Helix Lab Fellows, Class of Spring 2023

Millah

Abongnwi Millah Manka´a

MSc Study: Bioengineering

University: Aalborg University (AAU)

Company: Novo Nordisk A/S

Project title: Investigation of sustainable water effluent re-use from purified water production

Project description:

A typical process for the core production of an API – Insulin consists of three main stages: fermentation, recovery, and purification. The core production is typically supported by the utility process that delivers a wide range of raw materials to the core production, for example, purified water.

Purified water is used for product and solvents dilutions and for the cleaning-in-place processes. Potable water is the input to the purified water production system. Potable water is softened by ion exchange, reverse osmosis and electro-deionization (EDI). These processes generate a water effluent that represents the 37% of the total water input to our Insulin Manufacturing 1 facility. Characterization of this waste effluent for re-use encompasses the scope of this project. Can this waste effluent be further treated using other purification methods to meet purified water standards? Could the effluent be treated and its use redirected into another production process? Is application of new treatment methods more sustainable and cost-effective in the long term?

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

As an international student, studying in a new environment is quite exciting but could also be a daunting task when the need to gain experience outside the walls of a classroom arises. My goal is to be a part of the solution to some of the rising world environmental problems. Helix lab offered a bridge between academic institutions and the industry. Therefore, being a Helix lab fellow was an opportunity for me to easily achieve my goal.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

The ability to combine having fun moments and thesis writing in an industrial environment alongside the company of other fellows. It provides a welcome environment with open access to variety of ideas and information.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

The experiences and connections gained from being a Helix Lab fellow will help integrate me into my career path, by getting a head start in one of the companies in the Kalundborg symbiosis. 

Alex Pokhrel

MSc Study: Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

University: Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Company: Novozymes A/S

Project title: Data-driven control strategy for dewatering of inactivated biosolids in centrifugal decanters

Alex

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?
As a chemical engineering student, it has been a dream of mine to work with industries and understand the day-to-day life on how industry works. Being a student, gave me a lot of theoretical knowledge regarding the complexity aspect of being an engineer but I never got to experience it in real life. Getting into Helix lab provided me with an opportunity to work my master thesis project with one of the biggest industries in Denmark.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?
Most exciting part is the opportunity to meet with many fellow students and getting to know the important projects they are working on. The representatives at helix lab are helpful, well known, and full of knowledge and experiences. This helps in smooth transition of project. There’s plenty of resources available in the laboratories to conduct various kinds of experiments. p.s. the cake and coffee are always great.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?
Future wise, I see myself more mature, confident, and understanding. I see a potential in applying the knowledge that I have learned during my time as a fellow in the near future. Similarly, my time as a fellow will lead me one step closer to achieving the dream.

 

Ana

Ana Dugopoljac

MSc study: Chemical Engineering

University: Aalborg University (AAU)

Company: Chr. Hansen

Project title: Deep dive into selected downstream unit operations for identifying design/improvement opportunities

Project description:

Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs) are an important group of milk sugars found only in human breast milk. It provides different health benefits to infants, especially in the development of a healthy digestive and immune system, as well as brain development. For these reasons, Chr. Hansen has been producing a mix of 5 most dominant HMOs that are found in human milk, which are used for making an infant formula.
The sole production of HMOs is based on fermentation that is divided into upstream (preparation of microorganism and growth medium) and downstream processing (product recovery), and my project will be focused on diving into the downstream processing in order to improve the final yield of HMOs. 

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

I wanted to finalise my education in an environment with a strong presence of industry where I can learn in which way can I utilise my knowledge and acquired degree.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

The most exciting part of the Fellowship is knowing that you will contribute to the specific industry with your project and following revelations. For that reason, all of us have been putting our best efforts into our research since we are aware it will probably make a difference in one way or another.

But something even more important is the feeling of togetherness that I personally never even hoped for, with such great support that I’ve been receiving all this time from Helix employees and other Fellows, making me feel welcomed and just grateful for their presence and opportunity to share this final chapter of our academic journey.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

Being a Fellow has helped me in creating a network of people that I can learn from, thus greatly affecting my career path. It’s often confusing to determine what exactly you want to do after graduation, but after a lot of conversations with students of different backgrounds and industry professionals I’m becoming more confident how exactly I want to utilise my education.

Fernanda Boss-Ramos

MSc study: Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

University: University of Southern Denmark (SDU)

Company: Novo Nordisk A/S

Project title: Experimental exploration of an industrial pharmaceutical crystallization process facility 1

Fernanda

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

My biggest motivation was the opportunity to work in collaboration with a big company, which will help me develop, among other things, my research skills. Also, the possibility to work with specialists of different areas in the factory will provide me with a better understanding of the daily life in the industry. After years focusing on my academic skills, it is exciting with a real-world project outside the walls of university.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

The Helix Lab facility are close to the industry, which make everything much easier. It is just a few hundred meters from my industry supervisor and the department I work with for my project. Anything I need or any problems that happens, I can quickly get in contact with them. Another great point is the people I got to meet, being a Helix Lab Fellow. I have the opportunity to share this experience with a group of fellow students, learn about their projects and help each other in case we have some problem and have a good time when we need some break.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

After I graduate, I want to work in the industry, and I believe being a Helix Lab fellow can open some doors for me. My efforts to make a good project and help the company to improve their process, is the starting point for me. I believe the networking with specialists and other students will be of great value to make it happen.

Grzegorz

Grzegorz Zaba

MSc study:   Mathematical Modelling and Computation

University: Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Company: Novozymes A/S

Project title: AI & Modelling bioprocess in a multi-product plant

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

Helix Lab fellowship was a perfect opportunity to make meaningful master’s thesis project in collaboration with local company, that will find application in real industry. Nevertheless, the possibility of networking within biotechnological community, access to industrial sites and living together with other students involved in this endeavour were also crucial factors encouraging me to go for Helix Lab fellowship.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

Living in fellow students community, every Thursday activities and the possibility of exploiting Helix Lab space for my project development. Furthermore, the contact with employees of company I am collaborating with during my project is also huge value added.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

I hope that versatile experience gathered during my fellowship will assure a smooth start of my professional career in biotechnological sector and make whole world wide open for me as potential employee.

Henan Zhao

MSc study: Business Analytics

University: Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Company: Novo Nordisk A/S

Project title: Application of Motion Amplification in Predictive Maintenance for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Henan

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?  

Working on a real-life thesis project could help me better understand the needs of the industry and find a full-time job in Denmark.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

Academic guidance and the laboratory environment at Helix are exceedingly beneficial for my thesis work.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

I could better utilize methods of data science and understand the industry. Also, the necessary ability to become a data scientist will be prepared for my future career.

Ida

Ida Krogh Hjortdal

MSc study: Chemical and biochemical engineering

University: University of Southern Denmark (SDU)

Company: Novo Nordisk A/S

Project title: Experimental exploration of an industrial pharmaceutical crystallization process Facility 2

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

This fellowship was the perfect opportunity for me to have some contact with a company, work with crystallization – which had caught my interest in a previous semester – and apply my knowledge on a real production facility.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

I find it very valuable to have an international community at the dorm with people who are all in a similar position – doing a master thesis in collaboration with a company.

Also, I have gained some experience on how a big company is functioning, which is completely new to me.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

I think this Fellowship gives me some opportunities which I would not have if I had stayed at my university. My hope is, that this will be a steppingstone towards getting my first job.

Jesper Moeskjær Fanefjord Laursen

MSc study: Techsoc Environmental planning

University: Roskilde University (RUC)

Company: Kalundborg Utility

Project title: New ways of performing water retention/delay near Højbyen in Kalundborg

Jesper

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

My motivation lies in working with water, and ways of (re)using water is a topic that I am very passionate about. I wanted to work close with a company and create a project that would contribute to a company.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

So far it has been amazing working closely with Kalundborg utility where I have had many great discussions about my project. Through this collaboration I have developed skills that I would not have been able to get had I just done my masters thesis alone.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

I see myself working in the future and helping companies green profile and contributing to their growth through circular planning of their resources.

Katrine

Katrine Lund Andersen

MSc study: Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

University: Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Company: Chr. Hansen

Project title: At-line/on-line measurement of sugars in HMO fermentation

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

In an effort to put my degree to good use, I am determined to contribute to a future with efficient and sustainable bioindustry. The Kalundborg Symbiosis is a prime example of how partnerships between public and private companies can drive real change. With a circular approach to production, one man's trash truly becomes another man's treasure. It is a win-win - for the local community, for the bottom line and for the environment. The answer was therefore self-evident, when I was presented with the opportunity to be a part of that. My project specifically focuses on integration of analytical technology and real-time process data for control applications allowing me to live out my passion for process monitoring and optimization in an industry setting.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

Helix Lab serves as meeting point between academia and industry and can open important doors for you. When carrying out larger projects, it is paramount to have access to such a strong knowledge center and resourceful support system. As a fellow you also participate in a highly relevant and enlightening program full of company visits, workshops and social activities.

In Kalundborg you are close to the industry. You see the pipes, not PowerPoint slides about them. It is deeply motivating to meet the people on the floor and have discussions about specific real-life challenges. A Helix Lab Fellowship furthermore gives you a community of master thesis students you can discuss with and learn from - and plenty of communal cooking and board games at the kollegium.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

I will utilize my many new insights and expanded network to keep developing my professional skills while actively acknowledging academic collaboration and symbiotic thinking as key drivers for sustainable, green growth in the bioindustry.

Mahmoud Samir Beyragdar

MSc study: Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

University: Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Company: NNE A/S

Project title: Exchange of ceramic membrane in filter unit

Mahmoud

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

Being part of the development in Kalundborg city, with close collaboration with the industry, in hope that I can use my skills to drive the development forward.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

It is a self-challenging project, but the environment in the Helix lab makes me feel confident and not stressed. The labs are equipped perfectly, and the fellow students are an amazing group to work with.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

I can see my self working in the industry in kalundborg, hopefully on development and optimization projects.

 

Maria

Maria A. Piza Bermudez

MSc study: Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

University: Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Company: Novozymes A/S

Project title: At-line enzyme concentration measurements

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

I have always though that the best way to challenge myself is trying to apply everything I have learnt throughout my studies, and Helix Lab was the perfect opportunity to do it. The direct connection that Helix Lab has between industry and academia, the technical and social support that they provide in regards to our projects and our new lives in Kalundborg, was what led me to become a Helix Fellow.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

One of the most exciting parts of being a Helix Lab Fellow is networking. For an international student is really important to get in contact with other students and people from the industry. When doing our projects, it is a big help that we are surrounded by other students in the same situation. We can discuss about our projects, help each other with technical issues and also get to know different cultures. On the industry side, this is a great chance to show what we can do, which may increase the probabilities to get a job after the thesis.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

What I see in my future is that, after being a Helix Fellow, the networking, my thesis and the whole Helix Lab experience will help me to get a job as a process engineer in Kalundborg. It would be very satisfying to see the impact that my project could have in the industry, and why not follow the implementation of it!

 

María Monserrat Díaz Hernández

MSc study: Engineering

University: Technical University of Denmark (DTU) & Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico

Company: Novozymes A/S

Project title: Sustainable production of microalgae using side streams from enzyme production

Maria

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

My first motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow was to come to Denmark to work on a project where the principal goal was developing a new product o new way to improve the use of waste. Second, work in an equipped laboratory such as Helix Lab. And finally, the opportunity to increment the chance to create networking with different industries and fellows.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

Being a Helix Lab Fellow is a unique opportunity since it has allowed me to learn the application of research in the industrial environment. I have new friends from different nationalities and backgrounds and a new network with companies and universities.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

My perspective is to apply for Ph.D. studies in Denmark, continue learning about the country and the culture and increase my networking. Also, I want to invite some of my bachelor's students to do an exchange in one of the universities and increase the interest of Master students from Tec de Monterrey to do their master thesis in Helix Lab.

Søren

Søren Storck Hansen

MSc study: Biotechnology engineering

University: Aalborg University (AAU)

MSc study: Biotechnology engineering 

Company: Unibio A/S

Project title: Valorization of microbial protein fermentation through proteomics, bioinformatics, and integrated, data-driven membrane process design for isolation of bioactive proteins/enzymes.

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

It was a unique opportunity to have a close cooperation with the biotechnology industry in Kalundborg. And a way for me to get hands on experience with Pilot-scale experiments that university can’t offer.  And of course, Unibio is a really interesting company.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

I was really excited to see the laboratories at Helix Lab. They did not disappoint – I was also happy to hear that I’m allowed to do stuff in their robot lab. I have a few ideas that I want to test when I have the time.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

To settle down here in Kalundborg and have a job in the biotech industry

Yujing Zhao

MSc study: Biotechnology

University: Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

MSc study: MSc in Biotechnology

Company: NNE A/S

Project title: Feasibility and viability of regeneration and re-use of CIP chemicals

Yujing

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

The opportunity of collaborating closely with NNE on an interesting topic. I will be able to gain insights on the topic from different experts in the company and from an industrial point of view.

The project will initiate the study of CIP chemicals reuse in pharmaceutical industry and help contribute to the well-established Kalundborg symbiosis.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

The experience of facilitating communication with companies for sampling requests. The process is a whole new level of challenges and learnings that I would probably never experience if the project was done in academia, which I believe I will absolutely benefit from in my future career.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

Continue in the industry as a process engineer.