Agnieszka Dybowska
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  • $s1 department
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Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road


Employment history

2011-            Transnational Access Leader for QNano A pan-European infrastructure for quality in nanomaterials safety testing"

2010 -            Researcher “NanoBEE "Environmental Behavior, Bioavailability and Effects of Manufactured Nanomaterials” 
2008-2010     Researcher, Mineralogy Department, Natural History Museum

2006-2008     NERC funded researcher, Mineralogy Department, Natural History Museum


2006 PhD Environmental Geochemistry, Imperial College London, UK

2001 MSc (5 years, 1st class honours) Environmental Chemistry, Nicoalus Copernicus University, Poland

Research - Projects

Current and past projects

QNano  "A pan-European infrastructure for quality in nanomaterials safety testing" (EU FP7) 

NanoBEE "Environmental Behavior, Bioavailability and Effects of Manufactured Nanomaterials” 
Joint US-UK Research Program (NERC, DEFRA, USEPA)

Environmental Nanoscience Initiative - Model nanoparticles for environmental risk studies - sol-gel synthesis and reactivity testing of TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles (NERC()

Characterisation and reactivity testing of industrially produced antiviral nanoparticles

Optimisation of bone reactivity for use in the remediation of toxic metals (NERC)

Fluorapatite scale study for Northumbrian Water Ltd (Research and Consultancy project)

Remediation technologies for the removal of arsenic from water and wastewater (IUPAC Chemistry and the Environment Division VI)

Total and soluble Pt and Pd in urban road dust in Porto city, Portugal

Remediation of As and Cu contaminated historical mining site (PhD project)

Research - Interests

Nanomaterials - synthesis, characterisation, toxicity testing and tracing in the environment

ZnO particles of various sizes


ZnO particles synthesised with size tuned from 60nm to 550nm. 

We are interested in studying if/how physico-chemical properties of nanoparticles may affect their reactivity and potential toxicity. Specifically, we investigate how particle size affects solubility and agglomeration behaviour in environmental and biological media. We are also interested in studying the bioavailability and in detection of nanoparticles in the environment and are currently exploring the use of stable isotope tracing technique.

We work with isotopically labelled ZnO nanoparticles using Zn67 and Zn68 as labels as well as with CuO nanoparticles enriched with Cu65 and Ag nanoparticles enriched with Ag109. The particles are being tested in eco-toxicity studies looking into the potential pathways of nanomaterials into aquatic food chains. To this end we work in collaboration with USGS http://wwwrcamnl.wr.usgs.gov/tracel/,  Department of Zoology at NHM (Trace Metal Biology Laboratory) and Imperial College London http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/earthscienceandengineering/research/magic


Environmental impact of mining, geochemistry of contaminated sites

Devon Great Consols As-Cu mine

Waste tips at Devon Great Consols As-Cu mine, SW England

Historical mining sites present a very interesting environment to study geochemistry of metal contaminants in soils and waste materials. Some of the toxic elements present on such sites have been naturally immobilised - e.g. arsenic by sorption onto Fe oxides and precipitation of iron arsenates. Other elements are still leaching out creating a potential hazard for surface/groundwater contamination. On some of these sites extremely high concentrations of metals (thousands of mg/kg) are found in soils and waste materials, yet they support plant growth - very interesting metal resistant plant communities developed. Investigations are under way into metal immobilisation on such sites using in situ metal fixation with soil additives and phytoremediation. 


  • Misra, S., Nuseibeih, S., Dybowska, A., Tetley, T., Berhanu, D., Valsami-Jones, E. ( 2013 ) Comparative study using spheres, rods, and spindle shaped nanoplatelets on dispersion stability, dissolution and toxicity of CuO nanomaterials Nanotoxicology .
  • Buffet, P-E., Amiard-Triquet, C., Dybowska, A.  
    Risso-de Faverney, C., Guibbolini, M., Valsami-Jones, E., Mouneyrac, C. ( 2012 ) Fate of isotopically labeled zinc oxide nanoparticles in sediment and effects on two endobenthic species, the clam Scrobicularia plana and the ragworm Hediste diversicolor Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 84 : 191-198 . http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2012.07.010
  • Diedrich, T., Dybowska, A., Schott, J., Valsami-Jones, E., Oelkers, E.H. ( 2012 ) The dissolution rates of SiO2 nanoparticles as a function of particle size Environmental Science and Technology . 10.1021/es2045053
  • Larner,F.,Dogra, Y., Dybowska, A.,  Fabrega, J., Björn S., Bridgestock, L.J., Goodhead, R., Weiss, D.J., Moger, J., Lead, J.R., Valsami-Jones, E., Tyler, C.R., Galloway,T.S., Rehkämper, M. ( 2012 ) Tracing bioavailability of ZnO nanoparticles using stable isotope labeling Environmental Science and Technology 46(21) : 12137–12145 . dx.doi.org/10.1021/es302602j
  • Misra, S.K., Dybowska, A., Berhanu, D., Croteau, M.N., Luoma, S.N., Boccaccini, A.R., Valsami-Jones, E. ( 2012 ) Isotopically modified nanoparticles for enhanced detection in bioaccumulation studies Environmental Science and Technology 46 : 1216-1222 .
  • Misra, S.K., Dybowska, A., Berhanu, D., Luoma, S.N.,  Valsami-Jones, E. ( 2012 ) The complexity of nanoparticle dissolution and its importance in nanotoxicological studies Science of the Total Environment 438 : 225-232 . http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.08.066
  • Pang C, Selck H, Misra SK, Berhanu D, Dybowska A, Valsami-Jones E, Forbes V ( 2012 ) Effects of sediment-associated copper to the deposit-feeding snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum: A comparison of Cu added in aqueous form or as nano-and micro-CuO particles Aquatic Toxicology 106-107 : 114-122 .
  • Croteau M.N., Dybowska, A., Luoma, S.N., Valsami-Jones, E ( 2011 ) A novel approach reveals that ZnO nanoparticles are bioavailable and toxic after dietary exposure Nanotoxicology 5 (1) : 79-90 .
  • Dybowska A., Croteau MN, Misra SK, Berhanu D, Luoma SN, Christian P, O'Brien P, Valsami-Jones E ( 2011 ) Synthesis of isotopically modified ZnO nanoparticles and their potential as nanotoxicity tracers Environmental Pollution 159(1) : 266-273 .
  • Berhanu, D., Dybowska, A., Misra, S.K., Stanley, C.J.,  Ruenraroengsak, P., Boccaccini, A.R., Tetley, T.D.,  Luoma, S.N., Plant, J.A., Valsami-Jones, E. ( 2009 ) Characterisation of carbon nanotubes in the context of toxicity studies Environmental Health 8 (Suppl 1) : S1-S3 .
  • Dybowska, A., Valsami-Jones, E., Manning, D., Collins, M., Younger, P., Woodgate, S. ( 2009 ) An evaluation of the reactivity of synthetic and natural apatites in the presence of aqueous metals Science of the Total Environment 407 (8) : 2953-2965 . 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.12.053
  • Valsami-Jones, E., Berhanu, D., Dybowska, A., Misra, S., Boccaccini, A., Tetley, T.D., Luoma, S.N. and Plant, J.A. ( 2008 ) Nanomaterial synthesis and characterization for toxicological studies: TiO2 case study Mineralogical Magazine 72 (1) : 515-519 . 10.1180/minmag.2008.072.1.515
  • Dybowska, A., Farago, M., Valsami-Jones, E., Thornton, I. ( 2006 ) Remediation strategies for historical mining and smelting sites Science Progress 89 (2) : 71-138 . 10.3184/003685006783238344
  • Dybowska, A., Farago, M., Valsami-Jones, E., Thornton, I. ( 2005 ) Operationally defined association of arsenic and copper from soil and mine waste in SW England Chemical Speciation and Bioavailability 17 (4) : 147-161 . 10.3184/095422906783438811
  • Garelick, H., Dybowska, A., Valsami-Jones,.E., Priest, N. ( 2005 ) Remediation technologies for arsenic contaminated drinking waters Journal of Soils and Sediments 5 (3) : 182-190 . 10.1065/jss2005.06.140