Velma Kimbi Yaah

Research group: Environmental and Chemical Engineering
Research subject: Hydrothermal carbonization - a cost effective and environmentally friendly technology for the conversion of waste based materials to new high value biobased products
Researcher profile:  Coming soon


Who are you?
I am Kimbi Yaah Velma Beri, a curious scientist, firm believer in Jesus who loves music and travelling.

Where you come from?
I am from the North West region of Cameroon. A beautiful country often referred to as ´Africa in miniature´.

What you have done before coming to Oulu?
I obtained a BSc in Environmental Science at the University of Buea, Cameroon after which I did a Masters in Environmental Sanitation at the Gent University, Belgium with a focus on water treatment. I worked as a research assistant with the West African Research Association briefly after my Bachelors and also as a Mathematics, Physics and Environmental Science Instructor.

Why did you decide to come to Oulu?
I have always been passionate about water treatment and producing novel material for this purpose. The Environmental and Chemical engineering Unit of Oulu University has outstanding work in this field. The I4FUTURE program provided me with the perfect opportunity to join this research group and take part while also contributing to the existing work carried out. Moreso, after studying in Africa and Central Europe, a Nordic experience was a great idea.

What is the name of your research project?
My research project is entitled ´Development of waste based photocatalysts via hydrothermal carbonization for the treatment of pharmaceuticals in water´.

What is the expected main outcome from your research project (tell why it is important to study your subject, who can benefit from your results)?
This project is geared at producing photocatalysts from different carbon sources (Palm kernel shells in my case) to treat Diclofenac, hormones and diclofenac from wastewater. The aforementioned pharmaceutics are over the counter drugs and are also included in the EU watch list of emerging contaminants in water. Hence developing functional and novel materials from waste that can be used to photodegrade these from water is a grey area. Water makes up 2/3 of the earth and our bodies as well, hence water treatment is of utmost importance. Various disciplines can benefit from my work as it cuts across several fields since water is used in every sector of life (Agriculture, Engineering, Medicine, Research, to name a few).

What you would like to do after you have got PhD degree?
I would like to  get a break from academia and venture into the industry. However, this does not rule out the possibility of taking part in lectures, talk, conferences or some research work from time to time when the opportunity arises.

What I4FUTURE program has so far given to you? What has been good? Have you missed something?
Barely 2 years and the opportunities have been numerous. From trainings, to intensive courses and wide scope for networking. I have been in Brazil for the first part of my secondment where I also had the opportunity to present my work in several conferences and workshops.  I have also taken part in the Young scientist forum on catalysis in Oulu. I have had the opportunity to meet other colleagues from different parts of the world working in same field and fields related to mine.

What kind of the atmosphere /weather in Oulu has been in your opinion?
I am still trying to adapt to the dark, very cold winters and the 24 hr daylight during the summers. However, Oulu is quite peaceful and serene. The university environment is friendly, international and welcoming.

Have you already published results? If yes, where? 
Not yet. Currently working on the first manuscript.

Official interview



Last updated: 15.4.2020

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