The group aim is the study and assessment of the bioavailability and toxicity of existing and emerging contaminants and their mixtures. To this end, the group applies an array of lab toxicity tests (i.e. transgenic yeast, cell lines, zebrafish and Daphnia magna models), and field assays conducted with feral fish and invertebrates from both marine and freshwater environments. Effects are assessed across different biological levels using transcriptomic, lipidomics, metabolomics, morphogenetic and specific cell response, including effects on whole organism and population. During the last five years’ period (2013-2017) the group has produced 153 publications that have been cited 923 times (h index = 22). There is an active collaboration between group members in many of the mentioned research lines and they share 25 and 30 out of 153 publications (2013-2017 respectively).

Most important achievements of the group are:

1. Use of biomarkers and sentinel species to biomonitor contamination in marine and freshwater systems.
2. First evidence of endocrine disruption in fish (estrogenic effects in fish) and aquatic invertebrates (imposex in gastropods)
3. Application of -omic technologies to monitor effects and mode of action (MoA) on model species
4. Determination of the ‘obesogenic’ effect of contaminants in fish, fish cell lines and invertebrates
5. Development of animal-free bioassays for endocrine disruption and related toxic effects

  • Study the mechanisms of action of toxicants altering growth, reproduction, energetic metabolism, phototactic behavior in Daphnia magna using omic and functional assays.
  • Developing and use of cost-effective toxicity assays to identify toxic compounds in complex mixtures in the field
  • Elucidation of the molecular bases of the neurotoxic effects caused by some environmental pollutants and drugs using zebrafish as vertebrate model.
  • Gene expression in animal species of environmental interest
  • Cell death mechanisms
  • Identification of new biomarkers from transcriptomics and metabolomics analysis
  • Development of tissue and cell based bioassays for the detection endocrine disruption and related toxic effects
  • Lipidomic tools to monitor effects of contaminants and unravel toxicity pathways in model species

 

Research Facilities:

  • Four fully equipped labs to conduct biochemistry, molecular and analytical chemistry work.
  • Zebra fish housing facility
  • CT room to culture Daphnia magna and algae
  • Behavioural facility room
  • Microscopy facility room…
  • Histology facility room
  • Spectrofluorimeter microplate readers
  • Respirometry
  • Spectrometry
  • Genomics service equipped with real time PCR instruments (LC480, Roche), PCR termocycler (Biorad), Nanodrop Spectrophotometer, Bioanalyzer (Agilent technologies) and Gel Logic 200 Imaging System (Kodak)
  • Cell culture facility

 

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