Samuel obtains his PhD in Applied Biological Sciences

We are happy to announce that our colleague, Samuel Moeris, defended his dissertation to earn his doctoral degree on June 25, 2020! During his PhD, his research focused on the the environmental risk assessment of emerging pollutants and complex chemical mixtures.

Congratulations, Samuel! We wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors, wherever these may take you!



Title of the doctoral dissertation: 

An effect-based monitoring approach for environmental risk assessment of chemicals of emerging concern and complex chemical mixtures in the marine environment

Abstract of the doctoral research:

Along with a worldwide growth of the human population, the aquatic environment on our planet is facing an ever increasing chemical input. With the aim of regulating chemical use and protecting both humans and the environment a number of regulatory frameworks for chemicals have been introduced in the European Union (EU). Yet, these regulations mainly focus on a limited list of priority pollutants that represent only a minor fraction of potentially water-emitted chemicals. The presented research aimed to assess chemical-related risks for the Belgian part of the North Sea (BPNS) using both individual substance-based and mixture-based approaches. In alignment with current regulatory practices, ecotoxicity data was generated for 23 emerging (non-priority) chemicals for two marine species. This data was merged with literature data and used in an automated calculation algorithm to define environmental safety thresholds for 88 chemicals. For the three steroids Ethinylestradiol, Estradiol and Bisphenol A as well as the neonicotinoid insecticide Imidacloprid a direct exceedance of the respective thresholds was found. For an additional 20 chemicals a potential environmental risk for the BPNS was identified. Next, an effect-based approach was developed to allow risk assessment of the BPNS based on complex chemical mixtures rather than individual substances. This novel method allows to account for potential interactive effects of simultaneously present chemicals and to move away from a priority pollutant-focused risk assessment. Ultimately, the thesis provides promising perspectives for future research in alignment with upcoming regulatory challenges in the European Union.

Brief Curriculum vitae:

Samuel Moeris was born on 21st of May 1988 in Eupen, Belgium. He finished his primary and secondary school in Raeren and Eupen, respectively. In 2006, he participated in a student exchange program in San Cristóbal, Venezuela organized by Rotary International. After this first international experience, he enrolled for the Bachelor of Science in Biology at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany. After completion, he continued his studies as of 2012 with a Master of Science in Ecotoxicology at RWTH Aachen, Germany, including an 8 month internship at Stockholm University, Sweden. His master’s thesis focused on testing of single substance and mixture toxicity of antifungals using passive dosing. After obtaining his Master of Science diploma, Samuel started as a PhD candidate at the Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology and Aquatic Ecology at Ghent University, Belgium. Here, his research focused on novel tools for risk assessment of emerging chemicals and their mixtures for the marine environment. During his doctoral studies, he participated in numerous and organized one international conference(s) and (co-) authored 2 peer-reviewed scientific articles.