Anahita wants to cut costs with resource recovery

A demand for scientists experienced with biomass utilization in the U.S. crossed the path of the former UB student Anahita Eckard. After completing the studies on a master’s programme in resource recovery at the University of Borås she has continued the career as a researcher in the U.S. with the goal to cut the production cost of bio-alcohols from biomass.

Anahita Dehkhoda Eckard completed the studies at a master programme in biotechnology – chemical engineering at the University of Borås in 2009 and shortly after that she moved to the U.S for a doctoral position in biological sciences. The study results from the University of Borås, especially the good quality research work on the master thesis carried out at SEKAB-E Technology in Örnsköldsvik opened the doors for the doctoral studies.

Demand for researchers in resource recovery

She is happy today that she decided to focus on a career in the field of biotechnology and resource recovery.

− In my opinion, continuing to peruse the research area, which was the focus of my Master’s, is helpful, since the tremendous growth of bio-refineries in the U.S. and extensive development of new applications for biomass materials has created a demand for scientists experienced with biomass utilization, she says.

Currently she works as a postdoctoral researcher with Bioproducts, Sciences and Engineering Laboratory of Washington State University and after that she aims for a position in one of the successful biorefineries in west of U.S.

Gained insight to biosciences at the UB

− I am grateful for my education at the University of Borås. The courses and lab experimentations were selected appropriately. The course materials and class discussions all helped me in gaining a deep insight into my research field and in learning a main part of what I need for my career in biosciences.

Anahita Dehkhoda Eckard
From: Iran
Former family name: Dehkhoda
Age: 30
Studies at the UB: MSc in biotechnology – Chemical Engineering
Master degree awarded: 2009
Position: Postdoctoral researcher at Bioproducts Sciences and Engineering Laboratory of Washington State University

She especially mentions two mentors at the University of Borås, Professor Mohammad Taherzadeh and Dr. Tomas Brandberg.
−I awe my understanding of the science behind ethanol bioprocessing to my highly qualified mentors at University of Borås. They kindly taught me their knowledge and experiences. University of Borås has very knowledgeable instructors and this is very valuable. Studying in Sweden also made me a global person that is a positive point for my career.

Currently she is working on on-site enzyme production from biomass using filamentous fungi. The goal is to potentially cut the production cost of bio-alcohols from biomass by producing the lignocellulose degrading enzymes at the same site at which you want to convert the biomass.

−We use a pilot plant facility at the Washington State University for pretreatment of corn stover and use that material in lab-scale fermenters to produce enzymes.

Sweet memories from Borås

Anahita left Borås a few years back now but carries positive memories from the time she spent here.

−The city of Borås is a peaceful and nice city and I really love it. As an international student, every day was a new experience and memory for me and all of it was sweet. It was very fun to live in dormitory with all exchange students and experience interaction with people from different cultures.

Text: Solveig Klug