It is widely known that large amounts of plastic waste are finding their way into the environment. These macroplastics can break down into so-called microplastics, or even smaller, nanoplastics.  Little is known about their chemistry, morphology and possible health effects for mankind. Especially for embryos, these health effects should be mapped out, since fetal development is such an important and complicated process.
My project focuses on the in-depth characterization of micro- and nanoplastics in maternal and fetal tissues. The aim is to gain insight into their morphology and chemistry, by combining several characterization techniques, such as IR spectroscopy, AFM, DLS and GCMS. In this project, sponsored by the European Union and part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, we work together with 10 other universities. These partners focus on high-throughput methods for large scale health studies and on toxicological and epidemiological studies to assess exposure and health effects. In this way, we create a roadmap for early-life risk assessment of micro- and nanoplastics and help to create actionable tools for stakeholders and policy makers.
 Gigault, J. et al. Current opinion: What is a nanoplastic? Environmental Pollution 235, 1030–1034 (2018)
2021 – present
PhD candidate at the Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis group, Utrecht University
Project: In-depth characterization of micro- and nanoplastics in maternal and fetal tissues, supervised by dr. Florian Meirer and prof. dr. ir. Bert Weckhuysen
2019 – 2021
Master Science and Business Management, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Master thesis at the Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis group: ‘Plastic Thin Film Degradation in Ocean-Like Environments’, supervised by dr. Ina Vollmer and prof. dr. ir. Bert Weckhuysen
Master internship in business management at a.s.r. Mortgages: ‘Effects of retrofitting Dutch residential dwellings on carbon footprint and their communication towards customers and stakeholders’, supervised by Herbert Meinders and dr. Leendert de Bell
Bachelor Chemistry, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Bachelor thesis at the Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis group: ‘Bimetallic Exchanged ZSM-5 for the Valorization of CO2 into Hydrocarbons’, supervised by dr. Matteo Monai and prof. dr. ir. Bert Weckhuysen
This summer, Laura spent a couple of week in New York City to visit a partner from her consortium. You might have already seen some astonishing pictures from Central Park […]Read more