22 July 2022. Brought to you by Luke Richards.

Huyen Le 

What is your current job  / programme of study?

Year 1 PhD Student in the Department of Materials 

What A-Levels (or equivalent) did you do? 

Physics, Chemistry and Maths 

Why did you choose a career in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) 

Experience of working in the consumer healthcare sector gave me opportunities to support the research and development of Corsodyl toothpastes and Voltarol pain relief gel. I learnt the importance of material choices in formulation. I gained a greater appreciation for how the applied science helps to solve societal challenges.  

Realising subtle things, for example, how a gel flows could create an impact on the customer’s experience of using a product was empowering. A career in MSE allows me to learn to make materials that can help improve people’s lives!   

What is your research about? 

My research aims to use light energy to transform the materials used in environmentally friendly paint formulations. These paint coatings could obtain antibacterial and possibly antiviral behaviour. The knowledge from this will help us produce ‘self-cleaning’ surfaces in hospitals, where it is very important to maintain a germ-free environment for vulnerable patients.  

What is the coolest thing you have done in your career so far? 

Working with scientists on toothpaste and mouthwash products that could help treat gum disease!   

What do you see yourself doing in the future? 

Mentoring and engaging with future generations of STEM students and, hopefully, inspiring them to explore their curiosities beyond the classroom too! 

What is your favourite material (and why)? 

Hyaluronic acid polymer – I am interested in the science of moisturising and anti-aging cosmetic products. Hyaluronic acid seems to have a lot of benefits for our skin!  

What advice would you give your 16 year old self? 

Don’t be scared to ask questions! The A Level science textbook might not always convey interesting science applications, but do not let that put you off. Ask your teachers to direct you to the relevant science magazines / articles.  

Links Huyen’s external webpages: 

Research group website: https://nachofabiani.net/biography/ 

Academic journey Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/ph.studies/