Two TU Delft researchers to work overseas on Rubicon scholarship

News - 14 January 2016 - Webredactie Communication

Having been awarded the NWO Rubicon scholarship, two researchers who recently obtained their doctorates from TU Delft now have the opportunity to conduct 24 months of research at international research institutions. The Rubicon programme is designed to provide promising young scientists the chance to gain experience in the international research field.

The two winning researchers are Dr Calin Plesa, who gained his PhD from the Department of Bionanoscience and will be conducting research at the University of California, Los Angeles (Department of Bioengineering) and Dr Hairen Tan, who gained his PhD in the Photovoltaics Materials and Devices group (EEMCS) and will be heading to the University of Toronto (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering).  

Solar cells

Dr Tan’s research focuses on the use of a material called perovskite to produce affordable, high-yield solar cells. Manufacturing solar cells using perovskite – an oxide mineral – is an inexpensive process, but the material is unfortunately unstable when exposed to air. During his time at the University of Toronto, Dr Tan will attempt to develop a layered perovskite material that will enable the production of affordable, high-yield solar cells that remain stable for longer than 25 years. 

Signal routes in cells

Dr Plesa concentrates on creating new signal routes in human cells. These chains of biochemical processes inside a cell enable the cell to appropriately react to changes in the environment. But if these processes fail to proceed correctly, it can lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes. Signal routes are extremely complex and there is still much to learn about the subject. Therefore, Dr Plesa will spend his time in Los Angeles developing new methods to synthesise DNA, which he will subsequently use to create new signal routes in cells.