Her research, supervised by Dr Mariann Rand-Weaver and Professor John Sumpter, seeks to identify the impact that the pain-killer ibuprofen has on fish. She has discovered that that the human enzyme targeted by the drug and is also present in fish, therefore aquatic life could be affected by the drug passing into the sea and rivers from human waste.
Alpa said, “Many drugs have now been detected in the rivers, and there is considerable concern for the health of the wildlife that may become exposed to these.”
She is currently working with the IES to use the £1,000 prize to publicise her study.
“There are ways in which we can all minimise the impact on the environment, by promoting correct usage of prescription and over-the-counter medicines and responsible disposal of these” she added.
Alpa will be explaining her research at the annual Burntwood Lecture, held at the Museum of London Docklands on Thursday 21st November.
IES CEO, Adam Donnan says “Alpa’s work won the award because of both the excellence of the research and the interesting message it contains. Whilst many people know about the effect of some very toxic drugs on the aquatic ecosystem, there is little awareness of the impact of more common drugs such as ibuprofen.”