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Global Challenges Initiative

The Cambridge Strategic Research Initiative for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Studying at Cambridge

 

Tianheng Zhao

Drinking Water; Water and Sanitation; Bacterial Contamination; Food safety; Department of Chemistry; School of Physical Sciences

Tianheng Zhao Tianheng Zhao is a PhD student at the Bio-Inspired Photonics Laboratory at the Department of Chemistry and at King's College and a member of the Synthetic Biology @ Cambridge Strategic Research Initiative. He is also the co-founder of WaterScope, a not-for-profit initiative that uses low-cost and open-source technology for rapid water testing and disease diagnostics together with Dr Alex Patto, Dr Nalin Patel, Dr Richard Bowman and Sammy Maudi.  

Tianheng’s research focuses on using sustainable and environmental friendly chemicals – cellulose and cellulose derivatives – to make advanced bio-inspired photonic materials. Those materials not only have vivid colours but also show great potential in food safety sensing and diagnostics.

Tianheng’s motivation to positively impact the lives of the world’s poorest 3 billion people is also mirrored by his work at WaterScope. WaterScope aims to provide low-cost, fast and user-friendly water testing kits to people lack access to clean drinking water, which is critical to solve the water crisis that 10% of world population suffer from. Using a 3D-printed microscope, bacterial contamination can be identified over 10x faster than current field tests available. Additionally, simplified bacterial collection and data analysis methods allow the tests to be conducted by anybody, in any location.

Tianheng motivation to join the Global Challenges Forum stems from the belief that a community of people with different resources, capabilities and experiences provides the best possible opportunity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, which can improve humankind’s well-being. Tianheng hopes that that Global Challenges Forum’s community will accelerate the process of delivering positive impact form the laboratory to the world. 

The Global Challenges Initiative is a Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

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