Brenda Doherty receives the Best Thesis Award of the IBA Heiligenstadt for researching an optical disease-detection platform. She was pursuing research in the departments of Fiber Photonics and Nanobiophotonics and earned her doctoral degree at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. 

One day before lockdown, she defended her disputation — now Dr. Brenda Doherty has won the Best Thesis Award 2020 of the Institute for Bioprocess and Analytical Measurement Technology (IBA) Heiligenstadt. At the interface between Nanobiophotonics and Fiber Photonics, the young scientist researched an optical disease-detection platform at Leibniz IPHT and Friedrich Schiller University Jena. She combined plasmonic nanoparticles with a special type of microstructured optical fiber to create a hybrid optofluidic sensor. „The method could have future use for detecting pathogens such as legionella bacteria, which cause pneumonia, or even sepsis-causing aspergillus or candida fungi“ explains Brenda Doherty.

Nature serves as inspiration for her research

Straight from bachelor studies at Trinity College in Dublin she moved from Ireland to Germany. „I came here to pursue research at a well-known photonics institution and to pick up a new language and culture“, says Brenda Doherty. She is also part of a German-Canadian International Research Training Group which sees knowledge exchange and collaboration between the two countries in the field of optical technology.

Brenda Doherty recently moved to Hamburg. With her background in physics and sensor development the young optical research engineer would like to develop applications in the field of Environmental or Space sciences. „I have a particular passion for areas where we can explore or be scientifically inspired by nature“, says Brenda Doherty. „Realising a real/off-world impact from research is one of my driving aspirations“.

 

 

Dr. Brenda Doherty won the Best Thesis Award

Dr. Brenda Doherty won the Best Thesis Award“ of the IBA Heiligenstadt.

Schematic of the entire sensing conceptGrafik: B. Doherty

Schematic of the entire sensing conceptGrafik: B. Doherty

SEM image of the two fiber structures used for sensing

SEM image of the two fiber structures used for sensing