Project Title

EMPIRE – Effect Based Monitoring for Pharmaceutical Pollution in Ireland

Project Partners

Other partners include:

Lead PIs

Prof Fiona Regan
Dr Jenny Lawler
Dr Blanaid White
Dr Linda Holland
Dr Anne Parle-McDermott
Dr Denise Harold
Dr Thomas McCloughlin
Dr Konstantinos Gkrintzalis
Dr Kieran Nolan

Funded By

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.

Project Summary

EMPIRE will pilot effect based monitoring for pharmaceuticals in Irish surface water catchments, utilising bioassays validated by chemical methods, led by a multidisciplinary team of investigators mentoring two research students and a postdoctoral researcher. In vivo and in vitro bioassays for monitoring of cellular/subcellular responses will be assessed for applicability and challenged with complex cocktail low dose mixtures of pharmaceuticals of interest in the Irish context; a life cycle analysis of pharmaceuticals in Ireland will inform the research. Transcriptomic and bioinformatics analysis of gene expression in invertebrates exposed to pharmaceutical exosome will elucidate novel pathways to exposure which will be used to develop further the body of knowledge in this area, supplemented by analysis of tissue pharmaceutical concentrations. Combined bioassay and chemical methods of effect based monitoring will be applied in a two tiered SIMONI strategy for monitoring of targeted surface water catchments in Ireland. The outputs of the research will be: a pharmaceutical lifecycle assessment and data on occurrence of pharmaceuticals in Irish surface waters; the validation of bioassays for biological and community effects of pharmaceuticals; identification of novel gene pathways in invertebrates exposed to pharmaceuticals; and the pilot study of EBM for pharmaceuticals in Irish surface water catchments.


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