I am Konstantina, and my academic venture so far can be thought as a beam, whose trajectory, and property, are changing along its journey. The ray originated in Athens where, as the focus of my Master’s degree in Nuclear Physics, I bombarded natural Hf with neutron beams for reaction cross section measurements. Trading off neutron for laser beams, in 2017 I joined Stavros Lab Group as a PhD student , with my project’s title being “A Structure Dynamics Function Approach to Sunscreen Design”. In largely simpler terms this means, “Shoot laser beams at sunscreen molecules, see what happens”, and -truthfully- I couldn’t be happier about it!
In a bit more detail about my PhD project, I am interested in the photochemical and photophysical mechanisms that come into play upon ultraviolet (UV) irradiation.
During the first part of my PhD I studied the dynamics of the distinct molecular relaxation pathways for two separate types of molecules, by implementing ultrafast laser spectroscopy in gas phase. The first type were UV-absorbers (methyl anthranilate and homosalate) that are utilized as UV-blockers in commercially available sunscreens. The second type were biomolecule building blocks (pyrrole and pyrrole aldehyde), owing to their important role in biological photoprotection processes such as, e.g response to DNA damage by UV radiation.
In my current work I investigate the ultrafast dynamics of the UV-filter molecule methyl cinnamate in gas phase while I am about to take my first step into the more “realistic” -in terms of sunscreen applications- world of solution phase experiments!
In my spare time I enjoy being a substitute teacher at the Greek School of Coventry, as well as cooking, baking and eating!
J.M. Woolley, K.M. Krokidi, M.A.P. Turner, M.D. Horbury, V.G. Stavros and N.d.N.Rodrigues
Chem. Comm., 2019, Advance Article
(2) Substituent position effects on sunscreen photodynamics: A closer look at methyl anthranilate
N.d.N. Rodrigues, N.C. Cole-Filipiak, M.A.P. Turner, K. Krokidi, G.L. Thornton, G.W. Richings, N.D.M. Hine and V.G. Stavros
Chem. Phys., 515 (2018) 596