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Dr Alina Astefanei has been appointed as tenure track researcher in the Analytical Chemistry group of the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS). Her research focuses on the development and implementation of new analytical tools to solve problems of high societal relevance. Target materials of her research are organic nanoparticles (e.g. carbon NPs and nanoplastics), organic colorants, and proteins.

Dr Astefanei has been appointed within the framework of the Connecting Science programme of the UvA Faculty of Science, stimulating research that has an impact on science and society. It aims at connecting disciplines, strengthening academic collaborations, and creating an environment where co-creation with public and private partners can flourish. The programme is funded through the Dutch national 'Sectorplan' scheme for Chemistry, Computer science, Mathematics and Physics.

Alina Astefanei
Alina Astefanei. Image: HIMS.

The main research field of Alina Astefanei is analytical chemistry, with technologies including ambient mass spectrometry, field-flow fractionation (AF4-MALS), and hyphenated (LC-MS) systems, and with a focus on applications in the domains of cultural heritage and environmental science.

Prior to her tenure track appointment as an assistant professor at HIMS, Alina Astefanei has worked at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE). There she developed improved and dedicated analytical methods to study key organic molecules (dyes, pigments, binding media) in cultural heritage objects (i.e. textiles, paints). She used these to study the changes occurring as a consequence of ageing and upon the interactions with other organic components present in the samples. RCE will continue to be one of her main collaborators, with ongoing and future joint projects.

SCM award for best young scientist

Alina Astefanei obtained her MSc from Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, România, in 2010. She then moved to the University of Barcelona where she received her PhD in 2015 with the distinction cum laude, for her research in analytical chemistry concerning fullerene nanoparticles. She developed and implemented analytical methodologies (AF4-MALS, capillary electrophoresis and LC-MS) that facilitated the analysis and characterization of these emerging contaminants in environmental and cosmetic samples. That year, during the International Symposium on the Separation and Characterization of Natural and Synthetic Macromolecules (SCM-7) in Amsterdam, she received the SCM award for the best young scientist.

After her PhD, Alina was a postdoctoral researcher in the Biomolecular Systems Analytics group at HIMS-UvA. She has been involved in developing ambient mass spectrometry (surface-acoustic-wave nebulization, SAWN-MS) and LC-MS methodologies for various applications in art conservation, proteomics, environmental studies and forensics. She collaborated with the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE), other groups within the UvA Faculty of Science (SusChem, Computational chemistry, IOP), industrial partners (KWR, Shell), and the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI).

UvA personal page of Alina Astefanei

Visit the website of the Centre for Analytical Sciences Amsterdam (CASA) that combines the expertise of the analytical chemistry groups from the University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.