Laura Carter
PhD Student



2009-ongoing  PhD Student  Department of Environment and Geography, University of York 
2006-2009  BSc Environmental Science  Department of Environment and Geography, University of York  



Description of PhD

Title:  Uptake of Pharmaceuticals into the Terrestrial Environment

Supervisor(s):  Alistair Boxall


Funding:  This PhD is sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline

Description of Thesis

Human pharmaceutical compounds are increasingly being detected in soils. The primary routes for entry of these compounds to soils is through the application of sewage sludge and use of reclaimed wastewater for irrigation. Both of which are being applied to land in increasing amounts on an annual basis. It is possible that pharmaceuticals in soils can be taken up into organisms. If this happens, they may effect the health of the organisms or contaminate food items such as crops.

The central objective of this project is to investigate those factors and processes affecting the uptake of human pharmaceuticals into terrestrial species. The project is focusing on two terrestrial species, namely earthworms and plants. It is exploring the extent to which the uptake of pharmaceuticals is driven by pharmaceutical properties (pKa, log Kow), soil parameters (OM, pH) and species traits. The results of the study will be invaluable in developing improved methods for assessing the environmental risks of pharmaceuticals in soil systems. In the future these methods may be used by the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory bodies to help ensure the environmental safety of pharmaceutical products.


Carter, Laura 

Contact details

Laura Carter
PhD Student
Department of Environment and Geography
University of York
YO10 5DD
Fax: 01904 432998