Effect-based monitoring of pharmaceutical pollution in Ireland
The EMPIRE project will provide the first comprehensive investigation into the applicability of effect-based biomonitoring (EBM) for pharmaceutical pollutants, using both in vivo and in vitro bioassays to assess the quality of Irish surface waters. The applicability of existing bioassays for detection of pharmaceutical contamination is also addressed and, and the project will inform research direction in this area. This research is timely as the extension of an EBM approach to emerging contaminants has recently been identified as warranted at EU level, so the outputs of the research will inform and enable future policy development to protect and enhance the quality of Irish drinking water sources.
The research aims to meet an ambitious set of goals and objectives by using a combination of state of the art techniques and expertise, building on capacity from current and previous research funded by the EPA and others. A comprehensive desk study on the life cycle of pharmaceuticals and occurrence of pharmaceuticals in Irish waters has been carried out. This is being used to inform on selection of target analytes some of which include pharmaceuticals on the EPA Watch List, along with a selection of other commonly found prescription and over the counter medicines, and catchment area based on existing datasets. The analytical methods for quantification of these pharmaceuticals is currently being optimised at DCU under the EPA funded IMPACT project and this will be leveraged into EMPIRE. Ecotoxicological assessment of selected sites will be performed using in vivo bioassay techniques, both in the field and by establishment of an indoor mesocosm at DCU, to allow assessment of the effects of controlled exposure of macroinvertebrates to mixtures.
In addition, physiological endpoints of the target pharmaceuticals above are being tested by first establishing a potential list of in vitro bioassays which may exhibit an effect-based response for pharmaceutical contamination. The selected bioassays are to be challenged with the target analytes for effect on the subcellular level and those that show an appropriate response will be used to characterise water quality as part of case studies of Irish surface water sites in conjunction with profiling of the pharmaceutical contamination of the sites. It is hoped that the findings of this study will serve as a proof of concept and validation of effect-based monitoring tools in addition to the generation of data on the environmental impact of the selected pharmaceuticals.
Dublin City university
Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland
This project is funded under the EPA Research Programme 2014-2020. The EPA Research Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. It is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has the statutory function of co-ordinating and promoting environmental research.
Postdoctoral Fellow profile
As a postdoctoral researcher on the EMPIRE project, my work focuses on the development of bioassays that are applicable for monitoring of biological activities of pharmaceutical contaminants in Irish waters. My primary role is to review pharmaceuticals selected from EPA CEC list as well as other reported contaminants from different organisations such as the NORMAN network and map out the possible mode of actions (MOAs) of these pharmaceuticals. From these, a priority MOA list is developed. This is then used to identify suitable bioassays that can be employed to develop effect-based measures of the pharmaceutical pollutants in different matrices. A cocktail of these pollutants are to be tested by the identified bioassays to aid the assessment of possible effects on human and aquatic lives and subsequently as a measure of surface water quality. As a skilled molecular biologist, I have actively worked over the past 8 years in different capacities from research assistants to PhD research and currently as a postdoctoral researcher on the EMPIRE project (since October of 2019), gaining experience in toxicology and immunology research. I completed my PhD research at the FOCAS Research Institute of Technological University Dublin Ireland (2016 – 2020), where my research was on investigation of the impact of surface modification of silver nanoparticle on enhancement of the nanoparticle delivery, toxicity on different cell models. In addition, my research investigated the role of this nanoparticle modification on the suppression the associated inflammatory response of the nanoparticle in vitro. I also hold a master’s degree in molecular medicine from the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom in (2012 – 2013) and a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Lagos State University in Nigeria (2005 – 2009).
Date: 30th November 2021 10:00 am Click on the button below to register or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Zoom event
EMPIRE-DCU first workshop on the need for effect-based monitoring of chemical pollutants in Irish surface waters
Programme: The EMPIRE-DCU project is funded under the EPA Research Programme 2021-2030. The EPA Research Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.