our Crew

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DR. ROMAN LEHNER 

Scientific Project Leader & Co-founder

Roman did research on the topic of micro- and nanoplastics and their possible impacts on human health at the Adolphe Merkle Institute in Fribourg. He designed a worldwide first human 3D in vitro intestinal model to assess the possible adverse effects of ingested microplastics such as inflammatory responses. Furthermore he is performing the world’s first study on the effects on human immune cells when exposed to environmentally-relevant microplastics. In addition he is researching on the production of nanoplastic particles that can be used as first marker particles allowing the investigation of possible adverse effects and cellular interactions. He also spent several years as a scientific guide on marine biological excursions and sailing trips. 

roman@sailandexplore.com

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DR. ORNELLA CÉLINE WEIDELI

Scientific Expedition Leader 

Ornella is a biologist that has been studying shark ecology for the past twelve years. Following numerous jobs as a research assistant in the US, Seychelles, and French Polynesia, Ornella started her PhD at the PSL Research University in collaboration with the Save Our Seas Foundation - D'Arros Research Centre (SOSF - DRC) and the CRIOBE. She investigated the coexistence of two juvenile reef shark species and the possible effects of competition on the species' ecological niches. After receiving her PhD in 2020, Ornella continues to be involved in multiple international collaborations investigating the trophic ecology and anthropogenic impacts on the ecology and physiology of sharks. To raise awareness of these charismatic but threatened species, Ornella shares her knowledge through public presentations, media engagements, and as a scientific expedition leader. 

ornella@sailandexplore.com 
www.ornellaweideli.com

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DR. FLORIAN BREIDER

Scientific Collaborator Switzerland, EPFL 

Florian is the head of the Central Environmental Laboratory at EPFL which conducts research and provides services in the fields of environmental analytical chemistry and molecular biology. His research on the plastic pollution focuses on (i) the interactions between microplastics and organic and inorganic micropollutants, (ii) the characterization of tire particles and their toxicity, (iii) the fate of microplastics in biological fluids (e.g. gastric, intestinal and lung fluids), (iv) the distribution and transport of microplastics in the aquatic environment and (v) the development of analytical tools to detect and characterize micro- and nanoplastics in water, sediment and the biota. 

florian.breider@epfl.ch
https://www.epfl.ch/labs/gr-cel/

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DR. CHRISTOPHER KIM PHAM

Scientific Collaborator Azores, IMAR

Chris is a research associate at the Okeanos R&D Center, University of the Azores. He is leading the marine litter research group that focus their research on understanding the risks of plastic debris for the Azores marine ecosystem. His research includes quantifying the abundance of plastics across different compartments, from the surface down to the seafloor to understand pathways but also the presence of plastics in different key biota. He is the principal investigator of various research projects focused on this topic and on other topic related to human impacts in the oceans.

christopher.k.pham@uac.pt

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DR. KHAY FONG

Scientific Collaborator Australia, University Newcastle

Khay is a researcher and lecturer in chemistry at the University of Newcastle. Heartbreak at seeing plastic pollution in pristine environments has led her to team up with Sail and Explore to investigate and educate. Through innovative teaching, she hopes that changing habits through education will help to conserve the environment for future generations. Thus, alongside her research into nanomaterials for biomedical applications she also is interested in understanding the level of microplastic pollution around the Great Barrier Reef with a focus on smaller sized microplastics below 300µm.

khay.fong@newcastle.edu.au

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MADDISON CARBERY, PhD Candidate

Scientific Collaborator Australia, University Newcastle

Maddison has spent the past 10 years working, volunteering and researching in the marine space. She has partnered with various NGOs, industries and governments to improve the health of Australian coastal environments through community education and the development of environmental policy and management options. Maddison is currently completing her PhD at The University of Newcastle where she conducts research on microplastics in the Australian marine environment to better understand their interaction with chemical contaminants, and impacts on valuable marine food webs and human health. Maddison joined forces with Sail & Explore to help raise awareness of plastic pollution among the international community in the hopes of inspiring behaviour change around the use and disposal of consumer plastics. 

maddison.carbery@uon.edu.au

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JOHANNA WIEDLING, MsC

Scientific Collaborator Italy, AQUEIS

Johanna has spent most of the last 10 years on the island of Elba in Italy. Here she works as a dive instructor, snorkel guide, marine biology tutor, research diver, and scientist. Her fascination with marine species, their habitats, and ecological processes is rather wide than specific: she studied shallow-water methane seeps as well as zooplankton distribution in a Vietnamese MPA as well as the degradation of bioplastics in marine systems. She enjoys every day by, on, and in the sea especially when there are people to share this interest in the marine environment with. Currently, she works as a freelance marine ecologist in citizen sciences projects supervising field experiments, and as an environmental educator.

www.aqueis.org

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ADRIANA KOSTIW

Skipper 

Adriana is a professional sailor and took part in the 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games in Athens and London. She won the bronze medal at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2007. For more than 25 years she is a private coach & coordinator for several sailing schools and yacht clubs. She crossed 7 times the Atlantic and sailed the Mediterranean, the Baltic sea, the coast of South America (Brazil – Patagonia), the Caribbean sea as well as in the Solent around the UK. Adriana is an MCA Yachtmaster ocean with more than 80’000 nautical miles of sailing experience. 

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JOHN PARSONS

Skipper 

John began sailing in his native Australia. He has worked as a professional skipper and sailing instructor on the Australian east and north coasts. Cruised the Indonesian archipelago and crossed the Indian Ocean. In the northern hemisphere he has sailed the Mediterranean, as well as Atlantic Europe including Scotland and a circumnavigation of Ireland. He ran his own sailing business with his wife in Sardinia and Corsica and has been contracted as a private skipper. John is an RYA commercially endorsed Yachtmaster.

www.oceanwind.ch

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SANDRO BOLLARDINI

Skipper

Sandro has seen over 50 Countries around the world, the most of them with a Sailing Yacht. He shares his passion for the Ocean as Sailing Teacher or as Freediving Instructor.

www.sail-freedive.ch

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JULIA DONCHI

Consultant

Julia is a Swiss-trained lawyer and a sailor with 20 years’ sailing experience, mostly in and around England and the North Sea.