Mauro Masiol
Earth Science

Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?
I was born in Venice and teach Geochemistry and Earth Sciences. Geochemistry studies the composition, structure, properties and behaviour of the matter the Earth is made of, as well as the changes the Earth's matter undergoes during the processes that shape the planet over time. The Earth can be seen as a complex and evolving network of subsystems, the Earth's spheres; one of these is the atmosphere. I work mainly on (i) geochemistry of the atmosphere for the study of wind transport and air pollution processes; (ii) isotope geochemistry for the study of hydrological cycle, and (iii) development of statistical methods for the study of environmental processes.

What was your academic career?
I graduated in Environmental Sciences (2005) at Ca' Foscari, where I later earned my PhD (2009). I worked at various levels with the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics, the National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics, and the Institute of Marine Sciences of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR), before returning to Ca' Foscari as a research fellow (2009-2013). In 2012 I won a Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellowship, which I completed (2013-2015) at the University of Birmingham (England). In 2015-2018 I was a Research Associate at Clarkson University and a Visiting Instructor at the University of Rochester, New York, USA. In 2018-2019 I was a postdoc researcher at the Foundation for Research and Technology, Greece. I returned to Ca' Foscari as a Researcher in November 2019.

What are your professional references?
During my career I have had the privilege to work in teams of researchers of the highest international level: they are my professional references. Roy M. Harrison, Queen Elizabeth II Centenary Prof. of Environmental Health, University of Birmingham, a genius in the study of air pollution and its effects on human health. Philip K. Hopke, Clarkson Distinguished Prof. Emeritus at Clarkson University, is a leading expert in multivariate statistical methods for environmental data analysis and pollutant source characterisation. Prof. Spyros Pandis (University of Patras and Carnegie Mellon University) and Athanasios Nenes (EPFL) are experts in photochemical smog and climate change multiphase atmospheric chemistry.

What do teaching and researching mean to you?
I have spent most of my academic career in research, a choice driven by the desire to study human processes that affect the Earth. I now feel the need to pass on my knowledge and passion to students in order to shape future generations of environmental scientists and make them more aware and prepared to address and solve complex current and upcoming environmental problems. My goal as a lecturer is not only to support and guide students in their interdisciplinary education, but also to develop their critical thinking, strengthen their problem solving skills, stimulate their ability to cooperate and promote their professional and personal development.

Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their career?
We are now facing environmental problems caused largely by population growth, the resulting depletion of natural resources and climate change. These problems require quick, effective and creative solutions that must be adopted globally. So we need a new generation of researchers who can investigate increasingly challenging and complex environmental problems, but who can also inform and raise the awareness of policymakers on environmental issues. The next researchers will have to find the causes of environmental problems, predict their effects and come up with possible solutions, which will not be the simplest but the best compromise between a sustainable environment and social and technological progress.

Last update: 24/05/2023