Dr Laura Carter

Dr Laura Carter


Laura Carter is an Associate Professor in Soil and Environmental Chemistry at the University of Leeds, UK. Laura’s research focuses on understanding the fate and uptake of emerging contaminants in the natural environment, with particular focus on soil-plant systems.  


Laura currently holds a prestigious UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship which funds the project: Contaminants of emerging concern in agricultural systems: a risk to soil and plant health?’

This project will establish a science platform that uses multidisciplinary approaches to evaluate the global risk of chemicals in agricultural systems. Through a combination of laboratory and field work, it will offer a fundamental change in how we assess the risks of emerging contaminants in the environment by combining expertise in the fields of agriculture, soil and plant health.


Current responsibilities


Member of the Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee (HSAC) 

Editorial Board Member Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) UK Council Member


Previous Experience

Since completing her PhD at The University of York under supervision of Prof. Alistair Boxall, Laura has spent time as a Risk Assessor at Unilever’s Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC) and as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Adelaide, Australia where she investigated the biological effects of pharmaceutical uptake into plants. Most recently, Laura has worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of York, UK where she contributed to the European iPiE project on the intelligent assessment of pharmaceuticals in the environment, developing soil sorption models and monitoring pharmaceuticals in river catchments. 


2022 – Associate Professor in Soil and Environmental Chemistry University of Leeds, UK

2018 – 2022 University Academic Fellow in Soil Science University of Leeds, UK

2015 - 2018 Postdoctoral Researcher University of York, UK

2014 - 2015 OCE Postdoctoral Research Fellow CSIRO Adelaide, Australia

Research interests

As a research group we are undertaking laboratory and field based research to advance our understanding of the sources, risks and impacts of emerging chemical contaminants inadvertently introduced into the natural environment. 

Priority research areas include:

  • Exposure assessment – we investigate the fate of emerging chemical contaminants in the environment through investigation into chemical fate (degradation, sorption, leaching) and uptake into non-target organisms

  • Effects assessment – we evaluate the potential for biologically active chemicals to interact with a receptor in a non-target organism and elicit a response, with a particular focus on developing approaches to assess non-standard endpoints

  • Predictive approaches to assess risk – using a combination of published datasets and newly generated data we develop models and approaches to help guide chemical exposure and effect predictions

  • Analytical science – our experimental work into the fate and effects of chemicals is underpinned by the development of new methodologies and protocols to determine the levels and types of chemicals in complex sample matrices. We have particular expertise in targeted and non-targeted mass spectrometry

  • Applicability of potential solutions - our work is driven by developing data which is environmentally relevant as well as responding to current regulatory frameworks and the needs and drivers of stakeholders involved in using and treating waste resources containing emerging chemical contaminants in the local and global context

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Environmental Science University of York
  • BSc Environmental Science University of York

Professional memberships

  • Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Research groups and institutes

  • River Basin Processes and Management

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>