Dr. Lai earned a PhD in the Environmental Chemistry & Technology program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her doctoral research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison focused on the sources and chemical composition of atmospheric fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in diverse locations including China, Myanmar, Ethiopia, and the United States.
At Weizmann, in the Faculty of Chemistry, Dr. Lai will broaden her research to investigate the mechanisms driving the biological effects of exposure to PM2.5 from burning biomass (e.g. wood, crop residues, and other organic matter used as a fuel), which have been studied considerably less than those of other major PM2.5 sources, such as traffic. She will conduct biological assays using organic and aqueous extracts of PM2.5 from field samples as well as from laboratory-generated tar balls, a proxy for biomass burning PM2.5. Broadly, Dr. Lai aspires to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between PM2.5 sources/composition and their biological effects.
These field samples are part of a study with investigators in Canada (McGill University), the US (Colorado State, National Center for Atmospheric Research, and UW-Madison), the UK (Imperial College London), and China (Tsinghua University). Dr. Lai is looking forward to continuing and extending her international research collaborations through the Zuckerman Fellowship.