Background and activities
Current Research Areas / Teaching
From the 1st of May 2013 I have started as an Associate Professor in Environmental Toxicology at NTNU (Trondheim, Norway). I am now dividing my time between teaching and research. I teach classes in the international Master Program "Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry" at NTNU. Further I participate in the class of Pollution Biology in the third Bachelor of the Biology Programme and in the Bachelor course Ecotoxicology and Environmental Resources. My research is oriented towards the interaction of pollution with species-specific ecology, natural stressors and effects on hormones, behaviour and reproduction, mostly focussing on birds. I am currently co-supervising the research project: Interactions between natural stressors and pollutant exposure in nestling birds of prey: Feathers as a novel integrated measure of feeding ecology, pollutant exposure and stress (started 1/1/2013). Further I have just obtained a project co-funded by the Norwegian Research Council and NTNU (“fellesløfte”), which focusses on the exposure and effects of emerging flame retardants in birds of prey. In addition, I am starting this summer with conducting research on Svalbard. The study will start with a master project in collaboration with Claus Bech (NTNU) and Geir Wing Gabrielsen (Norwegian Polar Institute) and will focus on effects of pollution in the black-legged kittiwake at Svalbard.
From June 2014 I am included as one of the young researchers at NTNU included in the "Outstanding Academic Fellows Programme". This means that I will get support through the programme to focus on excellent research and to prepare an application for an ERC grant. More info on the Programme can be found at http://www.ntnu.edu/research/outstanding-academic-fellows
After the completion of my Master in Biology in July 2003, I started my research career as a PhD student at the Department of Biology at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) under supervision of Prof. Marcel Eens and Prof. Adrian Covaci. During my PhD I investigated the contamination of the Belgian environment with organic pollutants, making use of different bird species. For the first time it was investigated if organic pollutants could be quantified in bird feathers. Feathers of predatory birds were confirmed to be useful as a nondestructive biomonitoring tool for contamination with organic pollutants. Concentrations of most organic pollutants could be quantified in one single tail feather and these concentrations were related to the levels in the internal tissues of the birds. This implies that concentrations in feathers may provide information on the levels in the bird’s body and may anticipate potential negative effects.
After obtaining my degree of Doctor in Sciences in 2008, I started a post doc at the University of Antwerp. During my Post doctoral research I also started to focus on perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) and interactions of pollution and ecology in birds of prey. I was an official partner in an international project (RAPTOR 2015) that was lounged in January 2008 with regard to the impact of persistent organic pollutants, natural stress and climate change on the survival of raptors in Northern ecosystems (Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Polar Environmental Centre, Tromsø, Norway). Within this project, I was also co-supervising a PhD student, Igor Eulaers, who will defend his PhD thesis in October 2014. During my post doc, I also obtained an Yggdrasil mobility grant via the Norwegian Research Council, which allowed for a research stay at the National Institute for Air Research (NILU) in Tromsø, Norway during May-June 2010. I had several side projects, including measurement of organic pollutants in polar bear hair, organising the Dioxin 2011 conference in Brussels (Belgium) and contributing to a chapter on "POPs in the urban environment" in the book Environmental Forensics of POPs (eds Court Sandau and Gwen O’Sullivan).