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Are retinoid-like chemicals prevalent in the environment and do they pose an ecotoxicological risk?

Retinoids have a significant role in many vital biological processes such as regulation of skin function and neuronal development.  There are over 2,500 retinoid related compounds used in cosmetic products and as anti-acne therapeutic agents. There is increasing concern about the presence of retinoids and synthetic chemicals with retinoid-like properties entering the environment. Retinoid activity has been detected in wastewater effluent, pulp mill effluents, and from unknown/diffuse sources, suggesting that a variety of chemicals exist in nature (natural and/or man-made) that mimic the activity of natural endogenous retinoids. There is little information on what these chemicals might be, or where they come from, and identifying these chemicals is now on the OECD agenda.

The complete identity of retinoid like chemicals or the risks they pose to natural systems is unknown. Identification of the most active components and an assessment of their potential impact on the environment can be used to determine treatment strategies and to inform policy makers.  This project will develop bioassay directed methods to determine the identity of retinoid chemicals and investigate if retinoid-like chemicals are prevalent in the environment and if they pose an ecotoxicological risk.   

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.