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PhD scholars in the area of Environmental Nanoplastics: Detection, Characterization, Bioavailability, and EffectsPosted by: University of Antwerp
Posted date: 2020-Mar-27
PhD scholars, Environmental Nanoplastics: Detection, Characterization, Bioavailability, and Effects - 2020BAPFWETEF130
The Faculty of Sciences at University of Antwerp and the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University have 3 full-time (100%) vacancies for talented
PhD scholars in the area of Environmental Nanoplastics: Detection, Characterization, Bioavailability, and Effects
funded by the FWO research project:
“Towards ecological risk assessment of nanoplastics: dynamic considerations”
Plastic particles are everywhere in the environment and there is concern about the adverse effects they may have on organisms, and subsequently on ecosystems. Much global attention has been directed towards so-called microplastics, i.e. plastic particles with dimensions on the order of micrometers. Microplastics slowly degrade in the environment, by physical and chemical processes, into smaller and smaller entities, eventually reaching the nano-size domain. Due to difficulties in sampling and characterisation, almost nothing is known about the amounts and behaviour of extremely small plastic particles with dimensions on the order of nanometers, i.e. nanoplastics. Our project addresses this knowledge gap via measurement and modelling of the chemical reactivity, biouptake, and bioaccumulation of nanoplastics and their adverse effects on aquatic organisms. The results will provide fundamental information which enables robust risk assessment strategies to be developed that inform environmental policies.
The project is a collaboration between University of Antwerp and Ghent University, and will involve three PhD researchers. Within the overall scope of the research, the specific goals of the three PhD projects are:
PhD1: to develop experimental approaches to detect, isolate, and characterize nanoplastic particles in aqueous dispersions and in biota, including determination of the distribution of particle sizes and polymer types.
PhD2: to characterize the surface association of nanoplastics with algae, and the biouptake kinetics, bioaccumulation, and internal distribution of nanoplastic particles in copepods.
PhD3: to assess the effects of nanoplastics on algae and copepods under realistic environmental conditions, to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie the toxicity of nanoplastics, and to conduct an ecological risk assessment for nanoplastics in marine and estuarine systems.
Within the project, you will:
Profile and qualifications