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Miranda Keith-Roach

Visiting Research Fellow

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (NC) (Faculty of Science and Engineering (NC))


I am currently a Visiting Scientist in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Plymouth. I obtained my B.Sc. in Chemistry in 1995 from the University of Manchester and continued on to do a Ph.D. in the Radiochemistry group, with Professor Francis Livens as my supervisor. After this, I joined the Radioecology and Tracer Studies group at Risø National Laboratory, Denmark as a post-doc for three years. I worked at the University of Plymouth from 2002 -2011 and obtained research grants from NERC, NERC/MOD, the Nuffield Foundation, the Nuclear Decommisioning Authority and the EU to develop my research interests in the speciation and environmental behaviour of long-lived radionuclides. I am currently working as a consultant at Kemakta Konsult, Stockholm, which specialises in nuclear waste management, assessing exposure to ionising radiation and environmental remediation.

Professional membership

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Staff serving as external examiners

2009:        PhD external examiner for Liam Fox, University of Manchester

2007:     PhD external examiner for Joyce McBeth, University of Manchester

2006:     PhD external examiner for Amanda Hynes, University of Manchester

2005:    PhD external examiner for James Fox, University of Leeds

            PhD external examiner (European) for Yolanda Moliner-Martinez, University of Valencia, Spain

2003 :    MRes external examiner for Emmanuelle Chardon, University of Manchester

Research interests

My main research interests lie in developing a better understanding of the biogeochemistry, speciation and environmental behaviour of long-lived radionuclides. These are important for understanding the fate of intentional and accidental radionuclide releases into the environment, and contribute to the knowledge base for waste management. I have a particular interest in anoxic environments, which affect the behaviour of redox sensitive radionuclides such as technetium, neptunium, uranium and plutonium markedly. Analytical method development is another interest as it is an important part of novel environmental research, and I have expertise in developing radiochemical separations for mass spectrometry. More recently, I have extended this to include on-line chromatographic separations and electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry for speciation analysis. I was part of an inter-departmental consortium (CoRIF) that successfully obtained £460k for the refurbishment of a laboratory for radioisotope work and the purchase and maintenance of state-of-the-art radiometric detectors.

Other research

Recent conference presentations 

Keith-Roach, M. J. (2012). Invited lecture: Dose assessment involving radionuclide transport. Japan Atomic Energy Agency Worskshop on Transformation of Radionuclides by Microorganisms and Clays: Implication for Migration and Remediation, Tokai, Japan, March 2012

Keith-Roach, M. J. (2011). Invited lecture: The Influence of Co-contaminant Complexing Agents on Radionuclide Environmental Behaviour. Goldschmidt, Prague, Czech Republic, August 2011.

Lindahl, P., Keith-Roach, M. J. and Worsfold, P.J. (2010). Ultra-trace determination of plutonium in coral samples using multi-collector ICP-MS. 11th International Symposium on Environmental Radiochemical Analysis, Chester UK (oral).

Keith-Roach, M. J.
May, C., Vetri Buratti, M., Cartwright, A., and Worsfold, P.J. (2008). Examination of radionuclide-organic complexes by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. 2nd International Nuclear Chemistry Congress. Cancun, Mexico (oral).

Keith-Roach, M.J., Vetri Buratti, M, Cartwright, A., May, C. and Worsfold, P.J. (2006). Examination of radionuclide-organic complexes by electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry. 10th International Symposium on Environmental Radiochemical Analysis, Oxford (oral).

Keith-Roach, M.J., Vetri Buratti M and Worsfold, P.J. (2006). Examination of competitive interactions between Th, Fe and hydroxamate siderophores using Electrospray Ionisation Mass Spectrometry. Application of Radiotracers in Chemical, Environmental and Biological Sciences 2006, Kolkata, India (oral).

Keith-Roach, M.J. (2004). Redox-dependent behaviour of technetium in geochemically reducing coastal environments. Co-ordinating Group on Environmental Radioactivity (COGER) 23rd meeting, Liverpool, UK (oral)

Keith-Roach, M.J., Morris, K. and Dahlgaard, H.(2002). Investigation into Technetium Binding in Sediments, International Symposium on the Environment and Analytical Chemistry (ISEAC) 32, Plymouth, UK (poster)

Keith-Roach, M.J. and Roos, P. (2001). The transport of technetium-99 to the sediments of a stratified anoxic fjord. Migration 2001, Bregenz, Austria (poster)

Morris, K., Keith-Roach, M.J., Butterworth, J.C. & Livens, F.R. (2001). Behaviour of plutonium and technetium in sediments. Migration 2001, Bregenz, Austria (poster)

Keith-Roach, M.J. and Roos, P. (2001) The Reduction and Removal of Technetium in a Stratified Fjord. The Eighth Nordic Seminar on Radioecology, Rovaniemi, Finland (oral)

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Dr Jane Eagling (2013). The effect of sea level rise on radionuclide mobility at contaminated nuclear sites. DoS M. J. Keith-Roach, second supervisor P.J. Worsfold.

Dr Alex Taylor (2012). Evaluating Beryllium-7 as a sediment tracer at the catchment scale. DoS W. Blake, second supervisor M.J. Keith-Roach

Dr Estela Reinoso-Maset (2010). Aqueous and solid phase interactions of radionuclides with organic complexing agents. DoS M.J. Keith-Roach, second supervisor P.J. Worsfold.

Dr JinBo Zhao (2009). Transformations of organic and inorganic phosphorus in estuarine particle-water systems. DoS P. J. Worsfold, second supervisor M.J. Keith-Roach.

Dr Colin May (2009). The impact of co-contaminant chelating agents on the speciation, sorption and migration of actinides. DoS M.J. Keith-Roach, second supervisor P.J. Worsfold.

Dr Stephanie Handley-Sidhu (2008). Corrosion and fate of depleted uranium in the environment. DoS M.J. Keith-Roach, second supervisor P.J. Worsfold.

Dr Omaka Ndukaku Omaka (2006). Flow injection techniques for investigating the biogeochemistry of nutrients in natural waters. DoS P. J. Worsfold, second supervisor M.J. Keith-Roach.

Grants & contracts

UoP Studentship. With Charlotte Braungardt (PI).
Title: Geochemical transformations of mine spoil material in soils

Seale-Hayne Educational Trust Grant
Title:  Geochemical transformations of toxic metal-rich mining waste in agricultural soils: implications for crops
Total funds: £2,695

EU INTERREG IVa consortium grant between the Universities of Plymouth, Portsmouth and Caen Basse Normandie, CEFAS and the Institut de Radioprotection et Surete Nucleaire. With A. Jha (Plymouth PI) and G. Millward.
Title: Studies on the effects of CHRONic EXPOsure of marine organisms to contaminants from industry in the English Channel (CHRONEXPO).
Total funds: €1 M; €136, 000 to Plymouth. 

UoP Studentship.  With Will Blake (PI) and Paul Worsfold
Title: Impact of wildfire of UK water quality.

2008 - 2011
Marie Curie Outgoing Fellowship (Dr Patric Lindhal) in collaboration with G. Hong at KORDI, Korea
Title: Plutonium bio-signature as tracer of climate changes in ocean transport (PLUTOTRACE).
Total Funds €259,146

NERC funded PhD studentship
Title: Impact of sea level rise on the fate of radionuclides at contaminated nuclear sites

UoP Studentship. With Will Blake (PI)
Title: Evaluating the role of headwater wetlands in catchment sediment budgets using fallout radionuclides.

Iraqi Embassy Studentship With Will Blake (PI) and Gerd Masselink
Title: Phosphorus in an agricultural estuary

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority funded PhD studentship
Title: Characterisation of radionuclide speciation and solubility in the presence of organic complexing agents and soil components
Total Funds £64 000

NERC funded PhD studentship
Title: Impact of co-contaminants on the mobility of long-lived anthropogenic radionuclide contamination

NERC/MOD funded consortium grant between Manchester, Plymouth and Dundee Universities
Investigators: David Vaughan (PI), Nick Bryan, Geoffrey Gadd, Miranda Keith-Roach, Francis Livens and Jon Lloyd.
Title: Geochemical and microbial controls on decomposition and dispersion of depleted uranium in the environment
Total funds: £471 000 plus a tied studentship

NERC New Investigator Award
Investigator: Miranda Keith-Roach
Title: An investigation into soluble co-contaminant complexes of long-lived radionuclides
Funds: £50 600

Nuffield Foundation Award to Newly Appointed Lecturers in Science Engineering and Mathematics
Investigator: Miranda Keith-Roach
Title: Development of a method for examining Tc(IV) and Re(IV) complexation in geochemically reducing environmental water samples
Funds: £5892

Danish Natural Sciences Research Council
Investigators: Miranda Keith-Roach and Henning Dahlgaard
Title: Technetium binding in sediments
Funds: 131 000 DKr

Taylor, A., Blake, W.H., Smith, H.G., Mabit, L., Keith-Roach, M.J. (2013). Assumptions and challenges in the use of fallout beryllium-7 as a soil and sediment tracer in river basins. Earth-Science Reviews 126, 85-95.

Eagling, J., Worsfold, P.J. Blake, W.H. and Keith-Roach, M.J. (2013). Influence of sediment redox conditions on uranium mobilisation during saline intrusion. Chemical Geology 357, 158-163.

Eagling, J., Worsfold, P.J. Blake, W.H. and Keith-Roach, M.J. (2013). Fate of Sr and U(VI) in Dounreay sediments following saline inundation and erosion. Chemosphere 92, 911-917.

Reinoso-Maset, E., Worsfold, P.J., Keith-Roach, M.J. (2013). Effect of organic complexing agents on the interactions of Cs+, Sr2+ and UO22+ with silica and natural sand. Chemosphere 91, 948-954.

Robson T.C., Braungardt C.B., Keith-Roach M.J., Rieuwerts J., Worsfold P.J. (2013). Impact of arsenopyrite contamination on agricultural soils. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 125, 102-109.

Eagling, J., Worsfold, P.J. Blake, W.H. and Keith-Roach, M.J. (2012). Mobilization of technetium from reduced sediments under seawater inundation and intrusion scenarios. Environmental Science and Technology 46, 11798-11803.

Reinoso-Maset, E., Worsfold, P.J., Keith-Roach, M.J. (2012). Evaluation of electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry as a technique for the quantitative investigation of competitive interactions: A case study of the ternary Th-Mn-EDTA system. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 26, 2755-2762.

May, C.C., Young, L., Worsfold, P.J., Heath, S., Bryan, N.D., Keith-Roach, M.J. (2012). The effect of EDTA on the groundwater transport of thorium through sand. Water Research 46, 4870-4882.

Taylor A., Blake, W.H., Keith-Roach, M.J. (2012). Sorption behaviour of beryllium-7 and implications for its use as a sediment tracer. Geoderma 187, 16-23.

Dallas, L.J., Keith-Roach, M., Lyons, B.P., Jha, A.N. (2012). Asessing the impact of ionizing radiation on aquatic invertebrates: A critical review. Radiation Research 177, 693-716.

Taylor A., Blake, W.H., Keith-Roach, M.J. (2012). Optimisation of 7Be gamma analysis following BCR sequential extraction. Analytica Chimica Acta 720, 91-96.

Lindahl, P., Andersen, M.B., Keith-Roach, M., Worsfold, P., Hyeong, K,. Choi, M.S., Lee, S.H. (2012). Spatial and temporal distribution of Pu in the Northwest Pacific Ocean using modern coral archives. Environment International 40, 196-201.

Reinoso-Maset, E., Worsfold, P.J., Keith-Roach, M.J. (2012). The effect of EDTA, NTA and picolinic acid on Th(IV) mobility in a ternary system with natural sand. Environmental Pollution 162, 399-405.

Lindahl, P., Worsfold, P., Keith-Roach, M., Andersen, M.B., Kershaw, P., Leonard, K., Choi, M.S., Boust, D., Lesueur, P. (2011). Temporal record of Pu isotopes in inter-tidal sediments from the northeastern Irish Sea. The Science of the Total Environment 409, 5020-5025.

Alvarez, R., Livens, F.R., Lloyd, J.R., Holt, J.P., Boothman, C., Wincott, P., Handley-Sidhu, S., Keith-Roach, M., Vaughan, D.J. (2011). Geochemical and Microbial Controls of the Decomposition of Depleted Uranium in the Environment: Experimental Studies using Soil Microorganisms.  Geomicrobiology Journal 28, 457-470

Lindahl, P., Asami, R., Iryu, Y., Worsfold, P., Keith-Roach, M., Choi, M.S. (2011). Sources of plutonium to the tropical Northwest Pacific Ocean (1943–1999) identified using a natural coral archive. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta 75, 1346-1356.

Keith-Roach, M.J. (2010). A review of recent trends in electrospray ionisation-mass spectrometry for the analysis of metal-organic ligand complexes. Analytica Chimica Acta, 678, 140-148.

Handley-Sidhu, S., Keith-Roach, M.J, Lloyd J.R. and Vaughan, D.J. (2010). A review of the environmental corrosion, fate and bioavailability of munitions grade depleted uranium. The Science of the Total Environment 408, 5690-5700.

Lindahl, P., Keith-Roach, M., Worsfold, P., Choi, M.-S., Shin H.-S., Lee, S.-H. (2010). Ultra-trace determination of plutonium in marine samples using multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Analytica Chimica Acta 671, 61-69.

Lindahl, P., Lee, S.-H., Worsfold, P. and Keith-Roach, M. (2010). Plutonium isotopes as tracers for ocean processes. Marine Environmental Research 69, 73-84.

Handley-Sidhu, S., Bryan, N.D., Worsfold, P.J., Vaughan, Livens, F.R. and Keith-Roach, M.J. (2009). Corrosion and transport of depleted uranium in sand-rich environments. Chemosphere, 77,1434-1439. 

Handley-Sidhu, S., Worsfold, P.J., Livens, F.R., Vaughan, D.J ,  Lloyd, J.R., Boothman, C., Sajih, M., Alvarez, R. and Keith-Roach, M.J. (2009).  Biogeochemical controls on the corrosion of depleted uranium alloy in subsurface soils. Environmental Science & Technology, 43,6177-6182. DOI: 10.1021/es901276e

Handley-Sidhu, S., Worsfold, P.J., Boothman, C., Lloyd, J.R., Alvarez, R., Livens, F.R., Vaughan, D.J and Keith-Roach, M.J.(2009).  Corrosion and fate of depleted uranium penetrators under progressively anaerobic conditions in estuarine sediment. Environmental Science & Technology, 43, 350-355.

Keith-Roach, M.J. (2008). The speciation, stability, solubility and biodegradation of organic co-contaminant radionuclide complexes: A review. Science of the Total Environment 396, 1-11. 
May, C.C.,  Worsfold, P.J. and Keith-Roach, M.J. (2008). Analytical techniques for speciation analysis of aqueous long-lived radionuclides in environmental matrices. TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry 27 (2), 160-168.

Omaka, O.N., Keith-Roach, M., McKelvie I.D. and Worsfold, P.J. (2008). Enzymatic flow-injection determination of phytase-hydrolysable phosphorus (PHP) in natural waters using immobilized 3-phytase. International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry 88 (2), 91-101.

Omaka, O.N., Keith-Roach, M.J. and Worsfold, P.J. (2007). Determination of silicate in anthropogenically impacted natural waters using flow injection spectrophotometry. Journal of Flow Injection Analysis 24, 4-8.

Cartwright, A.J., May, C.C., Worsfold, P.J. and Keith-Roach, M.J.* (2007). Characterisation of thorium-ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid and thorium-nitrilotriacetic acid species by electrospray ionisation-mass spectrometry. Analytica Chimica Acta 590, 125-131.

Omaka, O.N., Keith-Roach, M.J. and Worsfold, P.J. (2007). Flow injection spectrophotometric method for the determination of filterable reactive phosphorus (FRP) in natural waters in the presence of high concntrations of arsenate and silicate. Journal of the Chemical Society of Nigeria 32.

Reinoso Maset, E., Handley, S., Fisher, A., Heydon, A., Worsfold, P.J., Cartwright, A.J. and Keith-Roach, M.J.* (2006). The effect of organic co-contaminants on technetium and rhenium speciation and solubility under reducing conditions. Environmental Science & Technology 40, 5472-5477.

Alvarez, R. Byran N.D. Formina, M. Gadd, G.M. Handley, S. Keith-Roach, M., Livens F.R. Lloyd, J.R. Wincott P.L. and Vaughan D.J. (2006). Geochemical and microbial controls on the decomposition and dispersion of depleted uranium (DU) in the environment: An overview of current research and the development of methods for handling DU microparticulates. Special Publication RSC 305, 80-82.

Keith-Roach, M.J., Vetri Buratti, M and Worsfold, P.J. (2005).Thorium complexation by hydroxamate siderophores in perturbed multi-component systems using Flow-Injection Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry. Analytical Chemistry 77, 7335-7341

Worsfold, P., Gimbert, L., Mankasingh, U., Omaka, O. N., Hanrahan, G., Gardolinski, P., Haygarth, P., Turner B., Keith-Roach, M.J. and McKelvie, I. (2005). Sampling, sample treatment and quality assurance issues for the determination of phosphorus species in environmental matrices. Talanta 66, 273-293.

Moliner-Martinez, Y., Campíns-Falcó, P., Worsfold, P.J. and Keith-Roach, M.J.* (2004). The impact of a disused mine on uranium transport in the River Fal, South West England. Journal of Environmental Monitoring 6, 907-913.

Keith-Roach, M.J. and Achterberg, E.P. (2004) Radiochemical methods:(f) uranium In: Encyclopedia of analytical science, 2nd edition. Elsevier, Amsterdam. Vol 8, p 44-49.

Keith-Roach, M.J. and Roos, P. (2004) The distribution and behaviour of Sellafield-derived 99Tc in a permanently stratified anoxic fjord (Framvaren, Norway). Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 60/1 151-161.

Keith-Roach, M.J., Morris, K., and Dahlgaard, H. (2003) An investigation into technetium binding in sediments. Marine Chemistry 81, 149-162.

Keith-Roach, M.J., Bryan, N.D., Bardgett, R.D. and Livens, F.R. (2002) Seasonal changes in the microbial community of a salt marsh, measured by phospholipid fatty acid analysis. Biogeochemistry 60, 77-96.

Keith-Roach, M.J. and Livens, F.R. (2002) Interactions of Microorganisms with Radionuclides. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Keith-Roach, M.J., Stürup, S., Oughton, D.H. and Dahlgaard, H. (2002) Comparison of two ICP-MS set-ups for measuring Tc-99 in large volume water samples. Analyst 127, 70-75.

Keith-Roach, M.J., Day, J.P., Fifield, L.K., and Livens, F.R. (2001) Measurement of Np-237 in environmental water samples by accelerator mass spectrometry. Analyst 126, 58-61.

Keith-Roach, M.J., Day, J.P., Fifield, L.K., Bryan, N.D. and Livens, F.R. (2000) Seasonal variations in interstitial water transuranium element concentrations. Environmental Science & Technology 34, 4273-4277.