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Maria Hansson

I got an MSc degree in Biology from Lund university (1999) and I continued to finish my PhD at the Department of Ecology, division of Animal Ecology in 2004. My thesis investigated how different genotypes contribute to biotransformation capacity in wild populations of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) carrying high loads of PCBs in their tissues.

Between 2004-2006 I was a Postoctoral Scholar at the Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MA, USA. There, I visited Dr. Mark Hahn’s lab and performed functional analyses of the Atlantic salmon AHR genes and their expressed proteins in order to find out more about their role in the mediation of toxicity from dioxin exposure.

I am now employed at the Center for Environmental and Climate Research (CEC) and have my research group at the Department of Biology in the Ecology Building. 

The overall objective of research in our laboratory is to understand how environmental pollutants interfere with and change biological processes in aquatic organisms from natural populations. We try to identify which genes are targeted and how exposure changes transcription patterns. Our resarch is also focused on genetic diversity and if specific allelic variants are associated with observed responses.

Our lab is currently focusing on the estrogen receptor genes in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), trout (Salmo trutta) and roach (Rutilus rutilus). We are identifying new genes and participating in exposure experiments, setup in collaboration with the Aquatic Ecology group.

The ultimate goal of our lab is to identify and understand the resulting toxic effects in aquatic organisms that have been exposed to various environmental contaminants and/or pharmaceutical residues. Also, we are interested in investigating if and how the effects change if multiple chemicals expose the organisms simultaneously.

I am the Director for the PhD program in Environmental Science. I have given several PhD courses, including "Ethical conflicts in Science" and "Science, power and governance - how society handles environmental issues". I also lecture at the undergraduate level courses, for example Ecotoxicology, Risk analysis, and within the Environmental Science program

My expertise lies in answering questions about how environmental pollutants interact with organisms on a molecular level. By identifying target genes for where toxic responses originate we can make better predictions about resulting effects both on a short and long term scale.

I am also involved in a project with ancient DNA where I collaborate with Dr. Brendan Foley at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA. I have developed a method that allows identification of small genetic fragments trapped inside the ceramic matrix of amphoras - ancient ceramic artifacts recovered from >2,000 year old shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. From the isolated fragments we can determine the ancient cargos of the amphoras even if all visible physical traces of the contents are long gone. See Dr. Foley's web site for additional information and also our paper "Ancient DNA fragments inside Classical Greek amphoras reveal cargo of 2400-year-old shipwreck" from 2008.

PhD students



Retrieved from Lund University's publications database

Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, CEC

Sölvegatan 37
223 62 Lund, Sweden

Visiting address
The Ecology building, Sölvegatan 37, Lund