My interest in chemistry started back home in Slovakia where I attended the chemistry programme at Comenius University in Bratislava. Following my stay in the U.K. during the gap year I applied for the Analytical Chemistry Programme at Plymouth University and in 2011 I graduated with a First Class Honours in BSc Analytical Chemistry. During my studies I was awarded the Oxford University Press Prize in 2009 and P.S. Analytical Chemistry Prize in 2010 for best performance in the Analytical Chemistry Programme.
For my dissertation project I worked with Dr Anthony Lewis studying H-branch alkanes as part of on-going research into the unresolved complex mixtures (UCM) of crude oil. The project involved synthesis, analysis and investigation of the chromatographic properties of a C19 H-branch alkane, followed by comparison of the properties with those of other structurally similar C19 H-branch isomers.
In my final year I developed a great interest for chemistry research and studying for a PhD was something I have desired to do since then. For the two years prior to joining PEGG I worked at the National Laboratory Service of the Environment Agency working on a GC-MS Target Based Screening Method. In October 2013 I started my PhD studentship funded by Plymouth University under the supervision of Professor Simon Belt and Dr Thomas Brown during which I will expand on previous work using the novel sea ice diatom biomarker IP25. I will focus on developing our understanding of the use of the IP25 sea ice proxy from a palaeo-perspective and will further develop the use of other novel proxy methods for climate reconstruction in the Arctic and Antarctic.
- Belt S.T., Brown T.A., Smik L., Tatarek A., Wiktor J., Stowasser G., Assmy P., Allen C. and Husum K. (2017) Identification of C25 highly branched isoprenoid (HBI) alkenes in diatoms of the genus Rhizosolenia in polar and sub-polar marine phytoplankton. Organic Geochemistry 110, 65-72. [doi: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2017.05.007].
- Smik, L. and Belt S.T. (2017) Distributions of the Arctic sea ice biomarker proxy IP25 and two phytoplanktonic biomarkers in surface sediments from West Svalbard. Organic Geochemistry 105, 39-41. [doi: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2017.01.005].
- Belt, S.T., Smik, L., Brown, T.A., Kim, J.-H., Rowland, S.J., Allen, C.S., Gal, J.-K., Shin, K.-H., Lee, J.I. and Taylor, K.W.R. (2016) Source identification and distribution reveals the potential of the geochemical Antarctic sea ice proxy IPSO25. Nature Communications 7:12655. [doi: 10.1038/ncomms12655].
- Cabedo-Sanz, P., Smik, L. and Belt, S.T. (2016) On the stability of various highly branched isoprenoid (HBI) lipids in stored sediments and sediment extracts. Organic Geochemistry 97, 74-77. [doi: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2016.04.010].
- Smik, L., Cabedo-Sanz, P., Belt, S.T. (2016) Semi-quantitative estimates of paleo Arctic sea ice concentration based on source-specific highly branched isoprenoid alkenes: A further development of the PIP25 index. Organic Geochemistry 92, 63-69. [doi: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2015.12.007].
- Smik, L., Belt, S.T., Lieser, J., Armand, L.K. and Leventer, A. (2016) Distributions of highly branched isoprenoid alkenes and other algal lipids in surface waters from East Antarctica: Further insights for biomarker-based paleo sea-ice reconstruction. Organic Geochemistry 95, 71-80. [doi: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2016.02.011].
- Belt, S.T., Cabedo-Sanz, P, Smik, L., Navarro-Rodriguez, A., Berben, S.M. P., Knies, J. and Husum, K. (2015) Identification of paleo Arctic winter sea ice limits and the marginal ice zone: Optimised biomarker-based reconstructions of late Quaternary Arctic sea ice. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 431, 127-139. [doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.09.020].
- 12th International Conference on Paleoceanography, Utrecht, Netherlands, 29 August-2 September 2016. Poster presentation: "Source Identification and Distribution Reveals Potential of the Geochemical Antarctic Sea Ice Proxy IPSO25".
- EGU General Assembly 2016, Vienna, Austria, 17-22 April 2016. Poster presentation: "Development of Source Specific Diatom Lipids Biomarkers as Antarctic Sea Ice Proxies".
- NESSC Molecular Organic Biogeochemistry course 2015, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Texel, Netherlands, 2-6 November 2015. Oral presentation: "Variation in Algal Lipid Distribution in Seasonally Sea-Ice Covered Surface Waters from East Antarctica".
- UK Arctic Science Conference 2015, Sheffield, U.K., 16-18 September 2015. Poster presentation: "Identification of Paleo Arctic Winter Sea Ice Limits and the Marginal Ice Zone: Optimised Biomarker-based Reconstructions of Late Quaternary Arctic Sea Ice".
- 6th Annual Biogeochemistry Centre Conference, National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth, U.K., 17 December 2014. Oral presentation: "An Assessment of Highly Branched Isoprenoid (HBI) Alkenes as Antarctic Sea Ice Proxies".
- 25th Annual Meeting of the British Organic Geochemical Society, Liverpool John Moores Univesity, Liverpool U.K., 10-11 July 2014. Oral presentation: "A Spatial Assessment of a Di-unsaturated Highly Branched Isoprenoid (HBI) Alkene as an Antarctic Sea Ice Proxy".
- 3rd workshop of the PAGES Sea ice Proxy (SIP) working group - Sea ice proxy synthesis and data-model comparison, Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Bremerhaven, Germany, 23-25 June 2014. Poster presentation: "A Spatial Assessment of a Di-unsaturated Highly Branched Isoprenoid (HBI) Alkene as an Antarctic Sea Ice Proxy".
- Winter School on Sea Ice Variability in the Arctic - Past and Present Conditions, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsų, Norway, 30 March-4 April 2014. Poster presentation: "Analysis of the Sea Ice Biomarker IP25 in Marine Sediments from the Barents Sea".
- 5th Annual Biogeochemistry Centre Conference, Plymouth University, Plymouth, U.K., 12 December 2013. Oral presentation: "It's Not an Ordinary Sediment! - Suitability Assessment of Sediment Material from Barrow Strait (Canadian Arctic) for Use as Reference Sediment in Analysis of Biomarker Proxy IP25".