Science Entrepreneurship and Turning Waste into Resources with Dr Kandis Leslie Gilliard-AbdulAziz (#54)


What can we do with CO2 and methane, or agricultural and plastic wastes? An awful lot. I speak with Dr Kandis Leslie Abdul-Aziz about teaching scientists to think like entrepreneurs, and how we can repurpose waste to create new resources and develop more effective alternatives to their fossil fuel-based equivalents.

About Dr Kandis Leslie Gilliard-AbdulAziz

Dr Kandis Leslie Abdul-Aziz is an Assistant Professor in the Chemical and Environmental Engineering department at the University of California, Riverside. She joined the University in 2018 after receiving her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before joining UC Riverside, she was a Provost postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, where she developed procedures for synthesising heterogeneous catalysts using atomic layer deposition. She has also worked previously as a Forensic scientist for the Philadelphia police department and as a Refinery chemist at Sunoco Chemicals in Philadelphia after receiving a B.S. in Chemistry from Temple University. Her research group develops sustainable catalytic processes using an interdisciplinary toolset from environmental, materials and chemical engineering for sustainable applications.

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Show Notes

(00:00:51) Leslie’s introduction to chemistry.
(00:01:46) Where Leslie saw her future with chemistry.
(00:02:55) Working in forensics.
(00:04:07) The novelty and then the tedium of working with drugs.
(00:05:20) Developing protocols for new drugs.
(00:06:33) Inventing a sensor for drug detection.
(00:10:13) The challenges of bringing new technology to market.
(00:12:14) Alternate paths to science entrepreneurship.
(00:13:47) The path to The Sustainable Lab.
(00:16:05) The transition to an engineering role in chemistry.
(00:19:47) The types of problems The Sustainable Lab means to solve.
(00:20:04) Replacing fossil fuels with renewables or waste.
(00:21:58) The applications for converting CO2 and methane into biofuels and other materials.
(00:24:28) Applying chemistry, materials science, and chemical engineering to the optimisation of chemical processes.
(00:25:39) Repurposing agricultural and plastic waste.
(00:26:18) Investigating alternative approaches to recycling and the return to science entrepreneurship.
(00:28:56) Working on the methane problem from all ends: Dr Parwinder Kaur’s past work on clovers.
(00:29:54) Bonus Question 1: What hobby or interest do you have that is most unrelated to your field of work?
(00:30:53) Bonus Question 2: Which childhood book holds the strongest memories for you?
(00:31:43) Bonus Question 3: What advice you would give someone who wants to do what you do? Or what advice should they ignore?
(00:33:59) The experience of transitioning back into research after working in industry.
(00:36:20) Learning to become a science entrepreneur.
(00:40:34) Finding out more about Leslie and The Sustainable Lab.


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