Loanda Cumba is an Assistant Professor (Chemistry with Artificial intelligence - DCU Futures Programme) in the School of Chemical Sciences at DCU. She received her MSc and PhD in Materials Science (Materials Chemistry) from the Sao Paulo State University, UNESP, Brazil, in 2012 and 2016, respectively. In 2014, she was awarded a prestigious grant from the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES-Brazil) that allowed her to develop part of the PhD research programme at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK). In 2017, she moved to Ireland, where she worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at DCU on a joint project between an industrial partner and DCU funded by Enterprise Ireland. It received the DCU Invent Commercialisation Award. While at the DCU, Loanda worked on the formulation of a polymer-based ink loaded with metal nanoparticles that can self-pattern on the polymeric substrate in a controlled way in the x-y and z directions by carefully controlling the specific interactions between the ink components and the curing process. In 2019, she worked on the development of an “Ultrasensitive Detection of Non-Coding MicroRNA Associated with Epilepsy”, a collaboration between DCU and SFI FutureNeuro Research Centre (RCSI). In September 2019, Loanda was awarded a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship for conducting her GOIPD at DCU on the rapid, sensitive detection of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria (DetectAMR). Loanda has also made a substantial contribution to the development of high-performance polymer-based conductive inks for the manufacture of low-cost, biocompatible, non-cytotoxic and mechanically flexible wearable (bio)chemical devices (project funded by Enterprise Ireland). To assist the progress of a possible high-potential spin-out, she completed the On-line Entrepreneurship Essentials course (Harvard Business School), which enabled her to develop expertise in commercialisation, business planning and customer recruitment strategies. In 2022, she secured independent funding to start a research group in the areas of multicomponent conductive bioinks, 3D/4D-printing technologies, smart 4D printed structures, advanced (bio)composite materials, low-temperature printing technology, post-printing bioactivity, machine learning for materials development and biosensors, and design of intelligent data analysis. In September 2021, Loanda was appointed as Assistant Professor in Chemistry with AI, and in March 2022, the Chair of this bachelor programme.
Cumba’s research interest lies in the development of novel strategies for the fabrication of 3D/4D printable multi-responsive (polymer and nano) materials to explore their attractive properties, versatility, and applicability not only as (bio)sensors platforms but also in the energy storage and conversion field. Her idea is to design intelligent data analysis methods that combine electrochemical sensing with machine learning (ML) to solve complicated, non-linear and dynamic problems in (bio)sensing and electrode development. Her research is focused on the development of multicomponent polymer-based conductive (bio)inks, sustainable materials and manufacturing, 3D/4D-printing technologies, smart 4D printed structures, advanced (bio)composite materials, low-temperature printing technology, post-printing bioactivity, machine learning for materials development, and design of intelligent data analysis.