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Valentina Ugolini

Valentina Ugolini
As a PhD student, my study is focused on understanding the environmental spread of antimicrobial chemicals (antibiotics, antiviral drugs and their transformation products) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) from on-site sewage facilities (OSSFs) to groundwater, and on identifying potential solutions of reducing such spread for a non-toxic environment.


In this project, I will establish a validated analytical method for detection and quantification of antimicrobial chemicals in different water matrices using LC-MS/MS. Water samples will be collected and analyzed for the antimicrobial chemicals using the developed analytical method and also for microbial contaminants, i.e., ARGs and mobile genetic elements (MGEs) using high throughput-qPCR. Hereby, I will study the removal efficiency and attenuation of these antimicrobial contaminants in OSSFs involving sedimentation and infiltration treatment during different seasons, and their subsequent transport to groundwater resources. Finally, alternative treatment techniques will be investigated to reduce discharges of the antimicrobial contaminants from OSSFs.  


Keywords: OSSFs, groundwater, antimicrobial resistance, LC-MS/MS, HT-qPCR


European Double MSc “EnvEuro: Soil, Water, Biodiversity” at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna, Austria and the University of Copenhagen (KU), Denmark. Thesis title: “Toxic effects of sulfamethoxazole and its degradation products on the soil microbiome”.

BSc in “Land and Agro-forestry Sciences” at the University of Bologna, Italy. Thesis title: “Chemical-biological monitoring of a marine microbial culture enriched with dehalogenating microorganisms”.