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Mona Abadian

IGC FELLOW    |   Global Change Center

Ph.D. Student  •   Sustainable Biomaterials

Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Russell

Research Interests: Circular Economy, sustainable transformation strategies, socio-economic systems

IGC Fellow

Mona Abadian began her academic career at Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic), where she majored in Fiber Science and Textile Engineering. At the same university, she continued with her master's while concentrating on color and polymer chemistry. The name of her project was; development of pH-sensitive Poly-Amid fabric by conventional dying and printing compared to Cellulosic Halochromic fabric. In addition to meeting the criterion for halochromic characteristics, her research used only natural resources and was completely eco-friendly.

As Mona finished her Masters she started working in the FMCG industry for years as a researcher in R&D departments. When it came to implementing sustainable packaging projects to introduce the ideas of the circular economy to businesses and societies, Nestlé Iran regarded her as a sustainability leader. As a packaging specialist, she managed numerous sustainability initiatives, including creating reusable packaging, inventing mono-polymer structures for food packaging, and altering various recycling procedures to cut down on energy use and carbon emissions.  The more involved Mona was in sustainability projects, the more she became fascinated. The world’s demand for sustainability inspired her to continue her former research efforts more deeply in search of a more environmentally friendly future. So, she started her Ph.D. at Virginia Tech.

In order to identify chances to move toward a more circular management system for the materials and products, her study focuses on mapping and quantifying the flows of polyurethane foam (PUF) via industrial and human systems. Her project aims to create the best framework for the environmentally friendly design, development, production, use, and end-of-use management of PUF. It is an interdisciplinary, mixed-methods initiative that includes participants from industry, government, and academia. Mona will use qualitative methods to engage with diverse industry stakeholders and quantitative methods, to document and describe the current PUF systems, their impacts, and optimal points for sustainable interventions.

Now, the IGC will teach her how to treat global issues as an interdisciplinary topic. Mona wants to become more familiar with how different disciplines approach effective research into global challenges, particularly integrating stakeholders and qualitative data. This program will provide her with a more comprehensive range of possibilities to continue her career, working with industry members to reduce their environmental impacts. Also, Mona belives that the IGC will help her improve her ability to communicate both personally and scientifically. She is enthusiastic and ecstatic to connect with other international students and academics working on sustainability-related projects and develop her communication abilities, which are crucial given her plans to collaborate with experts in both industry and academia.