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PhD scholars in the area of Psychoactive Substances in WastewaterPosted by: University of Antwerp
Posted date: 2020-Apr-02
The Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences and the Faculty of Science at the University of Antwerp have 2 full-time (100%) vacancies for talented
PhD scholars in the area of Psychoactive Substances in Wastewater
funded by the FWO lead agency project with Slovenia
“Novel approaches for the estimation of the use of psychoactive pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs by wastewater analysis”
The analysis of wastewater for human excretion products of illicit drugs and psychoactive pharmaceuticals gives a measure of the extent to which such substances are (ab)used by the general population. The project will develop analytical assays to measure biomarkers of psychoactive pharmaceuticals and drugs in wastewater. Subsequently, innovative active-passive sampling (APS) and detection strategies will be developed for the target biomarkers for use in long-term monitoring of substance use in communities. Sampling campaigns will be undertaken in 3 Belgian and 5 Slovene cities to estimate community-wide psychoactive substance use, evaluate chemical removal efficiencies of the wastewater treatment plants, and assess the utility of APS – compared to conventional 24 h composite sampling – for improved identification of new psychoactive substances.
The project is a collaboration between the Toxicological Center and the SPHERE group at the University of Antwerp and the Jozef Stefan Institute in Slovenia, and will involve four PhD researchers: 2 hosted at UAntwerp and 2 hosted in Slovenia. Within the overall scope of the research, the specific goals of the two PhD projects based at UAntwerp are:
PhD1: to develop sensitive and selective analytical assays to measure concentrations of biomarkers (metabolites or excretion products) of psychoactive pharmaceuticals and drugs in wastewater. The work includes optimization of sample preparation protocols involving solid-phase microextraction and detection methodologies based on hyphenated chromatographic techniques and mass spectrometry.
PhD2: to develop active-passive sampling (APS) strategies for the target biomarkers in influent and effluent wastewater and to investigate the advantages/limitations of APS in practical settings. The work includes characterizing the sorption dynamics of the target biomarkers on the APS sorbent, and how this is influenced by interactions with wastewater particles.
Within the project, you will:
Profile and qualifications