Dr. Fiorella Barraza, Postdoctoral Fellow

As a postdoctoral fellow working on the Metals vs Minerals project, Dr. Barraza is analyzing the impacts of atmospheric dust deposition (from bitumen mines, dry tailings, gravel roads) on the speciation of trace elements in snowmelt and peatland surface waters. The aim of this study is to determine the distribution size of trace elements in the snow and the percentage associated with the coarse versus fine aerosol fractions.

As a Peruvian biologist with an MSc in Environmental Sciences and a PhD in Biogeochemistry (both at the University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse 3, France), Dr. Barraza has an excellent understanding of the transfer and translocation of non-essential trace elements in the soil-plant system, with a focus on cadmium in cocoa crops.

Furthermore, she has worked in different research projects in Bolivia, Ecuador and French Guyana, concerning the environmental and health impacts of extractive activities such as mining, oil production and agriculture. Dr. Barraza currently advises her Peruvian colleagues about heavy metals studies in tropical crops working with the Institute of Tropical Crops, as well as air quality issues from an industrial coastal city, along with the National University of Moquegua.

In her free time, Fiorella enjoys travelling (18 countries and still counting), reading crime and historical novels, and writing. She would like to publish a children’s book inspired by the life of her traveler nephew, Luca. Moreover, she supports a charity institution in Peru which aims to improve the quality of life for children living in the Andes.