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The Biomaterials Research group posing for a photo.


Graduate Students

Kosheela Devi Poo Palam, Graduate Student

Selangor, MalaysiaImage of Kosheela Devi Poo Palam
B.Sc. of Technology (Bioresource, Paper and Coatings), Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
M.Sc. (Bioresource, Paper and Coatings), Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia

Kosheela Devi is from Malaysia, a beautiful multiracial and multicultural tropical country Southeast Asia.

As an international student, she has transitioned into Trent University and Peterborough quite easily. She is impressed by Trent University's breath-taking beauty, architecture of buildings by the banks of the Otonabee River, top notch laboratory facilities, engagement between lecturers and students, and the commitment of alumni, faculty and staff in ensuring an environment that builds life-long learning passion. Kosheela says: "Being a PhD student in the inter-displinary Environmental, Life & Science programme, allows me to pursue my dream of international research in an area with the potential to impact communities both at home and abroad. Particularly, I am excited about using my experience as a research officer with the Malaysia Palm Oil Board and engagement with world renowned scientists at Trent University Biomaterials Research Program to synthesize of ecologically and economically sustainable vegetable oil based monomers and polymers that will move beyond the bench and into real world applications". She believes that her learning experiences at Trent will fortify her capacity to face new challenges in the face of globalization. “If you FAIL never give up because F.A.I.L means First Attempt In Learning, END is not the E.N.D, it means Effort Never Dies, If you get NO as an answer, remember N.O means Next Opportunity” quote by Late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Benjamin Musclow, Graduate Student

Peterborough, Ontario, CanadaImage of Benjamin Musclow
B.Sc. (Chemistry), Trent University

Ben has come full circle, returning to Trent to pursue his Master's degree with the Biomaterial group after a 17 year hiatus - also reconnecting with Dr. Narine, who in the 1990s was a fellow Chemistry student, now Benjamin's supervisor.

He is excited to be working on a novel project attempting to produce a copolymer coating for fertilizers, which has the added function of triggered release of contained nutrients in response to chemical signals from the plant, thereby releasing nitrogen as the crop demands. Following the sustainability principles of the Biomaterial program, the goal from commercialization of this smart fertilizer coating is to drastically reduce the harmful effects of wasted nitrogen on the environment while improving crop yields to feed the world. One of the significant benefits of this research is multi-faceted collaboration with Dr. Derosa's aptamer group at Carleton University, scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the University of Alberta.

Along with the challenges of this research, Benjamin is raising a family of four children, two boys and two girls. In his limited spare time he enjoys reading on improving health, cycling, nature walks and volunteering.

Image of Avinaash Persaud

Avinaash Persaud

Airy Hall, Essequibo Coast, Guyana
B.Sc. (Chemistry), University of Guyana
MSc. September 2016, Trent Biomaterial Research Program

Avinaash knew about Prof. Narine’s work at IAST through his days at the University of Guyana. He was always intrigued by the work and was given the opportunity to pursue his M.Sc. within the Trent Centre for Biomaterials Research. He now spends his days in the lab synthesizing green materials to replace petrochemical based materials. Avinaash also enjoys a good game of cricket and football.

Thien Nguyen QuocImage of Thien Nguyen Quoc

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
B.Sc. (Agricultural Biotechnology), University of Natural Sciences, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
M.Sc. (Horticulture), Kyushu University, Fukuoka City, Japan
PhD. June 2016, Trent Biomaterial Research Program

Thien started his graduate studies in Vietnam and Japan working on different kinds of flowers and ornamental plants. At Trent University, Thien is pursuing his passion of plant research, studying specifically soybeans. Thien's area of research is unique and involves Biomaterials and Plant Physiology research. He is specifically looking for correlations between the regulation of endogenous hormones and the fatty acid synthesis in soybean seeds. His goal is to understand how plant hormones work in order to develop sustainable industrial crops for novel and functional biomaterials.

Shegufa MerchantImage of Shegufa Merchant

Pune, India
B.Sc (Chemistry), Pune University, India
Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Marketing), Institute of Management Development and Research Pune, India
PhD. December 2015, Trent Biomaterial Research Program

»Learn more about Shegufa's work

Life is just a few breaths that say
“Live while we last
Till death take you away”
Life is not made up of the number of breaths we take
It is made up of the moments that take our breath away!

Shegufa is on a quest to learn. She believes that the journey to understanding the nature of things is independent of age and time. With an educational background in Chemistry and Management from India and work experience in the field of Sol gel chemistry from Kuwait , working with both synthetic as well as biopolymers, Shegufa is inspired to seek out further learning in Canada about how nature’s materials can be used to bring about a better life for society through science.

She is supremely conscious of the privileges she enjoys as a part of an extremely talented and motivated group of scientists from the Biomaterials program, ever willing to share their knowledge and support each other’s growth and learning.

New to Peterborough and Canada she has found the same warmth and welcome in the community at large and particularly at Trent University.

She loves to spend time with her family and hopes to instil in her two young daughters the importance of an education versus literacy. In her down time, Shegufa loves to be actively involved with youth group and voluntary activities.

Kira RamphalImage of Kira Ramphal

Toronto, Ontario
B.Sc. (Biology) Trent University
MSc. December 2015, Trent Biomaterial Research Program

Kira Ramphal was born in Toronto, Ontario, and attended secondary school in Barbados, a small island in the Caribbean. She returned to Canada to complete her Bachelor's degree majoring in Biology with a minor in Archeology, at Trent University, then continued on to complete her Master's degree, as a member of the Trent Centre for Biomaterials Research.

Her project is co-supervised by the centre's director, Dr. Suresh Narine and VP of Research and International Dr. Neil Emery. Kira's research has focused primarily on the discovery of new and innovative ways to alter fatty acid profiles in microalgae using the addition of phytohormones. This research has yielded significant results which, if pursued further, could lead to the development of more sustainable sources of both pharmaceutically important and industrially important fatty acids. These methods could also potentially be used to limit the use of genetic modification in the production of useful products from organisms such as microalgae.

Athira MohanImage of Athira Mohan

Idukki, Kerala, India
B.Sc (Physics), Mahatma Ghandi University, India
M.Sc (Physics), Mahatma Ghandi University, India
PhD. December 2015, Trent Biomaterial Research Program

»Learn more about Athira's work

Growing up in the lush green environment of Idukki district in Kerala, India, Athira would like the entire world to be an extension of that environment. She aspires to do something to protect the environment without disturbing development. Therefore, when she heard Prof. Suresh Narine’s lectures on Biobased materials she had realized her calling. This inspiration has brought her to Canada to pursue her vision.

She watches the co-operation, hard work and the friendly approach of the Biomaterials group and knows that she is in the right place to fulfill her passion in research.

Scientifically, she is drawn to Physics and has always enjoyed investigating the physical properties of materials. Her past work studying the optical properties of semi conductor quantum dots for solar applications are a case in example.

When she is not busy researching, Athira loves to explore. She enjoys travelling and takes pleasure in understanding the different faces of nature. She is also curious to know the various cultures of the world. What better place than Canada to view multiculturalism at it best!

Athira is also an avid reader, listens to soulful music and watches movies in her free time.

Latchmi RaghunananImage of Latchmi Rahunanan

Arima, Trinidad, West Indies
B.Sc. (Chemistry), University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad
M.Sc. (Industrial Innovation & Entrepreneurship Management), University of Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad
PhD. December 2015, Trent Biomaterial Research Program

»Learn more about Latchmi's work

With her sights set on a career in research one fine day in 2011, Latchmi attended a presentation in Trinidad by the Trent Biomaterials Research Group’s own Professor Suresh Narine. Immediately Latchmi knew that this was where she wanted to be, and before she knew it, Latchmi was in Peterborough finding ways to replace present demands for petrochemical products with bio-based ones!

Latchmi’s studies in the Materials Science program and her research work within the Biomaterials Group are complemented by a diverse academic and professional background which includes a first degree in Chemistry, some entrepreneurship exposure, and several years of experience within Trinidad’s petrochemicals industry.

In her free time, Latchmi finds joy in exploring and experiencing Canada. Most recently, Latchmi has taken up the task of learning to ice skate!

Prasanth KumarImage of Prasanth Kumar

Kerala, India
B.Sc. (Chemistry), University of Kerala, India
M.Sc. (Chemistry), University of Kerala, India
PhD. December 2015, Trent Biomaterial Research Program

»Learn more about Prasanth's work

Prasanth Kumar Sasidharan Pillai works as hard as he plays! His passion for polymer chemistry matches his fervour for Bollywood movies and cheerleading for the Indian cricket team. Prasanth’s background with research in nano-cellulose nano-composites using banana fibres as a part of his MSc. in Chemistry from Kerala , India, brought him to Trent University to explore renewable materials from vegetable oils.

Although Prasanth misses his parents and sister, he has found a home away from home in the Trent centre of Biomaterial Research group and a few cherished friends in Peterborough. In his free time, Prasanth is an avid Chess player.

Michael FlorosImage of Michael Floros

Aurora, Ontario, Canada
B.Sc. (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology), Trent University
PhD. November 2015, Trent Biomaterial Research Program

»Learn more about Mike's work

Michael completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and his PhD in Materials Science, both at Trent University. Michael works primarily with renewable materials derived from fats and oils. His research currently focuses on contact active antimicrobial polymers and coatings for reducing the spread of infections. He also works with phase change materials (PCMs) for energy storage and passive thermoregulation applications.

Michael TessierImage of Michael Tessier

Peterborough, Ontario
B.Sc. (Physics), Trent University
MSc. 2014, Trent Biomaterial Research Program

Michael has joined Northwater Capital Management Inc. in Toronto as an Intellectual Property Analyst where he will apply his expertise to help understand underlying principles of green technologies in order to facilitate and speed their commercialization.

During his undergraduate studies at Trent University, Michael Tessier learned two important concepts: how to understand the world through the laws of physics and the world’s need for a sustainable future. It was therefore very natural for him to transition into the Trent Biomaterials Research Program where he uses his physics knowledge to create commercially viable materials and applications while considering their effect on the environment.

In the summer time, Mike Tessier likes to relax on nearby lakes by either swimming or fishing. During the winter months, Michael enjoys skiing, whether at a hill in Ontario, or at a faraway mountain. After a long day of work, Michael enjoys exploring different cuisines.

Emily MorrisonImage of Emily Morrison

Lucknow, Ontario, Canada
B.Sc. (Biology, Business Administration), Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
MSc. 2014, Trent Biomaterial Research Program

"Learning from One Another: A Comparative Study between Canada and Brazil on University Technology Transfer through Biomaterial Spinoff Development "

All the while growing up on a farm in rural Ontario, Canada, Emily thought the crops growing in her backyard were only meant to be eaten. It was not until coming to Trent University to do her undergraduate studies that she learnt that her crops could be turned into plastic!

Fulfilling an unusual undergraduate degree in a joint major of Biology and Business Administration, she was able to study in depth what was occurring in our environment, our excessive demand on petroleum, the corporate role in its destruction, and strategies for corporations to change.

What we are currently experiencing in the natural environment is not a straightforward situation. It is not easy or simple to explain and a “one size fits all” approach does not fit here. That is why Emily believes being a part of this group is so special! This group is not only made of scientists but ethicists, sustainable strategists, and there are partnerships with government agencies, private interests groups and, philanthropists. This brings so much diversity to all the discussions that occur within the office and the laboratories.

She believes world changing, Earth saving strategies will emerge from this interdisciplinary approach and therefore is in awe that she can be a part of this program to help change the world.

Ghazaleh PourfallahImage of Ghazeleh Pourfallah

Isfahan, Iran
B.Sc. (Chemical Engineering), University of Isfahan, Iran
M.Sc (Chemical Engineering), University of Arak, Iran
MSc. January 2013, Trent Biomaterial Research Program

Ghazaleh Pourfallah has been an Oleo-polymer student all her life! She is equipped with a bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering and Oil Industry and Master‘s in Chemical Engineering and Polymer from Isfahan, Iran.

Ghazaleh likes to explore the interesting world of vegetable oils and their useful applications. She hopes to apply her knowledge and skills in medical and pharmaceutical areas specially in cancer targeting.

She is passionate about sports particularly volleyball and equally enjoys traveling the world. Peterborough and Trent University have made it very pleasant for her not to miss home.

Jiaqing ZuoImage of Jiaqing Zuo

Beijing, China
B.Sc. (Chemistry), Nankai University. Tianjin, China
MSc. April 2011, Trent Biomaterial Research Program

Jiaqing Zuo knows that a simple, warm smile can have the power to blow away misery and bring happiness. She sees that a splendid smile can be like sunshine, dissolving hostilities; a supportive smile brings courage; a friendly smile helps avoid misunderstandings; and a warm smile shows forgiveness. Smiles have the power to make the world a more lovable place.

A firm believer that the team’s work can – and will – help create a world more in harmony with the cycles of nature, Jiaqing brings her sunny disposition and deep understanding of personal communications to the work that she loves – producing polymeric biomaterials.

Working in the Trent environment, where people from different disciplines are often encouraged to communicate and cooperate, Jiaqing is impressed with the new perspectives that emerge, and possibilities of taking everyone’s research to the next level. And the natural beauty and character of the Trent campus certainly don’t hurt in promoting good relations between people!