Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Speciation and Bioavailability of Metals, Organics and Nanoparticles

Date: 30 September 2019 - 04 October 2019
Location: Antwerpen, Belgium

Short Course Description

This course focuses on the speciation and bioavailability of metal complex species, organic compounds and nanoparticles in aqueous environments.

General information

PrerequisitesPhD students and postdocs who are entering the field or want to deepen their knowledge on the subject are invited to apply for participation. Candidates from all over the world are welcome.
Intended credits2.0 ECTS
Course frequencyOnce every two years
Course fee€ 282.50 for WIMEK PhD students with an approved TSP
€ 565 for other PhD students
€ 715 for postdocs
The fee includes course materials, daily lunches and coffee breaks.
Lecturer(s)Ronny Blust, Steven Droge, Jérôme F.L. Duval, Herman P. van Leeuwen, Paulo Pinheiro, Jaume Puy, and Raewyn M. Town
AccommodationOn-site bed and breakfast will cost approximately €128 per night; and can be arranged via de organisers. Other accommodation options are available in the vicinity.
WIMEK will cover half the costs of the accommodation for its PhD candidates; if booked via the organisers, there is no need to contact WIMEK. If alternative accommodation is booked, and this is cheaper, please contact to discuss how half of these costs can be returned to your chair group.
More informationProfessor Raewyn M. Town email:
RegistrationBy email to
Registration deadline   31 August 2019
Downloads> Poster 2019   
> Flyer 2019


The course program will focus on the analytical and physical chemistry of metal ions, organic compounds and nanoparticles in complexing aqueous environments and the bioavailabilities of different chemical species.

Course Programme

Modern analytical speciation techniques such as DGT, PLM, DMT, stripping voltammetries, ligand exchange methods, SPME, radiotracer techniques, etc. will be discussed in methodological detail. The thermodynamic and kinetic backgrounds of metal ion binding by simple ligands, macromolecular complexing agents, colloids and nanoparticles will be a key topic. Particular attention will be paid to the speciation and physicochemical characterization of nanoparticles, including plastic particles, as well as the bioavailability of nanoparticulate chemical species. Existing equilibrium speciation codes will be critically tested in interactive exercises. Dynamic features of complex systems, including their practical lability characteristics, will be discussed on the basis of the underlying reaction kinetics and the pertinent transport conditions. Rates of biomembrane transfer of chemical species will be evaluated in terms of their physicochemical properties, and illustrated by a couple of case studies on metal uptake by organisms. Whole cell metal-responsive biosensors will be discussed in mechanistic detail. The program is concluded by a session in which the participants are invited to present their own research topics within the framework of subjects discussed in the course. The various scheduled sessions are led by a small international team of specialists. As much as possible, the lectures will be of an interactive nature.

Former occurrences of this course

  • 6-10 November 2017
  • 29 June - 3 July 2015
  • 3-7 June 2013
  • 21-25 November 2011
  • 12-16 April 2010