Research topics of the research group Systemic Physiological and Ecotoxicological Research (Sphere)

Within our research group, four important research topics can be distinguished. Within each of these topics several MP or IP can be chosen. After the topics possible subjects are listed. However, this list is not limitative, so for more information just contact us.

  1. Mechanistic approach of environmental stress: omics in system biology
    In this topic the impact of environmental pollutants on the molecular and cellular levels is studied both in aquatic and terrestrial organisms applying several innovative techniques such as micro arrays and proteomics. The central goal of this ‘functional genomics’ approach is to link effects on this low level of biological organization to effect at the individual (e.g. growth), the population level or even at the community level. This might lead to new interesting views and to new integrated research strategies.
    At the moment within the Sphere-group about 10 PhD students are working on this topic.
  2. Stress- and adaptation physiology
    In this topic the capabilities of aquatic organisms to adapt to changing environmental conditions is studied. Both acclimatization and (genetic) adaptation processes are investigated at different levels of biological organization, ranging from the molecular up to the organismal level including behavior.
    At the moment within the Sphere-group about 4  PhD students are working on this topic.
  3. Field ecotoxicology
    In this topic we look at the distribution, accumulation and effects of micro pollutants under real field conditions both in the aquatic and the terrestrial environment. Effects are studied at different levels of biological organization on field organisms, ranging from the biochemical/physiological to the community level.
    At the moment within Sphere about 6 PhD students are working on this topic.
  4. Bio-availability and Toxicity
    In this topic functional relationships are studied between exposure at micro pollutants and effects at the level of uptake, accumulation and toxicity. The central objective is to answer questions that are relevant for the establishment of environmental quality standards. At the moment within the Sphere group about 4 PhD students are working on this topic.