Mayuri conducts research for the University of Minnesota National Science Foundation-funded Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP). The focus of her research is levoglucosan-based polymeric materials. Levoglucosan is a bicyclic acetal that can be obtained in ~80% yield by fast pyrolysis of cellulosic biomass with a projected price point of $1.33 to $3.0/kg, which is competitive with many petroleum-derived monomers.
To facilitate her research on exploring catalysts for levoglucosan polymerization as well as the synthesis of high molecular weight and stereoregular levoglucosan homo and copolymers, Mayuri applied for and was awarded a 2022 CSP-funded Researcher in Residency at Cornell University. During her June 2–12, 2022, residency, Mayuri and Dr. Anne LaPointe and Prof. Geoff Coates of Cornell University utilized the high-throughput screening robot equipment at Cornell to screen a variety of catalysts, initiators, and comonomers for a levoglucosan-based monomer. “The high-throughput screening studies facilitated rapid identification of hit catalysts, initiators, and comonomers for a levoglucosan-based substrate in a very short timeframe,” said Mayuri. “The research project was beneficial in minimizing the time needed for screening studies as well as establishing a collaboration with Cornell University.” Based on the findings from her researcher in residency, Mayuri is currently conducting follow-up studies with Cornell.