Nargis Khoso contributes to a sustainable future by using methane emission to create plastics

Pakistani student Nargis Khoso is a perfect example of the opportunities that the Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences offers. She’s currently graduating on an interesting project at HAN BioCentre on a topic that is not as current as nitrogen, but probably as harmful: methane.

Life Sciencesstudent Nargis Khoso werkt voor HAN BioCentre aan een project waarbij methaangas wordt verwerkt in milieuvriendelijk plastic

Reducing methane emission while at the same time producing PHB, a biodegradable polymer which is used to make eco-friendly plastics. That is what Nargis Khoso (38) is currently working on in her graduation internship at HAN Biocentre, as part of her bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences.

“We are using special bacteria called methanotrophs. These bacteria consume methane, which is a harmful greenhouse gas, as their source of carbon. By harnessing the methane-consuming abilities of these bacteria, we can both help decrease methane emission levels and create a sustainable source of material for bioplastics. It’s a really cool project.”

From Dubai to Nijmegen

Nargis is originally from Pakistan, where she graduated from a degree in medical laboratory technology in 2010. She was already dreaming of continuing her studies, but at that time her family experienced some difficulties. “It’s quite expensive to pay for four higher education degrees.”

For Nargis this meant she had to make a choice. She moved to Dubai to work in a hospital. After doing that for 8 years and saving up enough money, she decided it was time to move on. “My sister was already living in Amsterdam, so I figured I’d join her in the Netherlands. I applied to a couple of places, and HAN was the first to respond.”

Nargis doesn’t regret her decision to come to Nijmegen one bit. Partly because compared to the hectic city of Dubai, life here is peaceful. “Nijmegen is a vibrant city as well, but Dubai is extremely busy 24 hours a day. There’s always something going on. And I was working 16 hours per day. It was tiring, but I did enjoy the experience and the luxurious life you live there.”

Students at this faculty are very well equiped to start their carreers

Perfect example

Another important reason why Nargis is happy to have come to Nijmegen, are her career ambitions. “The classes are really great. I admire every single one of the teachers here. And because of all the practical sessions, students at this faculty are very well equipped to start their careers.”

Nargis herself is a perfect example in that regard. Because while still in the middle of graduating, she already knows what the next step in her career will be. She recently got hired by Utrecht University to work as a bioanalytic technician. “I will be involved in a research project that aims to improve and develop a method for producing medicines for kidney patients.”

And so now, after four years, she’ll leave Nijmegen again. Although she’ll miss the city, Nargis is excited about her next step in life. “I’m looking forward to working again, at least for a couple of years. After that, I might consider pursuing a master’s degree.” She smiles. “If my age allows me.”

Want to know more about internships or working at HAN BioCentre, check the website.

Photo David van Haren