Research team

Systemic Physiological and Ecotoxicological Research (SPHERE)

Expertise

- 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

AnaEE-Flanders: Integrated infrastructure for experimental ecosystem research. 01/02/2021 - 31/01/2025

Abstract

ANAEE will provide Europe with a distributed and coordinated set of experimental, analytical and modelling platforms to analyse and predict in a precise manner the response of the main continental ecosystems to environmental and land use changes. ANAEE will consist of highly equipped in natura and in vitro experimental platforms associated with sophisticated analytical and modelling platforms, under a European umbrella of supranational entities. At UAntwerp these platforms will include both terrestrial and aquatic experimental facilities.

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Enviromics - Integrated Technologies in EcoSystems 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2026

Abstract

Enviromics is a multidisciplinary consortium of UAntwerpen researchers across the board of environmental sciences and technologies. Through impactful fundamental advances and interdisciplinary approaches across biology, (bio)chemistry and (bio)engineering, the consortium offers bio based solutions to ecosystem challenges by a strong interaction between three pillars (i) Environmental applications and nature based solutions, (ii) Sensing and analysis of chemicals and environments and (iii) Microbial technology and biomaterials, supported by sustainable product development and technology assessment. Through a renewed and tighter focus the ENVIROMICS consortium now signs for a leaner and more dynamic shape. Through intensified collaborations with different stakeholders, both national and international, the leverage for creating enhanced business and societal impact is reinforced. The consortium is strongly managed by a team of two highly profiled researchers partnered by an IOF manager and a project manager with clearly defined tasks and in close contact with the consortium members and the central Valorisation Unit of the university. The consortium has a strong and growing IP position, mainly on environmental/electrochemical sensing and microbial probiotics, two key points of the research and applications program. One spinoff was created in 2017 and two more will be setup in the coming three years. The direct interaction with product developers ensures delivering high TRL products. Next to a growing portfolio of industrial contracts, we create tangible societal impact, when relevant including citizen science approaches. Through the stronger leverage created by the new structure and partnerships we will develop both intertwined branches significantly.

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Zinc-co-Sink, dual pathway for safe rubber granulate recycling. 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

This project is being carried out by the University of Antwerp and VITO, and supported by the Belgian Road Research Centre (BRRC). Two possible solutions are being investigated to prevent the release of zinc from rubber granules; on the one hand by coating the rubber granules (UAntwerp) and on the other hand by trapping the released harmful components in a sorbent before they are released into the environment (VITO). The first phase of the research consists of a feasibility study into the most suitable solution for using unbound rubber granules in sonic crystals (for the Rubsonik project, led by BRRC). Possible solutions can, however, be developed further at a later stage (phase II) and can also be used for other applications of rubber granulates where environmental problems play a role. In the follow-up research, attention will also be paid to the recyclability and durability of both solutions (influence of ageing and/or exceptional weather conditions).

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From exposure to effects of pollutants: a dynamic mechanistic basis. 01/12/2020 - 30/11/2023

Abstract

Since we will be able to re-apply for a MSCA-ITN with the same scope as the unsuccessful application (QTOX: Quantitative extrapolation in ecotoxicology), the SEP funds will be used to obtain results that will strengthen the basis for our proposal. The particular strengths of the SPHERE group in this regard are measurement and modelling of chemical speciation dynamics in the exposure medium, development of novel active passive sampling devices, characterisation of biouptake rates and subcellular compartmentalisation of pollutants. Several ongoing PhD projects in SPHERE are dealing with aspects of these issues. Within the MSCA-ITN we have the ambition to go beyond current empirical ecotoxicological models to establish mechanistic knowledge of the underlying processes in the chain from exposure to effects of pollutants. Recent work in SPHERE has highlighted the physicochemically erroneous nature of widely used equilibrium-based chemical speciation codes, e.g. WHAM, NICA-Donnan, that are used as input to bioavailability and ecotoxicity models, e.g. BLM, Bio-met, PNEC-PRO. Despite the poor physicochemical basis of such models, they are being increasingly incorporated into environmental policy, e.g. water quality guidelines. The SEP will allow us to critically evaluate the results of ongoing SPHERE projects in the context of widely used bioavailability and ecotoxicity models, and thereby take steps towards development of a robust mechanistic foundation for describing the relationships between exposure and effects of pollutants. Beyond the research tasks, we will promote scientific activity in the subject area by chairing sessions on related topics at the SETAC Europe annual conference (ca. 2,000 participants), and will provide training for early stage researchers by running an intensive postgraduate course on Speciation and Bioavailability in 2021 and 2023 (pending possible SARS-CoV-2 restrictions). The course is part of SPHERE's contribution to the MSCA-ITN training programme. The SEP funds will be used to partly support a temporary academic staff member to be involved in supervision of ongoing PhD students in related topics, to perform modelling tasks, and to lead the preparation of the revised MSCA-ITN proposal; technical staff to support experimental tasks and to maintain and run instrumentation; as well as consumables and travel expenses that may arise in executing the research.

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SPHERE LAB: An accredited body for ecotoxicological risk assessment. 01/09/2020 - 31/08/2021

Abstract

The project will bring part of the SPHERE research group to ISO 17025 "General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories" accreditation. The main activities of the project are all focused on different points of the ISO standard: validation of methods, training of personnel, establishing a quality management system, etc. Additionally we foresee a limited investment in equipment which needs to be compliant to the standard in terms of validation possibilities and the prevention of use by SPHERE members not trained in the quality system. As to valorization, we will operate as a service lab with an open eye for spinoff creation in the future.

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Ecotoxicity of industrial effluents in chemical industry 01/06/2020 - 31/05/2022

Abstract

The primary objective of the project is to develop a method for ecotoxicological evaluation of effluents in (industrial) water purification plants. A method that makes it possible to trace the origin of the ecotoxicological risk up to the level that remediation is possible. The underlying objective is to deliver a method manual that can be used on the floor by companies and other stakeholders. At the end of the project, the focus will be on about 30 committed companies, 20 of which are in implementation. This will expand rapidly upon acceptance of the method by VMM

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Project website

Toward a risk-based assessment of microplastic pollution in marine ecosystems (RESPONSE). 01/04/2020 - 31/03/2023

Abstract

RESPONSE integrates expertise on oceanography, environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology, experimental ecology and modelling to answer key research questions on fate and biological effects of microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) in marine ecosystems. Hydrological transport dynamics will identify possible accumulation zones in European coastal ecosystems, while characterization of vertical distribution of MPs and NPs in the water column and sediments will optimise practical monitoring and sampling efforts. Links between oceanographic conditions, environmental distribution of MPs and NPs, trophic transfer and impact on pelagic food webs and benthic communities will be addressed by analysing their abundance and typologies in representative marine species, as well as relevant ecosystem functions and services. Innovative mesocosm and laboratory studies will validate weighting factors and toxicological thresholds for MPs and NPs. The approach will assess the role of size, shape and other polymer characteristics in modulating biological effects of particles, both alone and in combination with other environmental stressors. A technological Smart Hub, combining complementary instrumental facilities and expertise of some partners and external companies, will support analytical needs of the consortium and further methodological developments. The overall aim of RESPONSE is to develop a quantitative Weight Of Evidence (WOE) model for MPs and NPs in the marine environment. The model will be designed to integrate and differentially weight data from a suite of lines of evidence, including (1) the presence of MPs and NPs in water column and sediments, (2) their bioavailability and bioaccumulation in key indicator species from benthic and planktonic communities (3) sublethal effects measured via biomarkers, (3) the onset of chronic adverse effects at the organism level, and (4) ecological functioning. The results will provide support for development of MSFD monitoring strategies.

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From exposome to effect assessment of contaminants in human and animal models (EXPOSOME). 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2025

Abstract

We will develop a pioneering holistic framework based on innovative approaches to explore the human exposome in terms of exposure leading to adverse effects with a focus on endocrine-modulated neurological and metabolic disorders by: i. Identifying and characterizing the exposure sources of relevant chemicals in the context of the xposome framework; ii. developing and applying in silico, in vitro and in vivo human and animal models to investigate the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion processes after exposure to chemicals; iii. setting up relevant clinical/epidemiological exposure-wide association studies to better understand the associations between exposure and neurological and metabolic disorders in longitudinal and (nested) casecontrol cohorts and including birth cohorts to understand transgenerational mechanisms; iv. using targeted and untargeted omics techniques (e.g. metabolomics and transcriptomics) in human and animal biological systems to aid data-driven discovery of causal factors for adverse health effects; v. linking exposure to mixtures by integrating exposome research with the adverse outcome pathway concept, a novel toxicological framework structuring the cascade of biological events from an initial molecular-level perturbation of a biological system to an adverse health outcome.

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Towards ecological risk assessment of nanoplastics: dynamic considerations. 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2023

Abstract

Plastic particles are everywhere in the environment and there is concern about the adverse effects they may have on organisms, and subsequently on ecosystems. Much global attention has been directed towards so-called microplastics, i.e. plastic particles with dimensions in the millimeter to micrometer range. Microplastics slowly degrade in the environment, by physical and chemical processes, into smaller and smaller entities, eventually reaching the nano-size domain. Due to difficulties in sampling and characterisation, almost nothing is known about the amounts and behaviour of extremely small plastic particles with dimensions on the order of nanometers, i.e. nanoplastics. Our project addresses this knowledge gap. We will measure and model the chemical reactivity, biouptake, and bioaccumulation of nanoplastics and their adverse effects on aquatic organisms. The results will provide fundamental information which enable robust risk assessment strategies to be developed that inform environmental policies.

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Novel approaches for the estimation of the use of psychoactive pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs by wastewater analysis. 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2023

Abstract

The present project aims at developing innovative analytical and sampling approaches to estimate the (ab)use of illicit drugs and psychoactive pharmaceuticals, e.g. antidepressants, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, and opioids in the general population. The analysis of human excretion products of substance use in wastewater has the unique properties to deliver such data. The overarching objective is to validate innovative active-passive sampling (APS) and detection strategies for biomarkers of illicit drugs and psychoactive pharmaceuticals to be used for the long-term monitoring of substance use in communities. The hypothesis to be tested is if APS will provide a more convenient sampling strategy compared to daily 24-h composite sampling. We will first develop analytical assays to measure biomarkers of psychoactive pharmaceuticals and drugs in wastewater. Then we will develop APS strategies for the target analytes in influent and effluent wastewater and will investigate the advantages/limitations of the APS strategies in real-life conditions. These new sampling strategies will be compared to the conventional 24-h composite sampling. We will plan sampling campaigns in 5 Slovene and 3 Belgian cities to: estimate for the first time community-wide psychoactive substance use in the Slovene and Belgian cities; evaluate chemical removal efficiencies for the wastewater treatment plants; investigate the utility of APS for improved identification of new psychoactive substances.

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Dumpsites of munitions: integrated science approach to risk and management (DISARM). 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2023

Abstract

The Paardenmarkt is one of the many munition dumpsites in our oceans. A few m below the seafloor, ca. 35.000 tons of WW1 chemical munition are buried. The present scientific knowledge is insufficient to make any reliable judgement on the state of the site. The DISARM project aims to address the knowledge gaps, but will go an important step further to develop an integrated scientific approach to support risk assessment and management of marine chemical munition dumpsites worldwide, using the Paardenmarkt munition dumpsite as a challenging case study. A thorough characterisation of the present state of the dumpsite is the project start. Novel technologies will be used to determine the burial depth, take sediment samples close to the munition, and assess the freshwater flux at the site. Chemical warfare agents (CWA), explosives and their degradation products will be analysed with new methodologies, advancing detection limits. The physical state of the shells will be evaluated through an innovative ombination of experimental analyses and integrated modelling of different corrosion processes. Novel in-situ passive sampling devices will analyse a time-integrated spatial distribution of the waterexchangeable fraction of munition-related chemical compounds. This will be related to bioaccumulation and ecotoxicity of these compounds in laboratory bio-assays including passive dosing. Dynamic modelling of chemical fate and effects on humans and the environment (including mixture toxicity) will result in a chemical risk assessment. Dedicated experiments and models will evaluate the explosion risk of the aged compounds. Collaborating microbial communities will be constructed to break down key hazardous chemicals through smart inoculation. New technologies for monitoring and management will be evaluated together with key players in the field. Finally we will develop a scientific workflow for dumpsite research and provide a policy informing document.

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Remobilisation of pollutants from sediments 19/12/2019 - 19/12/2021

Abstract

On several locations in Flanders sediments are seriously contaminated. Within the framework of European regulation (Water Framework Directive) it is important to assess the impact of this pollution on the aquatic ecosystem. Within this project, the possible influence of sediment contamination on the water quality and ecological goals of the ecosystem will be investigated. The project consists of a literature study, field measurements and experiments and the elaboration of a policy framework for Flanders.

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ClicFloats Solar panel systems 02/09/2019 - 01/01/2022

Abstract

Clicfloats wants to produce a light connection system ClicFloats and floats for light solar panels for use in specific locations, such as: 1. water basins and ponds Until now, only heavy, classic solar panels are used. The self-cleaning, light panels allow a safe and comfortable installation of solar panels on water basins of farmers and gardeners and on ponds, thanks to the easy-to-install float system for these light panels. 2. roofs and structures that have insufficient load-bearing capacity and stability for traditional solar panels, such as at a number of factories, agricultural sheds, government buildings, schools, ...). 3. bicycle o-strades, where the canopy made of recycled waste with integrated light solar panels protects cyclists against wind and rain. In this way, on a bicycle path illuminated at night, cyclists can safely experience their healthy cycling journey as a pleasure and thus take car journeys out of traffic again.

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Tasks as vice-chair of the IRIAG (Industrial Research and Innovation Agenda Group) of SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency). 01/07/2019 - 30/06/2022

Abstract

The assignment includes fulfilling the duties of Ludo Diels as vice-chair of the IRIAG (Industrial Research and Innovation Agenda Group) of SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency).

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    Centre O&O Monitoring 2019-2023 (ECOOM). 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2023

    Abstract

    The mission of the Centre for R&D Monitoring (ECOOM) is to develop and consolidate a consistent and performing system of R&D and Innovation (RD&I) indicators which provides the Flemish Governement with actual and relevant statistic data for mapping and monitoring the RD&I efforts in the Flemish region. At the same time ECOOM develops a portfolio of relevant scientific research activities to support this mission. Therefore, ECOOM (1) has a series of targeted, long term task packages to map, measure and analyze the Flemish R&D and innovation potential; (2) ensures that a data management infrastructure is available to the Flemish Government containing bibliometric and technometric data and data on innovation and PhDs; (3) provides qualified staffing; (4) builds the necessary and appropriate IT-infrastructure and (5) is able to conduct ad-hoc task or projects at request of the Flemish Government. ECOOM acts as an inter-association center.

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      Negative emissions through enhanced mineral weathering in the coastal zone. 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2022

      Abstract

      Negative emission technologies target the removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, and are being actively investigated as a strategy to limit global warming to within a 2°C increase. Enhanced silicate weathering (ESW) is an approach that uses the natural process of silicate weathering for the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. The geochemical basis is firmly established: during dissolution of silicate minerals in seawater, CO2 is consumed and sequestered into the ocean. Hence, by deliberately introducing fast-weathering silicate minerals into the coastal zone, one could create a coastal CO2 sink. A principal advantage of ESW over other negative emission technologies is that it also counteracts ocean acidification and that it can be directly integrated into existing coastal management programs with existing technology. Although model studies show its feasibility, there has been no rigorous assessment of its CO2-sequestration efficiency and environmental impacts, which are bottlenecks to its commercial implementation. In this project, we will conduct a set of large-scale experiments to investigate the rate of ESW and associated CO2 uptake under realistic natural settings (bioturbation, waves, currents) as well as potentially important influences on the biogeochemical cycling in coastal ecosystems (release of trace metals, alkalinity and dissolved silicate). The key scientific objective of this SBO project is to perform basic research into the economic viability and environmental safety of coastal ESW, to examine if and how it can be developed into a sustainable and cost-effective approach for creating negative emissions. To this end, three important research challenges will be tackled: [1] to determine the CO2 sequestration efficiency of coastal ESW in realistic coastal conditions [2] to determine the dissolution time scale of coastal ESW in realistic coastal conditions [3] to assess the impact of trace metal release (in particular Nickel and Chromium) by coastal ESW on marine biota To achieve these objectives, we will realize: • A large-scale pilot set-up that simulates olivine weathering under in situ conditions (first largescale demo set-up of coastal ESW worldwide), and • A numerical biogeochemical model ("virtual seafloor") that simulates the dissolution of olivine in the seafloor

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      Restoring raw water resources through landscape restoration. 13/11/2018 - 12/11/2022

      Abstract

      Collaboration between PIDPA and UAntwerpen for supporting research that focuses on restoring raw water resources through landscape restoration. Such research is part of the central mission of PIDPA to protect future potential drinking water sites. The aim of the support is to enable research activities that are synergetic with the Interreg project PROWATER, which stands for 'protecting and restoring raw water sources through actions at the landscape scale', and contributes to climate adaptation by restoring the water storage of the landscape via 'ecosystem-based adaptation measures'. UAntwerpen fulfills a crucial role by taking on the substantive coordination and scientific underpinning of this project.

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      Development of an active-passive sampling device for monitoring bioavailable pollutants in water. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2021

      Abstract

      Water monitoring programs are largely used to assess the quality of aquatic ecosystems and verify compliance with environmental quality standards. However, the use of inadequate tools for the assessment of the impact of pollutants to aquatic organisms often results in inaccurate evaluations of ecological risk. Current approaches either rely on the total concentration of a pollutant, which has shown to be a poor predictor of ecological risk, or make large use of organisms for biological testing. This proposal aims to create and test a new generation of monitoring devices capable of measuring the fraction of pollutants present in the water that is relevant for ecological risk assessment, that is, the fraction of pollutants effectively available for assimilation in the organism and thus most likely to cause toxicity. An interdisciplinary approach combining biological testing and chemical speciation measurements will be used to investigate mechanistic links between the uptake of organisms and devices and test the performance of the envisaged technology. The automated device will be practical to transport and use on site, and will be equipped with chemical sensors suitable for measuring a wide range of pollutants (e.g. metals and organic compounds). This will significantly reduce costs related to field work operations and laboratory analyses and contribute to more robust and reliable water quality assessments.

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      Quantification and characterization of the plastic flux in the Scheldt, with a view to an efficient remediation of this waste problem. 01/02/2018 - 31/01/2022

      Abstract

      his research initially aims to quantify the plastic flux on the scale of a complete basin, from the smaller tributaries, effluents from water purification stations, docks and canals to the estuary and the sea. Where are the largest sources of plastic waste? What is the residence time of this waste? Are there sinks, zones with long retention of plastic waste in the river system? Quantification of the plastic flux through the entire continuum from the basin to the mouth is essential for the elaboration of an efficient remediation strategy. This study is limited to the macroplastics. After all, relatively realistic removal strategies can still be designed for this fraction, the ultimate goal of this project. In addition, a large part of the microplastics is caused by disintegration of macroplastics. By macroplastics we mean pieces of plastic such as bottles, plastic bags, ropes, .... Plastic pellets will also receive extra attention, since these are sometimes prominently present in the water and on the bank in the Scheldt and the port area. The second objective of this research project is to look for an efficient remediation. Where can you intervene, and how? This project does not aim to develop technical constructions itself, but the effect of existing technologies can be estimated. For example: What effect does a limitation of overflow on the total plastic flux to the North Sea have? Which fraction can be caught with a floating position in the port? The Scheldt basin is selected as a case. To answer the research questions, a monitoring network is developed. Plastic waste is collected at dams, locks, water purification plants, etc. In this way, plastic fluxes from sub-basins, docks, ... can be calculated and an estimate is made of the total flux towards the estuary. In the estuary, the stock is determined by plastic (by means of a deviation) and point measurements (eg cooling water intake points) are used to estimate the flux.

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      LIFE NARMENA - C1: monitoring sediment: passive samplers. 25/08/2020 - 31/12/2020

      Abstract

      The EU Life project NARMANA investigates whether the impact of historical metal contamination can be reduced by using plants (phytoremediation). In metal-contaminated aquatic ecosystems, banks and newly created floodplains will be planted with certain plant species in order to reduce the possible toxicological effects of the metals. It is important to measure changes in the bioavailability of the metals in soil and water. In this project, the bioavailability of metals is measured with passive samplers in sediment and soil before and after the creation of floodplains.

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      Plastic pellets: detection, quantification and evolution of plastic pellet flow in Antwerp Harbour (Port of the Future) 01/02/2020 - 30/06/2021

      Abstract

      In this project, the University of Antwerp, want to make a thorough analysis together with the Port Authority of the various steps of the handling and transport process that lead to the loss and distribution of the plastic pellets in the port. In this way we arrive at a dynamic heat map of pellet loss in function of time and place. These insights ensure that not only the places of loss and risks are mapped, but also insights into potential intervention points and solutions. This must be achieved by bringing together the available expertise and knowledge within the companies, the port and the university. In a first phase, the existing situation is analyzed and mapped out, and in a second phase, targeted solutions are formulated, with the ultimate aim being to reduce losses to zero and limit the existing and future impact on the environment as much as possible.

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      Project website

      Expert advice on environmental risk assessment of contaminated sediments 23/12/2019 - 22/04/2020

      Abstract

      In the context of the further elaboration of the policy related to risk assessment of contaminated sediments in Flanders, OVAM has set up different actions. Initiatives from Flanders and abroad provide insight into how the risks of sediment contamination can be estimated and tackled. This results in a large amount of knowledge and information. However, it is a complex matter. That is why researchers from SPHERE, with relevant expertise, will assist OVAM. The information related to environmental risk assessment from the various projects will be used to develop its policy in Flanders.

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      Active passive water pollution sampling device (WATERSIDE). 01/05/2019 - 31/08/2020

      Abstract

      Previously an active passive sampler for accumulation of pollutants from water was developed into a laboratory prototype. Its n°1 feature is controlled flow through the device, such that sampling is independent of hydrodynamic flow in the water body. This project will establish a field-deployable prototype. Its valorization value lies in standardization and the replacement of biota sampling.

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      Expert advice on risk assessment of contaminated sediments 15/03/2019 - 15/04/2019

      Abstract

      Flanders public waste agency (OVAM) is currently working on new legislation concerning a sediment risk assessment framework for Flanders. Within this project researchers of SPHERE (UAntwerp) will contribute to different aspects of this framework.

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      AnaEE-Flanders: Integrated infrastructure for experimental ecosystem research. 01/02/2019 - 31/01/2021

      Abstract

      ANAEE will provide Europe with a distributed and coordinated set of experimental, analytical and modelling platforms to analyse and predict in a precise manner the response of the main continental ecosystems to environmental and land use changes. ANAEE will consist of highly equipped in natura and in vitro experimental platforms associated with sophisticated analytical and modelling platforms, under a European umbrella of supranational entities. At UAntwerp these platforms will include both terrestrial and aquatic experimental facilities.

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      Networking and strategy, in collaboration with the client, for the Flemish universities and research institutions in the context of sustainable chemistry, bio-economy and environmental technology. 01/12/2018 - 30/06/2019

      Abstract

      This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VITO. UA provides VITO research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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        Support in the development of risk assessment procedures for river sediments 06/02/2018 - 31/12/2018

        Abstract

        As part of the further development of its sediment policy, OVAM has set up various actions. Work is continuing on a standard procedure and a code of good practice for sediment research, a system for risk assessment for water beds and shores, a study 'Validation hotspots' has started, and a number of descriptive sediment studies for surface waters are being carried out. Sphere offers the expertise that can support OVAM and the appointed soil remediation experts and more specifically for the development of a system for risk assessments

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        Ecotoxicological effects of sulphates to aquatic organisms 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2019

        Abstract

        In order to derive scientifically based environmental quality standard (EQS) for sulphates in fresh water ecosystems sufficient data should be available. The 'European Union Technical Guidance Document for Deriving Environmental Quality Standards (EU-TGD, 2011)' provides different methods to derive EQS. Preferentially chronic ecotoxicological data should be used (NOEC, No Observed Effect Concentrations) in combination with species sensitivity distributions (SSD). Based on these data a HC5 (Hazard Concentration 5%) can be derived, which is a concentration that is considered to be protective for 95% of all the species included in the SSD. According to t e guidelines minimal 15 species belonging to at least 8 different taxonomic groups should be included. Based on a first screening of all available data it has been noted that not all taxonomic groups are represented so far (especially insects are lacking). In this study the existing literature on sulphate toxicity on fresh water organisms will screened in detail and in addition chronic toxicity tests on insect larvae will be performed in order to gain more information that can be used for the derivation of a safe EQS.

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        Development of an active-passive sampling device for monitoring bioavailable pollutants in water. 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2018

        Abstract

        Concentrations of metals (e.g. Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb Zn) and organic compounds (e.g. pesticides, flame retardants, pharmaceuticals) in aquatic ecosystems have been increasing in the last several decades as a result of urban spread, farming and industrial activities. Water monitoring programs are used to assess the quality of aquatic ecosystems and verify compliance with environmental quality standards. However, the use of inadequate tools for assessing pollutant concentrations in water often result in inaccurate evaluations of ecological risk. Current approaches used for water quality monitoring either measure the total concentration of a pollutant, which has shown to be a poor predictor of ecological risk, or make large use of organisms for biological testing. This proposal aims to create and test the technology required to develop a new generation of monitoring devices capable of measuring the fraction of pollutants present in the water that is relevant for ecological risk assessment, that is, the fraction of pollutants available for assimilation in the organism and that could potentially cause toxicity. This device will be practical to transport and use on site, and will be capable of autonomously measure a wide range of pollutants in water over long periods (from days to weeks). This will significantly reduce costs related to field work operations and laboratory analyses. The new technology will contribute to more robust and reliable water quality assessments.

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        Creation of an Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) for Cd, Cu and Zn mixture toxicity on Arabidopsis roots. 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2018

        Abstract

        Metal contamination is a major environmental concern in many industrialized and developing countries since metals enrich in the food chain, creating threats for human and animal health. Metal-risk assessments in soil are mostly based on the effects of single metals, while contaminated soils are frequently characterized by multi-metal contaminations. Even though metals may cause no or very limited observable effects when applied individually, the combination of different chemicals can produce significant toxic effects. There is thus an increased need to understand how metals act together in mixtures and how these should be handled in regulatory risk assessment. Plant toxicity tests mainly use 1 metal and assess general endpoints and often do not provide any insight into the effect on the underlying biological processes that lead to the observed effects, making comparison of the effects of different metals, supplied as singles or mixtures, difficult. We will use Arabidopsis as model plant to perform analysis of the effects of Cd, Cu and Zn at the transcriptome, proteome, metabolome and cellular physiology level using state of the art technology. This systems biology approach will allow us to integrate the data obtained at the different organisation levels of the root and to create a series of events in order to explain the observed effect of metal addition on Arabidopsis root growth. This formation of an 'adverse outcome pathway', used for animal systems, is novel for plants.

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        In situ biodegradation of TBT in sediment by enhanced oxygenation. 01/07/2017 - 30/06/2020

        Abstract

        The project evaluates whether the biodegradation of tributyltin (TBT) in aquatic soil can be stimulated by in situ administration of oxygen; with the aim of obtaining a sustainable remediation technique for TBT contaminants in watercourse.

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        Unravelling the non-specific mechanisms underlying non-polar narcotic toxicity: mitochondrial effects. 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2020

        Abstract

        At least 60% of all industrial chemicals cause environmental toxicity through a mechanism called narcosis. In a toxicological context, the term narcosis refers to lipophilic chemicals accumulating in cellular membranes. There is an urgent need for a better understanding of sublethal narcosis effects to improve environmental risk assessment of this vast body of chemicals. Based on direct and indirect evidence from both our own preliminary results and literature, we hypothesize that narcotics impair mitochondrial membrane-bound processes. The central objective of this project is to develop a detailed description of the molecular, cellular and organismal cascade of events resulting from accumulation of narcotics in mitochondrial membranes. We will use cell lines and zebrafish embryos. First, we will study the impact of narcotics on mitochondrial structure and essential functions. Secondly, we will characterize organismal effects which are of direct ecological relevance for risk assessment. Thirdly, we will use specific mitochondrial inhibitors to validate whether they produce the same cascade of events, from the molecular (RNA-seq, whole transcriptome Next Generation Sequencing) to the organismal level. In the final and most challenging work package we will use state-of-the-art imaging technology to visualize the dynamics of accumulation of narcotics in live zebrafish embryos, and subcellular accumulation behaviour.

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        Microplastics in the marine environment: putting biodegradability in the picture. 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2020

        Abstract

        Plastic pollution of the aquatic environment is one of the major environmental issues of our times: the World's plastic consumption is ever increasing, and, due to poor waste management, most of this endless stream of plastic enters the waterways, ultimately reaching the seas and oceans. Marine litter is a very visible issue, but there is more than meets the eye: in fact, plastic items in the aquatic environment undergo a process of degradation, due to biotic and abiotic agents, originating millions of tiny fragments – microplastics. These microplastics have been shown to accumulate inside biota, and to adsorb persistent pollutants present in the water, potentially transferring them to the organisms ingesting the microplastics. Substituting traditional with biodegradable plastics (particularly in single-use applications) has been proposed as a solution to the plastic pollution problem. But is this a good idea for the marine environment? This study proposes an experimental plan aiming to answer this question, by comparing the performance in three main areas of two biodegradable polymers, polylactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), to the oil-based polyethylene (PE). The comparison focuses on: degradation in the marine environment and microplastic formation; persistent pollutant adsorption on microplastics; and toxicity on two important marine species (the mussel, M. edulis, and sea bass, D. labrax) of both microplastics and microplastics contaminated with pollutants.

        Researcher(s)

        Research team(s)

        Analysis and Experimentation on Ecocystems (AnaEE). 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2018

        Abstract

        ANAEE will provide Europe with a distributed and coordinated set of experimental, analytical and modelling platforms to analyse and predict in a precise manner the response of the main continental ecosystems to environmental and land use changes. ANAEE will consist of highly equipped in natura and in vitro experimental platforms associated with sophisticated analytical and modelling platforms, under a European umbrella of supranational entities. At UAntwerp these platforms will include both terrestrial and aquatic experimental facilities.

        Researcher(s)

        Research team(s)

        Networking and strategy, in collaboration with the client, for the Flemish universities and research institutions in the context of sustainable chemistry, bio-economy and environmental technology. 01/12/2016 - 30/11/2018

        Abstract

        This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VITO. UA provides VITO research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

        Researcher(s)

        Research team(s)

          Support PhD research. 01/10/2016 - 31/12/2019

          Abstract

          The funds are allocated for activities relating to the support and supervision of young researchers. The grant will be used to create a framework for and the development, implementation and strengthening of activities related to the following objectives: Training of young researchers; Career development and promotion of career prospects of young researchers; Strengthening the international orientation in the careers of young researchers.

          Researcher(s)

          Research team(s)

            Effects of combined exposure to metal mixtures and natural stressors on aquatic invertebrates: relating changes in metal uptake to altered behavior and ecological effects. 01/10/2016 - 30/09/2018

            Abstract

            Metals are posing a worldwide threat to aquatic ecosystems. In the natural environment trace metals most often occur in different mixtures, in which metals can strongly interfere with each other, producing antagonistic, synergistic or additional toxic effects. Besides the presence of pollutants also natural stressors such as fluctuating temperature, food shortages and predators are present that might negatively affect organisms and alter metal bioavailability. Current environmental quality standards (EQS) however are mainly based on laboratory tests under strictly controlled conditions in which test organisms are exposed to single compounds for a limited period of time. Moreover, in the setting of environmental standards more sensitive endpoints such as behavior have never been used. As a result the current EQS for metals might result in under- or in overprotecting the environment. The aim of this study is to investigate the combined effects of metal mixtures and the natural stressors temperature, food and predation pressure on the behavior of three aquatic invertebrates. This behavior will be compared to classical endpoints, e.g. reproduction and growth. In addition effects on a whole aquatic community will be assessed in artificial streams and ponds. Combining metal mixtures with predator stress and assessing the effects of this combination on different levels of biological organization is highly innovative and will contribute to the development of ecological relevant EQS.

            Researcher(s)

            Research team(s)

            Subsidy for the support of young researchers. 01/10/2016 - 30/09/2017

            Abstract

            The funds are allocated for activities relating to the support and supervision of young researchers. The grant will be used to create a framework for and the development, implementation and strengthening of activities related to the following objectives: Training of young researchers; Career development and promotion of career prospects of young researchers; Strengthening the international orientation in the careers of young researchers.

            Researcher(s)

            Research team(s)

              MALDI Mass Spectrometry Imaging (MALDI-MSI): Bridging proteomics and imaging. 01/05/2016 - 30/04/2020

              Abstract

              The instrument acquired in this project is a matrix assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometer capable of mass spectrometry imaging (MSI). This technique is especially developed for the identification of biomolecules in a manner that retains cytological and histological patterning. This novel technical process, abbreviated to MALDI-MSI represents an interesting and extremely productive intersection between mass spectrometric and imaging platforms. Therefore, this grant is bridging 3 University of Antwerp CORE facilities (Center for Proteomics, Bio-Imaging lab and the Biomedical Microscopic Imaging Core). Using this MALDI-MSI platform, multiple research groups, brought together by a common interest in investigating molecular damage associated with aberrant aging mechanisms, will be able to identify a diverse range of small molecules (peptides and metabolites) as well as larger proteins directly on tissue slides, preserving the topological, histological and cytological data. This is not possible with routine proteomics and metabolomics technologies nor with advanced imaging techniques.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              • Translational Neurobiology

              City of Things (CoT). 01/05/2016 - 30/04/2020

              Abstract

              As everyday devices are being connected to the Internet, research on large-scale wireless sensors networks specifically and Internet of Things (IoT) generally are becoming more and more important. There is a considerable research and innovation effort related to the deployment of smart cities using this IoT technology. However, there are still plenty of hurdles to move from R&D to implementation and real mass-scale deployment of wireless sensors networks. Moreover, the city itself is a treasure of data to be explored if the right sensors can be installed. Testbeds are the preferred tools for academic and industrial researchers to evaluate their research but a large-scale multi-technology smart city research infrastructure is currently the missing link. The City of Things research infrastructure will build a multi-technology and multi-level testbed in the city of Antwerp. As a result, 100 locations around the city of Antwerp and its harbour will be equipped with gateways supporting multiple wireless IoT protocols. These gateways will connect with hundreds of wireless sensors and actuators, measuring smart city parameters such as traffic flows, noise, air pollution, etc.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              Project website

              Development of an alternative testing strategy for the fish early-life stage test for predicting chronic toxicity : assay validation. 01/03/2016 - 28/02/2018

              Abstract

              This project aims to develop an alternative testing strategy to reduce the need for fish early life-stage toxicity tests (FELS) for the assessment of chronic toxicity of chemicals to fish, using the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework as a guidance for assay development. Currently, the FELS test (OECD TG 210) is one of the primary testing guidelines used to estimate the chronic toxicity of chemicals to fish. Results obtained using this TG are used to support risk assessment around the world. However, important limitations of this animal test are being recognized, including (1) the high numbers of fish used, (2) the relatively low-throughput, and (3) the lack of mechanistic information. In order to comply with the 3R principles, we are developing a non-animal testing strategy which includes both in vitro tests and in vivo whole organism alternative 120 hpf (hours post fertilization) ZFET (zebrafish embryo acute toxicity test) assays. One of the main research questions of this project is to what extent an assay development approach based on the AOP framework is capable of offering a mechanistic basis for selecting assays to develop an alternative testing strategy that allows the prediction of chronic FELS toxicity. This project is a follow-up of Cefic LRI-ECO20, and aims to validate assays that were developed during that project.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              Mixed metal and temperature stress in aquatic environments establishing functional links across different levels of organisation. 01/01/2016 - 31/12/2019

              Abstract

              The aquatic environment is continuously challenged by anthropogenic stressors of which exposure to mixtures of chemicals is one of the most important. In most cases the resulting environmental impact is caused by a combination of natural and anthropogenic stressors with very different modes of action. In this project we explore the importance and nature of these interactions on three model species and a mesocosm scale simulated ecosystem.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              Ecotoxicological effects of microplastics in marine ecosystems (EPHEMARE). 15/12/2015 - 15/03/2019

              Abstract

              The EPHEMARE multidisciplinary consortium will allow identification of operational biomarkers with potential for MP detection in the environment, as well as omics approaches to elucidate molecular pathways causing biological effects. The composition and capacities of the partnership allow in-depth studies on fundamental mechanisms underlying these effects across the main phyla of marine organisms from bacteria to fish covering most of the trophic levels. In addition to experimental exposures, field validation studies will be performed in four areas representative of coastal ecosystems submitted to different degrees of anthropogenic pressure, thus linking the ecotoxicological findings from laboratory studies to the environmental scale. The communication and connection with private and public stakeholders, which involves 67 person-months from 14 partners, is one of the priorities of EPHEMARE in order to facilitate public awareness, prenormative research, and implementation of European Directives.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              WATERSIDE: Active Passive Water Pollution Sampling Device. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2017

              Abstract

              The project aims to develop an active passive water sampler for inorganic and organic pollutants. The apparatus allows the time integrated monitoring of surface waters and waste streams. A controlled water flux is directed across an array of sorbents which accumulate different classes of pollutants. The operational and kinetic characteristics of the sampler will be determined experimentally and the results compared with biota in lab and field conditions.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              Field study biota standards. 01/09/2015 - 04/09/2017

              Abstract

              This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the VMM. UA provides the VMM research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              Risk modelling of water and water bed pollution in the Antwerp harbor docks and the Scheldt river. 01/02/2015 - 30/04/2016

              Abstract

              This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the client. UA provides the client research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              ENVIROMICS, environment toxicology and technology for a durable world. Development and application of diagnostic instruments for industry and policy. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2020

              Abstract

              Environmental toxicology (named ecotoxicology further on) is by name a multidisciplinary field involving a wide span of scientifical domains These domains cover areas as biology (and several sub-disciplines thereof), ecology, biochemistry, toxicology, molecular genetics, industrial and process chemistry etc On top of that it touches the sociological field in terms of human and environmental hazard and risk, and even economy by setting environmental standards, thereby directly influencing industrial processes Water treatment technology and risk assessment are both important answers and tools offered to problems put forward by ecotoxicology Both offer and raise questions and problems to be answered It is my believe that ecotoxicology, in its broadest sense, holds the mother key in the solution but has yet to fully gain it.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              ENVIROSTRESS - Environmental Stress in a Rapidly Changing World. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2019

              Abstract

              This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              Investigating the mechanisms of toxicity of current flame retardants: towards new monitoring assays and better registration. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2018

              Abstract

              This project represents a research agreement between the UA and on the onther hand IWT. UA provides IWT research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              Development and challenge of an integrated model for the risk assessment of aquatic ecosystems. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2018

              Abstract

              This project represents a research agreement between the UA and on the onther hand IWT. UA provides IWT research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              A joint action of aptamers and electrochemistry to sense all β-lactam antibiotics selectively and sensitively at MRL level in milk. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2018

              Abstract

              In this project, the detection of all ß-lactam antibiotics at MRL (maximum residu limit) level in raw milk is aimed by using an aptamer-based electrochemical sensor platform. Once a fundamental electrochemical study is performed to unravel the redox properties of our target molecules, the via SELEX selected aptamers will be immobilized on the electrode surfaces by using a novel immobilization strategy, followed by an electrochemical registration.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              Modulatory toxicity effects of metal mixtures on chemosensation and behavior. 01/10/2014 - 31/03/2018

              Abstract

              Accumulation of metals in the environment creates serious health hazards for diverse animals including humans, hereby remaining a persistent (eco)toxicological concern. While toxic effects of single metals have been documented under laboratory conditions, very little is known about their interactions and putative additive effects, which occur in the environment. One of the major challenges in ecotoxicology is thus to obtain insights in mixture toxicology to set realistic environmental quality criteria. Furthermore, identification and characterization of underlying molecular mechanisms allows studying their mode-of-actions (MOAs) and might provide molecular biomarkers. Especially as different metals appear to interact with each other to create severely increased toxicity (as we found for the zebrafish), it is extremely important to know the exact mechanisms. Furthermore, as molecular changes are likely to precede toxic outcomes on the cellular or organismal level, changes in molecular patterns (fingerprints) can serve as early warning systems of toxicity, similar to biomarker discovery for pathogenic processes in medical applications. Furthermore, it is well-recognized that metals can alter neuronal excitability, that they are implicated in neurodegenerative diseases and that they can impair chemosensation. We therefore aim to investigate whether and how metal toxicities modulate (chemo)sensory capacities and how this is translated to the behavioural/organismal level. To do so, we will fully exploit the benefits of C. elegans as a unique model for both fundamental neuroscience and (eco)toxicology, by combining multidisciplinary expertise in proteomics and behavioral analysis.

              Researcher(s)

              • Promotor: Blust Ronny
              • Promotor: Husson Steven
              • Fellow: Moyson Sofie

              Research team(s)

              La pollution par les métaux et les polluants organiques persistants au Pool Malebo, Kinshasa, RD Congo. 01/08/2014 - 31/07/2016

              Abstract

              This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              Towards nanomaterial-modified aptasensors for the detection of environmentally important molecules (postdoc. fellowship E. HAMIDI-ASL, Iran) 01/06/2014 - 30/11/2015

              Abstract

              The main purpose of this study is twofold: (i) investigating the abilities of noble metal nanostructures in improvement of biosensors functions; (ii) comparing the performances of the electrochemical biosensors modified by nanostructures with different shapes (for example gold nanoparticles, gold nanorodes, gold hollow nanospheres, gold nanocubes and gold nanocages), all in aquaculture.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

              Centre for R&D Monitoring. (ECOOM) 01/01/2014 - 31/12/2018

              Abstract

              The mission of the Centre for R&D Monitoring (ECOOM) is to develop and consolidate a consistent and performing system of R&D and Innovation (RD&I) indicators which provides the Flemish Governement with actual and relevant statistic data for mapping and monitoring the RD&I efforts in the Flemish region. At the same time ECOOM develops a portfolio of relevant scientific research activities to support this mission. Therefore, ECOOM (1) has a series of targeted, long term task packages to map, measure and analyze the Flemish R&D and innovation potential; (2) ensures that a data management infrastructure is available to the Flemish Government containing bibliometric and technometric data and data on innovation and PhDs; (3) provides qualified staffing; (4) builds the necessary and appropriate IT-infrastructure and (5) is able to conduct ad-hoc task or projects at request of the Flemish Government. ECOOM acts as an inter-association center.

              Researcher(s)

              Research team(s)

                Project website

                Development of a method for testing of transgenic rational effects of genetically modified crops in food on the basis of the zebrafish model (TRANSGGO). 01/01/2014 - 30/04/2018

                Abstract

                This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Federal Public Service. UA provides the Federal Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Nutrient removal of industrial wastewater through simultaneous nitritation - denitritation by using granular sludge. 01/01/2014 - 31/12/2017

                Abstract

                The aim of this research project is to achieve and hold a stable and profound (>80% via nitrite) nitritation in granular sludge. Trough combine this two technologies, significant advantages in terms of energy – efficiency (saving 25% O2, 40% COD and settle times) and land use (saving till 75%) can be obtained. The harmonization of the factors that benefits on one hand the granulation and on the other the nitritation will be the main challenge of this research.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Project website

                Drafting a triad method for classification of marshes and sediments in salt and brackish environment. 01/01/2014 - 31/12/2015

                Abstract

                This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VMM. UA provides VMM research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Establish cooperation on the development and deepening of research with a focus on risk modeling of water contamination, particularly in the context of the port of Antwerp. 11/10/2013 - 30/04/2017

                Abstract

                This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Gemeentelijk Havenbedrijf Antwerpen. UA provides Gemeentelijk Havenbedrijf Antwerpen research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Ammonia transport in marine piscine groups: physiological and evolutionary role of Rhesus (Rh) glycoproteins. 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2016

                Abstract

                The project focuses on organismal physiology but extends to molecular physiology. Aim is to unravel the mechanisms associated with ammonia excretion in marine teleosts and primitive marine cartilaginous fish by determining the potential role of Rhesus (Rh) glycoproteins and possible linkage with ion transport.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Development of a (Q) SAR web tool (ASOPUS). 01/10/2013 - 30/11/2015

                Abstract

                This project represents a research agreement between the UA and on the onther hand IWT. UA provides IWT research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Field study biota standards. 31/07/2013 - 31/03/2014

                Abstract

                This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the VMM. UA provides the VMM research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Development of technology within the "label free detection systems" technology platform for the fast and accurate detection of small molecules 01/06/2013 - 31/05/2014

                Abstract

                The project aims at supporting the claims of two UAntwerp patents. The technology protected by these patents offer an alternative to "label free detection systems" on the market today, and cover a new platform for fast and accurate detection of selected small molecules.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Development of an alternative testing strategy for the fish early life-stage test for predicting chronic toxicity. 01/03/2013 - 29/02/2016

                Abstract

                The main objective of this project is to use a mechanistic framework to develop and propose a high-throughput tiered-testing strategy for screening and prioritizing chemicals for FELS testing (OECD 210). The main objective can be divided into four parts: 1) Establish a database of toxicologically relevant FELS-specific AOPs, identify molecular initiating events and subsequent intermediate responses resulting into the apical outcome of interest 2) Propose Tier 1 in vitro screening toolbox to test for AOP-specific events and responses predictive for FELS chronic toxicity. 3) Propose Tier 2 whole-organism ZFET assays to test for AOP-specific events and responses predictive for FELS chronic toxicity and assess the potential of a ZFET molecular screening tool to predict cellular, organ and/or organism responses giving rise to FELS chronic toxicity. 4) Offering a proposal for implementation of a tiered-testing strategy in EU regulation. Assessment of usefulness and applicability of tiered testing strategy for global scientific and regulatory community.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Removal of endocrine disrupting compounds from industrial wastewater. 01/01/2013 - 31/12/2014

                Abstract

                There is a growing concern about the presence of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in surface waters, caused by discharges from wastewater treatment plants. The current project aims at the optimisation of both conventional and advanced treatment technologies to remove EDCs from industrial wastewater. Treatment efficiencies will be determined by effect directed analysis using bioassays that actually measure the endocrine disrupting effects in the samples.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Aquatic systems under multiple stress: a new paradigm for integration aquaculture and ecotoxicology research. 01/10/2012 - 31/12/2017

                Abstract

                The primary scientific objective of the current project is to investigate multiple stress in aquatic systems across multiple levels of biological organization and to verify to what extent multiple stress effects occurring at higher levels of organization can be predicted/explained based on observations of effects occurring at lower levels.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Electrochemical aptasensors targetting antibiotics and PCBs 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2016

                Abstract

                The project aims to develop a new methodology to study biomolecule/small molecule interactions. The method is based on the construction of an amperometric sensor. This sensor/electrode surface is coated with a bio-recognition element such as an aptamer or an enzyme. If needed, a biocompatible matrix and/or a linking agent will be foreseen to protect the bio-elements towards the bare electrode surface. Small target molecules (such as antibiotics and polychlorinated biphenyls) are injected into the system and the corresponding amperometric signals of the biosensor are recorded. Because of the stability and the selectivity of specific bio-recognition elements towards their target molecules, a robust and selective biosensor can be developed.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Uptake kinetics, internal distribution and toxicity of metal mixtures in Asellus aquaticus after waterborne and dietary sediment exposure. 01/10/2012 - 31/12/2014

                Abstract

                Metal pollution in aquatic ecosystems still poses a worldwide threat to living organisms, including humans. Classic ecotoxicological research mainly focuses on the effect of single metals, however in the aquatic environment metals most often will occur in mixtures of various concentrations. Since metals can have similar uptake mechanisms (e.g. Cd and Pb through Ca channels in epithelium cells), the presence of metals in different mixtures can result in altered uptake and toxicity than is the case under laboratory conditions. To which extent metal mixtures will be taken up and cause toxicity in aquatic invertebrates remains poorly understood. This study aims to investigate uptake mechanisms, internal distribution and toxicity of Cu, Cd and Pb mixtures in aquatic invertebrates. The Isopod Asellus aquaticus will be exposed to mixtures of 106Cd, 65Cu en 204Pb isotopes for 28 days. Metal uptake will be quantified in time using HR-ICP-MS. Internal metal distribution will be studied using both laser ablation and micro-X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (micro-XRF) techniques. The induction of various metallothionein isoforms will be analyzed in cooperation with the Molecular Physiology and environmental Toxicology group of the University of Innsbruck, in Austria. Various physiological conditions in the organisms, including the energy budget, total biomass, mortality and ion status will be followed in time.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Controlled immobilization of aptamers onto electrode surfaces. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2013

                Abstract

                This project fits within the research line in which electrochemical affinity sensors for the detection veterinary antimicrobial drugs (antibiotics) in dairy products are developed. Aptamers as more robust and effective biorecognition elements will be immobilized on electrode surface. Fast, cost-effective and sensitive electroanalytical methods will be applied to achieve required analytical characteristics. The prepared sensors will be tested on real samples.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Bio-template silica titania diatoms for gas phase photocatalysis. 01/07/2012 - 30/06/2016

                Abstract

                Air pollution is of growing social and economical concern in densely populated regions as Flanders. A promising air purification technology is photocatalysis that only uses light to convert harmfull pollutants to harmless components as CO2 and H20. Photocatalysts, frequently based on titanium dioxide, exhibit several drawbacks: (1) environmentally burdening production process, (2) insufficient immobilisation of the nanoparticles, (3) insufficient activity. Immobilisation of titanium dioxide by metabolic incorporation in the diatom silica skeleton can provide a proper solution for the aforementioned problems. In this process titanium dioxide is incorporated in the silica skeleton of the diatom during cell division. Diatoms are single-celled eukaryotic microalgae that form intricate, self-assembled porous silica cell walls, called frustules. These diatom frustules are composed of hydrated silica with specific 3D morphologies, micro- meso or macroporosity and have typically high surface area (10-250 m2/g). In this project two subspecies of diatoms are used, the salt water algae Pinnularia sp.and the acidophilic algae Eunotia sp. This study provides sustainable, well immobilised and highly porous biosilica titania materials that are promising for photocatalytic air purifcation. The expertise on the growing of algae and the incorporation of metal atoms is present in the research group Ecophysiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology (EBT) of the department of Biology. The titanium content of the frustules should be as high as possible in order to obtain photocatalytically active materials. Two new strategies to increase the amount of titanium available for metabolic incorporation are appied. On one hand we will use acidophilic diatoms that can grow at very low pH, on the other hand titanium complexes are studied. The resulting mesoporous biosilica titania complexed are analysed for their titanium dioxide content (ICP-MS) and the location of the titanium dioxide deposition (STEM-EDS). After thermal annealing at high temperatures (400-900°C) the crystallinity (XRD), surface area (BET isotherms), pore distribution (BJH method) and optical properties (UV-VIS spectroscopy) are studied for those materials with sufficient titanium dioxide content. The biotemplate structures are tested for their photocatalytic degradation perfomance towards several common air pollutants (NOx, ethylene, acetaldehyde) in the gas phase. Expertise on real time in-situ study of photocatalysts in operating conditions is present in the research group Sustainable Energy and Air Purification (DuEL) of the department of Bio-science Engineering. This research project results in an optimized bio-template production process for mesoporous silica-titania photocatalysts as a base for an efficient, sustainable, economically and ecologically viable air purification process.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Next generation sequencing technology opening new frontiers in biological and medical research. 28/06/2012 - 31/12/2017

                Abstract

                The aim of this project is to develop a next generation sequencing (NGS) platform to advance in a collaborative way biological and medical research within the Antwerp research community. The consortium involves more than 16 research groups in various disciplines of medicine, biology and biomedical informatics. The goals are to identify new genes and mutations in various rare Mendelian disorders, to achieve more insights in the genetic causes of cancer and to unravel more precisely the genetic determinants of infectious diseases. This new knowledge will improve both the diagnosis and management of these human diseases. The project will also focus on the interaction between environment and genes. More specifically, the effect of environmental stressors on genetic variation in aquatic organisms, the effect of teratogenic factors on embryonic development in vertebrates and the effects of environmental conditions on growth in maize and Arabidopsis lines will be studied. The analysis of the large amount of genomic and transcriptomic data, generated by the various research groups, will be coordinated by the recently founded UZA/UA bioinformatics group Biomina

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Radiation and radionuclides in a multi-contaminant context : effects induced in Lemna minor. 15/05/2012 - 31/12/2012

                Abstract

                This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand SCK. UA provides SCK research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Mesodrome. 26/04/2012 - 31/12/2017

                Abstract

                This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Feasability study biota standards for hazardous substances - Measurement strategy for assessing biota standards. 01/04/2012 - 30/09/2012

                Abstract

                This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the VMM. UA provides the VMM research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Uptake and toxicity of metals from metal mixtures in aquatic and terrestrial systems: rationalization based on metal bioavailability models. 01/01/2012 - 31/12/2015

                Abstract

                The general objective is to analyze the interactions among toxic trace metals for uptake and toxicity in aquatic and terrestrial systems in terms of the mechanisms that affect metal bioavailability. More in particular, experiments will be designed to test the proof of concept for a model that can predict mixture effects starting from the water and soil composition, including total dissolved metals in water or total metal in soil.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Stress responses induced in Lemna minor by different radiation types: characterisation and comparison by a multi-endpoint molecular approach. 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2015

                Abstract

                This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand a private institution. UA provides the private institution research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Physiologically based pharmacokinetic models for the accumulation and effects of microcontaminants in harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) and harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2013

                Abstract

                Aims: Development of a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model for long-term uptake and accumulation of microcontaminants by seals. Model evaluation by comparison of predicted values with observed results of microcontaminants in blood and biopsy (living animals) and other tissues (dead animals). Determination of the condition of seals by use of general condition-indices and more specific indications for homeostasis and stress by analysis of bloodsamples with special attention for endocrine effects and immunity. Making connections between exposure, accumulation and effects. By comparison with results from analysis of animals from different areas and by use of multivariate statistical methods we will check whether it is possible to find the cause of the effects.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Stress responses induced in Lemna minor by different radiation types: characterisation and comparison by a multi-endpoint molecular approach. 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2014

                Abstract

                The project aims to gain mechanistic insight in the mode of action of radiation induced stress responses in Lemna minor to different radiation types at the molecular level. The responses will be studied in a time and dose resolved manner and compared to more classic development and growth related endpoints.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                INFLAME - Indoor contamination with flame retardant chemicals: causes and impacts. 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2014

                Abstract

                The main research goal is to further understanding of how and to what extent flame retardant (FR) chemicals used in every-day consumer goods and construction materials enter humans and of the risk to health that such exposure presents.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Development of an in vitro screening system for detection of obesogenic substances in the environment. 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2014

                Abstract

                Overweight and obesity are defined as a disease in which abnormal excessive body fat accumulation causes adverse effects on health, leading to a higher morbidity and mortality. The environmental obesogen hypothesis proposes that exposure to chemicals (more specifically endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs)) is superimposed on an excessive caloric intake and a sedentary lifestyle, to induce the development and progression of obesity and its associated health consequences. In vivo or in vitro studies using 3T3-L1 mouse fibroblasts, a well established model for adipogenesis, have already indicated the potential impact of EDCs such as bisphenol A, mono-ethylhexylphthalate (MEHP) and tributyltin (TBT) on adipocyte differentiation. These findings urge the need for a mechanistic study on the effects of EDCs on adipocytes. This project aims to investigate the role of EDCs in the pandemic of obesity and the mechanisms through which they influence the adipose tissue and can be divided in 2 parts: i) in vitro exposure using the 3T3-L1 cell line. The influence of exposure to EDC on differentiation, proliferation, adipokine production and lipid metabolism of (pre-)adipocytes will be studied. The combination of the these differentiation experiments with the other endpoints (proliferation, adipokine production, lipid metabolism) will give us important information for the selection of potentially obesogenic EDCs for further mode of action research using microarray techniques. ii) Human visceral and subcutaneous fat samples are obtained from a collaboration with UZA and will enable us to find correlations between concentrations of endocrine disruptors and the gene expression of obesity-related biomarkers.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Ecotoxicity removal from industrial wastewater: optimization of the PACT process. 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2012

                Abstract

                The PACT process is an advanced waste water treatment technology where powdered activated carbon is added to the activated sludge (1) to protect the treatment process, and (2) to obtain an effluent with an improved chemical quality. In view of the more stringent industrial discharge limits that also include ecological criteria, the current project aims at optimizing the PACT process to obtain effluents with a good biological quality.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Project website

                Characterization of toxicity and grouping of chemicals based on toxinogenomics in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and in Daphnia magna. 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2012

                Abstract

                This project represents a research agreement between the UA and on the onther hand IWT. UA provides IWT research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Evaluation l'incidence d'une antenne sur un site Natura 2000 en région Bruxelloise. 01/10/2010 - 31/03/2011

                Abstract

                L'objectif global de l'etude concernée par le présent cahier des charges est de définir les circonstances selon lesquelles il peut raisonnablement être considéré qu'une antenne n'est pas susceptible d'affecter de manière significative un site Natura 2000 en région bruxelloise.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer coupled to Liquid Chromatography system (LC-TOF/MS). 22/07/2010 - 31/12/2015

                Abstract

                This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Laser ablation solid sampling station for high-resolution inductively coupled mass spectrometer (LA-HR-ICP-MS). 22/07/2010 - 31/12/2014

                Abstract

                This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Nutritional and microbiological studies in Larvale aquaculture. 01/01/2010 - 31/12/2019

                Abstract

                This is a fundamental research project financed by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO). The project was subsidized after selection by the FWO-expert panel. This Scientific Research Community was initiated from the Laboratory for Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center (ARC, UGent). The research within the ARC has evolved from fundamental and applied research on the cultivation of the brineshrimp Artemia to a multidisciplinary study of larval fish, shellfish cultivation in collaboration with various research groups. The emphasis is currently on host microbial interactions. Given the complexity of the mechanisms involved, it has been found necessary to bundle the expertise in a research community.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                A functional genomics study in zebrafish to elucidate the role of thyroid hormones and deiodinases in early emryonic development. 01/01/2010 - 31/12/2013

                Abstract

                The overall aim of the study is to determine the role of THs in embryonic development in zebrafish, and vertebrates in general, prior to the onset of embryonic thyroid gland activity. More specifically we want to show how changes in intracellular T3 availability as a result of knockdown of both activating Ds influences major developmental processes such as gastrulation, neurulation and organogenesis.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Process control of batch and continious flow wastewater treatment processes for nutrient and carbon removal by the use of respirometry and fuzzy logic control strategies. 01/01/2010 - 31/12/2011

                Abstract

                In this project a process control strategy for batch and continuous flow active sludge wastewater treatment systems will be developed. The control strategy, based on fuzzy logic and characterisation by a newly developed respirometry based device, will allow significant economical as well as ecological advantages. The project also contains an important valorisation part, which will result in an applicable process control strategy.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Impact of sediment pollution on the ecological situation in the Antwerp docks. 01/12/2009 - 30/11/2013

                Abstract

                This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Gemeentelijk Havenbedrijf Antwerpen. UA provides Gemeentelijk Havenbedrijf Antwerpen research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Exposure and metabolism of new brominated flame retardants. 01/10/2009 - 31/01/2012

                Abstract

                Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) have been used in commercial and household products, with a number of new BFRs (nBFRs) being recently introduced on the market. At this moment, very little is known regarding the environmental fate, food chain transfer, metabolism and toxicological profile of these nBFRs and this warrants additional and systematic research. The present proposal builds on the extensive experience and collaboration network related to BFRs accumulated in my first research mandate. A first objective is the validation of suitable analytical methods for the detection of nBFRs at trace levels in environmental and biological matrices. It further aims at a systematic investigation of the exposure routes, fate and biomagnification potential of nBFRs in representative aquatic and terrestrial food chains. This research will also aim at evaluating the degree and pathways of human exposure to nBFRs. Furthermore, the metabolic pathways of nBFRs in representative species, including humans, will also be investigated. Finally, the project will investigate the metabolic rates for the most important nBFRs. The completion of the proposed project will ensure a better understanding of the accumulation, fate and metabolism of nBFRs in biota.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Physiologically based pharmacokinetic models for the accumulation of microcontaminants and immunological effects in harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) and harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). 01/10/2009 - 30/09/2011

                Abstract

                Aims: Development of a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model for long-term uptake and accumulation of microcontaminants by seals. Model evaluation by comparison of predicted values with observed results of microcontaminants in blood and biopsy (living animals) and other tissues (dead animals). Determination of the condition of seals by use of general condition-indices and more specific indications for homeostasis and stress by analysis of bloodsamples with special attention for endocrine effects and immunity. Making connections between exposure, accumulation and effects. By comparison with results from analysis of animals from different areas and by use of multivariate statistical methods we will check whether it is possible to find the cause of the effects.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                ENNSATOX - Engineered Nanoparticle Impact on Aquatic Environments: Structure, Activity and Toxicology. 01/07/2009 - 30/06/2012

                Abstract

                The ENNSATOX's mission is to integrate and exploit the most cutting edge innovative science in Europe to deliver critical new knowledge of the fate and risks of engineered nanoparticles in aquatic environments for informing all stakeholders seeking maximum technoligical, societal and economic beneficial impact from Europe's substantial investment in nanotechnology.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Endocrine-disrupting environmental chemicals: From accumulation to their role in the global "neuro-endocrine" epidemic of obesity and its metabolic consequences. 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2012

                Abstract

                It is recently hypothesised that the disturbance of weight homeostasis leading to obesity in humans might at least partially be influenced by endocrine disrupting chemicals. This study particularly investigates the accumulation and role of older and new emerging endocrine disrupting chemicals in the pandemic of the 21st century called obesity. The effects are studied at molecular, cellular and organism level using in vitro and in vivo approaches, analytical techniques, cell culture, genomics, genetics and epidemiological data in humans.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Analysis of pharmaceutical products in wastewater: development, validation and evaluation of a new and innovative model for their (rational) use. 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2012

                Abstract

                The fundamental aim of this project is to develop and to validate a mathematical model to transform concentrations of the most prescribed and used pharmaceuticals and their metabolites of which the use is known (RIZIV) in waste water in an amount of used pharmaceuticals in Belgium (measured vs. predicted environmental concentrations).

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                A system biological analysis of metal induced responses in the zebrafish, Danio rerio. 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2012

                Abstract

                In the framework of this project we want to perform a comparative study of metal regulation, compartmentalisation and toxicity in the genetically well characterised zebrafish, Danio rerio, for two essential (copper and zinc) and one nonessential (cadmium) metals. We want to determine the similarities and differences in metal handling and resulting responses after exposure under three physiologically different conditions.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Implementation of fast bioassays in industrial waste water treatment and WET (Whole Effluent Toxicity Testing) - Validation of the selected assays in view of the EU Water Framework Directive. 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2010

                Abstract

                The water frame work directive, the new European legislation for water management requires the water quality to fulfill some strict chemical and biological criteria. The duration of classical bioassays is too long and incompatible with the dynamics of a water treatment plant. There is therefore a high need for fast and sensitive bioassays. In this project some fast assays will be validated for the usefulness in waste water treatment applications.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                High Resolution Inductive Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (HR-ICP-MS). 19/12/2008 - 18/12/2013

                Abstract

                This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Food interactions: consequences on health, consumer perception and impact on the agro-alimentary industry (FOODINTER) - second phase. 15/12/2008 - 31/01/2011

                Abstract

                The objective of this project is to contribute to the risk assessment of chemicals, natural compounds and environmental contaminants, present in dietary supplements and para-pharmacy products which could interact with micro of macronutrients of normal human diet. Our project will also analyse the place of functional foods, dietary supplements and para-pharmacy products in the diet and their impact on human health. It will increase knowledge and fill some gaps regarding health claims and drawbacks that could be linked to these new habits in human nutrition.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Development of innovative detection methods for ergot alkaloids in cereal and cereal products. (ERGOT) 01/12/2008 - 30/11/2011

                Abstract

                This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Federal Public Service. UA provides the Federal Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Bi-Cycle. 01/12/2008 - 30/11/2011

                Abstract

                This project represents a research agreement between the UA and on the onther hand IWT. UA provides IWT research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Effect of temperature on metal toxicity to zebrafish: from gene to organismal responses. 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2010

                Abstract

                Aquatic organisms are constantly being exposed to changes in their environment. These changes comprise both natural fluctuations (such as changes in environmental temperature) as well as anthropogenic disturbances (such as chemical pollution). This PhD combines these 2 kinds of stressors, investigating the influence of environmental temperature on cadmum toxicity in zebrafish (Danio rerio). A wide set of analyses ranges from gene expression changes to changes in swimming performance.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Environment and plant ecology at various scales. 01/01/2008 - 31/12/2014

                Abstract

                The main theme of the Center of Excellence ECO is the study of the effects of changes in the abiotic (i.e. non-living) environment on ecological systems, on the condition and health of plants and animals ¿ including humans ¿ and on the cultural heritage. With regard to the ecological systems hierarchical levels ranging from the cell and organism, over ecosystems to the landscape and region, are considered. Essentially we examine both causes (abiotic changes, disturbance of the living environment, various stress situations) and their consequences (ecophysiological and chemical respons processes at different levels of organisation). The research has a basic fundamental nature, but has also a methodological aspect. In a number of cases the research will also result in or lead to relevant practical applications.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Project website

                Critical evaluation of marine calcareous skeletons as recorders of global climate changes. (CALMARS II - second phase) 01/01/2008 - 30/06/2010

                Abstract

                The project aims to improve the physical, chemical and biological understanding of the processes underlying proxy incorporation in bivalve skeletons, carry out a critical validation of different proxies and refine the use of these calcareous marine skeletons for reconstruction of past salinity changes.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Development of a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model for long-term uptake and accumulation of microcontaminants by seals (Phoca vitulina) and en porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). 01/01/2008 - 30/09/2009

                Abstract

                Aims: Development of a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model for long-term uptake and accumulation of microcontaminants by seals. Model evaluation by comparison of predicted values with observed results of microcontaminants in blood and biopsy (living animals) and other tissues (dead animals). Determination of the condition of seals by use of general condition-indices and more specific indications for homeostasis and stress by analysis of bloodsamples with special attention for endocrine effects and immunity. Making connections between exposure, accumulation and effects. By comparison with results from analysis of animals from different areas and by use of multivariate statistical methods we will check whether it is possible to find the cause of the effects.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                A physiologically based pharmacokinetic model for the accumulation and effects of microcontaminants in seals. 01/10/2007 - 31/12/2007

                Abstract

                Aims: Development of a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model for long-term uptake and accumulation of microcontaminants by seals. Model evaluation by comparison of predicted values with observed results of microcontaminants in blood and biopsy (living animals) and other tissues (dead animals). Determination of the condition of seals by use of general condition-indices and more specific indications for homeostasis and stress by analysis of bloodsamples with special attention for endocrine effects and immunity. Making connections between exposure, accumulation and effects. By comparison with results from analysis of animals from different areas and by use of multivariate statistical methods we will check whether it is possible to find the cause of the effects.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                OSIRIS - Optimized Strategies for Risk Assessment of Industrial Chemicals through Integration of Non-Test and Test Information. 01/04/2007 - 30/09/2011

                Abstract

                The goal of OSIRIS is to develop Integrated Testing Strategies (ITS) fit for REACH that make it possible to significantly increase the use of non-testing information for regulatory decision making, and effectively reduce animal testing to the level needed from a risk perspective. To this end, operational procedures will be developed, tested and disseminated that guide a transparent and scientifically sound evaluation of chemical substances in a risk-driven, context-specific and substance-tailored (RCS) manner, and allow decision making to be built on information-rich combinations of novel non-testing and optimized experimental information.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Cocaine and its metabolites in Belgian waste and surface water. 01/04/2007 - 31/03/2008

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Food interactions: consequences on health, consumer perception and impact on the agro-alimentary industry. (FOODINTER) 01/01/2007 - 31/01/2009

                Abstract

                The objective of this project is to contribute to the risk assessment of chemicals, natural compounds and environmental contaminants, present in dietary supplements and para-pharmacy products which could interact with micro of macronutrients of normal human diet. Our project will also analyse the place of functional foods, dietary supplements and para-pharmacy products in the diet and their impact on human health. It will increase knowledge and fill some gaps regarding health claims and drawbacks that could be linked to these new habits in human nutrition.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Development of biosensors for the optimization of water purification for tank cleaning companies. 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2008

                Abstract

                During water purification certain criteria for chemical and biological norms have to be fulfilled. Biological and ecological norms is a new concept and tests that allow to screen on a fast and routine basis are not available. Biosensors will therefore be developed for the sector of tankcleaning companies. The different steps of the waterpurification will be optimized

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                AOP's as a way to treat concentrate: Ecotoxicological testing aided optimisation of a (waste) water treatment process. 01/11/2006 - 31/10/2010

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Exposure, food chain transfer and metabolism of brominated flame retardants. 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2009

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Toxicodynamics of microcontaminants in relation to temperature and energy status in the zebrafish, Danio rerio: from gene to organismal responses. 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2008

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                A future for radioecology in Europe. (FUTURAE) 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2008

                Abstract

                The overall objective of the FUTURAE project is to evaluate the feasibility of network(s) of excellence to maintain and enhance competence in a resource efficient manner and to enhance sustainable collaboration in the field of assissment and management of the impact of radionuclides on man and environment.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Center of excellence ECO. 01/01/2006 - 31/12/2007

                Abstract

                The main theme of the Center of Excellence ECO is the study of the effects of changes in the abiotic (i.e. non-living) environment on ecological systems, on the condition and health of plants and animals ¿ including humans ¿ and on the cultural heritage. With regard to the ecological systems hierarchical levels ranging from the cell and organism, over ecosystems to the landscape and region, are considered. Essentially we examine both causes (abiotic changes, disturbance of the living environment, various stress situations) and their consequences (ecophysiological and chemical respons processes at different levels of organisation). The research has a basic fundamental nature, but has also a methodological aspect. In a number of cases the research will also result in or lead to relevant practical applications.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Project website

                New experimental approach in the identification and characterisation of emerging chemical risks in food security. 01/01/2006 - 01/07/2007

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Critical evaluation of marine carcareous skeletons as recorders of global climate change (CALMARS II) 15/12/2005 - 14/12/2007

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Caractérisation des espèces de champignons et mycotoxines des ensilages en Belgique. 01/11/2005 - 31/05/2008

                Abstract

                La conservation par ensilage tient une place importante dans l'alimentation fourragère des animaux de Ia ferme. En Belgique, il eprésente Ia base de l'alimentation du betail pendant l'hiver, mais aussi partiellement durant Ia période estivale. Différentes productions vegetales sont utilisées pour l'ensilage telles Ie mais fourrage (plante entière), maIs épis broyes (CCM), l'herbe, Ia pulpe de betterave sucrière, etc. La qualité des ensilages a une grande influence sur Ia santé et Ie développement des animaux. La contamination fongique et a production de mycotoxines sont des problèmes couramment rencontrés dans les ensilages et sont fréquemment suspectés comme responsable de problème de santé voire de mortalité. Très peu de données sont toutefois disponibles concernant l'évaluation des risques liés à de telles contaminations, principalement a cause du fait que Ia plupart des effets suspectés sont peu spécifiques (diminution de Ia fertilité, productivité reduite, défense immunitaire déficientes, etc.) et pas uniquement influencés par Ia qualité de l'aliment. La présence do moisissures n'implique pas toujours une production de mycotoxine mais représente un bon signal pour envisager une telle possibilité.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Toxicodynamics of microcontaminants with different modes of actions in the zebrafish, Danio rerio: a molecular biological and physiological analysis. 01/10/2005 - 31/08/2006

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                • Promotor: Blust Ronny
                • Co-promotor: De Coen Wim
                • Fellow: Lambrechts Bettina

                Research team(s)

                The effect of stressors on the metabolic activity and resilience of aquatic ecosystems. 01/10/2005 - 31/12/2005

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Exposure routes and toxico-kinetics of environmental microcontaminants with different modes of actions in the zebrafish, Danio rerio: a molecular biological and physiological analysis. 01/01/2005 - 31/12/2007

                Abstract

                This study investigates the importance of water and food as exposure sources of three model contaminants with different physico-chemical properties and modes of action to zebrafish. It is explored to what extend uptake via water or food results in different responses and toxic effects. The responses and effects are studied at molecular, cellular and organismal level using genomics, proteomics and physiological approaches.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Development of biomarkers for metal toxicity in fresh water algae on the basis of differential gene expression and protein profiles. 01/01/2005 - 31/12/2006

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                • Promotor: De Coen Wim
                • Co-promotor: Blust Ronny
                • Fellow: Jamers An

                Research team(s)

                Development of an alternative screening assay for classification of endocrine disruptors in the environment. 01/01/2005 - 31/12/2006

                Abstract

                Developing screening methods is an important effort to bypass initial needs to identify individual endocrine disruptors (EDs). However, screening methods for EDs will have to accomodate a wider variety of diverse chemicals than ever been subjected to screening methods before. The urge for more comprehensive in vitro systems that make multiple endpoint detection possible, is however in contrast with the few hormonal tissues currently analysed. So far, testing strategies have omitted the adrenal gland and therefore do not adequately cover the process of steroidogenesis, critical in adrenocortical, testicular and ovarian function. The present study combines the advantage of a pluripotent adrenocortical cell line with the capacity of microarray technique to analyse thousands of genes at ones. The H295R cell line covers the entire biochemical pathway responsible for steroidogenesis and therefore presents multiple molecular targets for toxicity, ranging from general effects on all steroidogenic tissues (e.g. aromatase) through to specific targets affecting only adrenocortical function. The idea of the project is to develop a cell line specific microarray, which allows classification of EDs according to their mode of action and is an important step in selecting potential biomarkers. As a confirmation and support of the microarray analysis, proteomics will be an important contribution to evaluate the broader metabolic context of the gene expression results.

                Researcher(s)

                • Promotor: De Coen Wim
                • Co-promotor: Blust Ronny
                • Fellow: Vanparys Caroline

                Research team(s)

                Characterisation and dynamics of metal toxicity in carp using gene expression profiles. 01/01/2005 - 31/12/2006

                Abstract

                In aquatic ecosystems fish are being exposed to metals through water, food and sediment. However the relative importance of these exposure routes for uptake of metals and the relationship between uptake, accumulation and occurrence of effects at different levels of response still remains largely unknown. For a better understanding of these toxic responses and effects there is a growing need for more sensitive tools to determine early effects of metal exposure. Since gene expression can be considered as the basis of many toxicological responses, gene expression analysis provides a good method to elucidate the mechanisms of toxic action and to detect toxic effects in a fast and sensitive way. SSH-PCR (Suppression Subtractive Hybridisation-PCR) combined with microarray technology offers an excellent tool to detect genes that are differentially expressed after metal exposure and to evaluate their expression in different exposure scenario's. In this study the influence of time and exposure concentration on the accumulation and effects of cadmium in carp, Cyprinus carpio, will be investigated. For these goals a combination of SSH-PCR and microarray technology will be applied to construct four organ specific microarrays (liver, kidney, gills and intestine) for gene expression evaluation. The observed gene expression reactions will be related to the accumulation of cadmium and effects at different levels of response, such as disturbance of the ion homeostasis, liver damage, growth and mortality. These microarrays will also be applied to characterise the relative importance of water and food for the accumulation, compartmentalisation, organ specific gene expression patterns and effects of cadmium in carp. The results of the laboratory study will be validated in field studies using both `caged' and resident carp.

                Researcher(s)

                • Promotor: Blust Ronny
                • Co-promotor: De Coen Wim
                • Fellow: Reynders Hans

                Research team(s)

                Fast detection and identification of contaminants in food products using biosensors. 01/12/2004 - 30/11/2005

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Novel methods for integrated risk assessment of cumulative stressors in Europe. (NOMIRACLE) 01/11/2004 - 31/10/2009

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Effects of environmental stress on the genetic structure of natural populations of intertidal invertebrates. 01/10/2004 - 16/08/2007

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                An integrated study of potential relationships between exposure and accumulation of heavy metals in wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus L.). 01/10/2004 - 30/09/2006

                Abstract

                The environment became polluted by various hazardous substances, such as heavy metals. Contamination by heavy metals may have severe effects on every level of biological organisation, i.e. from cell to ecosystem. An important problem that frequently occurs in ecotoxicological metal studies is that a clear relationship between exposure, accumulation and effects of heavy metals in an organism is often not found under natural conditions. There are two possible explanations. First, in many papers the absolute concentration of heavy metals in the soil and in the food are quantified while a large fraction of these metals are not bioavailable for the organism. Second, acclimatisation and/or adaptation to heavy metal contamination can result in a reduced uptake and accumulation of the bioavailable fraction of heavy metals and an altered sensitivity or tolerance. However, it is still unclear how and to what extent organisms can adapt and/or acclimatise to heavy metal contamination. Possible ways are: (1) a reduced absorption of heavy metals, (2) an increased excretion of heavy metals, (3) a different organ and tissue distribution and (4) a more efficient induction of detoxifying mechanisms like metallothioneins (MT's). The effect of heavy metal pollution on aquatic organisms has already received considerable attention, both in a laboratory and a field context. Field studies on terrestrial mammals are however very rare. The aim of this study is to get a better understanding of the effects of heavy metal exposure on the accumulation of heavy metals in the Wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus, L.). In second instance, we will investigate the potential role of some key physiological adaptations to heavy metal exposure in this study species.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Local genetic adaptations to heavy metal pollution in natural gudgeon (Gobio gobio) populations. 01/01/2004 - 31/12/2005

                Abstract

                In Flanders (Belgium), many fish species are declining at an alarming rate, several species have gone extinct in the last few decades, and many more risk the same fate. Water pollution and river management practices have reduced and extensively altered aquatic habitats. For many species, the number of populations as well as the number of individuals per population have decreased dramatically. Moreover, it seems very difficult for individuals to develop genetic adaptations to their polluted habitats, since adaptation through natural selection is a relatively slow process. Surprisingly, previous studies reveal that various species are capable of developing adaptations to changing environments at fast rates. Studying the occurence of genetic adaptations in natural fish populations inhabiting polluted streams can therefore be of great value to evaluate the consequences of human activities on aquatic ecosystems. This is of vital importance for setting up conservation strategies. This study aims to investigate whether populations of the gudgeon (Gobio gobio) have become genetically adapted to the heavy metals that occur in their habitats. Firstly, populations from a downstream Cd and Zn pollution gradient will be sampled by means of electrofishing. At each site, the levels of water pollution will be examined. The individuals' and populations' fitness will be compared using a number of fitness-parameters. Secondly, microsatellites, mitochondrial d-loop sequences and allozymes will be used to genetically characterise the populations. Correlations of frequencies of certain unique genotypes with the pollution gradient may be due to selection pressures of pollutants in the past. Furthermore, levels of gene flow between sample populations can be investigated. This information is needed since gene flow can affect the evolution of adaptations by causing outbreeding depressions. In a later stage, these data will be used to delineate conservation units. Since the current definition of conservation units only allows their application in undisturbed populations, our goal is to adjust for this situation, so that for all endangered populations and species conservation measures can be taken. To investigate if selection has led to new adaptive genetypes we will determine the nucleotide sequences of metallothionein (MT) genes. These proteins are believed to have a detoxifying effect on heavy metal pollution. Therefore, selection may have lead to the existence of new genotypes. Furthermore, expression of MT-genes will be studied by quantifying MT-mRNA's in different tissues. This will be related to measured MT-concentrations in these tissues. Using this approach, genetic adaptations can be demonstrated in a direct way. The combination of both research strategies will lead to new insights in the long-term impact of industrial river pollution on aquatic ecosystems, and will help optimize future conservation efforts.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Endocrine disruption in zebrafish (Danio rerio): relation between toxicogenomics, gamete physiology and reproduction characteristics. 01/10/2003 - 30/09/2005

                Abstract

                Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are believed to interfere with the reproduction of animals, but current biomarkers do not provide evidence of effects on reproduction itself. Using the zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a model organism, we will study the effects of 2 model chemicals (ethinylestradiol and fadrozole) and 4 test chemicals (propiconazole, atrazine, bromkal 70-5 DE and musk ketone) on different levels of biological organisation: (1) microarray analysis will be used to map out gene activation pathways; (2) computer assisted sperm analysis (CASA) will be applied to determine effects on sperm motility and flow cytometry to evaluate viability, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and DNA-content of the sperm; (3) a computerised 3D-behaviour analysis system will record and quantify reproductive behaviour of the fish. In addition, steroid concentrations, vitellogenin (VTG), gonadosomatic index (GSI), fecundity, fertility and hatching will be quantified. All parameters will be determined after acute (96 hours) and chronic (28 days) exposure. This unique integration of parameters will provide new biomarkers for endocrine disruption which could be more closely linked to effects on reproductive health of the organisms.

                Researcher(s)

                • Promotor: De Coen Wim
                • Co-promotor: Blust Ronny
                • Fellow: Keil Dorien

                Research team(s)

                01/10/2003 - 31/12/2003

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Swimming capacity of endemic fish species: consequences for the crossing of migration barriers in Belgian rivers. 01/05/2003 - 30/04/2005

                Abstract

                In most river systems, fragmentation of the longitudinal corridor (by dams, weirs, locks, culverts...) has resulted in the drastic reduction and the disappearance of numerous migratory fish species. At present, efforts are made to remediate these problems by use of fish passes and bypass channels in order to resto re the accessibility of upstream areas to fish. Assessing the swimming capacity of endemic fish species will allow the development of an integrated model to predict the accessibility of barriers to fish, which can be used as a management tool for river management.

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                01/05/2003 - 31/12/2003

                Abstract

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                Research team(s)

                01/04/2003 - 31/12/2003

                Abstract

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                Research team(s)

                Genetic selection and physiological acclimatization in a stress gradient: role of metallothionein in the adaptation of natural populations of the Gudgeon (Gobio gobio) to heavy metals. 01/01/2003 - 31/12/2006

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Developmental stability as measure of individual quality in the Great Tit (Parus major) : a challenge experiment. 01/01/2003 - 31/12/2006

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Impact assessment and remediation of anthropogenic interventions on fish populations. 01/01/2003 - 31/10/2006

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Characterisation and dynamics of metal toxicity in carp using gene expression profiles. 01/01/2003 - 31/12/2004

                Abstract

                In aquatic ecosystems fish are being exposed to metals through water, food and sediment. However the relative importance of these exposure routes for uptake of metals and the relationship between uptake, accumulation and occurrence of effects at different levels of response still remains largely unknown. For a better understanding of these toxic responses and effects there is a growing need for more sensitive tools to determine early effects of metal exposure. Since gene expression can be considered as the basis of many toxicological responses, gene expression analysis provides a good method to elucidate the mechanisms of toxic action and to detect toxic effects in a fast and sensitive way. SSH-PCR (Suppression Subtractive Hybridisation-PCR) combined with microarray technology offers an excellent tool to detect genes that are differentially expressed after metal exposure and to evaluate their expression in different exposure scenario's. In this study the influence of time and exposure concentration on the accumulation and effects of cadmium in carp, Cyprinus carpio, will be investigated. For these goals a combination of SSH-PCR and microarray technology will be applied to construct four organ specific microarrays (liver, kidney, gills and intestine) for gene expression evaluation. The observed gene expression reactions will be related to the accumulation of cadmium and effects at different levels of response, such as disturbance of the ion homeostasis, liver damage, growth and mortality. These microarrays will also be applied to characterise the relative importance of water and food for the accumulation, compartmentalisation, organ specific gene expression patterns and effects of cadmium in carp. The results of the laboratory study will be validated in field studies using both `caged' and resident carp

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                01/01/2003 - 31/12/2004

                01/01/2003 - 31/12/2003

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                01/10/2002 - 30/09/2005

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                01/10/2002 - 30/09/2005

                01/10/2002 - 30/09/2004

                Applicability of the zebra mussel for the assessment of water quality. 01/05/2002 - 30/04/2004

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Effects of pollutants on populations and benthic life communities in the North Sea. 01/02/2002 - 30/04/2006

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Ecological characterization of European estuaries, the Scheldt estuary as a model. 01/01/2002 - 31/12/2006

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                Effects of environmental stress on the genetic structure of natural populations of intertidal invertebrates. 01/10/2001 - 30/09/2004

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                01/10/2001 - 31/12/2001

                Abstract

                Researcher(s)

                Research team(s)

                  01/01/2001 - 31/12/2004

                  Abstract

                  Researcher(s)

                  • Promotor: Blust Ronny
                  • Co-promotor: De Coen Wim
                  • Co-promotor: Eens Marcel
                  • Co-promotor: Schepens Paul
                  • Co-promotor: Verhagen Ron

                  Research team(s)

                  01/01/2001 - 31/12/2003

                  Abstract

                  Researcher(s)

                  Research team(s)

                  01/01/2001 - 31/12/2002

                  Abstract

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                  Research team(s)

                    01/01/2001 - 31/12/2001

                    Abstract

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                    Research team(s)

                      01/01/2001 - 31/12/2001

                      Abstract

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                      Research team(s)

                        01/01/2001 - 31/12/2001

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                        Research team(s)

                          01/01/2001 - 31/12/2001

                          Abstract

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                          Research team(s)

                            01/11/2000 - 31/12/2000

                            Abstract

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                            Research team(s)

                              01/10/2000 - 30/09/2005

                              Abstract

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                              Research team(s)

                              01/10/2000 - 30/09/2004

                              01/10/2000 - 30/09/2002

                              Abstract

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                              Research team(s)

                                01/10/2000 - 30/09/2002

                                Abstract

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                                Research team(s)

                                  01/04/2000 - 30/11/2000

                                  Abstract

                                  Researcher(s)

                                  Research team(s)

                                    The use of bird feathers as bio-indicators for heavy metal pollution, and study of the effects of this pollution on reproduction and health status in small insectivorous songbirds. 01/01/2000 - 31/12/2004

                                    Abstract

                                    In recent years, bird feathers have been used as an indicator tissue ofmetal exposure in birds. Bird feathers are ideal for assessment of heavy metals because they accumulate certain heavy metals in proportion to blood levels at the time offeather formation. Studying the effect of heavy metals on terfestrial songbirds by integrating reproductive, endocrinological, immunological and behavioural parameters is innovating

                                    Researcher(s)

                                    Research team(s)

                                    Determination of the intracellular free metal ion concentration of Ca, Cd and Zn in cells and tissues of aquatic invertebrates and fish 01/01/2000 - 31/12/2001

                                    Abstract

                                    Using fluorescence spectrometry and fluorecent probes we want to develop methods for the determination of the intracellular free metal ion concentration of Ca, Cd and Zn. These methods will be used to study the uptake kinetics and intracellular bindings of these metals. In the first place we want to investigate wether the metal ions are entering the cells via a common uptake system (calcium channels ?). Secondly, we want to determine at which intracellular free cadmium and/or zink concentrationsthe regulation of calcium is disturbed and wether metal acclimatisation influences these tresholds.

                                    Researcher(s)

                                    Research team(s)

                                      01/01/2000 - 31/12/2001

                                      Abstract

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                                      Research team(s)

                                        01/01/2000 - 31/12/2001

                                        Abstract

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                                        Research team(s)

                                          Complexation of copper by humic acids and consequences for the bioavailability of copper to teh mussel (mytilus edulis). 01/01/2000 - 30/11/2000

                                          Abstract

                                          The bioavailability of copper for estuarine organisms strongly depends on the chemical speciation of the metal. This research project aims to determine the effect of complexation of copper by humic acids, the most important group of ligands present in aquatic systems, on the uptake of copper by the mussel, (mytilus edulis)

                                          Researcher(s)

                                          Research team(s)

                                            01/01/2000 - 30/09/2000

                                            Abstract

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                                            Research team(s)

                                              01/12/1999 - 31/12/2000

                                              Abstract

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                                              Research team(s)

                                                01/10/1999 - 30/09/2001

                                                Abstract

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                                                Research team(s)

                                                  01/10/1999 - 30/09/2000

                                                  Abstract

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                                                  Research team(s)

                                                    01/10/1999 - 30/09/2000

                                                    Abstract

                                                    Researcher(s)

                                                    Research team(s)

                                                      In-vivo Nucleair Magnetic Resonance Imaging of carp brain to study the mechanisms of hypoxia and anoxia resistance. 01/05/1999 - 30/04/2001

                                                      Abstract

                                                      A few vertebrates have access to biochemical and physiological strategies that allow their brain to be anoxia resistant. In the framework of this project we want to investigate the underlying mechanisms. To that end magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy will be performed, focussing the brain, on living common and crucian carp under circumstances of hypoxia and anoxia.

                                                      Researcher(s)

                                                      Research team(s)

                                                        Bioavailability and uptake of metals from complex metal-mixtures by midge larvae. 01/05/1999 - 30/04/2001

                                                        Abstract

                                                        Uptake and accumulation of metals is influenced by several factors. Besides chemical speciation and changing environmental conditions, metal uptake is affected by interactions of different metal ions present in the environment. The nature of these interactions will be studied by following the accumulation of the separate metals by midge larve, both in presence and absence of other metal ions and by using channel blockers.

                                                        Researcher(s)

                                                        Research team(s)

                                                          RAFO financing of an autoclave, essential equipment to the research groups 'Plant Physiology' and 'Ecophysiology and Biochemistry' 01/05/1999 - 31/12/1999

                                                          Abstract

                                                          The presence of an operational and reliable autoclave is essential to support the execution of a number of ongoing research projects. The existing equipment was no longer in agreement with the safety regulations and had to be replaced.

                                                          Researcher(s)

                                                          Research team(s)

                                                            01/01/1999 - 31/12/2000

                                                            Abstract

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                                                            Research team(s)

                                                              01/01/1999 - 31/12/2000

                                                              Abstract

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                                                                01/01/1999 - 31/12/1999

                                                                Abstract

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                                                                  01/10/1998 - 30/09/2001

                                                                  Abstract

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                                                                  Research team(s)

                                                                    Effects of climate induced temperature change on marine coastal fishes. 01/04/1998 - 31/03/2001

                                                                    Abstract

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                                                                    Research team(s)

                                                                      Bioaccumulation and effects of metals in freshwater organisms: role of acclimatisation and adaptation. 01/01/1998 - 31/12/2001

                                                                      Abstract

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                                                                      Research team(s)

                                                                        Development of the methodology for purification and quantification of Hsp 70 as a potential bio-marker in different aquatic organisms. 01/01/1998 - 31/12/1999

                                                                        Abstract

                                                                        Stress proteins among which Hsp 70 are a well preserved defense system against environmental stress and potentially good biomarkers. The project aims at the improvement of the method for quantitative determination of Hsp 70 in 3 different aquatic organisms. This implies a.o. purification and characterisation of Hsp 70, optimalization of quantification via ELISA and determination of the influence of the stressor and the laboratory organism on the quantification.

                                                                        Researcher(s)

                                                                        Research team(s)

                                                                          01/01/1998 - 31/12/1999

                                                                          Abstract

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                                                                            01/01/1998 - 31/12/1999

                                                                            Abstract

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                                                                              01/01/1998 - 31/12/1998

                                                                              Abstract

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                                                                                Comparative study of bioaccumulation and effects of metals in mussels between a temperate and subtropical region: the Scheldt estuary (Antwerpen Harbour - Flanders) and the Richards Bay Harbour (South-Africa). 10/12/1997 - 10/03/2001

                                                                                Abstract

                                                                                Researcher(s)

                                                                                Research team(s)

                                                                                  01/10/1997 - 31/07/2000

                                                                                  Abstract

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                                                                                  Research team(s)

                                                                                    Metallothioneins in aquatic organisms; comparison of methods for analysis and determination of critical body residues 01/05/1997 - 30/04/1999

                                                                                    Abstract

                                                                                    Metallothioneins (MT) are induced after exposure to trace metals. These proteins play an important role in the detoxification of metals, among others Cu, Zn, Cd and Hg. In the first part of the project different methods for the quantitative assessment of MTs in some aquatic organisms will be compared. In the second part of the project the induction of MTs is studied in different exposure situations. Simultaneously metal concentration will be measured in the tissues.

                                                                                    Researcher(s)

                                                                                    Research team(s)

                                                                                      In-vivo Nuclear Magnetic Resonance research of the anoxia resistant brain of the crucian carp 01/05/1997 - 30/04/1999

                                                                                      Abstract

                                                                                      Some vertebrates, such as the crucian carp, the American brown frog and some fresh water turtles possess biochemical and physiological strategies which allow them to adapt circumstances of anoxia, a circumstance which is fatal for the brain of all other vertebrates. Using in-vivo MRI and MRS we will investigate the reactions of the brain tissue, related to cell homeostasis and energy content, upon axonic and hypoxic conditions, as a function of time.

                                                                                      Researcher(s)

                                                                                      Research team(s)

                                                                                        01/05/1997 - 30/04/1999

                                                                                        Abstract

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                                                                                          01/01/1997 - 31/12/1997

                                                                                          Abstract

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                                                                                            01/12/1996 - 30/11/1998

                                                                                            Abstract

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                                                                                              01/10/1996 - 30/09/1999

                                                                                              Abstract

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                                                                                              Research team(s)

                                                                                                A physiological model for the uptake of metals by fishes : a food-chain perspective. 01/05/1996 - 30/04/1998

                                                                                                Abstract

                                                                                                The investigation is focussed on the connection between the chemical speciation and the compartementalization of metals in the environment on the one hand and the way in which they are accumulated by fishes on the other. Accumulation is stronly dependent on the environmental circumstances, but the mechanisms responsible for this accumulation of metals are poorly understood. The development of physiological models of uptake requires an integrated approach which takes the chemical as well as the biological aspects of this problem into account.

                                                                                                Researcher(s)

                                                                                                • Promotor: Vanderborght Oscar L J
                                                                                                • Co-promotor: Blust Ronny

                                                                                                Research team(s)

                                                                                                  01/04/1996 - 31/12/1996

                                                                                                  Abstract

                                                                                                  Researcher(s)

                                                                                                  Research team(s)

                                                                                                    Modelling fluxes and bioavailability of radiocaesium and radiostrontium in freshwaters in support of a theoretical basis for chemical/hydrological countermeasures. 01/01/1996 - 30/06/1999

                                                                                                    Abstract

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                                                                                                      01/01/1996 - 31/12/1997

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                                                                                                        Behaviour and the effects of metals in aquatic ecosystems. 01/01/1996 - 31/12/1996

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                                                                                                          01/08/1995 - 31/07/1997

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                                                                                                            01/08/1995 - 31/01/1996

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                                                                                                              Effect of organic complexation on the chemical speciation and the biological availability of metals in aquatic systems. 01/07/1995 - 31/12/1996

                                                                                                              Abstract

                                                                                                              The purpose of the project is to gain insight into the effect of organic complexation on the physical, chemical and biological processes which determine the uptake and accumulation of Cd an Zn in aquatic organisms of different structural and functional organisation in either marine as fresh water environment (e.g. carp, mussel, water-flea).

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                                                                                                                01/05/1995 - 30/04/1997

                                                                                                                Abstract

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                                                                                                                  Study of the fate and impact of organic and inorganic polluants in the Costa Rican coastal zone. 01/02/1995 - 31/01/1998

                                                                                                                  Abstract

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                                                                                                                    01/12/1994 - 30/11/1996

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                                                                                                                      01/10/1994 - 30/09/1996

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                                                                                                                        01/10/1994 - 31/03/1995

                                                                                                                        Abstract

                                                                                                                        Researcher(s)

                                                                                                                        • Promotor: Vanderborght Oscar L J
                                                                                                                        • Co-promotor: Blust Ronny

                                                                                                                        Research team(s)

                                                                                                                          Bioavailability of trace metals in chemically defined and natural aquatic systems 01/01/1994 - 31/12/1997

                                                                                                                          Abstract

                                                                                                                          The relationship between chemical behaviour and bioavailability of trace metals in both defined and natural aquatioc systems is studied. Special attention is given to the physiology of metal uptake and bioaccumulation. Three different levels of research can be distinguished: 1) development of speciation and accumulation models; 2) assessment of the effect of environmental factors on the bioavailability, and 3) detection of structural and physiological alterations.

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                                                                                                                            01/01/1994 - 31/12/1995

                                                                                                                            Abstract

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                                                                                                                              01/01/1994 - 31/12/1995

                                                                                                                              Abstract

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                                                                                                                                Chemical and biological aspects of the metal-uptake with aquatic organisms. 01/10/1993 - 30/09/1999

                                                                                                                                Abstract

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                                                                                                                                  A novel approach in speciation analysis of radionuclides (Cs, Co) and of their transport across exchange surfaces in a freshwater animal. 01/09/1992 - 30/06/1995

                                                                                                                                  Abstract

                                                                                                                                  Researcher(s)

                                                                                                                                  • Promotor: Vanderborght Oscar L J
                                                                                                                                  • Co-promotor: Blust Ronny

                                                                                                                                  Research team(s)

                                                                                                                                    Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for in vivo determination of metabolic stress indicators in aquatic invertebrates and vertebrates. 01/10/1991 - 31/12/1996

                                                                                                                                    Abstract

                                                                                                                                    The energy status can be considered as a measure for the physiological fitness of an organism. 31P NMR spectroscopy allows to determine the energy status of a testorganism (carp, mussel) submitted to stress (hypoxia, anoxia) and this in an non-invasive and in vivo manner. Chemical stressors (PCB, heavy metals...) will have a measurable influence on the energy status of the test animal and this influence will in its turn function as a measure for the severity of the environmental stress.

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