Institution: University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)
Unit and Faculty: Industrial and Mine Water Research unit (IMWaRU), School of Chemical
Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
Research field: Wastewater treatment
Supervisors: Prof Craig Sheridan, School of Chemical Engineering, Wits (main supervisor); Dr Karl Rumbold, School of Microbiology, Wits (co-supervisor); Uwe Kappelmeyer, Department of Environmental Biotechnology, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (co-supervisor)
Ileshree hails from Gauteng, South Africa. She completed her undergraduate BSc degree (with majors in chemistry and microbiology) as well as her BSc (Honours) degree in chemistry at Wits University. Over the course of her honours degree, she gained valuabe research experience in nanoparticle biotechnology, biochemistry and paleoclimatology, which she focused on one central theme: cost-effective and environmentally friendly solutions to man-made problems. Ileshree is now conducting research in biological wastewater treatment, following the upgrade of her MSc to a PhD. Her research is based on using cost-effective constructed wetlands – containing charcoal bed matrices, as opposed to costly gravel beds – to treat acid mine drainage (AMD). She will be particularly investigating the treatment functionality of these wetlands, her research contributing to the optimisation and eventual implementation of this wetland to rural communities affected by AMD. As an undergrad she won the EnviroServ Laboratory prize in 2012. In 2017, Ileshree published an extensive review paper on environmentally sustainable AMD remediation.