many laboratory methods for bioremediation (using plants or microbes to clean up pollution) were not implemented in those places most starkly impacted by pollutants. Her Fellowship explored biological approaches to land and water restoration in China, India and Mongolia.

Brenda says, “Travelling on my Fellowship gave me the time and space to consolidate my ideas and the confidence to propose a new path forward to connect disparate fields. It has helped me to nurture a network of collaborators and mentors, and I try to perpetuate these opportunities for others as a way of recognising the enormous generosity I have experienced through the Churchill Fellowship.”