Asel Sartbaeva gives Google talk on nano-coating vaccines

Dr Asel Sartbaeva from our Department of Chemistry recently gave a keynote presentation at Google’s Solve for <X> conference in California - one of only 18 speakers from around the world and one of only two from the UK.

Solve for X is “a place to hear about and discuss radical technology ideas for solving global problems”. Intended as a forum to encourage ‘moonshot’ ideas and collaborative working, it was founded in 2012.

Asel’s talk focussed on the work she is doing to find a solution to the long-standing challenge of transporting and storing vaccines without refrigeration.

Vaccines need to be kept at between 2˚C – 8˚C. Above or below these temperatures and the vaccines degrade.

Drawing on her experience and expertise working with silica-based materials, Asel came up with the idea for a new ‘nano-coating’ that could protect a vaccine in transit and storage.

This coating could be grown around individual vaccine molecules, enabling it to be taken anywhere in the world without the need for refrigeration.

Her idea has the potential to make a real impact on the 6 million people who die from vaccine preventable diseases every year.

Dr Sartbaeva: “I was delighted to be invited to talk by Google, to share a platform with innovative thinkers across different disciplines, and to meet business leaders and policy-makers who expressed great interest in my plans.”

You can watch her talk on the Solve for <X> website.

Asel was a runner-up in last year’s prestigious L’OREAL – UNESCO Women in Science Fellowship, and is keen to inspire future generations of women scientists - particularly those working in higher levels of academia.

She is currently involved in a number of initiatives in this area, including Springboard workshops, mentoring early career scientists and encouraging young females to take up a career in science.

Asel said: “If my experiences can help future female scientists to succeed, my mantra would be to believe in yourself and to never give up.”

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