SCHeMA Summer School speakers

Nestor Etxebarria

Nestor Etxebarria Loizate, PhD in Chemistry (UPV/EHU, 1993) and Full Professor in Analytical Chemistry (2011). He is member of the IBeA Research Group (, one of the high performance research groups according to the Basque Goverment (2013-2018), in which there are 14 staff researchers and more than 20 researchers (PhD students and posdocs). In addition to this, IBeA is one of the three research groups that take part in the Global Change & Heritage Research and Formation Unit of the UPV/EHU Together with Olatz Zuloaga we coordinate a research project of the Spanish Ministry with the FI-TRACE group (Univ. Iles Baleares) and GCQ group (Univ. of Santiago de Compostela) which deals with the development of new methodologies to assess the impact of emerging contaminants in marine ecosystems and food consumption (CTM2014-56628-C3-1-R). During the PhD period I have been working in solution chemistry and in the study of homogenous and heterogeneous equilibria. During the postdoc period (1994-96) I was at the JRC-IRMM (Geel, Be) implementing the Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis for the quality control of the production of Reference Materials. Later on I started the environmental analytical research specially focused on the analysis and distribution of microorganic contaminants in environmental compartments and more recently in the ecotoxicological issues raised as consequence of the presence to those contaminants. Recently, together with some colleagues of the PiE, we are involved in the EU Grace project dealing with the toxicological issues of oil spills in Artic environments. I have been also involved in applied research with basque SMEs in the recovery of bioactive compounds from agroindustrial wastes. Currently our group is involved in biomedical research (antitumor hyperthermia with magnetic nanoparticles and analysis of endocannabinoids in tissues and biofluids). Between 2008 and 2011 I was the coordinator of the Chemistry Grade in our Faculty and since 2011 I am the Head of the Department of Analytical Chemistry. I am a member of the academic board of the Erasmus Mundus Master on Marine Environment.

Lecture 1 Tuesday 14 at 10.00:

Analysis of microorganic legacy and emerging pollutants in marine environments.

Estuaries and coastal areas are very sensitive ecosystems. These are the interface between the land/freshwaters/Ocean and they are dynamic systems in a wide timescale. In addition to this, the anthropogenic pressure on these sites is very high and therefore the effects on the ecosystems are too evident. When we include the chemical pollution sources, we open a striking door to unknown places. First of all, chemical compounds are endless, or almost. If we focus only in synthesized or extracted materials we can assume around 100.000 different chemical compounds, and among them we have metallic compounds, organometallic ones, and organic compounds. However, we can distinguish at least groups of chemicals: the Known knowns, i.e.the ones we know they are in the media and they are already included in the monitoring programs and in the priority lists; the Unknown knowns, i.e. the large grey range of chemicals we already suspect that they are in the media at different levels or ranges but they are not monitorised or measured; and the Unknown unknowns, i.e. those always missed, or overlooked, and never thought they would be present. In order to make some sense when we talk about organic contaminants we group or classify them according to different criteria. We usually identify them according to the chemical structure. In this way we may find PAHs, PCBs, PBDEs (Polybrominated diphenyl ethers), etc. Sometimes we focus more on their use. In this way we identify pesticides (but among them we can find organochloro-pesticides), drugs or pharmaceutical products, antibiotics, etc, without any reference to their chemical structure. Finally, we are more interested on their toxicological effects and then we find endocrine disruptors (EDCs) The spread of toxic chemical compounds became evident around mid sixties. Since then up to 2004 when the Stockholm Convention entered into force. But this convention only considers the POPs, the Persistent Organic Pollutants, i.e. only the compounds that are hardly degraded (which their half life are too long), and prone to long-range transport, which allows them to be found far away from their point source, and they are toxic. In addition to those POPs we find in many media pharmaceutical and personal care products. Since these compounds are designed to be biologically active (called them antibiotic, anti-inflammatory or anxiolitic) there is a growing concern about the effects that might produce in the biota. The analysis of many of those compounds still requires a huge effort in the sample treatment and in the resource requirements, especially the skills of the operators and the features of the analytical instrumentation. Currently we have two options to deal with these problems: the targeted approach to determine the compounds of interest, and the non-targeted approach to identify and quantify as many compounds as possible taking advance of the high throughput instrumentations available nowadays. During the lecture I will summarise the pros and cons of both approaches.

Jörg Schäfer

Jörg Schäfer, Professor in Environmental Geochemistry at the Bordeaux University, France, works on trace element biogeochemical cycles: sources, fluxes, historical records, speciation, reactivity and bioavailability in aquatic systems along the freshwater-saltwater continuum at the continent-ocean interface. Besides classical trace metals, he is particularly interested in emerging contaminants, especially technology-critical elements (TCEs) and others for which environmental concentrations, behavior and fate are widely under-documented. He is the French coordinator of the Erasmus Mundus Master in Marine Environment and Resources coordinated by the Universities of the Basque Country, Bordeaux, Southampton and Liège.

Lecture 2 Tuesday 14 at 11.30:

Trace metals in the environment micronutrients, classic/emerging contaminants or technology-critical elements?

Trace Metals are ubiquitous and persistent in the environment. Due to their specific properties they play important roles in many biogeochemical processes, where they may act as micronutrients or pollutants. In addition to more classically exploited and emitted Trace Metals (e.g. Zn, Cu, Pb, Cd, etc.) there is a range of elements (e.g. Platinum Group Metals, Rare Earth Elements etc.) critical to various recent and future technical applications, implying high strategic and economic value of these technology-critical elements (TCEs) on the one hand and emerging contamination of surface environments on the other. For some TCEs the anthropogenic global cycle has already outcompeted the respective natural cycle, underlining the need to understand their environmental roles and fate. However, their use, emission and effects are still far from being recognized, quantified or addressed by environmental regulations. If the general biogeochemical cycles of the more classical metallic contaminants are relatively well documented, knowledge gaps on speciation, transformation processes, control factors and transfer to living organisms still persist, due to analytical limitations, especially for the marine environment. For TCEs, extremely little information (or no information at all) on natural concentrations (geochemical background), speciation, reactivity, transfer dynamics, etc. exists because of the lack in analytical methods available. However, such methods are essential to develop the urgently needed capacity of surveying, observing and understanding anthropogenically modified Trace Metal cycles in marine environments.

Luis Angel Fernandez

Louis Angel Fernandez Cuadrado has graduated in Chemistry from the University of The Basque Country (UPV/EHU) in 1981. Predoctoral Student at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm for more than three years, he obtained the PhD back in the UPV/EHU in 1987. After a short period as Post-doctoral Fellow he got contracted by the same university in December 1987, where he has been Professor in Analytical Chemistry since 2001. Teaching duties have concentrated on typical subjects from this research in Chemistry, Fine Arts degrees as well as in ‘Environmental Pollution and Toxicology’ and ‘Marine Environment and Resources’ doctorate programs. He is member of the Analytical Chemistry’s Department IBeA (Analytical Research and Development) Research Group and has (co-)authored more than 100 publications, participated in 40 research projects (11 as PI) and more than 30 research contracts. His research has contributed to the fields of solution equilibria and the physical chemistry of the transport of metals and acids through liquid membranes, the development of analytical methods and automation of analysis systems as well as their application in different situations such as the use of clean technologies and environmental monitoring. The combination of analytical methodologies, solution equilibria, physical chemistry, separation processes, instrumentation, automation, programming and chemometrics, among other topics and skills, what has allowed for a research activity adapted to the solution and interpretation of different types of problems. In the last years, one of the research topics worth pointing out is the study of phenomena related to climate change and their impact in contexts in which these phenomena mix with adverse effects derived from environmental pollution. Such is the case of scenarios like chronic pollution of degraded mining activity areas, the conservation of historic built heritage or the acidification of estuarine systems"

Lecture 3 Wednesday 15 at 9.00:

Experimental approach to the investigation on acidification on estuarine systems.

The talk will address the topic of estuarine acidification within the wider context of ocean acidification. Some strategical and experimental design decisions about where, what and how to research will be exposed. For the ‘where’, three different estuaries in the Bizkaia (Basque Country, north of Spain) coast have been selected due to their different degree of environmental affection, ranging from a natural reserve such as Urdaibai’s estuary, to a ‘normal’ estuary such as Plentzia’s, not subjected to heavy anthropogenic pressure, and to a heavily polluted one such as the Nerbioi-Ibaizabal estuary which passes through the Metropolitan area of Bilbao and is a historically polluted estuary due to the heavy industrialization undergone from the 19th century in that area. The parameters to monitor go from those related mainly to acidification (alkalinity, pH) to others related to the carbon cycle (Dissolved Inorganic Carbon, Total Organic Carbon) and those of the nitrogen (nitrate, ammonia), phosphorus (phosphate) and silicon (silicate) cycles, the so-called nutrients. Also, important physic-chemical properties (temperature, salinity, depth) and other auxiliary parameters will be covered. Details about sampling, sample management and the analytical tools used will be presented. Finally, a peek at some of the obtained results will be also offered.

Véronique Séchet

PhD from Tohoku University, Japan in 1990, post doc United States since 1993 is a researcher at the laboratory in Nantes Phycotoxins laboratory and field research crop ecophysiology of toxic microalgae.

Lecture 4 Wednesday 15 at 10.00:

Harmful algal blooms and toxins in European marine coastal waters.

Phytoplankton are the foundation of the aquatic food web, the primary producers, feeding everything from microscopic, animal-like zooplankton to multi-ton whales. Among the 5000 species of marine and estuarine phytoplankton, some 300 species can occur in such high numbers that they discolor the surface of the sea ('red tides'), while only 40 or so species have the capacity to produce potent toxins that can find their way through fish and shellfish to humans. While harmful algal blooms are natural phenomena which have occurred throughout recorded history, in the past three decades the public health and economic impacts of such events appear to have increased in frequency, intensity and geographic distribution. In Europe Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) are a widespread problem from the Baltic sea, to the north Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. This course will review plankton and microphytobenthos toxin producers and the principal group of toxins (regulated and emergent) which are detected in European coastal waters.

Luis Liz-Marzan

Luis M. Liz-Marzán is a PhD from the University of Santiago de Compostela (1992) and has been postdoc at Utrecht University and visiting professor at various Universities worldwide. After holding a chair in Physical Chemistry at the University of Vigo, he is currently Ikerbasque Research Professor and Scientific Director of the Basque Centre of Cooperative Research in Biomaterials (CIC biomaGUNE), in San Sebastián. He is co-author of over 370 publications and 8 patents, and has received several national and international research awards. He is included in the most recent lists of Highly Cited Researchers (Thomson Reuters). He serves as editor of ACS Omega, reviewing editor of Science and editorial advisory board member of several chemistry, nanotechnology and materials science journals. His current interests include nanoparticle synthesis and assembly, nanoplasmonics, and development of nanoparticle-based sensing and diagnostic tools.

Lecture 5 Wednesday 15 at 11.30:

Hybrid Nanomaterials for BioSensing

Metal nanoparticles display very interesting optical properties, related to localized surface plasmon resonances (LSPR), which give rise to well-defined absorption and scattering peaks in the visible and near-IR spectral range. Such resonances can be tuned through the size and shape of the nanoparticles, but are also extremely sensitive towards dielectric changes in the near proximity of the particles surface. Therefore, metal nanoparticles have been proposed as ideal candidates for biosensing applications. Additionally, surface plasmon resonances are characterized by large electric fields at the surface, which are responsible for the so-called surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) effect, which has rendered Raman spectroscopy a powerful analytical technique that allows ultrasensitive chemical or biochemical analysis, since the Raman scattering cross sections can be enhanced up to 10 orders of magnitude, so that very small amounts of analyte can be detected. In this communication, we present several examples of novel strategies to employ colloidal nanostructures comprising gold or silver and silica in various morphologies, as substrates for ultrasensitive detection of a wide variety of analytes, including relevant biomolecules, which may require the design of novel techniques for trapping them close to the metal nanostructures.

Ingrid Puillat

PhD in Oceanography (“Marine environment science”), deputy coordinator of the FP6 Network of Excellence ESONET, the European Seas Observatory NETwork (2007-2011) and of the FP7 JERICO project (2011-2015). She has experiences in project Management and research in Oceanography. She is head of the PHYSED laboratory, dedicated to the study of physics and hydrodynamics coastal environment.

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Lecture 6 Thursday 16 at 9.00:

Monitoring of the European coastal sea: needs, means and challenges.

The talk will introduce the needs raised by the European policies and the society and the underlying scientific targets. The means offered at the beginning of the 21st century are based on a diversity of infrastructures, equipments and sensors. They have to be shared and harmonised at European level, at least, in order to be sustained on long term. In order to reach this objective, involved institutions have to tackle both technical challenges, such as, the development of equipment able to work on long term in hostile environment and the associated data fluxes, and a scientific strategy able to be financially sustained. The talk will give some examples of the existing equipment and infrastructures and of the related challenges

Patrick Gorringe

Senior Operations Officer at EuroGOOS. He is responsible for, among others, the coordination of the five EuroGOOS Regional Operational Oceanographic Systems (ROOSs) and involved in a number of projects related to marine data management and dissemination of data. Patrick has a unique competence of operational oceanography and its applications, its users and ocean policy issues within Europe and at a global level. He has also been working in Australia coordinating real-time data for the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and drawing together diverse Australian marine datasets from a wide range of different data originators into the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN).

Lecture 7 Thursday 16 at 10.00:

Global Ocean Observing System: past present and future.

Ocean observing brings various economic and societal benefits such as weather forecasts to marine activities, search and rescue operations, and climate modelling. Therefore, marine observations are crucial to further our understanding of the oceanic environment and to supply scientific data to meet society’s needs. Marine data collected from different types of sensors and platforms are accessible to scientist and other end users through a number data portals and initiatives. These portals are often built on existing initiatives at local, regional, European and Global scale and require an increased integration and coordination within the community to coordinate those activities. This lecture will present the past, present and future of the existing marine operational observing networks, how they are organized and show examples of existing portals where free and open data is accessible to any possible user.