Take only as directed: Ibuprofen metabolite persistence in waterways of Central and North Queensland

School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Dr Shaneel Chandra
Dr Mani Naiker


Ibuprofen is an often over the counter, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory analgesic used to various conditions such as pain, fever and inflammation. Because of its wide therapeutic prowess for these treatments, it is now relied on by millions of persons worldwide making ibuprofen among the world's top three most consumable drugs. Unfortunately, once removed from the human body, ibuprofen finds its way into waterbodies because conventional water treatment cannot degrade or remove ibuprofen or its metabolites at the water treatment stage. This causes the buildup of these chemicals in natural waters where it poses severe risks for aquatic species like algae, corals, mollusks, crayfish, and fish. This is why it is important to be able to monitor the levels of ibuprofen in sensitive waterways like around the Great Barrier Reef because across the food chain, eventually the drug will end up back in humans.

This study aims to develop an analytical method which can be used to determine ibuprofen in selected waterways, discharge points from water treatment plants and within treatment plants, both before and after discharge. The knowledge will also help identify the point sources of the drug and enable intervention and the prevention of further discharge.

The study will be jointly supervised by Dr Shaneel Chandra and Dr Mani Naiker and based at the Central Queensland Innovation and Research Precinct at the Rockhampton North Campus. In some cases, it could be hosted at other campuses.

Chemical Sciences| Environmental Sciences| Medical and Health Sciences
Ibuprofen, waterways, toxins
June 2022
Brisbane| Bundaberg| By Negotiation| Gladstone| Rockhampton

Other special notes

This multidisciplinary project ticks several fields of research codes:

  • 340105 (Instrumental methods)
  • 340109 (Separation science)
  • 340199 (Analytical chemistry)

The Person

  • Graduate or final year student in science with an equivalent of a major in Chemistry (in exceptional cases, an equivalent of a minor in Chemistry will be considered)
  • Applicants in their final year of study will be considered
  • An interest in chemistry research and publishing peer-reviewed papers
  • An ability to work with minimal supervision alongside other senior research students in busy teams
  • A team player who likes to work smart and unwind after productive days in the laboratory
  • Willingness to relocate to Rockhampton North or Gladstone campuses

Project contacts