Role: First year PhD student, Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London

Subject area: Marine and Isotope Geochemistry

Nationality: Italian

I am an oceanographer studying how pollution from human activities moves from land to the ocean and within it. Before starting my PhD, I worked as a researcher for the national research agency of Australia. When not studying the ocean, I love spending time in it – be it swimming, surfing, or scuba diving!


A-level (or equivalent): High school in Italy (scientific curriculum) including Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Geology and Astronomy, History, Philosophy, Latin, Italian, and English. 

• BSc in Geological Sciences and Technologies, University of Milan, Italy
• MSc in Marine Sciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
• PhD in Marine and Isotope Geochemistry (ongoing), Imperial College London

Details about Arianna

SiA My research icon

My research

My current research looks at the distribution of lead (Pb) in the ocean and its pathways from land to the marine environment. All sources of Pb on land have different chemical characteristics, like fingerprints, that allow me to track the journey of Pb from land to the ocean and identify the major sources of pollution.

SiA my inspiration icon

My inspiration

I believe I have always been just very curious by nature and always wanted to learn more about my surroundings. I am also a very outdoorsy person, so probably this is just a perfect combination between my personality and interests.

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Who is your STEM hero?

Rita Levi Montalcini, a neurobiologist and the only Italian woman to win a Nobel Prize in a scientific discipline. She grew up as a Jewish woman during Fascism and World War II, having to fight not only racism due to her ancestry, but also her father who initially thought university was not suitable for women. However, her perseverance and ingenuity made her one of the most prominent figures in her field.

Indian bullock cart in natural background

Most significant discovery/invention?

The wheel, which was the origin of the mechanisation of agriculture and allowed for the expansion of transportation and trading networks.

Reaction pathways written on a fume cupboard

Career options after study

  • Academic research and teaching 
  • Environmental / sustainability consulting
  • Working in a chemistry lab outside academia
  • Environmental /sustainability advisor for governmental and non-governmental organisations
Two men carrying surfboards running in to the sea for surfing.

My hobbies

I am a huge sport enthusiast. Skiing, tennis, football, surfing, and bouldering are amongst my favourites.