Background and activities
Current Research Areas / Teaching
I am working as a 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 am course leader for the class of Pollution Biology in the third Bachelor of the Biology Program.
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
In August 2020 I will start leading a new NRC project on the combined effects of pollutants and disease on migrating shorebirds along the East-Asian Australian flyway. This will be an international collaboration between NTNU (Prof. Veerle Jaspers, Assoc. Prof. Alexandros Asimakopoulos), Nord University (Assoc. Prof. Courtney Waugh) and NILU (Dr. Dorte Herzke) in Norway, with Deakin University in Australia (Prof. Marcel Klaassen), Nankai University (Prof. Lei Wang) and Beijing Forest University (Dr. Hebo Peng) in China and the University of Antwerp in Belgium (Prof. Adrian Covaci, Dr. Giulia Poma).
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). I was appointed as an associate professor at NTNU in 2013.
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
- (2020) Environmental pollutants modulate RNA and DNA virus-activated miRNA-155 expression and innate immune system responses: Insights into new immunomodulative mechanisms. Journal of Immunotoxicology. vol. 17 (1).
- (2020) Towards harmonisation of chemical monitoring using avian apex predators: Identification of key species for pan-European biomonitoring. Science of the Total Environment. vol. 731.
- (2020) A schematic sampling protocol for contaminant monitoring in raptors. Ambio.
- (2020) Biofilms grown in aquatic microcosms affect mercury and selenium accumulation in Daphnia. Ecotoxicology. vol. 29 (4).
- (2020) Dopamine mediates life history responses to food abundance in Daphnia. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences. vol. 287.
- (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. vol. 15 (1).
- (2019) Plasma protein fractions in free-living white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) nestlings from Norway. BMC Veterinary Research. vol. 15.
- (2019) Levels, patterns, and biomagnification potential of perfluoroalkyl substances in a terrestrial food chain in a Nordic Skiing Area. Environmental Science and Technology. vol. 53 (22).
- (2019) Bird feathers as a biomonitor for environmental pollutants: Prospects and pitfalls. TrAC. Trends in analytical chemistry. vol. 118.
- (2019) No evidence of avian influenza antibodies in two species of raptor nestlings inhabiting Norway. BMC Veterinary Research. vol. 15 (1).
- (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) White-Tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) Body Feathers Document Spatiotemporal Trends of Perfluoroalkyl Substances in the Northern Environment. Environmental Science and Technology. vol. 53 (21).
- (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.