12th EYEC Special Guests

Dagmara Chmielewska-Śmietanko, PhD – professor at the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, Warsaw, Poland.

Presentation abstract

Ionizing radiation as a tool for engineering

Ionizing radiation is the unique tool having multiple applications. Starting from chemistry and medicine, through nanotechnology and protection of environment, ending with the conservation of cultural heritage objects. Some of these applications were developed many years ago, commercialized and implemented on the industrial scale. Several of them were scaled-up and demonstrated in the pilot plants. Nevertheless, this area is still developing and many new promising ideas for application of ionizing radiation are presently under development.

This work includes the state of art in the field and presents review on the most interesting applications of ionizing radiation. Radiation sterilization of medical products and tissue grafts is the flagship example of the application of the ionizing radiation. Second area were ionizing radiation is applied commercialy is polymer processing. Electron beam accerelators are used for the cross-linking of cable insulators or pre-crosslinking the rubber sheet before the vulcanization process in order to avoid the tyre’s defects during processing. Food hygenisation with ionizing radiation can prevent pests from developing in stored products, inhibit sprouting and also replace the use of some preservatives or pesticides. Sterile Insect Technique involving ionizing radiation is the control method of insects which are vectors of human diseases and their populations. Several applications of ionizing radiation for protection of environment as NOx and SO2 removal from flue gas, sewage sluge disinfection for the use as the fertilizer or ballast water disinfection have been developed, Even protection of cultural heritage involves some methods based on the ioning radiation that can be used for artefacts disinfection, consolidation or cleaning. Recently, huge interest in application of ionizing radiation for the modification of biomaterials in order to develop plant growth promoters or to obtain bioactive peptides has been demonstrated. Moreover, ionizing radiation is a very powerful tool to be used for the synthesis and modification of different materials including nanomaterials.

This overview will eneble to introduce different possibilities of ionizing radiation application in engineeting to develop a new benefical products and technologies.

Alvaro Garcia-Cruz, PhD – scientist, technologist, and entrepreneur

Presentation abstract

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Embarking on the journey of entrepreneurship is a thrilling adventure that not only sharpens your skills but also empowers you to tackle challenges and shape the future of your community.

This oral presentation is designed for individuals who are enthusiastic about exploring entrepreneurship and mastering the art of innovation management. Innovation and entrepreneurship thrive on creativity, resilience, and a collective vision of building a better world. Drawing from my own entrepreneurial experiences, I aim to share practical insights, offering invaluable guidance on navigating obstacles, seizing opportunities, and cultivating a mindset essential for success. Whether you’re an engineer, scientist, or simply someone with a curious mind eager to unleash your entrepreneurial potential, this presentation serves as a wellspring of inspiration.

It arms you with the indispensable guidance and tools necessary to embark on your entrepreneurial journey with confidence and unwavering determination.

Dr. Eng. Grzegorz Izydorczyk – an assistant professor in the Department of Advanced Materials Technology at Worcław University of Science and Technology

Presentation abstract

Engineering versus sustainable agriculture and food production

With the constant growth of the world’s population, the need for engineering innovations in agriculture has arisen, with the aim of providing sufficient, high-quality food. A number of solutions are available on the market to improve crop yields, improve nutritional properties of crops, e.g. through biofortification with micronutrients, season-independence, or to increase the efficiency of livestock production, while maintaining the welfare of livestock. However, the intensification of plant cultivation and animal husbandry is associated with a number of negative effects, such as soil depletion and health disturbances, excessive chemicalization of the environment causing water eutrophication, accumulation of pesticide residues in plant tissues, or greenhouse gas or light pollution. This phenomenon is further intensified by the wastage of a significant amount of food produced, most often through the imbalance of supply chains, failures, or excessive buying and non-consumption of products by households. 

Such a situation is forcing scientists to look for new solutions to reduce the negative effects of both intensive agriculture and excessive consumptionism. The latest trends in the agroengineering sector include the valorization of waste for fertilizer purposes, the use of natural plant defense mechanisms such as allelopathy to reduce the use of plant protection products, improving the digestibility of feedstuffs and increasing their assimilability, or striving to increase the application of biofertilizers, organic or organic-mineral fertilizers and biostimulants for plant growth to improve the health and fertility of soils. These activities are carried out in accordance with the guidelines of the European Union derived from the idea of sustainable development, the Green Deal and constantly changing legal regulations. As a result, high quality food is ensured while maintaining the welfare of crops and livestock, as well as demonstrating actions to reduce the negative impact of agriculture on the environment. 


This work was financed by European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation Programme under grant agreement No 696356 and from the Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding – UEFISCDI (Romania), the National Centre for Research and Development – NCBR (Poland), Agenda Estatal de Inves-Tigacion – AEI (Spain), and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry – MMM (Finland). 

Dr. Francisco M. Fernandes – assistant professor at Sorbonne Université, researcher, scientist, inventor

Presentation abstract

Engineering the local environment surrounding biological entities during freezing

Freezing is ubiquitous in nature. In oceans, rivers, soils, and in the atmosphere, ice is formed under radically different environmental conditions that depend on hydration, temperature and pressure. In most of these conditions freezing threatens the integrity and the viability of biological entities. Paradoxically, cryopreservation (i.e. freezing biological entities under strictly controlled conditions) is the only solution to extend the lifespan of living cells, and to preserve biomolecules. In this lecture we will focus on the interaction between biological matter (from biopolymers up to living mammalian cells) with a controlled freezing front.

During freezing, ice growth induces a phase separation between pure ice crystals, and the remaining solutes and suspended particles. These freezing events impose compositional, thermal and osmotic gradients that can be potentially deleterious to the integrity of the constitutive biological entities. Despite their apparent simplicity, these gradients have remained elusive for decades. We will discuss some of our recent results in decrypting the evolving physicochemical environment of cells during freezing. Using an original coupling of techniques—spanning from calorimetry, in situ cryoconfocal microscopy and SAXS diffraction—we will explore the relevance of directional freezing in the elaboration of living materials from model organisms like yeast and bacteria, as well as in the cryopreservation of mammalian cells in the absence of toxic cryoprotectants.

.Studying the physicochemical conditions formed during directional freezing of model S. cerevisiae cells. a) Cryoconfocal microscopy system setup. b) 3D reconstruction of the freezing front interacting with suspended cells. c) Time-series of the interaction of the freezing front with suspended cells. White arrows point to cells encapsulated in the biopolymer fraction and yellow arrows point to cells directly embedded in ice. d) S. cerevisiae cell encapsulated in polysaccharide matrix.

Ameya Rege, assoc. Prof. 

Presentation abstract

Computational Description of Porous Materials – An Aerogel Use Case 

Reconstructing the intricate morphology of nanoporous materials, such as aerogels, poses a formidable challenge when one aspires to attain three-dimensional visual representations of their mesoporous (pore sizes between 2 and 50 nm) nanostructure. The array of available microscopic and tomographic instruments encounters formidable hurdles in penetrating the diverse spectrum of aerogel types, hindering the comprehensive reconstruction of their intricate 3D nanoporous architecture. This is precisely where computational methodologies emerge as a beacon of promise, unveiling their potential to elucidate experimentally observed phenomena and to decipher the intricate interplay between structure and properties. 

In pursuit of this objective, the lecture will delve into the realm of computational design of nanoporous materials, with a special emphasis on fascinating aerogels [1]. To this end, the matter of the talk will encompass aerogels derived from inorganic sources, notably silica, as well as those rooted in organic origins, exemplified by phenolic-based variants. In the backdrop of the global quest for sustainable and environmentally responsible solutions, biobased materials, specifically those arising from biowaste, command growing attention. In this context, the meticulous modelling of such aerogels, particularly from polysaccharides such as cellulose and carrageenan, will be illustrated. Furthermore, the seamless integration of these models within a computational framework for the purpose of simulating composites will be discussed. 

Finally, as we usher in the era of rapid materials development, the latter part of the discussion will turn its attention towards the harnessing of machine learning approaches. These approaches not only facilitate predictive modelling but also empower the reverse engineering of synthesis parameters, thereby paving the way for the advent of AI-driven, self-learning laboratories.