Joanna Sadler

Chancellor's Fellow in Biotechnology



2023-present   Chancellor's Fellow, University of Edinburgh

2019                     BBSRC Discovery Fellow, University of Edinburgh

2018                     Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of St Andrews

2017                     Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, University of Manchester



2017        D. Phil, Organic Chemistry and Biocatalysis, University of Strathclyde/GlaxoSmithKline Collaborative PhD Programme

2013        MSci, Chemistry with a Year in Industry, University of Bristol 

Research summary

Plastic degradation and up-cycling  *  Microbial pathway engineering  *  Sustainable chemical synthesis  *  Biocompatible chemistry  *  Waste valorisation  *  Directed evolution and adaptive evolution   *  Biocatalysis

Current research interests

Plastics are deeply embedded in modern day society, yet their current lifecycle is unsustainable. These recalcitrant materials are derived from finite, fossil fuel based resources and are largely used for single-use products which contribute to the plastic pollution crisis. I am interested in using synthetic biology blended with synthetic chemistry to develop industrially relevant methods to valorise plastic waste into high value small molecules. Not only will this remove waste plastic from circulation, but will enables sustainable routes to bulk and fine chemicals which are otherwise derived directly from petrochemical feedstocks. My research in this field can be broadly broken down into three main objectives: (1) novel plastic up-cycling pathways, (2) biocompatible plastic degradation technologies, (3) using plastic waste as a feedstock for microbial growth.

Past research interests

Biocatalysis; organic and bioorganic chemistry; directed evolution of novel biocatalysts; ultra-high throughput screening of large enzyme libraries.