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Sara F. Camilleri

Postdoctoral Scholar

Ph.D. Environmental Science, University of Edinburgh
M.S. Physics, University of Malta
B.S. Maths and Physics, University of Malta
Curriculum Vitae

I am a postdoctoral researcher focusing on the impact of climate and emission change on atmospheric composition and the associated influences on human health. To achieve this, I work in multidisciplinary teams and use a mixture of methods including atmospheric chemistry modelling, field campaigns, and laboratory work. When I’m not studying air pollution, you can find me baking, knitting and enjoying nature.

My PhD research at the University of Edinburgh examined various impacts on key air pollutants, namely O3, NO2 and PM2.5 for both present-day and future scenarios and the corresponding influence on human health. My work highlighted the seasonal dependence of modelled O3, NO2 and PM2.5 concentrations at different model spatial resolutions across Europe. These differences add up to around a ±5% of the total mortality in health impact estimates. In addition, I estimated the future changes in O3, NO2 and PM2.5 concentrations based on emission estimates for the 2100s following different Representative Concentrations Pathways (RCPs) and population projections with respect to 2000s. Results suggested shifts in the PM2.5 composition for the future scenarios with respect to present day and an overall amplified health impact due to an increasing population even in cases where a decrease in the pollutant concentration was estimated.

Following my doctor degree, I started a 3-year postdoctoral position at the University of Malta focusing on indoor and outdoor air pollution interactions through ground measurements. Amongst other projects, I have studied indoor air pollution levels in a typical home in Malta brought about by normal daily household activities, quantified the trends in the Maltese air quality between 2008 and 2017 and analysed the impact of the COVID-19-related restrictions on outdoor NO2 and O3 concentrations across the Maltese Islands.

As part of the Climate Change Research Group at Northwestern, I simulate are pollutant concentrations over the Chicagoland area using the CMAQ model at the neighbourhood scale. This allows us to address several important policy relevant questions. One of which is the impact of shifting to an electric fleet both in terms of air pollution changes as well as the associated health impacts. My work also includes studying the disparities in air pollution exposure across different minorities.

Selected Publications

  • Fenech, S., Doherty, R. M., Heaviside, C., Vardoulakis, S., Macintyre, H. L., and O'Connor, F. M.: The influence of model spatial resolution on simulated ozone and fine particulate matter: implications for health impact assessments, Atmos. Chem. Phys.,, 2018.
  • Fenech, S., Aquilina N.J.: Trends in ambient ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate concentrations over the Maltese Islands and the corresponding health impacts, Sci. Total Environ.,, 2020.
  • Fenech, S., Aquilina N.J. and Vella, R.: COVID-19-related changes in NO2 and O3 concentrations and associated health effects in Malta, Front. Sustain. Cities,, 2021.
  • Fenech, S., Doherty, R. M., O'Connor, F. M., Heaviside, C., Macintyre, H. L., Vardoulakis, S., Agnew, P. and Neal, L.: Future air pollution related health burdens associated with RCP emission changes in the UK, Sci. Total Environ,, 2021.