The University of Birmingham (UoB) is an international leader in OMICS TECHNOLOGIES and SYSTEMS TOXICOLOGY, achieved by pooling its expertise and capacity in omics and bioinformatics with specialists in toxicology, systems biology and chemical regulation. Our mission statement commits to offering leadership in the development and application of omics- and bioinformatics-based solutions, enabling evidence-based chemical safety science to safeguard both human and environmental health.
The BBSRC recognise in their “Food, nutrition and health” priority area that in order to ensure food safety, including “issues around microbial and chemical contamination”, a mechanistic understanding of the relevant cellular processes is required upon which science-based risk assessment can be based. The overall aim of this PhD proposal is to develop and optimise a strategy for utilising metabolomics and computational modelling to derive metabolic measurements with immediate utility in the current risk assessment practices for pesticides in food products. The PhD will focus on the application of mass spectrometry metabolomics – that is, the use of mass spectrometry to measure the low molecular weight chemicals that drive the body’s metabolic biochemistry – to discover the metabolic effects of pesticides on cells in vitro, deriving both a deeper mechanistic understanding of these biochemical effects as well as dose-response data for quantitative risk assessment. Physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modelling will enable translation of the findings from in vitro to in vivo and thereby to human risk assessments of the pesticides.