Price Winner: Bernadette Kirchsteiger
Bernadette Kirchsteiger is a PhD student at the Institute for Chemical Technologies and Analytics (research group: environmental analytics, ao. Prof. Anne Kasper-Giebl). Within her PhD project, she focuses on the quantification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their derivates derived from different environmentally important matrices. PAHs are generated during incomplete combustion processes of organic material, mainly emitted as complex mixtures of various congeners, some of them gaining special interest because of their toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic effects. To date Bernadette Kirchsteiger mainly focused on the quantification of PAHs from particulate matter derived from emission and ambient samples. Now special attention will be paid to other environmental compartments such as snow and cloud water. This allows to increase the understanding of the transport of PAHs and their interaction with micro- and nanoplastics. To tackle this topic it is necessary to enlarge the currently used portfolio of analytical methods.
For doing so, Bernadette Kirchsteiger will spend the Lions award of 4.000 € for a research stay at Utrecht University (Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Research). Within this stay she will focus on the development of a new analytical method for the quantification of PAHs from cloud water samples using thermal-desorption proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (TD-PTR-MS).