Claire Gervais, Professor

Claire Claire received her M.S. degree in Material Sciences and Ph.D. degree in Physical Chemistry in 2002 at the University of Rouen, France . From 2002 to 2005, she worked at the University of Bern, Switzerland as a postdoctoral fellow, focusing on the prediction of physical properties in organic molecular crystals by means of molecular modeling tools. From 2005 to 2007, she worked at the University of Georgia, USA where she developed Monte Carlo tools for studying the thermodynamic properties of membrane proteins.
She then focused her interests towards cultural heritage, with an emphasis on stone conservation, structural and chemical investigation of pigments and use of synchrotron techniques for the study of museum artefacts and ancient materials. In 2008 she became a visiting scholar at the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute in Washington DC, USA where she was active in setting up a scientific collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the synchrotron SOLEIL, France, as well as developing new methods to investigate pigment-substrate-environment interactions. It was followed in 2011 by a brief stay at the Department of Art Technology atthe Swiss Institute for Art Research.
Since March 2012, she has been granted an SNSF Professorship (section II, Physical Chemistry) by the Swiss National Science Foundation at the Bern University of the Arts, with a 60% full-time equivalent to accommodate "Mother" and "Lab" hood.

Clemence Iacconi, Future PhD student

Clemence Project: Photochemistry of Prussian blue - Zinc white mixtures in oil paintings by chemical imaging and synchrotron techniques. Influence of light wavelength on the photoreduction of Prussian blue in cyanotypes.
Clémence received her master in Chemistry at the École polytechnique de Lausanne under my supervision and in collaboration with Prof. Jacques-Edouard Moser. During her master, she investigated the photochemistry of Prussian blue / Zinc white mixtures in oil paintings. By using a combination of X-ray absorption spectroscopy at the Fe and Zn-edge, synchrotron microphotoluminescence and Raman spectroscopy, she could highlight the main mechanisms responsible for the photodegradation of the paint system. She is now still involved in deciphering the photochemistry of Prussian blue, however in another type of systems, namely in photographic prints called cyanotypes.

Jorge Martinez Garcia, Postdoctorate

Jorge Project: Big data image processing for cultural heritage.
Jorge received his Ph.D. degree in Materials Science in 2008 at the University of Trento, Italy some years after to be graduated in Physics at the University of Havana Cuba. From 2008 to 2012 he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratories of Crystallography of the EPF Lausanne and ETH Zurich and at the group of Materials Science and Simulations of the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). His research activities were focused on the structure and microstructure analysis of polycrystalline materials from high resolution X-ray diffraction data and the modeling and optimization of physical properties of technologically important highly porous materials by means of numerical simulations and image processing analysis. From 2012 to 2014 he worked as senior scientist at the Lucerne University of Applied Science and Arts in the field of energy conversion systems, where he developed a mathematical model and a computer program to study the heat and mass transfer processes occurring during biomass-energy conversion and optimize key material properties. From 2015 on, he has further expanded his domaine of expertise into the fields of computer science, stochastic systems & statistical modeling as external auditor at ETH Zurich.
Since January 2017, Jorge is now in charge for automatizing and developing a cloud computing framework that will allow us to manage and efficiently investigate large amounts of data generated from microstructural and chemical imaging, a necessary step towards the statistical analysis of cultural heritage collections.

Matthias Kocsis, Master student in conservation

Matthias Project: Biomineralization of stone monuments.
Matthias is student in conservation-restoration at the Bern university of the Arts. He has undertaken his master project under my suoervision to understand the chemical process behind the biomineralisation of stone, a conservation procedure that aims at regenerating and reenforcing the surface of weathered stones. Matthias's project is thought to be the first step towards the development of a chemical imaging procedure for the assessment and understanding of the biomineralization process.

Former students

Mathieu Jacot-Guillarmod, PhD. student (2014-2019)

PhD thesis, Department of Physics, University of Bern
Project: Development of tomographic procedures to investigate iron-based corroded archaeological artifacts.

Giulia Moretti, PhD. student (2014-2018)

PhD thesis, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bern
Project: Development of measurement methodologies for understanding Prussian blue degradation.

Clemence Iacconi, Master student (Spring 2017)

EPFLMaster thesis, Department of Chemistry, Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne
Project: Photochemistry of Prussian blue - Zinc white mixtures in oil paintings by chemical imaging and synchrotron techniques.

Anna-Barbara Liechti, Master student (Fall 2016)

Master thesis, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bern
Project: Spectroscopic imaging of biogenic vs abiotic calcite in consolidated stone monuments.

Celine Buser, Master student (Fall 2016)

Master thesis, Conservation-Restoration, Bern University of the Arts
Project: Umgang mit einem Objekt in unge- wöhnlichem Ausstellungskontext. Die ozeanische Schallrohrmaske im Eingang der Fondation Beyeler : Konservierungsstrategien in Bezug auf ihre Materialien und ihre Funktion für die Kunstsammlung.

Louise Chassouant, Master student (Spring 2016)

EPFLSemester project, Department of Chemistry, Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne
Project: Étude des marqueurs pour tags/graffitis: Analyse FTIR et exploitation du profil chimique.
co-supervision with Prof. Massonnet, institut de police scientifique, Université de Lausanne

Baptiste Clerc, Bachelor student (Spring 2015)

Bachelor thesis, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bern
Project: Corrosion processes of iron rebars in monuments: 3D spectroscopic study of the iron corrosion products.