Spotlight on Marzia Dulal

Marzia Dulal, Commonwealth PhD scholar, joined CFPR this autumn.

“Every canvas is a journey all of its own”- a famous inspirational quote of artist Helen Frankenthaler that resonates with Marzia when relaying her background and journey to the CFPR. In her PhD she investigates the development of sustainable and multifunctional personal protective clothing from graphene-enhanced recycled plastics for healthcare applications.

Marzia is supervised by Dr Nazmul Karim, Associate Professor (CFPR, ACE, UWE Bristol); Dr Shaila Afroj, Senior Research Fellow (CFPR, ACE, UWE Bristol); and Professor Dr Chris Carr (AHC, School of Design, University of Leeds).

Coming from an engineering background, Miss Dulal had to overcome several obstacles, such as stigma against women in the field. This did not stop her from pursuing her own preferences and succeeding in her field. At this point in her career, she uses her experience not only to teach students about academia, but also to be a better person and never lose hope.

Marzia completed her BSc and MSc in Textile Engineering Management from the reputable Bangladesh University of Textiles (BUTex). Moreover, she was awarded the highly prestigious Prime Minister Gold Medal for her academic excellence during her undergraduate degree at BUTex. She then joined BUTex as a Lecturer in 2017 and was promoted to Assistant Professor in 2019. She is currently taking study leave from BUTex to pursue her PhD.

Marzia has been awarded the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship 2021 under the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan in the United Kingdom at UWE Bristol for her PhD. She was selected from Bangladesh for the Textile Engineering field. The purpose of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) is to contribute to the development needs of Commonwealth countries by supporting research that will have a developmental impact. This award will enhance Marzia’s individual teaching and research capacity, leading to increased institutional capacity in academic and other sectors in the Commonwealth. It will also contribute to UK higher education and research by attracting high-calibre international candidates and encouraging links and collaboration.

The massive surge in the use of environmentally unfriendly plastic-based protective clothing during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a serious concern to environmentalists. Therefore, many efforts are needed to develop and design either biodegradable or recycled materials-based protective clothing for healthcare applications. Marzia focuses on the coating or compounding of graphene and other 2DMs. Such natural or recycled materials can improve the mechanical and functional properties of textiles. Moreover, the incorporation of smart devices into this clothing will enhance its properties more for the wearer. This project will develop high-performance, innovative, and sustainable protective clothing (CSC Sustainable Development Goal [SDG] 9) to address global and national issues with the health and well-being of healthcare workers (SDG 3) and responsible consumption and production (SDG 12).

Marzia has chosen to work with the Centre for Print Research (CFPR) at UWE Bristol as it is a distinctive centre of research excellence. CFPR has a strong reputation for cross-disciplinary research attracting world class collaborators across a wide range of sectors, including material science, engineering, design, fashion and textiles; and specific to her research objectives is the CFPR research into graphene-based functional clothing, sustainable textiles and composites from recycled plastics.

Marzia believes that through her work with CFPR, she will have the best opportunity to become a well-versed educator by acquiring technical knowledge when she goes back to her own country and to help aspiring students who want to make a difference in Bangladesh.

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