2005 - 2010 Bachelor's programme: Molecular Biology
University of Salzburg/JKU Linz, Austria
2010 - 2012 Master's programme: Moleculare Biology
Graduation with Distinction, University of Salzburg/JKU Linz, Austria
I’m currently working as a Ph.D. student in the Fletcher group.
My Ph.D. project focuses on 2D and 3D secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) of biological samples. One project I’m working on at the moment is about the effects of manufactured titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticle release into the environment studied on a single celled, fresh water organism, Tetrahymena pyriformis. The increasing use of nanoparticles in a wide range of applications means there is a significant chance that these chemicals may enter the aquatic environment. Tetrahymena is a well characterized model organism with highly differentiated internal structures. It incorporates and stores TiO2 inside food vacuoles.
The project covers analytical challenges which derive from analyzing “mixed” materials (metal and organic) as well as monitoring biological changes caused by TiO2 exposure. Studies on Tetrahymena are usually performed with a large numbers of cells combined for analysis. SIMS offers the opportunity for studying this single cell organism directly and enables us to monitor changes on the cell surface while confirming that this cell has TiO2 on the inside. 3D reconstruction shows the distribution of different molecular species within a cell. Because those experiments require no labeling multiple species can be studied on one cell.