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 are now open! (Closes 18 September).
 


Available QAEHS Research Programs:

Dr Sarit Kaserzon: Characterising hazardous contaminants in everyday use products
The research project will assess what compounds of potential concern are present in products we use every day in our households such as cleaning products and detergents. The project will involve the use of highly advanced analytical instruments and methods. 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 alongside a Postdoctoral fellow and as part of a team of academic and professional staff.

Duration: 10 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Commencement date: 28 November 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

Dr Sarit Kaserzon: Investigating human exposure to pesticides
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 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 alongside a PhD student and as part of a team of academic and professional staff.

Duration: 10 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Commencement date: 28 November 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

Dr Jiaying LiWhat is in our trade waste – analysing chemicals of concern in trade waste
This research project aims to understand what types of chemicals of emerging concern exist in trade waste, i.e., the waste from major industries and manufacturing sites. In this project, students will collect samples from industry sites and sub-catchment areas in collaboration with our field sampling team, and analyse samples for chemicals of emerging concern including drugs, PPCPs, and PFASs using advanced analytical technologies.

Duration: 10 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Commencement date: 28 November 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

Dr Jake O'BrienAssessing antibiotic residuals 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 facilities. The aim of this project is to further develop antibiotic screening methods to measure them in manure from animal production facilities.

Duration: 10 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Commencement date: 28 November 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 reduce our plastic pollution. However, for bioplastics to decompose completely, they require specific environmental conditions that are rarely met in ecosystems, leading to fast formation of microplastics from biodegradable materials, i.e., micro-bioplastics. However, as micro-bioplastics is still a very new area of research the qualitative and quantitative exploration and knowledge of micro-bioplastics present or released into the environment is lacking. Using advanced analytical techniques including pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry, this project aims to qualitatively and quantitatively analysis micro-bioplastics in biosolids samples from selected wastewater treatment plants around Queensland.

Duration: 10 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Commencement date: 28 November 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

Dr Elvis Okoffo & Prof Kevin Thomas: Nanoplastics from containers, 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 containers, 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: 10 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Commencement date: 28 November 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)

Dr Phong VoFate and distribution of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in mining sites
Per-and-poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) such as perfluorooctane sulfonate, perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorohexane sulfonate have been used since the 1970s as firefighting foam across mining and oil and gas operations. PFAS is used in both pre-engineered suppression systems such as haul trucks and mobile plants, as well as fixed suppression systems - installed tanks onsite filled with foam concentrate that is then mixed with water and sprayed on fires from a distance. After years, PFASs have been leaching to the surrounding groundwater sources and soil, and ultimately end up in human body. The toxic chemicals cause a range of health issues to people exposed, including cancers, liver and kidney failure, immunological problems, and pregnancy complications. This project aims to investigate the fate and distribution of PFASs in environmental matrices (groundwater, surface water, soil) in the PFASs-impacted mining sites. The candidate will have a chance to learn how to use advanced instruments (LC-MS) and methods for analyse trace organic chemicals and conduct onsite sampling.

Duration: 10 weeks
Expected hours per week: Between 20-36 hours
Commencement date: 28 November 2022
Campus: Woolloongabba (PACE)
Contact: If you have any questions, please email Dr Vo.

More information on the Summer Research Program available here.