The second half of 2022 began with Ali’s virtual participation in the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP) 2022. There, he presented his work on the methodological assessment of mercury (Hg) determination in foliage samples and the associated seasonal Hg isotope signatures in different forest settings in Slovenia. It was during this time that the need to improve the efficiency of the current Hg pre-concentration method was recognized. Consequently, he successfully optimized an existing pre-concentration method for analyzing Hg isotopes in foliage samples with low Hg concentrations. The implementation of the proposed Hg pre-concentration method not only allowed him to prepare and analyze additional samples for Hg isotopic signatures but will also be beneficial to the wider scientific community adopting this method. This also expanded his dataset and provided a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. Other important events in 2022 included a training course on the metrology of uncertainty associated with Hg measurements, as well as a field trip to the Gulf of Trieste for the measurement of Dissolved Gaseous Mercury (DGM) and Reactive Mercury (RM) in seawater samples.

The year 2023 started with his participation in the annual GMOS-Train meeting in Hamburg, Germany where he presented his work on the optimized Hg pre-concentration method. Although a significant portion of 2023 was dedicated to parental responsibilities, he was able to publish his work on Hg pre-concentration method optimization in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (ABC). We congratulate him on this achievement. In addition, his collaborations with other Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) 2 and 10 in their respective projects resulted in co-authored publications in peer-reviewed journals. He virtually presented his work progress in the GMOS-Train mid-term meeting held in Nantes, France later that year.

Looking forward to the following year, Ali has an exciting list of tasks planned. His primary focus will be on finalizing his publications and preparing the thesis for submission, in addition to spending time in the laboratory. He is eagerly anticipating the opportunity to share his work and interact with people at the ICMGP 2024. He believes it will be a great platform to exchange ideas, learn from others, and make new connections. He is very excited to attend this event.