Background and activities
Current Research Areas / Teaching
I am working as an Associate Professor in Environmental Toxicology at NTNU (Trondheim, Norway) and I am currently the head of the ENVITOX group. 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. More information can be found on the group webpage "Individual and population effects of multiple stressors" and "Bird Ecotoxicology" webpages (see links on the side).
I have been the leader of the NewRaptor research project (concluded in 2018), a project co-funded by the Norwegian Research Council and NTNU (“fellesløfte”), which focussed on the exposure and effects of emerging flame retardants in birds of prey. The project included both experimental studies as well as sampling of goshawks and sea eagles. I am also engaged in immunotoxicology research with seabirds and effects of contaminants on population dynamics of Daphnia.
I am also involved in the EU COST action European Raptor Biomonitoring Facility - ERBFacility
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).
Scientific, academic and artistic work
A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database
- (2019) Using an apex predator for large-scale monitoring of trace element contamination: Associations with environmental, anthropogenic and dietary proxies. Science of the Total Environment. vol. 676.
- (2019) Integrated exposure assessment of northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) nestlings to legacy and emerging organic pollutants using non-destructive samples. Environmental Research. vol. 178.
- (2019) PFOS mediates immunomodulation in an avian cell line that can be mitigated via a virus infection. BMC Veterinary Research.
- (2019) Plasma protein fractions in free-living white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) nestlings from Norway. BMC Veterinary Research. vol. 15.
- (2019) Bird feathers as a biomonitor for environmental pollutants: Prospects and pitfalls. TrAC. Trends in analytical chemistry. vol. 118.
- (2019) The influence of natural variation and organohalogenated contaminants on physiological parameters in white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) nestlings from Norway. Environmental Research. vol. 177:108586.
- (2019) Can variability in corticosterone levels be related to POPs and OPEs in feathers from nestling cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus)?. Science of the Total Environment. vol. 650 (1).
- (2019) Temporal trends of mercury differ across three northern white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) subpopulations. Science of the Total Environment. vol. 687.
- (2018) Developmental toxicity of perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and its chlorinated polyfluoroalkyl ether sulfonate alternative F-53B in the domestic chicken. Environmental Science and Technology. vol. 52 (21).
- (2018) In ovo transformation of two emerging flame retardants in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. vol. 149.
- (2018) Distribution and bioaccumulation of POPs and mercury in the Ga-Selati River (South Africa) and the rivers Gudbrandsdalslågen and Rena (Norway). Environment International. vol. 121.
- (2018) Plasma concentrations of organohalogenated contaminants in white-tailed eagle nestlings – The role of age and diet. Environmental Pollution (1987). vol. 246.
- (2018) White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) feathers from Norway are suitable for monitoring of legacy, but not emerging contaminants. Science of the Total Environment. vol. 647.
- (2018) First evaluation of the use of down feathers for monitoring persistent organic pollutants and organophosphate ester flame retardants: A pilot study using nestlings of the endangered cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus). Environmental Pollution (1987). vol. 238.
- (2018) Persistent organic pollutants and organophosphate esters in feathers and blood plasma of adult kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) from Svalbard – associations with body condition and thyroid hormones. Environmental Research. vol. 164.
- (2018) Deregulation of microRNA-155 and its transcription factor NF-kB by polychlorinated biphenyls during viral infection. APMIS : Acta pathologica, microbiologica et immunologica Scandinavica. Supplementum. vol. 126 (3).
- (2017) Oxidative stress responses in relationship to persistent organic pollutant levels in feathers and blood of two predatory bird species from Pakistan. Science of the Total Environment. vol. 580.
- (2017) The first exposure assessment of legacy and unrestricted brominated flame retardants in predatory birds of Pakistan. Environmental Pollution (1987). vol. 220.
- (2017) Organohalogenated contaminants in plasma and eggs of rockhopper penguins: Does vitellogenin affect maternal transfer?. Environmental Pollution (1987). vol. 226.
- (2017) Trace element concentrations in feathers and blood of Northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) nestlings from Norway and Spain. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. vol. 144.