Meet our EDC-MixRisk scientists and hear their story on what they are researching and why it matters. Joachim Sturve is assoc. professor and lecturer at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He is an ecotoxicologist and the main focus of his research is on the effects of pollutants in aquatic organisms, primarily fish.
We are studying the effects of EDC mixtures in fish, primarily zebrafish. The zebrafish genome matches approximately 70% to human orthologs, and they serve as a model species for biomedical research. Our work in EDC-MixRisk is divided into two parts. First, acute exposures with the aim to identify modes of action and possible biomarkers for this kind of exposures. Second, long-term transgenerational exposures with the aim to find epigenetic effects of EDC mixture. F0 generation of fish has been fed with low levels of EDC mixtures from larval stage until sexual maturity. Epigenetic alteration will be studied in the F1 and F2 generations.
What have you discovered so far and what your first results indicate?
The short turn acute studies have generated a lot of fascinating results and it is evident that the thyroid system is affected by these mixtures. We have identified specific components (genes) in the thyroid system which might be interesting for future studies. Epigenetic alterations in F1 and F2 generations will be studied during the fall of 2017.
What are the potential implications of your findings in a bigger picture?
In EDC-MixRisk, the various cell and animal models will be applied to epidemiological findings from two independent human cohorts. This gives a unique opportunity for collective data analysis comparing the reliability of experimental models in reproducing human health effects. Our results then again contribute to adding one more piece of the puzzle when it comes to EDCs effects on the thyroid system. They will hopefully also generate possible biomarkers for future screening and monitoring, which is relevant for risk assessment.