Ecotoxicology and genetic markers
The aim of our research is to provide new knowledge on how environmental pollutants affect natural organisms. By doing so, we want to contribute to understanding the risks and hazards that may arise from exposure to chemicals and materials.
Today's high environmental emissions of chemicals and toxic materials put both humans and other organisms at serious risk. But how this exposure affects different species is still largely unknown. Chemicals can affect cellular signalling processes and hormonal systems even at very low concentrations, leading to disruption of endocrine functions and damage to the immune system, among other things. Some toxic chemicals that end up in our environment are very persistent and continue to expose organisms for decades or more after release.
In addition, when chemicals are present in mixtures, unforeseen combination effects (sometimes called cocktail effects) can occur. A changing climate, with rising temperatures and new rainfall patterns, can also greatly influence the risks from chemical exposure. Overall, our exposure to the chemicals currently present in our environment can cause and lead to serious consequences for both current and future generations. Identifying these risks is a very high priority.
Different research expertise
Our research team combines a variety of expertise, including molecular biology, ecology, chemistry, geology, archaeology and physics. We use different techniques and methods that include PCR, DNA sequencing, bioinformatics, spectroscopy and image processing.
For example, we investigate how the function or activity of specific genes can be affected by an organism's exposure to chemicals, whether different life stages imply different sensitivity to exposure, or how materials that leak toxic substances, such as plastics, affect the behaviour and life of natural organisms.
Our aim is for our analyses to provide politicians, environmental authorities, businesses and decision-makers with a scientific basis for how chemical pollutants affect our environment, both in the short and long term.