PhD Candidate

Contact Details

Phone: +61 (0)428 532 053
Fax: +61 (07) 3274 9003
National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology (Entox)
39 Kessels Road
Coopers Plains QLD 4108
Email: j.obrien2@uq.edu.au


Jake joined Entox in 2007 as a member of Jochen Mueller’s group. Since then Jake has been both a staff member and student of Entox. Initially his focus was on the laboratory aspects of the air, soil and water consultancy projects but expanded to data interpretation, report writing and research projects including the back-estimating of illicit drug use in communities based on wastewater analysis.
Jake has a Bachelor of Science (Hons 1) in Environmental Science from the University of Queensland. His Honours thesis developed a model  for refining the estimated number of contributing people to a given wastewater sample. Jake is currently undertaking a PhD at Entox focussing on sewer epidemiology for assessing human exposure to numerous compounds.

Selected Publications:

J.F. Mueller, M.R. Mortimer, J. O'Brien, T. Komarova, S. Carter, A cleaner river: Long term use of semipermeable membrane devices demonstrate that concentrations of selected organochlorines and PAHs in the Brisbane River estuary, Queensland have reduced substantially over the past decade, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 63, Issues 5-12, 6th International Conference on Marine Pollution and Ecotoxicology, 2011, Pages 73-76, ISSN 0025-326X, DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2011.03.026.

Selected Research Projects:

• Reef Water Quality Protection Plan on the Great Barrier Reef. This incorporates passive sampling techniques into a long term monitoring program, determining inputs and impacts from river catchments to the Great Barrier Reef. This is a collaborative partnership between EnTox, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

• Ongoing smaller consultancy projects with a variety of government environmental agencies, city councils and water board authorities involving the application of passive sampling techniques. These projects help assess the feasibility of using passive samplers as a water quality monitoring tool in specific environments.

•  Evaluation of illicit drug use patterns through wastewater analysis.
This project was funded entirely as an AFFIN project. The project aims to:

• develop, establish and validate analytical methodology,

• carry out preliminary sampling program to determine illicit drugs in selected municipal wastewater treatment plants and derive preliminary daily per capita use of illicit drugs from waste water analysis.

• establish a program for measuring illicit drugs in wastewater from various establishments and determine critical parameters that are required for accurate estimation of illicit drug use in the given wastewater catchment