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Chemical analysis and bioaccumulation of ‘forever chemicals’ in aquatic organisms

   Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience

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  Dr I Kourtchev  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The aims of this work are (i) to develop a platform for the analysis of PFAS (incl. GenX) at environmentally realistic concentrations (i.e. trace levels) in water and complex biological matrices and (ii) to investigate bioaccumulation, bioconcentration and toxicity of PFAS on marine bio-organisms.

Research Questions
• What are the best instrument’s parameters (e.g. chromatographic conditions, MS parameters, ionisation sources) for identification of PFAS at trace levels in environmental and biological samples?
• What are the best extractions techniques (e.g. Solid Phase Extraction, Accelerated Solvent Extraction, Liquid-Liquid Extraction) for the analysis of PFAS?
• How pollutants (PFAS) enter a food chain and relate to the accumulation of contaminants, in biological tissues by aquatic organisms (i.e. marine amphipods), from sources such as water and food?
• How PFAS (incl. GenX and its degradation products) accumulate in a biological organism (i.e. marine amphipods) over time and their toxicological effects at environmentally realistic ambient concentrations?

Research Objectives
• Develop analytical methodologies and screening platforms based on the cutting-edge High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry for identification of PFAS (incl. GenX);
• Investigate how PFAS enter a food chain and relate to the accumulation of contaminants in biological tissues of aquatic organisms (i.e. marine amphipods), from sources such as water and food.
• Investigate how PFAS (incl. GenX and its degradation products) can be accumulated in a biological organism over time.

Programme Methodology is summarised as followed:
• Perform literature review on PFAS (e.g. available analytical techniques for their analysis, bioaccumulation in aquatic organisms);
• Training on sampling, sample preparation, and HRMS and hyphenated analytical techniques;
• Training on advanced data analysis tools (PCA, PMF, HCA);
• Development of analytical methods and a platform for targeted and untargeted screening of PFAS;
• Training on cultivation of test organisms and exposure to compounds of interests
• Extraction and analysis of test organisms for PFAS using developed HRMS methods
• Verification of the possible adverse effects and their relationship to the measured internal doses.
• Disseminate obtained results through publishing project findings in journals and presenting at national/international conferences and scientific meetings.

For further details see: https://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/research-students/making-an-application/

How to Apply
To find out more about the project please contact Ivan Kourtchev
To apply on line please visit: https://pgrplus.coventry.ac.uk/

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

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