School of Chemical Sciences

Dr
Blanaid
White

Primary Department
School of Chemical Sciences
Role
Academic staff- Analytical Chemistry
Phone number: 01 700
6731
Campus
Glasnevin Campus
Room Number
X126

Academic biography

Associate Professor, School of Chemical Sciences
Principal Investigator, National Centre for Sensor Research and DCU Water Institute.
Orcid ID: 
0000-0003-2982-8752

I am currently Dean of Strategic Learning Innovation in DCU.

My research interests focus on the development of intelligent analysis tools and the application of analytical chemistry for the investigation of chemical and biochemical processes in the world around us.

Specific research projects from my group involve the development and application of innovative technologies for investigative and regulatory monitoring of known and emerging contaminants in soil and water:

- the Interreg funded project Monitool: New tools for monitoring the chemical status in transitional and coastal waters under the WFD (2017-2020) aims to develop Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) for the evaluation of
 dissolved and labile metal concentrations in transitional and coastal waters so that passive sampling technologies can be incorporated into European policy for water monitoring. I coordinate this project which has partners from 9 countries from Scotland to the Canary Islands.

- I lead the EPA funded project IMPACT: Innovative monitoring to prioritise contaminants of emerging concern for Ireland (2017-2020). This project will provide a detailed insight into the occurrence, fate and impact of contaminants of emerging concern in Irish receiving waters, establishing a prioritised list of contaminants of emerging concern in Ireland along with a framework to risk assess these compounds, enabling future policy development to protect and enhance our water quality

- FARM-ECOS: Farming and Natural Resources: Measures for Ecological Sustainability (2016-2020) is a DAFM funded project to identify and outline the evidence base for novel, cost-effective measures to protect and enhance farmland biodiversity. Identified measures will increase habitat quantity, enhance habitat quality and improve ecological connectivity, from the farm to landscape scale. I am leading task 5, assessing ecosystem health and delivery of selected ecosystem services of farm habitats, using soil parameters, to determine how habitat quantity and quality influences soil quality and nutrient composition, and delivery of selected ecosystem services.

-  PROTECTS (Protecting Ecosystem Services Through Sustainable Pesticide Use) is a 4 year DAFM funded project (2018-2022) which will provide baseline information in an Irish context to build towards mitigating the effects of pesticide use on terrestrial ecosystem services, focussing on pollinators and soils. I lead the analysis of pesticide residues in soils and nectar, investigate the potential hazards of pesticide use for bees, and provide recommendations for a soil monitoring programme and how to mitigate any effects on ecosystem services. The project findings will help to ensure that pesticides can be used safely while protecting wildlife, health and the environment, both in Ireland and internationally.

Additional research projects in my group include:
 
 - Development and application of electro active polymers for separation: In collaboration with Dr. Aoife Morrin (DCU), we have developed the first monolithic packing for microchip capillary electrochromatography where critical parameters such as hydrophobicity, ionic interactions and porosity can be controlled for precise selectivity manipulations.

- Elucidation of mechanisms causing and protecting again

Research interests

Associate Professor, School of Chemical Sciences
Principal Investigator, National Centre for Sensor Research and DCU Water Institute.

My research interests focus on the development of intelligent analysis tools and the application of analytical chemistry for the investigation of chemical and biochemical processes in the world around us. 

A primary focus of our research is the elucidation of molecular mechanisms which initiate and propagate oxidative stress, particularly that which leads to DNA damage. This type of damage has been linked to mutagenesis, neurological disease and aging, and understanding the underlying mechanisms has the potential to enable us to develop tailored therapies to combat these diseases. Metal mediated oxidative DNA damage is of particular interest, as this can be used to develop novel chemotherapeutic drugs and to elucidate the role of heavy metals in environmental contamination. 

We also research unique bioactive and nutrition profiles in Irish food, which can be used from substantiating health claims to proving authenticity. We are currently exploring the bioactive profiles for Irish honeys from across the island, investigating both honeybee and bumblebee honey. As a member of EU COST Action FA1307, I am involved in a European wide project exploring the effect of wider countryside management on sustainability of pollinators.

A further research focus is the development of chromatographic stationary phases using novel monolithic polymers to develop intelligent analytical platforms. These advanced analysis tools will be capable of resolving problematic complex mixtures, supporting the pharmaceutical, biopharma and environmental analysis industries.

I have worked extensively with industry, with previous research projects in collaboration with Allergan Ltd., Pfizer Ltd. and Proctor and Gamble Ltd. My group has ongoing research projects with Alltech (Ireland) in the area of oxidative DNA damage.