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About Dr Maria Sotenko

As a student, Maria investigated Pt-containing catalysts for car exhausts afterburning and the mechanism of methanol synthesis from syngas during her BSc and MSc projects carried out at Boreskov Institute of Catalysis (BIC), one of the biggest scientific institutes in Russia. During her PhD, received in 2010, Maria had a chance to work at two different universities, Bath University and Warwick University, while working on an multi-disciplinary project called “Bi-catalytic conversion of glycerol to value-added products”. In 2012, after a career break, Maria undertook a short postdoctoral position at Bath University (developing continuous C-H functionalization of arenes using Pd/Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles in a microreactor) and then a 3 year postdoctoral position at Warwick Manufacturing Group, Warwick University, working on a project called “Cleaning Land for Wealth” (CL4W) which combined expertise in phytoremediation, biomass bio-degradation and composites manufacturing. In 2016-2019 Maria worked as University Teacher at the Department of Chemical Engineering, Loughborough University while also focusing on the procurement of phenolic compounds from lignocellulose and on the recovery of precious metals using fungi.

Maria’s work on biomineralization of Pd was featured byReuters whereas The Independent published Maria’s article on “Wealth from waste – three ways pollution can be turned into something useful”. Maria also provided R&D consulting support for several start ups before taking up a post of Lecturer at Chester University and co-founding Novatica Technologies ltd.


Maria is involved in various teaching activities, such as lectures development and delivery, supervision of tutorials, workshops and seminars, laboratories development and supervision, Turnitin assessment, BEng and MEng project students supervision. Maria contributes to teaching the following modules:

  • SE4011 Materials Processing and Manufacture
  • SE4025 Introduction to Fluid Mechanics and Transport Processes
  • SE5052 Process Analysis


Maria’s interests lie in the area of generating wealth out of waste or low-value substrates by means of biotechnology (enzymes, bacteria, fungi) with a specific attention to life cycle and techno-economic assessments. In her research projects, Maria implements the principle of tandem or cascade procurement of value-added products while utilising waste and/or remediating soil, air or water as a suitable way for sustainable process engineering and process intensification. Maria’s portfolio of projects is multidisciplinary ranging from composites manufacturing, bio-catalytic processes and life cycle analysis to phytoremediation, CO2 capture and biorefinery. The main focus of Maria’s research is devoted to the following themes:

  • Wealth out of waste: turning waste feedstocks into a range of value-added products for applications in pharma, cosmetics and nutraceuticals sectors
  • Biorefinery processes development, antioxidant and antimicrobial chemical compounds from biomass feedstocks
  • Cleaning soil and waste waters from metals, phytoremediation-biorefinery tandem
  • Biogenic catalytic metallic nano-particles, novel applications of bio-catalysts
  • LCA and techno-economic analyses

Published Work

Selected publications:

  • Prasad, M. Sotenko, T. Blenkinsopp and S. R. Coles, Life Cycle Assessment of Lignocellulosic Biomass Pretreatment Methods in Biofuel Production (2016), The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 21, 1, p. 44-50.
  • M. Sotenko, M. Rebros, V.S. Sans, K.N. Loponov, M.G. Davidson, G. Stephens, A.A. Lapkin (2012), Tandem transformation of glycerol to esters, Journal of Biotechnology,162, p. 390-397.
  • M. Sotenko, S. Coles, I. McEwen, R. DeCampos, G. Barker, K. Kirwan, Bio-degradation as natural fibres pre-treatment in composites manufacturing (2016), Journal of Green Materials, 4, 1, p. 8-17.

A complete list of publications is available via Maria's Google Scholar profile.


BSc, MSc (Hons), PhD, AFHEA, FHEA