© 2023 by SETAC UK Branch. 

Student Council Members 

 

 

SETAC UK Student Council works alongside the SETAC UK Council to create the an annual meeting in relation to student activities. The SETAC Student Council also engages with the student community via the SETAC UK website and regular social media posts (co-ordinating with the SETAC UK Communication Officer). Some of the Council Members also have extra core responsibilities.

The SETAC UK Student Council has regular teleconference meetings (bimonthly or monthly near to an event) and is not required to have face to face meetings.

Simone Bagnis
Cross-branch Liaison
University of Plymouth

Simone is a PhD student at Plymouth University, UK, a project funded by the AstraZeneca Global SHE. The PhD project is entitled 'Understanding the fate of active pharmaceutical ingredients compounds in waters receiving poorly or untreated sewage effluent and the development of a dedicated environmental risk assessment approach'. The aim of the project is to study the environmental fate of active pharmaceutical ingredients in the impact area caused by the direct discharge of untreated wastewater, a problem of increasing concern especially in developing countries. Simone achieved a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Genova, Italy. During his degree, he was awarded an ERASMUS grant that allowed him to study for one year at the University of Granada, Spain. Afterwards, he moved to the University of Amsterdam, where he obtained the Master’s degree in Environmental Chemistry. As well as sitting on the SETAC UK Student Council he is also a SETAC Italian Branch Council Member, and part of the SETAC Rome 2018 Organising Committee where he is as student representative on the Scientific Committee.

Oliver Flannagan
Council Member
University of Portsmouth

Oli has recently made a career change from Orthopaedic Nursing to reading for a BSc (Hons) Environmental Science degree at the University of Portsmouth. His undergraduate research project aims to measure the uptake of dissolved uranium by freshwater algae in the River Fal, Cornwall; which is affected by historic uranium and on-going clay mining. With the increasing global need for nuclear fuel sources understanding the biogeochemical behaviour and mobility of liberated naturally occurring radioisotopes needs to be explored to minimise the potential for long-term contamination of freshwater systems by these chemotoxic and radiotoxic materials. The project will attempt to isolate algae from suspended solids using density fractionation in colloidal silica and compare uranium concentrations between digested algal and unfiltered water fractions. Post-graduation, Oli intends to progress further by studying an MRes and PhD examining environmental contaminants and pollution with particular interest in heavy metals, radioisotopes and plastics.

Maria Staines
Council Member
University of Portsmouth

Maria is a BSc (Hons) Environmental Science student studying a project in partnership with Alex Thompson Racing and 5°West, assessing sustainable waste treatment strategies for carbon fibre sailing boat materials. The toxic trace metal concentrations found in marine paint particles, which increasingly enters the marine environment, can alter salinity and dissolved oxygen levels. This leads to devastating effects to marine organisms. Chemical analysis will determine the concentrations of trace metals in the marine paints, with the aim of reducing their use and therefore toxicological effects. Due to the increasing demand and use of carbon fibre reinforced polymers, the materials will inevitably accumulate in landfill. This disposal is progressively being deterred by legislation, with industry becoming more in favour of sustainable options. The project will provide an environmental assessment into the reduction of toxic paints and methods of re-use, and recycling of carbon fibre. Maria aims to continue studying marine pollution and toxicology as an MRes Sci student, researching the trace metal, plastic and organic carbon and nitrogen pollution in Langstone Harbour and whether it likely results from the nearby stormwater outflow of the wastewater treatment facility.

Innocent Iba
Council Member
University of Aberdeen

Innocent had previously studied Biochemistry specialising in Biochemical Toxicology before reading for a PhD in Environmental Science at the University of Aberdeen. His thesis is on environmental biogeochemistry. His research is based on the observation of recent upward trends in the production of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is a source of great concern because of its impact on climate change; the global warming potential of nitrous oxide is estimated to be over three hundred times more than the corresponding quantity of carbon dioxide. The research aim is to identify the drivers of nitrous oxide production in organisms previously considered to be ammonifiers. The work is exploring the mechanistic pathways to understand the fate of the produced nitrous oxide in the environment using stable isotope techniques. Innocent is very concerned about global warming.

Prior to this, Innocent researched the effect of xenobiotics on water quality, which was focused on anthropogenic activities in commercial, industrial and residential catchments. He consequently developed a heavy metal remediation technique using the sorption process on acid modified agro-fibres. His work has been published in academic journals and presented at conferences.

Giulia Consolandi
Council Member
University of Portsmouth

In recent decades, the interest of the scientific community has focused intensively on understanding the potential effects caused by exposure to pharmaceuticals. This project aims to evaluate the onset of biological and functional alterations in the sensitive freshwater species Gammarus pulex and the tolerant species Asellus aquaticus after exposure to various Active Pharmaceuticals Ingredients (APIs) to establish their impact. First, the toxicity of each substance will be studied through acute testing. Subsequently, long term exposures will be carried out and specific chronic endpoints observed. The non-stop release of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites into the aquatic ecosystems is not only a prospective risk for the environment, but may also be considered a potential hazard for public health.

Olivia Harrod
Council Member
University of Portsmouth

In order to make our freshwater sustainable, action needs to be taken to protect it from organic pollution that renders sources unusable for human use. Organic material run-off into freshwater contains organisms that cause oxygen depletion through bacterial decomposition. Currently, there are well regarded guidelines available for the testing of chemical biodegradability in marine environments, which are suited to evaluate a wide range of compounds of varying physical properties and solubilities. However, whilst freshwater test protocols are versatile in their scope and application, they lack a thorough closed bottle protocol that can be adapted for testing substances that are volatile or potentially toxic to bacteria. Olivia is reading for a BSc (Hons) Environmental Science and her final year project aims to identify the most suitable inoculum for biodegradation tests involving difficult substances. 

Sarah Bagwell
Council Member
University of Bournemouth

I returned to higher education in 2012 and was able to fulfil my dream of studying marine science and completed my BSc in 2015 at Bournemouth University. Currently, I am a postgraduate researcher at Bournemouth University conducting a PhD in marine environmental toxicology. My research is focused on contamination found in environmental matrices of a saline lagoon and toxic effects on the marine harbour worm Hediste diversicolor. This project is specifically using metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s) which although are naturally occurring contaminants, environmental inputs have increased due to anthropogenic activities. Within the marine environment sediment remains the ultimate sink for both metals and PAH’s therefore, benthic sediment dwelling species are exposed to both chronic and acute concentrations which may lead to bioaccumulation. This research addresses the biochemical responses of individual and mixtures of these contaminants to assess potential additive or non-additive toxicity.