Can you say a few words about yourself?
– I come from Italy and I grew up in a small town in the center of Sicily, Enna. After high school, I moved to Catania where I studied for my bachelor degree in chemistry. I further moved to Bologna where I studied for my master degree in photochemistry and molecular material. I did my PhD studies in Mainz, Germany at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. I finally moved to Lausanne to follow with my career in research.
Did you choose your profession or did it choose you?
– I definitely choose my profession. Being very curious about nature and science, research is the profession which really fits me.
What attracted you to join LAPI?
– In two words? Aerosol acidity. Its calculation is one of the main know-how of the lab and it is also very fascinating for all the implications it has on aerosol property and their impact on the nature.
Can you speak about the projects you are currently working on and other ones in the past?
– My focus is on atmospheric aerosol chemistry under different prospective. One project is the development of new instrumentation and methodologies for chemical characterisation of aerosol particles by means of infrared spectroscopy. Another project is centred on the atmospheric aerosol acidity. Specifically, how aerosol acidity governs the dissolution of transition metals to make them bioavailable and eventually toxic for human health. Finally, I am also investigating how the man-made altercation of atmospheric macronutrients budget, such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), together with aerosol acidity and transition metals availability, impact soil nutrients availability and local biodiversity.
What have been some of your biggest successes?
– My biggest achievement, which was also the biggest professional challenge I faced, was to create a theoretical and experimental know-how from zero-ground during the PhD. During the degree I was personally involved into the acquisition, installation, utilisation, organisation and maintenance of a magnetic spectrometer and the relative wet lab. This challenge made me proud of my independence, self-starting capacity, curiosity and constance to handle professional challenges.
You split your time between teaching and research. How do you view these two roles?
– My teaching time is limited to support the main teacher. However, I find very interesting the role of teaching. Spending time to assist students in their misunderstanding and difficulties is valuable and functional for them and for me. They get better understanding and more solid tools to be used in their future and I can improve my knowledge, explication skills.
What do you enjoy to do, outside of science and research?
– I love to read and play music, but I also love mountaineering, biking and climbing.
Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
– Beijing during a haze event. It looks like fog but it is not humid and it stinks.
A free thought for the end?
– Keep calm, be curious.