Postgraduate Research in Environmental – Chemical Analysis, Dublin City University, Ireland

Chemical analysis of novel contaminants in the Irish aquatic environment and their potential to bioconcentrate and bioaccumulate up the food chain.

Funding Agency: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Environment Heritage and Local Government.

Description: The project shall concentrate on using established techniques to measure novel environmental contaminants, particularly pharmaceuticals in the Irish aquatic environment and their bioconcentration ability. The various pharmaceuticals under investigation (including antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, lipid regulators, anti-convulsants and beta-blockers), are known to be present in Irish municipal effluents. Chemical analysis of pharmaceuticals in treated municipal effluent and receiving waters (freshwater and marine) shall be undertaken using solid phase extraction (SPE) followed by analysis by LC/MS/MS to identify and quantify these compounds.

The ability of these compounds to bioconcentrate shall be investigated by chemical analysis on various tissues from bioindicator species, marine and freshwater bivalve mussels (Mytilus edulis and the zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha respectively) exposed in vivo and in situ to individual compounds, mixtures and complex effluents. Bioaccumulation through the food chain with the potential for human exposure shall also be investigated using multi-tropic level studies.

The student shall be primarily based in the Irish Separation Science Cluster (ISSC) lab in DCU where the chemical analysis shall be undertaken, but shall be working as part of a team on an EPA funded environmental toxicology project located in the Irish Centre for Environmental Toxicology (ICET) in GMIT, where all in vivo and exposure aspects of the project shall be undertaken. Project supervision shall be from both DCU (Prof Brett Paull) and GMIT (Dr Brian Quinn), with the degree awarded from DCU.

Requirements / Background: Candidates should posses a primary degree (minimum II:I) in a relevant discipline (Chemistry). A good understanding and experience of liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry is an advantage. Computer literacy is essential. Candidates must have European driving licence, be willing to travel to various test sites around the country and to visit/work in GMIT on occasion. Studentship is subject to performance that is satisfactory to both DCU/GMIT and the EPA.

Project Start-Date: May 2010
Project Duration: 2 years (with possible transfer to PhD register).
Conditions: €1,333.33 per month plus fees and travel budget.
Closing Date: 5 pm Friday 9th April, 2010.

Application forms (available here or here ) should be completed and submitted with a covering letter and copy of your CV to:
Prof Brett Paull, Irish Separation Science Cluster, Dublin City University, Glasnevin, Dublin 9.
Email: brett.paull[at]

Further Information on the project may be obtained from: Dr. Brian Quinn at brian.quinn[at]


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