Dr Pooja Basnett

Dr Pooja Basnett

Dr. Pooja Basnett is a senior lecturer and the co-course leader for BSc. Biological Sciences course in the School of Life Sciences. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  She is the sustainability representative for the School of Life Sciences.  Pooja was awarded the Westminster Learning and Teaching Excellence award in the category of embedding sustainability in the curriculum in 2022. She is a joint lead for the ‘Cavendish Living Lab’ Quintin Hogg Trust-funded project.

Pooja was awarded a Cavendish scholarship from the University of Westminster to study for a PhD in Applied Biotechnology on the ‘Biosynthesis of polyhydroxyalkanoates, their novel blends, and composites for biomedical applications. In 2014,  she joined the European Union-funded project – ReBioStent as a post-doctoral researcher. The project was focused on developing drug-eluting biodegradable coronary artery stents. In 2016, she joined the EU project - NEURIMP which focused on the development of nerve conduits for peripheral nerve repair. From 2017-2019, she was the lead post-doctoral researcher on the EU project – POLYBIOSKIN which aimed at developing biocompatible and biodegradable skin contact products. She also contributed to the EPSRC-funded project – CYCLOPS  which focused on the development of a wound healing patch with Artificial Intelligence (AI).  While undertaking research within the Framework Programmes created by the European Union/European Commission, she had the opportunity to work with various academic organisations and large organisations.

Pooja joined the School of Life Sciences, University of Westminster as a member of academic staff in September 2019.

Pooja’s research interest is to build a sustainable, competitive, and cost-effective route to produce biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable bioplastics using renewable, biobased feedstock. The main emphasis is on the high-impact applications of these bioplastics that can compete with fossil-derived conventional plastics. Her vision is to foster an understanding of sustainability through teaching, research, and communication. 

 Contributions from her work include:

  •  Production of bacteria-derived polymers using renewable, biobased feedstock (Microbial Biotechnology, 2017; Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine, 2018; Acta Biomaterialia, 2018).
  •  Enhancing the properties of the bacteria-derived polymers by forming composites and blends (Advanced Engineering Materials, 2012; Chemistry of Materials, 2019; Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 2020; ACS Omega, 2019; Polymers, 2020).
  • Medical applications of bacteria-derived polymers (ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2021; Bioengineering & translational medicine, 2021; Polymer International, 2016; Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology, 2020; ACS applied materials & interfaces, 2018).

She has 10 years of research experience in the area of biopolymers and has published around 25 papers in various peer-reviewed journals and is a co-inventor in patent applications. Her work has been presented at major international conferences including the International Symposium for Biopolymers (ISBP), World Biomaterials Congress (WBC), and the European Society of Biomaterials conference (ESB). She is a member of the Royal Society of  Medicine (RSM), Environmental Biotechnology Network and the UK Society of Biomaterials (UKSB).

Pooja has received funding for the following research projects –

  • 2022-2024  Quintin Hogg Trust funding for  – The Cavendish Living Lab project -Opportunities for co-creating sustainable solutions using applied research and learning within an authentic setting.
  • 2021-2022 Green Fund, Centre for Education and Teaching Innovation (CETI) funding for the WeGrow  project - Urban Food Growing Systems
  • 2020-2021   Health and Well-being Research community COVID-19 Funding for the Development of  environmentally friendly antiviral/antibacterial coatings
  • 2019-2020    Competitive ‘Developing Researcher’ Funding Scheme via QR/QHT for the production of sustainable polymers from bacteria


Sustainable Development Goals
In brief

Research areas

Bioplastics, Sustainable solutions, Circular Economy

Skills / expertise

Microbiology, Fermentation Technology, Biomaterial Science, Scaffold development

Supervision interests

Sustainability themed projects
Westminster Learning and Teaching Excellence award in the category of embedding sustainability in the curriculum

Westminster Learning and Teaching Excellence award