I am investigating European structure vulnerabilities to wildfires under the amazing supervision of Professor Guillermo Rein. I recently joined Prof. Rein’s research team, Hazelab, in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London in the UK. Hazelab is dedicated to innovatively studying heat transfer, condensed-phase chemistry and the thermodynamics of fires, both within buildings and in the wild.
Prior to joining Pyrolife, I received a Master of Chemical Engineering from the University of Edinburgh. My bachelor’s thesis consisted of a group incinerator plant design, which introduced me to the complexities and beauty of fire chemistry and interdisciplinary teamwork. My master’s thesis presented my six months long field research in Guanajuato, Mexico, for local water-quality NGO Caminos the Agua, and Engineers without Borders UK. This work contributed to the development of sustainable adsorption filters, designed to purify contaminated groundwater to potable conditions. This meaningful experience highlighted the importance of understanding the local community, culture, and nature to generate useful research. Since finishing my studies, I have been involved in diverse short-term internships; I conducted market research in a small private photovoltaic company, investigated organic pollutants in wastewater treatment plants in central Italy, and most recently assisted an entrepreneur bio artist with her laboratory work and business plan.
PhD project 7 is part of Pyrolife’s Work Package 2: Risk Reduction. Inspired by the success of FireWise USA, this work package aims to reduce the wildfire vulnerabilities of home structures and their surroundings by simultaneously considering their specific fire threats and mechanisms, effective stakeholder engagement, and fire-resilient governance. My project will contribute to the Home Ignition Zone risk reduction component, by focusing on the immediate structure vulnerabilities in the Mediterranean. Through fire experiments and computer modeling, I will investigate the flammability and structural features of Mediterranean buildings in the wildland urban interface, with the objective of quantifying their resilience to heat, embers, and smoke.
The planned secondments for this project are at NFPA in the USA and at ITB in Poland. I hope to learn from the experience and data regarding the effect of construction materials and design to structure’s survivability at NFPA, and am excited to conduct large-scale fire experiments with experienced engineers at ITB.
I am extremely grateful and eager to contribute to this interdisciplinary and holistic project alongside inspiring and passionate colleagues.