AII1. Chemical contamination of water bodies

The aim of this research line is to control water quality with regard to contamination by anthropogenic compounds.

Specific research lines comprise on one hand, the development of analytical methods for determination of trace emerging contaminants and on the other hand, the study of the origin, fate and ecological impact of these pollutants in the environment to better understand the sources and processes that control their distribution and their potential effects on ecosystems and human health.


Specific objectives are:

· Develop analytical methods for determining emerging and priority pollutants

· Determine the ocurrence of polluntants in selected areas

· Investigate the fate of pollutants

· Study the combined effects of pollutants in ecosystems

· Identify the pollutants and geographical areas that require special attention


Damià Barceló
Research Professor (CSIC Associated)

His research career has been focused on the area of water quality, particularly in the development of methods for controlling organic pollution by the so-called “emerging pollutants” (polar pesticides, surfactants –detergents–, endocrine disruptors and pharmaceutical products) in waste and natural water.

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Sara Rodríguez-Mozaz

Research Scientist (Ramón y Cajal)

She focuses her research on the study of the origin, fate and ecological impact of different emerging contaminants (pharmaceuticals, Endocrine Disruptors and their transformation products) in fresh-waters as well as in other environmental matrices such as biota. She also studies the removal and transformation of these emerging compounds during alternative water treatments principally for water reuse. She has been involved in national and international projects such as ECsafeSEAFOOD (EVK1-CT-2000-00045) and StARE (EU, 2013 Water JPI Pilot Call: 2015-2023). She is currently participating in the European projects HYDROUSA (EU 2018 H2020.;  2018-2022) and SCORE-Water (EU 2018 H2020. GA n.820751; 2019-2023), as well as in the National Projects PLAS-MED (CTM2017-89701-C3-2-R; 2018-2020).


María José Farré
Research Scientist (Ramón y Cajal)

Maria José is a water treatment specialist and her research has focused on understanding oxidation mechanisms of contaminants, natural organic and inorganic matter during the treatment of drinking and wastewater. Her current scientific interests are related to the formation and fate of disinfection by-products (DBPs) during the production and transportation of both, drinking and high quality recycled water. Nitrogen-based, chlorinated, brominated and iodinated DBPs are included in my research plan as well as conventional and alternative disinfectants.

Lucia Helena Santos
PostDoc Researcher (Juan de la Cierva)

Her research interests focus in the evaluation of the environmental risk posed by emerging contaminants to non-target organisms. She participates in ecotoxicological studies to assess the impact, bioaccumulation, toxicity and interaction of different organic contaminants (e.g. pharmaceuticals, personal care products, nanoparticles, microplastics) to non-target organisms as biofilm, macroinvertebrates and fish. She also performs metabolomic studies. Other of her research interests is the development of analytical methodologies for determination of pharmaceuticals, their metabolites and transformation products in environmental matrices as well as in their monitoring in the environment. She has been involved in national and international projects like ECsafeSEAFOOD (GA n° 311820) and Nano-Transfer (ERA SIINN PCIN-2015-182-C02-02). She is currently participating in the national project PLAS-MED (CTM2017-89701-C3-2-R) from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

Josep Sanchís
PostDoc Researcher

PhD in chemistry by the University of Barcelona, he focuses his research on the environmental analysis of emerging pollutants, with a particular interest in the occurrence and behaviour of carbon nanomaterials, metal nanoparticles and siloxanes, among others. His research has also been focused on the effects of fullerenes, at metabolomic level, in filter organisms (i.e. Mytilus galloprovincialis) and in phytoplankton, and he has studied the Trojan Horse Effect. He currently works in the NDMA-Predict project (CTM2017-85335-R), working on the non-target analysis of micropollutants and the characterization of dissolved natural organic matter by high resolution mass spectrometry.


Rubén gil
PostDoc Researcher

His research is based on non-targeted metabolomics studied based on advances chromatographic techniques, coupled to tandem and high resolution mass spectrometry. During his PhD, he has worked in food authentication, animal nutrition and human health. Nowadays, he is included in PLAS-MED project and his efforts are focused in biomarkers obtention, in a non-targeted way, of fish and other aquatic organisms contamination impact in Ebro river, as well as the analysis of human related contaminants.

Natalia Ospina
PostDoc Researcher (Beatriu de Pinós)

Marine Scientist specialised on trace elements and emerging metallic contaminants. Her research is focused on the biogeochemistry of trace elements, mainly in coastal and estuarine systems. Particularly interested in emerging metallic contaminants, analytical methods for its analysis and trace-clean sampling/handling methodologies. Formerly Research Associate at the Institute of Earth and Environmental Science of the University of Potsdam (Germany) and Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Warsaw (Poland). She is the Leader of the Working Group 4 and full member at the Management Committee of the EU COST Action TD1407, ‘Network on Technology-Critical Elements – from Environmental Processes to Human Health Threat’s (2015 - 2019) funded by European Framework Programme Horizon 2020.


Contract funded within the postdoctoral program Beatriu de Pinós of the Secretariat of Universities and Research of the Department of Enterprise and Knowledge of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Code: 2017 BP 00037).

José María Castaño
Predoctoral Researcher

His research is focused on evaluating the prevalence, interactions and environmental risks associated with co-occurring emerging pollutants in the natural environment, such as microplastics, pharmaceuticals and personal care products. After graduating in Biology from the University of Barcelona, he pursued a Master’s Degree in Environmental Toxicology from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. There, he investigated the exposure of predatory birds to fluorinated substances (PFASs) and evaluated their contribution to immunomodulation in birds. At present, he is participating in the National Programme for Research “PLAS-MED: Microplastics and microcontaminantes in the Mediterranean coast: Toxicity and environmental and human health impacts”.

Natalia de Paiva
Research Technician