What lies within garners water researcher top nod

Developing a new way to know exactly what’s in the water we use and consume and how it canpotentiallyaffectusand the environment has garnered a Griffith researcher with a tophonour.

The Australian’s Research leaderslist,basedon big data analysis of up-to-date publicly available information,named Dr Peta Neale from Griffith’s Australian RiversInstituteas one of the up-and-coming names in science research.

Dr Neale’s impressive research output within a decade of completing her PhD has largely involved examining the chemicals in water and the ways that they can be tested.

“I’m surprised by the recognition but veryhonoured,” Dr Neale said.

“There are countless chemicals in the aquatic environment, such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals, and they can act together as mixtures”

“This type of cumulative effect canpotentiallyhave adverse effects.While thechemicalconcentrations we’re finding insurfacewater are oftenlow,wecan often detectan effect withcell-based bioassays and we can use these as tools to monitor water quality.”

Dr Neale works closely with Associate ProfessorFredericLeusch, who is also from the Australian RiversInstitute, and works alongside ateam of researchers in the ARI-TOX group, which primarily looks at water and contaminants across a variety of research topics, such as their effect onmarinemegafaunafor example.

“My research work has looked atcombining chemical analysis with bioassays to look at how much of theeffect in water can be explainedby chemicalswe detect” Dr Neale said.

“In somecasesmost of the effectcan beexplainedby detected chemicals,but in many other cases we can only explain a small fraction of the effectas morechemicals than we detect contribute.This is whyit is important to use bioassays alongside chemical analysis for water quality monitoring”

Griffith was ranked seventh in Australia for its representation across 250 individual fields of research.

Confirming Griffith’s rising research strength, the university demonstrates national leadership in 10 research fields and has 11 researchers who are leaders in their respective fields.