Geert Cornelis

Geert Cornelis
Reseacher that works with Analytical chemistry, experimental analysis and modelling of the fate of particles in the Environment, including inorganic Nanomaterials, colloid mediated transport of metals and phosphate.


Geert Cornelis (MSc Environmental Engineering, Ph.D. Chemical Engineering) finished his PhD. dissertation at KULeuven (Belgium) on geochemistry of oxyanion forming metals and metalloids in alkaline wastes. His post-docs where with Mike McLaughlin (University of Adelaide, Australia) on the fate of nanoparticles in natural soils and with Martin Hassellöv (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) on sensitive detection methods for nanoparticles in environmental samples (single-particle ICP-MS, FFF-ICP-MS). He currently researches the fate of nanoparticles and colloid-associated metals in soils at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala.


In the past, I have taught a course in advanced analytical chemistry (Göteborgs Universitet). I now teach a Ph.D. course in Academic Writing.


I am involved in several EU (FP 7 and Horizon 2020) projects on environmental risk assessment of engineered nanomaterials (NMs).

Specifically, I am an expert in single-particle ICP-MS to analyse NMs in complex matrices such as soil and wastewater treatment syystems. I have developend several data treatment algorithms and developed the interactive software Nanocount for spICPMS data treatment, which can be downloaded freely.

A second large subject area is the fate of NMs in terrestrial systems, where Iseek to develop standard protocols for kinetic fate descriptors of NMs and then use these descriptors to model the bioavailability and transport of NMs in soils. This knowledge can alos be used to develop terrestrial nano-applications such as phosphate nanofertizliers, which is an emerging topic for me.

I am also invovled in two Swedish national projects that seek to characterise and model the colloidal transport of metals and phosphate in either heavily contaminated soils or agricultural soils. I use field flow fractionation for analysing colloids sampled in-situ. These analyses can be used to better understand the speciation of metals or phosphate, that are often bound to colloids in soil pores. While the fraction smaller than 0.45 um is often considered dissolved, colloids are usually smaller than this size and behave totally different than truly dissolved species. As for NMs, kinetic fate descritpors are also being developed to improve the predictability of the transport of these particles.


I am an expert in metals analysis using ICP-MS, nanomaterial analysis using single-particle ICP-MS, colloid characterisation using Flow field flow fractionation coupled to MALS, DLS and ICP-MS. Am responsable for a metals and particle analysis lab that consists of a Perkin Elmer Nexion 350 D, a PostNova AF4 and Malvern DLS.


Current international collaboration is wirhin the Europan projects GuideNANO, NANOFase, AceNANO, as until recently in the COST Action ENTER.
Past international projects have been with the University of Copenhagen (Bjarne Strobl). I have also been active as non-PI (post-doc) the European projects: MARINA and Nanofate.


September 2008: PhD. in Chemical Engineering. (KULeuven, Belgium). Ph.D. thesis: "Leaching mechanisms of oxyanionic metal and metalloid species in alkaline solid wastes."

June 2003: Additional Master in Environmental Science and Technology. (KULeuven, Belgium, Cum Laude). Masters thesis: The influence of carbonation on the leaching of cement-bound waste.

June 2002: Master in Environmental Engineering. (KULeuven, Belgium, Cum Laude). Major: Soil conservation and remediation, Minor: Tropical Agriculture.               Masters thesis: The relation between abiotic soil parameters and biodiversity in wet heathlands

June 2000: Bachelor in Applied Biological Sciences (KULeuven, Belgium)


Main supervision:
Karin Knapp Norrfors: Post-doc, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Started 2016): Column tests and modelling of engineered nanoparticles in soils.
Jenny Perez-Holmberg: Post-doc, University of Gothenburg (2014-2016): Empirical models for nanoparticle fate in wastewater treatment plants and agricultural soils.
Cornelia Berglund, Anna-Maria Forsberg Grivogiannis, Nils-Petter Sköld: Master students

Jessica Bollyn, Ph.D. thesis started 2013, KULeuven, Belgium: Alumium and iron oxides nanoparticles as carriers for phosphate in andosols and oxisols.
Åsa Löv, Ph.D. thesis started 2013, SLU, Sweden: The effects of climate change on leaching of colloid-bound metals from contaminated sites.
Casey Doolette, Ph.D. thesis started 2012, University of Adelaide, Australia: The fate of silver nanoparticles in wastewater treatment plants and soils.
Julian Gallego-Urrea, Ph.D. degree 2014, Gothenburg University, Sweden: On the exposure assessment of engineered nanoparticles in aquatic environments.
Jani Tuoriniemi, Ph.D. degree 2014, Gothenburg University, Sweden: New single particle methods for detection and characterization of nanoparticles in environmental samples
Narges Milani, Ph.D. degree 2012, University of Adelaide, Australia: Zinc oxide nanoparticles in the soil environment : dissolution, speciation, retention and bioavailability
Daily supervision over 2 Bachelor theses (Gothenburg University); 2 Honours’ theses (University of Adelaide); 7 Master theses (KULeuven, Belgium).

Publikationer i urval

Bollyn, J.; Nijsen, M.; Faes, J.; Cornelis, G.; Smolders, E. 2016. Polyphosphates and fulvates enhance environmental stability of PO4 bearing colloidal iron oxyhydroxides. J. Agric. Food Chem. 64(45) 8465-8473.

Cornelis, G. 2015: Fate descriptors for engineered nanoparticles: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Environmental Science: Nano 2015, 2, 19-26.

Cornelis, G.; Hund-Rinke, K.M; Kuhlbusch, T.; Van den Brink, N.; Nickel, C., 2014. Fate and bioavailability of engineered nanoparticles in soils: a review. Crit. Rev. Environ. Sci. Technol. 44: 2720–2764.

Cornelis, G.; Hassellöv, M. 2014. A signal deconvolution method to discriminate smaller nanoparticles in single particle ICP-MS. J. Anal. Atom. Spectr. 29 (1), 134 – 144.

Cornelis, G.; Ryan, B.; McLaughlin, M.J.; Kirby, J.K.; Beak, D.; Chittleborough, D. 2011. Solubility and batch retention of CeO2 nanoparticles in soils. Environ. Sci. Technol. 45(7), 2777-2782.

Cornelis, G., Van Gerven, T., Vandecasteele, C., 2006. Sb-leaching from carbonated and uncarbonated bottom ash. J. Hazard. Mat. A137: 1284-1292.

Forskare vid Institutionen för mark och miljö; Mark och miljö, Markkemi