Department of Engineering / News / Alumna Alexandra Clarà Saracho awarded a Research Fellowship in Engineering at King’s College

Department of Engineering

Alumna Alexandra Clarà Saracho awarded a Research Fellowship in Engineering at King’s College

Alumna Alexandra Clarà Saracho awarded a Research Fellowship in Engineering at King’s College

Congratulations to Dr Alexandra Clarà Saracho, who has been awarded a Research Fellowship at King’s College, University of Cambridge, effective October 2021.

I hope that the technical and scientific developments resulting from my work will be broadly applicable, and will radically change scientific ideas about carbonate biomineralisation, compositional vital effects, and the tailored crystallisation of functionally-modified products.

Dr Alexandra Clarà Saracho

Dr Clarà Saracho is an interdisciplinary scientist and geotechnical engineer active in the field of bio-mediated soil processes and sustainable geotechnical engineering practices. She is particularly interested in understanding the microbial processes involved in the formation of calcium carbonates by soil-dwelling bacteria, and the relationship between the microstructure of the minerals they form and the macroscopic hydro-thermo-mechanical response of carbonate cemented soils. 

Originally from Spain, Alexandra studied Civil Engineering at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Barcelona, and earned her MRes and PhD in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Cambridge within the framework of an EPSRC International Doctoral Scholar Award in the Future Infrastructure and Built Environment Centre For Doctoral Training (FIBE CDT). She then moved from Cambridge to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL) as a Postdoctoral Researcher, where, as part of the ERC-funded BIOGEOS project, she expanded her research to the application of soft matter for the engineering of biomineralised composites.

Covering the nexus of the biological sciences, materials chemistry and engineering, Dr Clarà Saracho addresses key questions of bio-mediated soil processes and sustainable geotechnical systems, where fundamental research, physical modelling and technology transfer can be integrated in collaboration with industry.

As an incoming Research Fellow, Alexandra’s vision is to conduct pioneering research on the provision of energy security in the context of the clean energy transition and on the pathway to net-zero emissions. More specifically, she will exploit Microbially Induced Calcite Precipitation (MICP) as a sustainable and innovative bio-manufacturing process to enhance the thermal performance of ground-source heat pump (GSHP) heating/cooling systems and to substantially improve the rate of anthropogenic CO2 sequestration through mineral-trapping.

biocemented sand illustration

Through her activities, Alexandra calls for a paradigm shift in the way we design and build, from consuming nature to working with nature.

“I hope that the technical and scientific developments resulting from my work will be broadly applicable, and will radically change scientific ideas about carbonate biomineralisation, compositional vital effects, and the tailored crystallisation of functionally-modified products.” - Alexandra Clarà Saracho

"We are delighted to see Alexandra return to Cambridge to take up a research fellowship at King's college. This is testament to her outstanding PhD and post-doc work. Alexandra is a great ambassador for our FIBE CDT and we look forward to her alumni engagement with us in person." - Professor Abir Al-Tabbaa

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