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Corin Liddle (HWU)

Corin LiddleCorin Liddle is a PhD student in the School of Life Sciences at HWU

Project title: The effects of freshwater environmental processes on waterborne silver nanomaterial fate, exposure & hazard

Supervisors: Prof Teresa Fernandes, Dr Heather Haynes, Dr Alan Cuthbertson,  Dr Helinor Johnson, Dr Ted Henry


Research Interests:

Corin’s research interests are primarily concerned with the effects of freshwater environmental processes: chemical, physical and biophysical interactions and the effects on waterborne silver nanomaterial (NMs), in relation to nanomaterial fate: transport, physicochemical behaviour and modulation of exposure/bioavailability/toxicity. Ultimately his research is interested in assessing the impacts of pollution on individual organism’s i.e. pollutant driven pathology, impacts on populations and ecosystem health.

Previous research includes:

  • MARINA Project – Managing Risks of Nanomaterials: Critique of Zebra Fish Embryo and Early life stage tests to evaluate suitability for assessing the toxicity of nanomaterials (Ecotoxicology Research & Innovation Centre (ERIC) Research Assistant, Plymouth University).
  • Fluctuating Asymmetry in traits of Diplectrona felix within historically mined streams surrounding Plymouth, Devon.

Corin’s project: The effects of freshwater environmental processes on waterborne silver nanomaterial fate, exposure & hazard

Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs), as a result of their small size, have been found to inherently hold novel properties, which is currently being harnessed/deployed within many applications. The NM and nanotechnology industry produces many products, for industrial processes, consumer products, medicine and environmental applications. Given the widespread use and exponential expansion of the use of nanomaterials, in many applications, their release (whether accidental or intentional) into the environment is inevitable.

Emerging research supports the hypothesis that ENM waterborne toxicity and bioavailability are affected by environmental fate processes (aging): interactions with variable water chemistry, complexation with organic and inorganic matter, sediments and physical processes, such as local hydraulics (e.g. flow type; transport), will influence the amount and form of collisions (i.e. orthokinetics) between ENMs, which has consequences on Ag NM aqueous phase residence time.

Investigating the effect of freshwater environmental processes on NM fate, exposure and toxicity, in a waterborne context, is dependent on understanding the modulating effect of environments on NM physicochemical properties and fate, in conjunction with relating these influences to changes in bioavailability/toxicity, within the compartment in question i.e. environment type and abiotic properties.

As such, there is a need to develop novel methods for evaluating ‘environmentally relevant’ ENM fate (which is currently problematic directly in the environment due to limitations in suitable methods), toxicity and bioavailability, in the aquatic environment, in order to provide insight into the environmental processes which influence ENM fate and exposure, and to ultimately provide a greater understanding of the potential adverse effects to organisms and assess the environmental risks posed by NMs.

My research and thesis is striving to address several hypothesis-driven objectives:

1) Evaluate and make connections of the influence of freshwater abiotic mechanisms on waterborne Ag NM acute bioavailability and toxicity; within model organisms Lumbriculus variegatus and early life stages of Danio rerio.

2) Develop methods and novel flow based system for investigating freshwater environmental processes on Ag NM fate, exposure and hazard.

3) Carry out proof of concept bench-top and flume-based studies for analysis of the effect of flow-related processes on aqueous phase Ag NM physicochemistry, aqueous phase residence time, transport/removal, exposure and bioavailability; this is undertaken via comparison of lentic v lotic conditions, as affected by water chemistry and the presence and absence of inorganic and organic matter, within flow systems.

4) Carry out proof of concept studies for investigating how waterborne Ag NMs and sediment (benthic) interfaces affect aqueous phase removal and bioavailability, within flow (flume-based) systems.


 University of Plymouth 2009 – 2012

Bachelor of Science (BSc) Hons, Environmental Biology

Liverpool John Moores University 2005 – 2006

Foundation in Natural Science: Animal Physiology, Chemistry, Geology, Climate change

Waldorf College Project, Stroud 2002 – 2004

OCN level 2&3, English, Art, Music, Environmental Science, Crafts


Linkedin – uk.linkedin.com/in/ccliddle/en

Ecotoxicology and Pathophysiology of Aquatic Organisms – https://epaquatic.org/

Nano-Safety Research Group – http://www.sls.hw.ac.uk/research/what-is-nanotechnology.htm

CMBB – http://www.cmbb.hw.ac.uk/

Ecotoxicology Research and Innovation Centre (ERIC) – http://www6.plymouth.ac.uk/pages/view.asp?page=32402

Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre – http://www1.plymouth.ac.uk/research/mberc/Pages/default.aspx


Teresa Fernandes (SLS, Heriot-Watt University), Expertise: Ecotoxicology

Heather Haynes (EGIS, Heriot-Watt University), Expertise: Hydraulics & Sediment Transport, contact: h.haynes@hw.ac.uk

Alan Cuthbertson (EGIS, Heriot-Watt University), Expertise: Hydraulics & Sediment Transport, contact: a.cuthbertson@hw.ac.uk

Project collaborators and advisors:

MSc Erasmus student – Fabian G. Lara, contact: fl1@hw.ac.uk

Helinor, Johnston (SLS, Heriot-Watt University), contact, h.johnston@hw.ac.uk

Theodore B. Henry (SLS, Heriot-Watt University), contact: T.Henry@hw.ac.uk

Facility for Environmental Nanoscience Analysis and Characterisation (FENAC)- http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/facilities/fenac/index.aspx

Karlsruhe Nano Micro Facility (KNMF) – http://www.knmf.kit.edu/


Project sponsors and funders:

Heriot-Watt University, James Watt Scholarship