Adverse effects of environmental factors on brain cells: detection and characterization

The nervous system is a frequent target for the adverse effects of environmental chemicals including industrial chemicals, agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. Therefore, the risk assessment for any compound requires the evaluation of its potential neurotoxicity. There is now a general consensus that the largest part of risk assessment needs to be done by in vitro and in silico approaches rather than in animals. Furthermore, the evaluation of chemical adverse effects should focus on the interference with vital biological mechanisms rather than on the dose-dependent cytotoxicity or lethality. Our laboratory focuses on two major goals, i) the identification of reliable toxicity biomarkers, and fundamental cellular pathways targeted by adverse effects, and ii) the development of efficient strategies for the in vitro detection and study of environmental factors affecting the brain.

Research projects in close collaboration with the groups of Prof. Paul Honegger and Dr. Florianne Tschudi-Monnet.