Scientific Research

Preparing textile samples for extended exposure to linalool (credit: Laura Mina)

Melissa is currently performing research on the use of linalool (a common fragrance) to determine if it has fungicidal or fungistatic properties on textile objects. She will also be doing various testing of silk and cotton textiles after exposure to the volatile organic compound and artificial aging to determine any deleterious effects. In order to do this, Melissa will be using the following analytical techniques:

  • SEM
  • Yellowness and Whiteness Indices ASTM E313-15
  • DMA tensile strength
  • py-GCMS evolved gas analysis
  • pH of cold extract
  • water-angle tests to determine variance in polarities.

The research is a follow-up from the 2005 and 2007 research by Rakotonirainy and Lavédrine on library and archive materials. The research has involved consultation with microbiologists from the University of Delaware, Dr. Julie Maresca and Nancy Gregory. Melissa has been in charge of researching biological laboratory protocols and determining proper supplies and equipment to set up a microbiological lab space at the Winterthur Research Building.

You can learn more about the research and read the proposal here.

Culturing fungal colonies from a cotton textile (credit: Jessie Kraft)

Course in Instrumental Techniques

Scanning Electron Microscope image of the Aspergillus niger with its fungal fruiting body. (source:

During Fall 2018 semester, Melissa took the course, “Instrumental Techniques for the Study of Cultural Heritage.” The course was designed to gain working familiarity of a variety of instrumental analysis techniques including:

  • X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF)
  • X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDS, SED, and BSD)
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry (UV-Vis)
  • Fiber optics reflectance spectroscopy (FORS)
  • Thin-layer chromatography (TLC)
  • Gas chromatography (GC), gas chromatography with pyrolysis (py-GC)
  • Liquid chromatography (LC)
  • Mass spectrometry (MS)
  • Photo diode array (PDA)
  • Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization (MALDI)
  • Time of Flight-Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS)
  • Inductively coupled mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)