Steinmetz Spotlight: Madison DiMauro ‘22


Madison DiMauro ’22 visits San Diego to present her thesis research at the national American Chemical Society Conference

Avanti Khare, Sci-Tech Editor

This week’s Steinmetz Spotlight is Madison DiMauro, a senior chemistry major from Portland, CT. Her research focuses on organic and inorganic UV filters such as the chemical compounds found in sunscreens.

She writes about her project, “There are two different types of active ingredients used in sunscreens: inorganic UV filters (like titanium or zinc based compounds), and organic UV filters (carbon based compounds). Inorganic UV filters work to protect your skin by reflecting the light. Organic UV filters protect your skin by absorbing the light. When this happens, the absorbed energy has to go somewhere and oftentimes the compounds will break down into other compounds. My project involves stimulating the photodegradation, the degradation when exposed to light, of an organic UV filter called OD-PABA to isolate its photoproducts in hopes of characterizing them and assessing them for toxicity. I am also looking at the process of the degradation of OD-PABA. I use a variety of wet chemistry and instrumentational chemistry methods to do this.”

When asked about the most rewarding aspect of the research process, DiMauro says, “Being able to communicate my results with other people in the field at conferences has been a great experience. Presenting my research as a whole complete work and seeing that it really does come together to tell a story is really satisfying.” She does note that the most challenging part of the research process is that “[her] project has a lot of facets as is between the toxicity and kinetics testing both being a big focus for [her]. [She still has] a lot of questions that [she] would love to answer through research, so sometimes it is really challenging to stay focused on just a narrow aspect of the field when there really is so much out there that [she] would also love to include.”