Research in the Spotlight

Together with multiple partner institutions, GhEnToxLab has recently been awarded a significant research grant via the BELSPO BRAIN.BE program to develop “New Strategies for monitoring and risk assessment of Hazardous chemicals in the marine Environment with Passive Samplers” (see the NEWSTHEPS website for more information). Briefly, the project aims to develop innovative approaches and novel practical techniques that address the current fundamental scientific and methodological issues related to the implementation of Good Environmental Status (GES) of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in national and European waters.

ZeeambGhEnToxLab-member, Maarten De Rijcke, has joined the expert group of ambassadors of sea research. These ambassadors communicate regularly the on the marine scientific research that's being conducted aboard the RV Simon Stevin. Using social media, the Flanders Marine Institute aims to improve the accessibility of marine research to the general public.GhEnToxLab supports this initiative full-heartedly. Today, our research on harmful algal blooms was featured on the facebook page of the RV Simon Stevin (dutch).

lisbethThis French documentary (airing October 7th, 22h55, France 2) investigates our plastic consumption and it's consequences. We're addicted to the stuff, but the biggest victim of our consumerism is the sea. Our seas and oceans are littered with tonnes of plastic, some of it so small it is invisible to the naked eye. These microplastics can be so small they are readily ingested by organisms at the base of the food chain. But, with this fact, new questions arise. Did plastics enter our food chain? Do we ingest them as well? Are we contaminated by the plastics that are so ubiquitously present in our daily life? This documentary will answer these questions and more, based on the research performed at GhEnToxLab. For more information click here 

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Due to the multitude of negative effects on the environment and human health, the environmental fate and toxicity of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are of a global concern. In one of our recent publications, we reported that the international efforts to reduce PCB emissions have effectively reduced concentrations in open water ecosystems like the Belgian coastal zone.

janaToday, September 15th, is the start of the second international Environmental Omics (iEOS) Conference in Liverpool, UK.  The iEOS conference and the Environmental Omics Synthesis Centre was founded to bring together people, ideas, research fields and organisations using omics approaches to advance environmental sciences. The EOS and the conference are funded through the Natural Environmental Research Council and the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council.

GhEnToxLab at the ESA annual meeting

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Founded in 1915, the Ecological Society of America has strived to stimulate and promote ecological science for nearly a decade. Over the years, it has steadily grown from the original (mostly American) 307 members to an astounding 10.000 international members today. It is the single largest community of professional ecologists in the world and therefore a reliable and critical source of ecological knowledge. Its core business is to improve the communication among scientists as well as raising public awareness through their yearly conference. Today, their 99th anual meeting kicks off in Sacramento (California, USA) and our resident ecologist Jan Baert will be there. During his pitch presentation (COS 57-6), he will explain how the effects of biodiversity on community functioning shifts along a toxic gradient. Read more about his research below to discover the venue.

Microplastics in the news: radio interviews with Prof. Janssen

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Due to the rapidly growing scientific and public awareness on the occurrence and adverse effects of microplastics, news on microplastic usage and research is increasingly being picked up by the mainstream media. Just last month, it was shown that the polar ice caps harbour vast amounts of microplastics which could be released through global warming. A few weeks later, the state of Illinois passed legislation which will ban the manufacture of microbead containing products by 2018. As a leading authority on microplastic research in Belgium, Prof. Dr. Colin Janssen of the GhEnToxLab was asked to elaborate on these news items by the national radio channel Radio 1. You can listen again to these interviews on the website of Radio 1 (Dutch spoken).

 

Illinois bill interview

Polar ice interview

(courtesy of VRT - Radio 1)

Francqui Foundation Fellowship for GhEnToxLab member Dr. Jana Asselman

BAEF logoDr. Jana Asselman (GhEnToxLab) received a Francqui Foundation Fellowship of the Belgian American Educational Foundation for the year 2014-2015 (BAEF). The fellowship is sponsored by the Francqui Foundation and is only awarded after a selection process based on the scientific excellence of the candidate and the research proposal. This year, nine researchers were awarded a Francqui Foundation Fellowship. This fellowship will allow Dr. Asselman to spend a year at Notre Dame University as a postdoctoral researcher (USA, www.nd.edu) and conduct innovative genomics research at the lab of Prof. Dr. Michael Pfrender. The project will focus on the genetic effects of metals to freshwater organisms exposed to salinity stress. Furthermore, this project will also provide a unique opportunity to strengthen the collaboration between GhEnToxLab and the lab of Prof. Pfrender. Congratulations, Jana!

In Knack: Drs. Lisbeth Van Cauwenberghe comments on microplastic use in cosmetics.

lisbethLisbeth Van Cauwenberghe is currently conducting research on microplastics in a marine environment at GhEnToxLab. Knack (a weekly flemish newsmagazine) interviewed our colleague on the possible environmental and health issues of these microplastics.

Read the full article (Dutch) at: http://www.knack.be/nieuws/planet-earth/plastic-op-uw-bord-in-ruil-voor-een-gave-huid/article-normal-144153.html

 

GhEnToxLab researcher Dr. Dieter De Coninck wins SETAC Europe Best Publication Award

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Every year SETAC Europe organises the Best Publication Award in the categories risk assessment, chemical analysis and ecotoxicology. This year the SETAC Europe Best Publication Award for risk assessment went to Dr. Dieter De Coninck, for his paper “An approach to assess the regulatory relevance of microevolutionary effects in ecological risk assessment of chemicals: a case study with cadmium”.

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