Dr. Maya Al-Sid-Cheikh is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the UK NERC project RealRiskNano
Maya has a strong expertise in environmental analytical chemistry of the nanophase (i.e. marine, freshwater and soil) to assess the fate, behavior and biological impact of nanoparticles and new contaminants.
Dr. Al-Sid-Cheikh has a solid interest for new contaminants in marine systems such as metallic nanoparticles and more recently plastic nanoparticles. She is interested by the chemical aspects in the fate and behavior of these particles and their potential impact on living organisms. In her new project ‘RealRiskNano’, her works focus on: i) characterization of nanoplastics and aging mechanisms triggering litter plastic fragmentation, ii) investigating the stability of nanoplastics (i.e. microorg-agglomerate), their behavior and their fate in marine water system, then iii) interaction of nanoplastics, microorg-agglomerate and co-contaminant (e.g. phthalate, Cd2+) to identify their sorption/desorption mechanisms and assess the real risk of nanoplastics for marine organism.
Before, joining the team of Profs Rowland and Thompson in Plymouth, Maya worked in several laboratories in France, Canada and Switzerland. She first obtains a master in analytical chemistry were she worked on marine organic matter characterization in Arcachon bay (LPTC, Bordeaux I, France), she also obtain a Master degree (MSc) in oceanography by working on silver nanoparticles bioaccumulation in Chlamys islandica by radiolabelling (ISMER/UQAR, Canada). During her PhD, she investigated the impact of iron oxide nanoparticles on the mobility of traces metallic elements in riparian wetland soil (University of Rennes, France). Her work focused on the interaction of engineered iron oxide and natural iron oxides colloids with toxic metal such as As and Pb. A strong analytical development was produced during this project by combining: i) nanoSIMS (i.e. isotopic spatial distribution) and XANES (i.e. bulk speciation) analyses to characterize the interactions between iron oxides, natural organic matter and arsenic; ii) a size exclusion chromatography ICPMS coupling to investigate the role of nanoparticles as vector for toxic metal in any environment.
In addition, her journey brought her to participate and organize several oceanographic missions on the Gulf and Estuary of St. Lawrence during all seasons aboard the RV Coriolis II and the CCGC icebreaker Amundsen.
Maya maintains a close collaboration with some of her previous teams in Environment Canada, Fisheries and ocean Canada, and EAWAG.