Caterina Cacciatori

My name is Caterina Cacciatori and I am newly joining the YWPIT group, nice to meet you!

As you might imagine, I have been quite passionate about water for a bit now!

I am a trained Environmental Engineer and researcher in water quality. In my studies, I was very lucky to move around, both spatially to different countries, as well as through various topics of water management and engineering. During my undergraduate studies at the Technical University in Berlin, I collaborated with the Berlin Water Company to investigate an enzymatic bioassay for fast microbiological quality testing of the city’s drinking water. At Tokyo University, where I conducted my research-based advanced studies, I had the chance to investigate the application of artificial intelligence and deep learning to model fouling and particle depositions on microfiltration membranes[1].  Struck and intimidated by the complexity of such a topic and the lack of connection I had with society, I decided to embark (once more) on a social studies degree in “Environment, Development and Peace” at the University for Peace in Costa Rica. There, I focused on the complex relationship between sustainable development, natural resources, and peace, and I realised the importance of interdisciplinarity and engagement of people to understand, elaborate and solve water quality-related issues. The intertwining of scientific training, passion for societal issues, and interest in art and culture eventually brought me to where I am now. 

Currently, I am employed as a scientific project officer in the Ocean and Water unit at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, located in Ispra, Italy. There I work for the citizens’ engagement project “The Gems of Water”[2], which aims to involve citizens to monitor water quality for the presence of organic contaminants, such as pesticides, pharmaceutical, and industrial compounds by supporting advanced technology for detection. The project supports the World Water Quality Alliance (WWQA)[3] Social Engagement platform and is part of a collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS/Water). Full of energy and motivation, I have recently decided to embark on a Ph.D. at RMIT AQUEST in Melbourne, Australia, where I research, assess, and compare the applicability of the Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction (SBSE) method for sampling and monitoring pesticides in waters for citizen engagement projects. I am interested in possible linkages between pesticides occurrence with context-related factors, such as local pesticide application practices, presence of regulations and guidelines, and land use. When some energy from working and studying is left, I make sure I spend it running in the woods and dancing. I have a real crush on trees!  I am quite a curious and creative person, I like to spend my time looking at and doing art, as well as writing short stories and poems. I am excited at the possibility of using storytelling to share scientific knowledge on water.

[1] https://doi.org/10.3390/w12082225

[2] https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC133408

[3] https://wwqa.info/

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