Research Fellow: 'Sea-On-A-Chip' - Plymouth University - United Kingdom

Early warning systems that can provide extreme sensitivity with appropriate selectivity are required to assess chemical contamination of estuarine and coastal areas. EU project SEA-on-a-CHIP aims to develop a miniaturized, autonomous, remote and flexible immuno-sensor platform based on a fully integrated array of micro/nano-electrodes and a microfluidic system in a lab-on-a-chip configuration combined with electrochemical detection for real time analysis of marine waters in multi-stressor conditions. This system will be developed for direct application in aquaculture facilities, including the rapid assessment of 8 selected contaminants from 5 groups of compounds that affect aquaculture production (compounds which are toxic, bioaccumulative, endocrine disruptors) and also those produced by this industry that affect the environment and human health (antibiotics and pesticides). The system will, however, be easily adaptable to other target compounds or other situations such as analysis of coastal waters contamination.

The units will be tested throughout the lifetime of the project and calibrated using state-of-the-art chemical analyses: first in laboratory studies, second under artificial ecosystems and finally during 3 field experiments in the installation of 2 aquaculture SME facilities. The last test phase will be performed in a way that will include dissemination of the findings with a clear view of commercializing the device .

The Faculty of Science and Environment wishes to appoint a Postdoctoral Rese arch Fellow who will conduct GCMS and LCMS-based analyses of seawater samples. The candidate will work within the Petroleum & Environmental Geochemistry Group in the Biogeochemistry Research Centre. Under the supervision of Professors Readman and Rowland, a post-doctoral researcher is required to undertake the research involved and to co-ordinate research objectives within the work package relating to "Verification and validation of the biosensors: case studies". Much of the fundamental biosensor development has already been achieved by the Spanish partners (CSIC). The role of Plymouth University [in collaboration with CSIC, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) and the University of Ioannina (Greece)] will be to co-ordinate the calibration of the sensors using traditional analytical chemistry (primarily GC-MS). This will also involve collection of samples from experimental systems, mesocosms and aquaculture facilities and their preparation for the analyses. Investigations will also need to be undertaken to assess the influence of potential interferences including salinity and suspended particulates. Research into the applicability of the sensors to broader assessments of environmental contamination is also envisaged.

To achieve this, it is envisaged that the incumbent will have experience in:
* Project management
* Analytical chemistry involving analyses of water for organic contaminants
* Experience using GC-MS and HPLC-MS
* Experience in sampling and pre-treatment protocols
* The preparation of professional and eloquent reports/publications
* Interacting with European counterparts
* Inter- and multi-disciplinary research

Some training can be provided to the incumbent relating to the specific analytes selected.


Any ability to communicate in other European languages would be considered beneficial.

Contact for informal discussion: Professor James Readman, Professor of Marine Chemistry, jwre@pml.ac.uk , tel +44 (0)1752 564551, or Professor Steven Rowland, Professor of Organic Geochemistry, srowland@plymouth.ac.uk ; tel +44 (0)1752 584557

Plymouth University is committed to an inclusive culture and respecting diversity, and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.

The University holds a Bronze Athena SWAN Award which recognises commitment to advancing women's career in STEMM academia.

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