Amato Elvio

I am an environmental scientist with a background in chemistry and ecotoxicology. My broad research interests focus on investigating the behavior of contaminants in the environment and how they interact with biological systems. In particular, I am interested in assessing the bioavailability of contaminants in water and sediment, with the aim of improving environmental quality assessment and decision making. Currently, my work focuses on the development of a field device for monitoring concentrations and assessing the bioavailability of a wide range of contamiants (metals and organic compounds) in water. Previous projects also included metal bioavailability assessment in sediments with passive sampling techniques and the synthesis and characterisation of biomimetically functionalised silver nanoparticles with antibacterial properties.

Technique

Speciation analyses Bioavailability assessment Bioaccumulaiton assessment Toxicity testing Passive sampling Sediment and water quality assessment Analytical chemistry

Users

Environmental protection agencies Regulators Environmental consulting firms Industries

Keywords

Nanomaterials, Chemistry, Ecotoxicology, Environmental chemistry, Nanotechnology, Environmental impact assessment, Chemical pollution

Berghmans Eline

Immune checkpoint immunotherapy (ICI) is a promising treatment of cancer patients suffering from e.g. non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, this therapy is only successful in 25-30% of treated patients and associated with severe immune-related events. Therefore, (protein) biomarkers predicting ICI success are needed. Proteomic approaches, in particular mass spectrometry, have already proven their relevance in discovery of new biomarkers, allowing early diagnosis or prediction of therapy response resulting in a better patient’s quality of life and improvement of health care. We focus on the combinatorial use of mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) with top-down proteomics on NSCLC tissues in an attempt to better understand the communication between immune cells and NSCLC cells and to provide new crucial (pathogenic) insights. By uncovering the role of these protein markers in anti-tumor responses, we strengthen the value of our biomarkers and aim towards a new lead for anticancer (immune)therapy.

Technique

Proteomics Tumor cell culturing Histological stainings

Users

Oncologists Clinicians Pathologists MDs Proteomic experts

Keywords

Lung function

Bervoets Lieven

For more than 30 years, I have mainly been carrying out field ecotoxicological research on the bioavailability and effects of micropollutants on both aquatic and terrestrial organisms. We mainly look at the effects of environmental factors such as pH, temperature, salinity etc. on the uptake and accumulation of metals and organic micropollutants. Special attention has been paid to perfluorinated compounds (PFAS) for a number of years. In the laboratory we have the capacity to measure metals and PFAS to very low concentrations, both in environmental samples (water, soil, sediment) and in biota (all kinds of terrestrial and aquatic organisms). Effects are studied mainly at the organic level and at the community level. For the study of other micropollutants (e.g. PCBs, flame retardants, pesticides,...) we collaborate with other laboratories inside and outside the UAntwerpen. Recently we started with the study of the fate and effects of microplastics in the aquatic environment. Finally, the effects of "natural" components such as nutrients are also examined at the level of aquatic communities.

Technique

For metal analysis: ICP-OES, ICP-MS, HR-ICPMS For the PFAS analysis: UPLC-MS all equipment for the sampling of environmental samples and biota, both in the aquatic and the terrestrial environment, is available

Users

Other research groups Regulator organisations such as Flemish Environment Agency and Public Waste Agency Industry

Keywords

Fish communities, Macro-invertebrates, Environmental monitoring, Field ecotoxicology, Ecotoxicological evaluation

Blust Ronny

- Molecular, cellular and organismal toxicity tests - Characterisation of mode of action of microcontaminants - Analysis of inorganic and organic contaminants - Chemical and biological monitoring and diagnostics - Development of application of biomarkers and sensors - Modelling of bioavailability, accumulation and toxicity

Technique

- Metal analysis (AAS, ICP-OES, ICP-MS) - Organic analysis (GC-MS, LC-MS) - Radiotopes analysis (gamma and beta scintillation) - Gene expression analysis (macro and microarrays, RT-PCR) - In vitro toxicology en flow cytometry - Analysis of biomarker responses and physiological condition - In situ effect evaluations

Users

- Environmental diagnostics - Waste treatment - Chemical industry - Pharmaceutical industry - Food industry

Keywords

Toxicogenomics, Metal pollution, Environmental monitoring, Toxicity assays, Predicitve toxicology, Biomarker, Risk assessment, Organic analysis

Dardenne Freddy

Ecotoxicological research with focus on the aquatic environment across all levels of biological organization and with both biotic and abiotic stressors. From past professional activities, trained in process microbiology and human diagnostics. From my career as an IOF manager expertise in cooperation agreements, license agreements, ...

Technique

in vitro and in vivo ecotoxicological assays, biochemical assays, microbiology

Users

Academia and companies that are looking for suitable solutions for environmental issues and human and animal microbial ecology.

Keywords

Water policy, Species diversity, Ecosystem function, Sensor materials, Probiotics, Licensing, Pollutants

De Boeck Gudrun

Main expertise: Toxicology and ecophysiology of marine and freshwater organisms under changing environmental conditions (due to natural and anthropogenic pressures) with a focus stress physiology, energy metabolism and ionoregulation at different levels of biological organisation: molecular, cellular and organismal. Comparative animal physiology. Techniques: Toxicological tests: bioaccumulation, biomagnification and modes of action Performance tests: Swimming capacity and behaviour, challenge tests Fuel utilisation: Respiration rates and energy stores, metabolomics Ion homeostasis: Ion and toxicant uptake mechanisms, blood electrolytes and acid-base balance Biomarkers: Oxidative stress, stress and defensive proteins (e.g. metallothionein) and enzymes Regulation: stress hormones, transcriptomics, proteomics.

Technique

Toxicological tests: survival,growth, fitness and performance, bioaccumulation, biomagnification Challenge tests: temperature, hypoxia, exposures... Aerobic energy metabolism in aquatic organisms (respirometry) Swimming behaviour (spontaneous behaviour) Swimming capacity (swimming flumes, raceways) Analysis tissue composition (water content, protein, lipds, carbohydrates, electrolytes, toxicants) Analysis plasma metabolites (lactate, glucose, ammonia, urea, electrolytes...) Analysis stress hormones (cortisol) Analysis biomarkers (metallothionein, oxidative stress...) Transcriptomics-gene expression Proteomics-proteins Metabolomics-metabolites

Users

Aquaculture Industry Government Researchers

Keywords

Fish physiology, Aquaculture, Aquatic organisms, Biomarker, Stress (environmental), Toxicology

Groffen Thimo

I am an environmental scientist with background in biology and environmental toxicology. My research interests focus on biomonitoring of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAS) in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and the environmental and human health risks they pose. Currently, I am investigating the ecological and human risks associated with PFAS pollution in (mainly) the African aquatic environment. In addition, my recent work in the terrestrial environment, focuses on the biomonitoring of PFAS in terrestrial food chains, including soil, invertebrates, plants and birds. I am studying the bioavailability of PFAS from soil to biota and the potential risks associated with the bioaccumulation. Furthermore, I am developing or optimizing analytical methods to analyze PFAS in different environmental matrices. In my previous research, I developed an analytical method for the analysis of PFAS from multiple abiotic and biotic samples, examined the distribution of PFAS in great tits and invertebrates along a distance gradient from a fluorochemical hotspot, and studied the potential effects of very high PFAS concentrations on reproduction and oxidative status of great tits.

Technique

- Development and application of analytical methods for the analysis of PFAS from biotic and abiotic matrices. - Examining bioavailability, -accumulation, and toxicity of PFAS in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Users

Everyone (government, universities, industries, etc.) with an interest in bioavailability, bioaccumulation and toxicity of PFAS in the environment.

Keywords

Terrestrial ecosystem, Environmental pollution, Environmental toxicology, Perfluoroalkyl acids, Aquatic ecosystems

Lopez Antia Ana

My areas of expertise are ecotoxicology, environmental risk assessment and wildlife conservation. One of my lines of research aims to assess the risk of seeds treated with pestiticides for birds. Seed treatments are a method widely used for crop protection. Treated seeds pose a risk to seed-eating birds and mammals that use them as a food source. In my PhD project, I described the toxicological effects of ingesting cereal seeds treated with pesticides (insecticides and fungicides) on the health and reproductive success of red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa). A second aim was to estimate the risk of exposure of partridges to treated seeds in the field. I am currently working on a project to assess the adverse effects of Perfluoralkyl compounds on birds. These compounds have a wide range of applications such as surface coatings for carpets, textile stain, soil repellents, food contact paper and fire-fighting foams. The extended use of perfluoralkyl compounds, together with their high persistence, has resulted in global contamination of the environment, wildlife and humans. The ubiquity of these compounds contrasts sharply with the limited information about their effects on organisms. With this project, we aim to understand the toxicity mechanism of perfluoralkyl compounds and the biological consequences of exposure to levels present in the environment. Prior to my PhD studies, I worked for five years in the Ebro Delta where I worked as an ornithologist and as bird ringer.

Technique

Field techniques used: Bird trapping (mist nets, funnel traps, nest-boxes), biometric measurements, bird ringing, blood / fat / preen oil sampling (non-destructive), feces / pellets collection. Laboratory techniques used: Chromatography (HPLC-MS, GC-MS) , spectroscopy (AA), ELISA, genetics (PCR), genomics and transcriptomics (RT-PCR). These techniques are used to perform the following analyses: Toxicological analyses: Pesticides, PFAAs, rodenticides, metals. Antioxidants and oxidative stress parameters: Total non-enzymatic antioxidant capacity (TAC), glutathione peroxidase (GPX) / superoxide dismutase (SOD) / catalase (CAT) activity, protein carbonyls, lipid peroxidation (MDA), reduced (GSH) and oxidized glutathione (GSSG), vitamins (retinol, α-tocopherol) and carotenoids (zeaxanthin and lutein). Immune parameters: Innate immune parameters (agglutination, lysis, haptoglobin concentrations and nitric oxide concentrations), cellular immune response (phytohemagglutinin (PHA) skin test), humoral immune response (haemagglutination test after injecting an antigen, SRBC). Plasmatic biochemistry: alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), lactate dehydrogenase (LHD), creatine phosphokinase (CPK), albumin, total protein, glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, creatinine, urea and uric acid. Hormone concentration: Sex steroid hormones (testosterone and estradiol) and thyroid hormones (thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3)). Transcriptomics: RNA extraction, RT-PCR, high throughput sequencing. Other measurements: Molecular sexing of birds, acetylcholinesterase activity (AChE).

Users

Other researchers. Industry (Chemical industry to perform studies about the effects of pollutants in birds).

Keywords

Wildlife, Toxicology, Conservation, Risk assessment

Svardal Hannes

My main expertise is evolutionary genomic analysis of whole-genome sequencing data. I have been working on a variety of organisms including plants, monkeys and fishes. We also work with crosses and experimental setups in African cichlid fishes. One main focus of my work is the role of hybridisation and genetic exchange in diversification and adaptation. I also have a background in theoretical population genetic and ecological modelling using mathematical models and computer simulation.

Technique

Sequencing read quality control and alignment. Variant detection (single nucleotide, SNP, and insertion/deletion, INDEL, polymorphism. Quality filtering. Setup of automated analysis pipelines.

Users

Researchers, public bodies, and companies using genome sequencing data for any kind of application, e.g., fundamental and applied biological and medical research, including conservation biology, etc.

Keywords

Genomics, Genetic adaptation, Molecular genomics, Computational biology, Population genetics, Evolutionary genetics, Gene flow

Teuchies Johannes

Research on the effects of pollution on natural ecosystems. In many cases related to policy. Analysis of pollutants in water, soil, sediment or biota, mainly metals. Determination of the bioavailability of metals in these matrices. Development of models to identify pollution risks in aquatic ecosystems.

Technique

Analysis of metals in water, soil, sediment, biota Determination of the bioavailability of metals: passive samplers, AVS-SEM, soil and sediment characteristics Organotin analysis

Users

Researchers Policy makers Consultancy

Keywords

Environmental contaminants, Environmental impact assessment

Town Raewyn

environmental physical chemistry, electrochemistry, nanoparticle reactivity, measurement and modelling of dynamic chemical speciation, bioavailability and bioaccumulation

Technique

Modelling, electrochemistry, DGT, solid phase microextraction

Users

(eco)toxicologists, environmental risk assessors and regulators

Keywords

Nanoparticle reactivity, Dynamic chemical speciation, Bioavailability