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Microbial sunscreens for better life

Supervisor: Professor Vasilos Stavros External partner: Professor Laurent Blasco,Lubrizol

Cases of cosmeceuticals interfering with marine life are now widespread. This is largely due to increasing societal trends towards exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from sunlight. Sunscreens provide UVR-protection; however, this often comes at a cost as the desired sun protection factor (SPF)is achieved with high concentrations of UVR filters within a blend. This can lead to serious environmental issues. For example, some sunscreens are known to be damaging to marine life; indeed Hawaii, as of January 2019, has banned the use of certain UVR filters in sunscreen blends due to coral bleaching [2]. It is therefore key to develop next generation, safer sunscreens which preserve the quality of aquatic life.
The Analytical Sciences (AS) PhD project seeks to answer the overarching question: Can microorganism (e.g. algae, cyanobacteria etc.)- based UVR filters be chemically modified for human use, which are much safer to the environment? Stavros (PI; Chemistry) and Habershon (CoI; Chemistry) together with assistance from Corre (CoI; Chemistry and SLS) propose to apply their complementary skills in experiment and theory to train the AS PhD student to confront the multi-facetted challenges imposed by this question. We note that the present project provides an ideal opportunity to also link-up with Lubrizol’s division of Skin Care, led by Professor Laurent Blasco, Honorary Professor
at the University of Warwick and Lubrizol’s global skin care manager.

This position has now been filled.