The Summer and Winter Research Programs provide students with an opportunity to gain research experience working alongside some of the university’s leading academics and researchers.

Applications close 31 May 2022.

To apply email qaehsadmin@uq.edu.au and submit:
  • Copy of your resume
  • Proof of enrolment
  • Personal statement explaining why you wish to be considered for the project
  • The title of the project you are interested in
     


Available QAEHS Research Programs:

Dr Richard Bade: New Psychoactive Substances: Where, when and which are used?

New psychoactive substances are compounds which mimic  both licit (e.g. opioids, benzodiazepines) and illicit (e.g. amphetamine, MDMA/ecstasy, cannabis) drugs. This project will investigate the presence of new psychoactive substances in Australian and international wastewater samples to attempt to show where, when and which substances are used.   

Duration: 4 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Remuneration: $360/week stipend
Commencement date: 20 June 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

 

Dr Sarit Kaserzon: Investigating human exposure to pesticide use through spraying practices

The research project is part of an Australian Research Council Grant that is looking at human exposure risks when using common pesticide products. In this project you will be be trained on preparation of sampling techniques, recruitment of study participants and data interpretation techniques, with the help of Industry partners involved in the study. The project is in collaboration with a number government and industry partners (such as Queensland Health, Department of Transport and Main Roads, 3M, Massey University New Zealand) and aims to help draft better guidelines and policies to reduce public health risks. You will work along side a PhD student and as part of a team of academic and professional staff.

Duration: 4 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Remuneration: $360/week stipend
Commencement date: 20 June 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

 

Dr Sarit Kaserzon: Contaminants in everyday use products

The research project involves using highly advanced analytical instruments and methods to assess what compounds of potential concern are present in products we use everyday in our households such as cleaning products and detergents. In this project you will be trained on how to extract and analyse samples for chemicals of concern as well as data interpretation techniques. The project is in collaboration with a number of European partners and will inform risk of presence and exposure to detected contaminants to inform public health guidelines. You will work along side a PostDoctoral fellow and as part of a team of academic and professional staff.

Duration: 4 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Remuneration: $360/week stipend
Commencement date: 20 June 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

 

Dr Emma Knight: Sampling of drinking water for per- and poly-fluroalkyl substances (PFASs) and pharmacueticals and personal care products (PPCPs) using passive samplers

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and many pharmacuetical and personal care products (PPCPs) can make it through waste water treatment plants and into drinking water. For this project you will be investigating the presence of these chemicals in drinking water from all major Australian capital cities from drinking water passive sampling kits. Passive sampling is an environmental monitoring approach which concentrates the contmainant onto a solid phase which can then be extracted and measured. You will learn how to extract these samplers, as well as water samples for PFAS and PPCPs, gain experience on how to analyse the concentrations in the samples via LC-MS/MS and how to interpret the data. By taking this oppourtunity you will also interact with our large group at QAEHS, who work with a range of different matrices (i.e. wastewater, soils, biota, serum) and contaminants (i.e. drugs, PPCPs, PFAS, pesticides, microplastics) and so much more!

Duration: 4 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Remuneration: $360/week stipend
Commencement date: 20 June 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

 

Dr Jake O'Brien: Development of methods for antibiotics screening in manure from animal production facilities

Antimicrobials (including antibiotics) have been used for decades to prevent and treat infections caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses. But microorganisms can develop antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – rendering the chemicals that we rely on ineffective. AMR threatens human, animal and environmental health, because it makes even common infections much harder to treat. In Australia, AMR is projected to cost up to A$283 billion annually by 2050. AMR poses a serious threat to Australia’s food and beverage, agriculture and environmental management sectors. It spreads through water, waste, feed and food, the environment, animals and humans and can be transmitted within and between industries – for example, via wastewater or by-products. Despite this, little is known about AMR in Australian animal production facilties. The aim of this project is to develop methods for antibiotics screening in manure from animal production facilities.

Duration: 4 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Remuneration: $360/week stipend
Commencement date: 20 June 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

 

Dr Elvis Okoffo: Quantitative analysis of micro-bioplastics in wastewater treatment plants

Conventional plastics are being slowly replaced by bioplastics to prevent plastic pollution. However, for bioplastics to decompose completely in the natural environment, they require specific conditions that are rarely met in ecosystems. This may lead to the fast production of microplastics from biodegradable materials, i.e., micro-bioplastics. Yet, the qualitative and quantitative exploration and knowledge of micro-bioplastics present or released into the environment is lacking. Using pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry, this project aims to qualitatively and quantitatively analysis micro-bioplastics in wastewater and biosolids samples from selected wastewater treatment plants around Queensland.

Duration: 4 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Remuneration: $360/week stipend
Commencement date: 20 June 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

 

Dr Cassie Rauert: Microplastic tyre wear particles in sediment and soil

This project will quantify tyre wear microplastic particles in complex matrices (soil, sediment, road dust) using pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry. The overall objective of the work is to determine historic and current environmental exposure to these microplastics around Queensland.

Duration: 4 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Remuneration: $360/week stipend
Commencement date: 20 June 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

 

Dr Phong Thai: Reviewing the estimation of tobacco consumption in different countries by wastewater-based epidemiology

This project aims to compile the WBE estimates of tobacco consumption in different countries and compare them with the sales or surveys statistics, which entails a discussion about the similarity or difference.

Duration: 4 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Remuneration: $360/week stipend
Commencement date: 20 June 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

 

Prof Kevin Thomas: Nanoplastics from bottles and cups 
Nanoplastics are suspected to be ubiquitous contaminants of emerging concern, yet there is little data on their environmental occurrence. This short project will assess the release of nanoplastics from plastic bottles and cups when hot water is added. The successful applicant will perform laboratory experiments with products commercially available in Australia and collect the samples for nanoplastic analysis. The applicant will learn how to perform laboratory experiments and analyse samples.

Duration: 4 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Remuneration: $360/week stipend
Commencement date: 20 June 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

 

Rory Verhagen: Optimising detection of illicit drugs in wastewater

Excretion of illicit drugs into the sewer system provides health authorities with cutting edge information on drug misuse and community consumption. The intermittent nature of drug use makes continuous sampling of the wastewater the gold standard for detection. This project will use passive samplers deployed in wastewater treatment plants. The research project aims to improve the lab processing of the passive samples; using liquid chromatography tandem mass-spectrometry to evaluate a variety of chemical treatments. 

Duration: 4 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Remuneration: $360/week stipend
Commencement date: 20 June 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

 

Dr Phong Vo: Develop a TOP assay method for PFASs precursors in biosolid

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have been used widely in consumer products such as non-stick surfaces, water, and grease repelling textiles, aqueous film forming foams (AFFFs) for firefighting. It has resulted in PFASs detections in sludge and biosolids of wastewater treatment plants. Measured increases in PFAS levels due to precursor transformation during wastewater treatment also have been observed. This project aims to develop a Total Oxidizable Precursor Assay (TOPA) method to explore the precursors of PFASs in biosolid. This project will tackle the current limitation of TOPA for biosolid due to the high level of organic matter in biosolid.

Duration: 4 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Remuneration: $360/week stipend
Commencement date: 20 June 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)