Dr. Debapriya Mondal

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Photo of Dr. Debapriya Mondal

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Peel Building Room 322

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Current positions

Reader in Environmental Health

Biography

I am an environmental epidemiologist with more than ten years’ experience working in the area of environmental determinants of human health.

With an environmental public health background my areas of expertise encompass global health, epidemiology, toxicology, global health risk assessment and risk perceptions. I completed my PhD from University of Manchester in 2010 on ‘arsenic health risk assessment in Bengal delta’, funded by Dorothy Hodgkin postgraduate award funded by NERC. I developed a conceptual framework for global health risk assessment and management for combined exposure routes in a population living with exposure to a class I human carcinogen. I have a BSc and MSc Chemistry degree from India and have done Master’s in Environmental Management at University of Sunderland. My post-doctoral training at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine includes detailed public health framework and epidemiology of emerging contaminants: PFOA and PFOS in 69,000 participants in mid-Ohio valley, USA as a part of C8 Science Panel study. I have successfully drawn on work from different fields of environmental sciences, with particular interest in effects of arsenic contamination on human health, biomarkers of arsenic exposure and identification of molecular and physiological mechanisms of arsenic toxicity.

Certain outcomes had major societal impact, for example, Mondal and Polya, (2008); Mondal et al. (2010); and Banerjee et al. (2013) demonstrated the potential arsenic exposure and human health risks from rice intake over drinking water. These were paradigm-challenging papers relevant to risk communication for management and policy development. The federal Indian and state governments subsequently joined with us to combat the high incidence of arsenic induced human health effects termed as ‘world worst mass poisoning’. Because of my significant contribution to public health research, I was invited to join the research advisory board member of Bihar State Pollution Control Board in order to develop a consortium to tackle the current environmental and public health challenges in the Bihar state of India.

In June 2018, I was awarded the University of Salford VC First Prize for Research Excellence and the panel felt that my “research work indicated strong leadership and organisational skills and demonstrated a coherent research programme over ten years looking at broader set of global determinants effecting human health, with a focused strategy towards tackling the global challenges of environmental health by developing cross-disciplinary research programme and cross-geography knowledge transfer and communication with ODA countries”. My track record for prizes also include University of Salford VC Research TEAM Excellence Award 2013/14; The University of Manchester Distinguished Achievement Medal for Postgraduate Researcher of the year (2009) among others.

Areas of research

Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Risk Assessment, Water Security, Determinants of Global Health

Areas of supervision

Safety, health and environment , Global environmental health issues

Teaching

For last seven years, I have been teaching, tutoring and supervising both undergraduate and postgraduate students. I am the Programme leader of four MSc programmes (MSc Environmental Assessment & Management; MSc Health and Global Environment; MSc Safety, Health and Environment and MSs Sustainability) in the department of Human and Natural Sciences.

I contribute to teaching on a range of undergraduate (Environmental Management programme) and postgraduate (Environment and Health programmes) modules.

I have supervised more than 20 undergraduate and more than 30 postgraduate dissertation projects in various fields of environmental and public health sciences. I have learnt to use sound pedagogic practice while supervising students to make them capable of continually updating their own skills and knowledge and become lifelong learners.

Research Interests

My research extends from field surveys to lab-based experimental studies and quantitative data analysis and my current focus is on global determinants of health, some examples include: impact of environmental contaminants on NCDs like CVD; microbiome-mediated metabolism of xenobiotic compounds and its influence on physiological outcomes; impact of exposure to immunosuppressive on COVID-19 infection and mortality rates in India.

Most of my research activities and on-going projects depends on successful partnerships among academic and non-academic organisations. These partnership-based challenge-led interdisciplinary research projects not only result in high impact publications but also ensure further collaborations and new partnerships with stakeholders from different countries and researchers in wider areas like arts and humanities, social sciences, medical sciences and natural sciences. I believe, ‘Research is formalized curiosity’ and hence ‘most improved things can be improved’ with creativity and imagination.

Relevant projects include:

DST-NERC Newton Bhabha Funded India-UK Water Quality Project (2018). Estimated combined value: £ 893,933 to David Polya (UK PI), Debapriya Mondal (University of Salford); Jon Lloyd, Vahid Joekar-Niasar, Bart van Dongen, Laura Richards (University of Manchester), Daren Gooddy, Dan Lapworth, Ben Marchant (British Geological Survey), Stefan Krause (University of Birmingham),; Narayan C Ghosh (India PI), Anupma, Sharma, Surjeet Singh, Sumant Kumar, Suman Gurjar, Gopal Krishnan, (the late) Palash Debnath (National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee), Himanshu Joshi, Brijesh Yadav, Anil Kumar (IIT Roorkee), Abhijit Mukherjee (ITT Kharagpur), Ashok Ghosh (Mahavir Cancer Sansthan & Research Centre, Patna). ‘Future Secular Changes & Remediation of Groundwater Arsenic in the Ganga River Basin (FAR-GANGA)’

Researcher Links-Travel Grant supported by British council in UK and National Council on Science, Technology and Technological Innovation (CONCYTEC) in Peru (2018).Value: £4500 to Dr Gerardo Cruz Cerro (PI) (Universidad National de Tumbes) and Dr Debapriya Mondal (UK PI). ‘Use of composites of biochars and advance nanomaterials for the abatement of heavy metals and arsenic from water used in rice irrigation in Tumbes-Peru’.

DST-UKIERI Thematic Partnership award (2017). Estimated combined value: £ 195,588 to Debapriya Mondal (UK PI), Prof Mark Danson, Prof Penny Cook, Helen Matthews from University of Salford; and to Prof Shatrunjay Singh (India PI), Nupur Bose (AN college, Patna) and Prof Ashok Ghosh, Dr Ranjit Kumar, Dr Arun Kumar (Mahavir cancer centre and research institute, Patna, India). ‘Nature and nurture in arsenic induced toxicity of Bihar, India’.

Qualifications and Memberships

Qualifications 

  • PhD in Environmental Health Risk Assessment
  • MSc in Environmental Management
  • MSc in Chemistry
  • BSc in Chemistry

Memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of Society of Environmental Geochemistry and Health
  • Member of Bihar State Pollution Control Board, Patna, India
  • Scientific committee member of UK & Ireland Exposure Science Group
  • Member of India-UK water Centre
  • Executive Council Member of International Conference on Molecular Signalling
  • Editorial Board member of Frontiers in Environmental Science

Post graduate research

Supervision of PhD projects includes students from India, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Qatar apart from UK. As detailed below, all these research projects are addressing the overarching aim of global environmental health.

 

1. Hassan (2014-2018) – Effects of pollution on marine crustaceans in Qatari waters: a baseline survey and a case study on genotoxicity indicators in an endemic shrimp (On-line PhD with Qatar University); At present Research Chemist at Environmental Science Centre; Qatar University.

2. Mwale (2014-2019) – Is rice safe? Analysis of effects of arsenic in rice on human health (University of Salford Pathway through excellence scholarship supported student).At present Technical writer at Waters

3. Althomali (2015-2019) – Effects of contaminants in caridean shrimp (International PhD student funded by Saudi Government scholarships). At present Lecturer at Taif University

4. Umar (2015) – Assessing people’s perceptions, compliance and utilization of Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention services in Northern Nigeria (International PhD student funded by Nigerian Government National Universities Commission).

5. Bakare (2015) – Assessment of the Lead pollution crisis in Zamfara State, Nigeria (International PhD student funded by Nigerian Government PTDF fund).

6. AlJathelah (2018) – Characterization and bioavailability of organic pollutants in Qatari coasts: A case study on Pinctada radiata (On-line PhD with Qatar University).

7. Suman (2018) – Nutritional status and plasma antioxidant capacity in arsenic exposed populations of Bihar, India (Split-site PhD student from India, funded by Nutri-SAM project grant).