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Project Title

Project Brief



Consumer perception of endocrine disruptors in the environment and food chain.

Exploring consumer perceptions and understanding of EDs in in the environment and food chain for the development of efficient risk communication strategies.

The science was carried out using qualitative (focus groups) and quantitative (online survey) methodology. Collection of baseline data on ED awareness and risk perceptions was performed and used to validate relationships between demographic and psychological factors and perceptions of EDs. Reactions to risk reduction guidelines was also investigated. Evidence from the quantitative survey was then used to create recommendations for ED risk communication.

Find out more via Melissa’s conference talk here

1  Prof Dean Prof Connolly
Identifying mixtures of contaminants associated with adverse child health outcomes.

Utilising epidemiological data to identify mixtures of contaminants associated with adverse child health outcomes.

The science used statistical models of analysis for the identification of mixtures of contaminants associated with adverse child health outcomes using Norwegian Human Milk Study (HUMIS) cohort. Health outcomes tested include ADHD and obesity.

Find out more via Anteneh’s conference talk here

2  Prof Eggesbo  Dr Mandal
Health impacts of complex mixtures on human foetal and placental health.

Investigating the health impacts of complex chemical mixtures on human foetal and placental health.

The science involved analysis of foetal samples and epidemiological data to answer major knowledge gaps with regard to human foetal exposure and endocrine disruptor bioactivity. Questions included whether the reproductive development of females with a male co-twin could be derailed and if maternal smoking could negatively impact on foetal hormones and development.

Find out more via Chiara’s conference talk here

Prof Fowler  Prof Connolly
Mycotoxins, mass spectrometry, farm animals, health effects.

Determining farm animal exposure to a large number of mycotoxins.

Scientific investigation was based on the development of a multi-analyte chemical method for the detection and analysis of mycotoxins in animal feed. Using the mycotoxin contamination profile in feed and collection of corresponding epidemiological data on animal health, the effects on animal (chickens) health and performance was assessed. The effectiveness of mycotoxin binders available for animal feed was also assessed using an innovative chicken gut bioassay.

Find out more via Tobi’s conference Talk here

4   Prof Elliott Prof Connolly 
In vivo zebrafish larvae tests on endocrine disruptors and mixtures.

Zebrafish larvae tests for the study of ED mixture effects on early development and behaviour and gene regulation events, especially in the brain.

The science of this project was carried out using molecular techniques aiming to assess the teratogenicity and lethality in zebrafish larvae exposed to persistent organic pollutant mixtures modelled on human exposure scenarios. Compounds were also tested on estrogen receptors, ESR1, ESR2 and G-Protein Coupled Estrogen Receptor, to determine their respective potential roles in endpoints such as presence of oedemas, delayed development, other morphological aberrations, alterations in heartbeat and behaviour in parameters such as Time Spent Active, Distance Travelled and Swimming Speed.

Find out more via Gustavo’s conference talk here

5  Dr Muller  Dr Eriksen
Effect of zearalenone, an oestrogenic mycotoxin, alone or in combination, on the intestine.

The effects of the mycotoxin Zearalenone and co-occurring mycotoxin mixtures on the function of the intestine.

The scientific approach in this project utilised pig intestinal explants to investigate the intestinal toxicity of the mycotoxin zearalenone, a xenoestrogen naturally present in food. Molecular techniques were employed to unravel the effects of zearalenone exposure on the gut, including effects on gene and protein expression/abundance plus ERalpha signalling and disruption of highly related cellular signalling cascades such as Wnt/b-catenin and TGFb.

These molecular mechanisms were also implicated in the onset and progress of intestinal immune disorders and cancer, indicating that exposure to zearalenone could play an important role in intestinal pathogenesis.

Find out more via Tarek’s conference talk here

6  Dr Oswald  Prof Eggesbo 
Effects of defined realistic ED mixtures on gut microbiota composition, neurodevelopment, and behaviour in mice.

The effects of defined realistic ED mixtures on gut microbiota composition, neurodevelopment and behaviour in mice.

The aim of this project was to understand the effect of persistent organic pollutants on gut microbiota composition and neurodevelopment in animal models. For this purpose, a chicken embryo model was used to test pharmacokinetic profiles (confirming that the pollutants reached the brain) and morphological plus RNAseq analysis was performed to investigate effects on biological and molecular pathways involved in neurodevelopmental processes. In vitro cultures were also established from the chicken cerebellum at different stages of development for the study of cellular toxicity. Neurite outgrowth disruption was also tested in vitro using a rodent cell line, PC12.

Find out more via Ajay’s publication here

Dr Verhaegen
Prof Connolly
Exposure effects of defined realistic mixtures of POPs on zebrafish development, behaviour, and population.

Exposure effects of ED and realistic mixtures in Zebrafish models. Behavioural outcomes, combined with morphology and transcriptomics studies will be used to investigate exposure effects on neurodevelopment, immune function and their interactions.

Find out more via Maria’s conference talk here

Dr Verhaegen
Prof Fowler 
Aryl hydrocarbon receptor transactivation assays to study health impacts of exposure to mixtures of chemicals.

Assessing the impact of exposure to mixtures of chemicals found in drinking water on the Aryl hydrocarbon receptor.

The scientific approach in this project utilised in vitro bioassays, specifically reporter gene assays to complete a risk assessment for ED exposure using the aryl hydrocarbon receptor and human exposure scenarios. Scenarios included a realistic POP mixture of human exposure based on reported blood levels in the Scandinavian population, a mixture relevant to ED exposure via drinking water, a mixture of polyphenols found in plant-based food or food supplements.

Find out more via Que’s conference talk here

9  Prof Scippo  Prof Connolly
Endocrine disruptor compounds in cyanobacteria.

Screening cyanobacteria for ED activity.

The science involved the development of a multi-analyte chemical method for the detection and analysis of endocrine disruptors in algae, cyanobacteria (photosynthetic, nitrogen-fixing bacteria that live in a wide variety of moist soils and water). The developed method was used to analyse extracts from cyanobacteria to study and identify compounds produced by them, and their activity as endocrine disruptors. Their biological activity was tested using in vitro bioassays.

Find out more via Vittoria’s conference talk here

10  Dr Uhlig  Dr Kausel
QSAR modelling EDs and their mixtures.

Development of predictive QSAR models for ED mixtures

This research project involved the development of QSAR models to predict effects of EDs and their mixtures followed by validation of their robustness plus predictive ability. In vitro bioassays were also used to validate the test results of chemicals and their mixtures in the developed QSAR models.

Find out more via Elizabeth’s conference talk here

11  Dr Gozalbes  Prof Eggesbo 
In vivo biomarker assays in adult carp.

Development of non-invasive assays to assess in vivo biomarkers in fish.

This project aimed to establish profiles of small regulatory RNAs packaged in exosomes and other extracelluar vesicles in the blood of a model teleost, Carp and explore their utility as a whole organism response indicator to endocrine disruptor exposure.

Find out more via Solomon’s conference talk here

12  Dr Kausel  Dr Muller
Emerging High Content Analysis technology for the investigation of EDs & their mixtures.

Development of state-of-the-art HCA assays for the investigation of EDs and their mixture effects on cellular health and disease pathways.

This project focused on the development of novel in-vitro bioassays for the detection of endocrine disruptors and the study of these compounds and their mixture effects on cellular health markers.

Some of these assays were then used to test human breast milk extracts for correlations in disruption of gut hormones and obesity outcomes.

Find out more via Mazia’s conference talk here

13   Dr Connolly Prof Ropstad
Development of a combined chemical-biological detection system for mycotoxin/POP mixtures affecting human development.

Development of a combined chemical-biological detection system for ED mixtures affecting human development.

This project aimed to develop a combined chemical-biological detection systems for mixtures of mycotoxins and persistent organic pollutants (POP) affecting human development.

Using the developed systems, a risk assessment of dioxins and dibenzofurans exposure through plastic toys was completed for assessing threats to children’s health.

Another focus of this project was on how those mixtures affect the early development of gut microbiota and associated long-term health impacts.

Find out more via Clemence’s conference talk here

14  Dr Van der Burg   Prof Connolly
Development of a combined chemical-biological detection system for mycotoxin mixtures affecting animal health.

Development of a combined chemical-biological detection system for ED mixtures affecting animal reproduction.

This project developed analytical and in vitro bioassays with the overall purpose to “develop a combined chemical-biological detection system for endocrine disruptor mixtures affecting the male reproductive system.

A new analytical method for extracting ED mixtures from human breast milk was developed and used to screen human breast milk samples for disruption of the human androgen receptor, an endpoint associated with cryptorchidism.

Find out more via Berenice’s conference talk here

15  Dr Van der Burg  Dr Eriksen