Beyond GhEnToxLab

VeerleSylvieVeerle Lambert and Sylvie Bauwens were nominated for their extraordinary work coordinating the Centre for Environmental Science and Technology (website CES&T). Through their passion and efforts, they have made it to the short list for the Hermes award for Science and Social Service. Irrespective of the outcome, heartfelt congratulations to Veerle and Sylvie from all of us at GhEnToxLab.

setaclogo2 thumb medium50 75At this very moment, SETAC North America is hosting the 35th edition of their annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada. This Thursday the 13th of November, Prof. Dr. Karel De Schampelaere (head of GhEnToxLab / SETAC Europe Council member) will chair the brand new EVOGENERATE working group at this event. Despite the growing evidence that organisms modulate their tolerance towards stressors across subsequent generations, most Ecological Risk Assessment approaches fail to assess the impact of chemicals beyond a single generation.

Prof. Janssen explains the relevance of the EU SCHER to 22.000 readers... in 23 languages


While conducting innovative research to improve the ecological risk assessment of chemicals remains the core business of the GhEnToxLab, we actively encourage societal participation, social debate and public outreach. In light of this, Prof. Dr. Colin Janssen, chair of the European Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER), explains the role of SCHER in the European decision making. In 23 languages!


 Role of SCHER



Prof. Karel De Schamphelaere elected for a second 3-year term in the SETAC Europe Council


Prof. Karel De Schamphelaere has been elected as a SETAC Europe council member (representing academia). The SETAC Europe council is the governing body of SETAC Europe that takes decisions about conferences, symposia, awards, public relations, finances etc. Prof. Karel De Schamphelaere will to contribute to further optimizing the opportunities within SETAC for tripartite (life-long) education, research, collaboration and communication between academia, industry and government.  He wants to achieve this by strongly interacting with the entire SETAC membership during all possible occasions, and bringing all relevant ideas, questions, worries, etc… of members to council for discussion, regardless of affiliation, country or career stage (because, according to him,  diversity in all its aspects is a basis for creativity and progress).  Congratulations Prof. Karel De Schamphelaere!

Prof. Karel De Schamphelaere stands for election for a second 3-year term in the SETAC Europe Council

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At the General Assembly of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Europe in Basel on Wednesday 14 May, prof. Karel De Schamphelaere, is one of three candidates for being elected as a SETAC Europe council member (representing academia). 

Elections at Ghent University

janaFrom the 5th till the 9th of May, Ghent University students and staff elect their representatives in various boards that govern the university. GhenToxLab is actively engaged in numerous boards and committees at both the faculty and the university level. Together with people from the Aquatic Ecology group, GhenToxLab members have applied for various representative positions. Prof. De Schamphelaere and Prof. Goethals (Aquatic Ecology) are both candidates to represent the ZAP staff in the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Biosciences. Drs. Jana Asselman and Dr. Pieter Boets (Aquatic Ecology) are both candidates to represent the AAP in the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Biosciences. In addition, Drs. Jana Asselman also teams up with Rob De Staelen from the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture to represent the AAP in the Board of Governors of Ghent University. You can read their election program on


We warmly encourage you to support GhenToxLab and the Aquatic Ecology group during the elections! 



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LET - Springboard to a great career

careerLMAE's PhD-student Dieter De Coninck, who will soon finish his PhD, was selected with 29 other PhD students out of over 150 applicants to attend the BASF Days Agro. This event introduces young "top of the crop" individuals into the company of BASF as a potential employer. Indeed, a PhD can be a great asset to a career. Previous LMAE PhD-students now all work at renowned companies and organizations. Dr. Michiel Claessens works now at Dupont as regulatory ecotoxicologist. Dr. ir. Roel Evens works at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and Dr. Marlies Messiaen now works at the International Zinc Association. Current top positions of some older graduates from our laboratory include two professors (Ghent University and University of Namur), two EU officials at the European Chemicals Bureau – Helsinki and two CEOs of an environmental consultancy company (Arche), a former spin-off of our lab. Their PhD and experience at LMAE has definitely been a springboard to a great career! Dieter De Coninck will defend his PhD on September 13 (invitation)!


Swimming pool in Mol (Belgium) closed due to cyanobacteria

This weekend, a swimming pool in Mol (Belgium) had to be closed due to the possible presence of blue-green algae or cyanobacteria. This occurrence shows the relevance of some of the research performed at our laboratory. Indeed, these harmful algae, which can both occur in fresh- and saltwater, can not only exercise potential adverse effects in humans, but also in different other ecological species inhabiting these waters.

Source and more information: (Dutch).

OECD publishes guidance document on developing and assessing Adverse Outcome Pathways

Recently, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published a guidance document (No 184) on developing and assessing Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOP). The AOP methodology is an approach which provides a framework to collect, organise and evaluate relevant information on chemical, biological and toxicological effect of chemicals. This approach supports the use of a mode (and/or mechanism) of action basis for understanding adverse effects of chemicals. Our research contributes to this methodology by studying gene-expression patterns in response to toxicants (e.g. Asselman et al. 2012, Vandegehuchte et al. 2010) to extrapolate effects at the molecular level to effects at the organismal level. In addition, our population and ecosystem models (e.g. De Laender et al. 2011, Viaene et al. 2013) allow to extrapolate from this organismal level to even higher levels of organisation as the population or ecosystem. Not only contributes our research to the AOP methodology, it also benefits from it as the AOP for a marine natural toxin, domoic acid, to which we also perform research, is known.