Chemicals often have undesired adverse effects – not only on the environment, but also on human health. After all, we are part of the environment, we live and work in the environment, and we use and consume environmental resources. Both exposure to contaminants as well as other environmental factors related to life-style affect our immune system and influence our internal chemical milieu. But just how exactly does this work?
To unravel these relationships we are first of all concentrating on the mechanisms how chemicals and external perturbing factors influence the biological circuits in organisms. To achieve this we are combining our expertise in ecotoxicology and research on human health in two complementary research approaches: on the one hand, bioassay tests with controlled exposure to contaminants (bottom-up approach) and on the other hand, biomonitoring analyses from aquatic organisms and cohorts (top-down approach) will be conducted.
Our aim is to understand how environmental factors including exposure to contaminants influence the internal chemical milieu of organisms (the EXPOSOME) and which role these processes play in the formation of aquatic toxicity and chronic diseases. Based on this understanding we will be able to better predict the undesired adverse effects on the environment and on human health and derive preventative strategies from this.