Mechanisms via which toxic compounds can disrupt the health of humans and other organisms, are preferably studied using cell lines such are reporter gene assays and stem cells. Computer modeling is used to try to predict effects on living organisms based on in vitro studies, and to predict population effects of for example subtle toxic effects under different ecological stress conditions. Early life stages of organisms appear to be sensitive to low concentrations of hormone disrupting compounds.
The four main research areas of the environmental toxicology section are:
- Effects of contaminants in the food chain on humans and wildlife;
- Developmental effects of hormone disrupting environmental contaminants on early development;
- Development of in vitro tools (especially cell culture) for studying the effects of mixtures of contaminants;
- Toxicological risk evaluation (e.g. within the framework of the EU-program REACH).
Because of a close cooperation with the marine research institute IMARES there are several options for marine environmental research.
Students can learn more about the education and research related to this discipline by visiting the website of the sub-department Toxicology.