I’m Italian but I’ve been living in York for 11 years. I’m a chemist during the day, and in my free time I enjoy yoga, martial arts, reading, playing the piano and travelling. I live with my partner and we have a tropical fish tank, but I hope one day we can have a puppy!
I’m from Rome in Italy and moved to York 9 years ago for my undergraduate degree in Chemistry. I then did a PhD in geochemistry and worked in industry for almost 2 years before coming back to York for a researcher job for 3 years.
In high school I decided I wanted to be a scientist and at university I chose chemistry because it is a very broad subject that allowed me to become more specific on geology and geography so I’m now a geochemist!
I’ve always enjoyed sports, especially swimming, volleyball and martial arts (I did karate and Viet Vo Dao). Since I started working I do yoga to help me relax. I love animals, especially bears! Every year my partner and I go to Yorkshire Wildlife Park to see all the animals and spend quite a lot of time watching polar bears!
I love to travel, visiting cities, the countryside and mostly enjoying the food! I would love to visit Mexico and to go back to Antarctica for holiday or work.
My pronouns are:
My pronouns are she/her
I’m a chemist who studies past ecosystems and sea-level changes to help us understand how they will be affected in future with climate change
I’m a researcher in Chemistry at the University of York.
Ever heard the phrase “studying the past is the key to understand the future”? That’s exactly what my research comes from. This means that I study the chemical characteristics of past climate and past sea-level changes so we can apply our understanding to tackle present and future problems, for example sea-level and ecosystem changes due to human impact on the planet.
In practice I study the chemical substances preserved in soil that represents the environment in which animals and plants lived (for example chlorophyll or bacterial fats). These molecules are different depending on the producer and the type of environment – terrestrial like a forest, freshwater, coastal or inundated by the sea. I also use protein in the shells found in the soil to date when events such as sea-level changes happened in the past.
My Typical Day:
I wake up around 7.30 pm (but we all like a lie-in!) and have breakfast with tea and porridge before walking to work with my partner for about 15-20 minutes . I arrive between 8.30 and 9am and go to the lab or look at my data on my PC. I then go home around 4.30 or 5pm.
My typical day was quite different before February when I was working in industry in Hull. I was waking up around 6am and driving for just over 1 hour to Hull to arrive to work at 8 or 8.15 am. Within my team I was looking after around 300 instruments in 3 different labs, training new people in the lab and helping solving issues using my knowledge and experience in the lab. The job was incredibly fast-paced and never boring because every day was different with lots of problem solving to help people. I used to leave between 4 and 5pm depending on workload and arrive home after 6pm.
Since I worked at the University of York, I have a lot less commute and more time to relax and work on my hobbies in the evening. As a researcher, I spend a lot of time in the lab but also at my computer looking at my data and writing up reports. I prefer lab work because it is so varied: from drilling shells to using acids to dissolve them, from using a pestle and mortar to grind soil to creating nice colours in chemical separation! Mid-morning I go to coffee with my colleagues before going back to the lab.
What I'd do with the prize money:
With the prize money I would develop an activity to explain the causes and consequences of sea-level changes.
2007-2012 High school Plauto in Rome, Italy. We studied all subjects with a focus on classics including Latin, ancient Greek, Philosophy.
2012-2016 MChem in Chemistry, University of York. During the summer I did internships in research labs.
2016-2020 PhD in Chemistry, University of York. Alongside research, I organised outreach activities for our project “Analysing the past: the chemistry of a bog body”, taught undergraduate in teaching labs and research labs and went to lots of conferences in UK and Europe.
High school diploma (Italy): Italian, Latin, ancient Greek, history, English, philosophy, physics, maths, sciences (including chemistry, biology, earth sciences) (2007-2012)
MChem in Chemistry (2012-2016)
PhD in Chemistry (2016-2020)
2014 (3 weeks), Department of Chemistry, University of York: Easter internship learning about amino acids and lab admin.
2014 (8 weeks), Department of Chemistry, University of York: summer internship studying pigments from lake sediments
2015 (8 weeks), Department of Archaeology, University of York: summer internship applying meat and fish to stone tools, taking pictures and observing their degradation over time.
2020-2022 instrument expert associate at Reckitt: in my team I was looking after around 300 instruments in 3 different labs, training new people in the lab and helping solving issues using my knowledge and experience in the lab
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Scientist but not sure if chemist or geologist
Were you ever in trouble at school?
During the final year of middle school and on the final day of school, my friends and I started writing goodbye messages on our uniform. The nuns who ran the school weren't impressed!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Queen, Ed Sheeran
What's your favourite food?
Pasta, it is so versatile!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1) Visiting places around the world and not worry about working. 2) All my family was in good health. 3) Having a nice car (Ferrari or Tesla)
Tell us a joke.
What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear