CWI welcomes Denis O'Carroll

Posted 13 July 2015

Dr O'Carroll at work in the field

ARC Future Fellow Denis O'Carroll is joining the CWI team at UNSW.

He will research transport of nanoparticles in the environment to inform human and ecological health risk assessments.

Denis has diverse research interests developed over the years as an Associated Professor at theUniversity ofWestern Ontario inCanada. Among these are the assessment of nanoparticle transport and ecotoxicity in the environment. 

Nanotechnology is an emerging industry throughout the world and this new area is met with both excitement and skepticism. 

Because of a lack of basic scientific understanding of nanoparticle transport in water bearing soils, the risks of nanoparticles in subsurface environments are as yet unknown. In the event that nanoparticles are introduced to the environment disposed of at the surface, either accidentally or intentionally, it is likely they would migrate through partially saturated porous media to subsurface aquifers, as has occurred with almost every other known subsurface contaminant of concern.

Dr O'Caroll's research evaluates the fate of engineered nanoparticles that have leached out of commercial products (e.g., release from sunscreens, tennis raquettes) and their ecotoxicity. This information will assist regulators to develop appropriate legislation to balance the tremendous benefits with potential risks of nanotechnology.

Denis has also worked on application of nanometals at the field-scale for contaminated land remediation, development of unsaturated and multiphase flow theory and developing techniques to mitigate against the impacts of climate change.

Denis will be based in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and he will join the academic team at the Water Research Laboratory.

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