Keeping an eye on air particles
Reyna made an excellent start to her career; she gained a doctorate in Meat/Food Technology and went on to hold research and lecturing positions at a number of universities in both the UK and Mexico.
She took a career break in 2005 but by 2008 was ready to return to work. Finding a position proved difficult as she seemed to be too highly qualified for many positions and too specialised for others. Reyna was considering retraining in a different area when she heard about the Daphne Jackson Trust.
“After I was told about the DJT, I went to the website. As I navigated through the pages of the Trust, my heart started beating faster and a huge smile appeared in my face. It was as if they knew about me and they were describing my situation. The DJT Fellowship and I fitted perfectly with each other. It felt just right. It was perfect for my circumstances: I was looking for a part time job so that I could be with my children after school; I wanted to start from the beginning and not just jump at a new venture when I was full of insecurities. I was going to be retrained to be able to catch up with technology.”
Reyna commenced her fellowship in May 2010 at Cranfield University, in the Centre for Energy and Resource Technology. “I am indeed enjoying the fellowship and everything that has come with it. From the very first phone call my self-confidence improved. I feel valued, inspired to be the person I want to be and encouraged to embrace all of the aspects of my life.”
Reyna’s research involves the detection and monitoring of particles suspended in the air around garden waste composting facilities. These particles, called bioaerosols, are caused by the breakdown of the green waste and can exist in large numbers around such facilities, as the green waste is mechanically shredded and turned to accelerate the composting process.
While such composting facilities reduce the amount of waste taken to landfill and so help local authorities improve their recycling rate, the bioaerosols produced have the potential to cause health problems for people living and working nearby. By studying the dispersion modelling of these bioaerosols, it will be possible to establish the distance at which they are no longer suspended in the air. Authorities in the UK will then be able to build additional compositing facilities confident in their ability to protect the health of communities and fulfil their obligations to reduce landfill according to the EU directives.
Reyna says, “It is fascinating how learning from a process that has taken place in nature from the beginning of time, in conjunction with sophisticated technology, is providing a solution for some of our man-made pollution problems.”
After completing her fellowship, Reyna aims to continue her research at Cranfield University. “I am truly grateful to the DJT, not just for their support but also for the very efficient services they provide, from basic communication to answering all of my questions and the organisation of the very useful courses. I am also grateful to NERC for sponsoring my fellowship and to Cranfield University for their open arms welcome.”