SciSoc Spotlight Issue 22 – Dr Chiara Giorio

8 May 2021. Dr Chiara Giorio is with the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry. A PDF version of this Issue is available here.

Research focus: Atmospheric Chemist

Air pollution causes 7 million deaths per year worldwide. One the most concerning air pollutant is particulate matter (small dust suspended in the air). We study the atmospheric processes that can modify the composition of particulate matter during its lifetime in the atmosphere, and we aim to understand the link between composition and toxicity. We look at the molecular mechanism by which particulate matter can cause lung inflammation or diseases such as Alzheimer.

What made you decide to pursue research?

I have always been interested in understanding the natural environment, promote good practices to preserve it, and solve environmental issues for the benefit of society in general. Academia gives you the freedom to follow your inner passion in ways that no other environment can.

One piece of advice…

For many years I thought I was not good enough for doing research; my main drivers were curiosity and passion. I am now a lecturer and I have my own research group. Over the years I have grown and I have learnt that persistence is more important than talent, and that you need to work hard, look for opportunities to grow and be open to take the chances that will come towards you. My advice is to follow your passion and never give up when you face adversity.

Myself at the botanical garden here in Cambridge

Me, in my lab during the first lockdown in 2020, collaborating to a research project that looks for methods to clean ambulances with ozone to decrease turnaround time after transporting covid-patients.

Me inside a maritime container, hosting instrumentation, during a cruise in the mediterranean sea (#peacetime cruise) in 2017 looking at how the atmosphere composition changes when dusts from the Saharan desert get transported and deposited in the sea, providing more nutrients for phytoplankton species.

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