NWFSC Monster Seminar Jam: Beate Escher
This seminar is part of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center's Monster Seminar Jam series.
Beate I. Escher (UFZ Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany) is presenting a talk, "Bioanalytical Tools for the Monitoring of Mixtures of Organic Micropollutants in Rivers during Rain Events." The talk will be moderated by Jonelle Gates (Northwest Fisheries Science Center).
Chemical pollution is an increasing threat to our environment. The impact of chemical pollution will be amplified by population growth and, possibly, by some of the effects of climate change. However, conventional chemical monitoring programs have been criticized on the basis that they cannot include the full range of chemical pollutants that could occur in the environment including transformation products, and they do not account for the combined effects of mixtures of chemicals. Bioanalytical tools may therefore complement chemical analysis for cost-efficient monitoring. Bioanalytical tools are cell-based bioassays that target specific mechanisms of toxicity and give a measure of the toxicity of mixtures of known and unknown chemicals, such as persistent organic pollutants, pesticides, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals and their transformation products. Bioanalytical tools provide measures of the cumulative effects of mixtures of chemicals that exhibit the same mode of toxic action, for which the selected bioassays are indicative plus they can give a measure of the cytotoxicity of all chemicals acting together in an environmental sample. A case study on the application of bioanalytical tools for monitoring water quality during rain events will illustrate how a combination of chemical analysis and bioanalytical tools in conjunction with mixture modelling can help to understand which fractions of the chemical pollution are known and which are unknown.
Beate Escher is Head of Department of Cell Toxicology at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany and Professor at the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Germany. She is also lecturer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in ETHZ, Switzerland, holds an honorary professorship at the University of Queensland and an adjunct professorship at Griffith University, Australia. She was Associate Editor for Environmental Science and Technology from 2012 to 2020 and is a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors at Science. In 2013 she won the Australian Water Association AWA National Research Innovation Award for her work on cell-based bioassays in water quality assessment. Beate Escher is on developing scientifically sound assessment tools and methodologies for risk assessment of micropollutants in the environment and in people. Escher’s expertise includes mode-of-action based effect assessment, and methods for hazard screening of organic micropollutants including pharmaceuticals, pesticides and persistent organic pollutants, environmental transformation products, and mixtures. She is interested in improving dosing and interpretation of high-throughput in vitro bioassays and runs the robotic bioassay platform CITEPro at UFZ (www.ufz.de/citepro). More practically oriented aspects include passive sampling of sediment and biota and effect-based methods for water quality assessment.
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