Persistent, mobile (PM) substances are being recognized as serious threats to the safety of drinking water resources. The most notorious example of PM substances are per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), but there are numerous others. This worldwide problem has triggered new policy and monitoring actions and the European Green Deal contains a broad initiative for chemical and water regulations for PM substances. As part of this effort, a new, wide-reaching European Research project called ZeroPM (Zero Pollution of Persistent, Mobile substances) will start in October 2021. ZeroPM will interlink and synergize prevention, prioritization and removal strategies to protect the environment and human health from PM substances.
The successful PhD candidate will develop a hazard assessment toolbox for PM substances based on non-animal in vitro
methods. The aim is to determine quantitative toxicity profiles for PM test substances with respect to endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity, developmental toxicity, mutagenicity, immunotoxicity, and cytotoxicity. The hazard assessment toolbox consists of cell-based screening and high-content bioassays and of zebrafish embryo models that are either in place or have to be further developed and optimized for hazard assessment purposes. The PhD candidate will integrate the in vitro
toxicity data with human exposure estimates and in vitro-in vivo
extrapolation (IVIVE) results provided by collaborating ZeroPM partners. The aim is to prioritize the PM test substances using a risk matrix model to be jointly developed.
The PhD student will be employed at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA) - Department of Environment and Health (The Netherlands) and be enrolled in VUA’s doctoral programme. The department covers three disciplines, i.e. analytical chemistry, toxicology and epidemiology. Outstanding qualities in the mono-disciplinary cornerstones yield excellent opportunities for multi- and transdisciplinary research and education. Integration leads to greater insight and discoveries and is essential to cover the complete pathway from the source of the contaminants to adverse health outcomes. Within ZeroPM, international collaboration is foreseen in particular with Fraunhofer Institute (Germany) and TG Environmental Research (UK). Come join our team and make a meaningful impact on healthy living.
- Develop, optimize, and execute in vitro, non-animal bioassays for PM substances
- Integrate the toxicity profiles into a risk matrix, to be developed in close collaboration with project partners
- Provide regular progress updates at ZeroPM project meetings and group meetings
- Supervise students doing an internship or literature study within the ZeroPM project
- Write progress reports, scientific papers, and a PhD thesis