Plenary Lecture

Monday, September 11 | 09:15 AM – 10:00 AM

Human biomonitoring in Europe – research trends and further perspectives

Greet Schoeters – University of Antwerp, Belgium

Greet Schoeters is emeritus with assignment at the University of Antwerp and she is vice president of the Belgian Superior Health Council. She has managed projects in environmental health and environmental toxicology at VITO  for more than 30 years (Flemish Institute for Technological Research). She coordinated the Flemish human biomonitoring project (FLEHS) between 2002 and 2020. She has helped to build EU-wide human biomonitoring activities through active involvement in the EU projects ESBIO, COPHES, and DEMOCOPHES.  She has co-coordinated HBM4EU (2017-2022) which was a joint effort of 30 countries, the European Environment Agency and the European Commission, co-funded under Horizon 2020. Greet Schoeters served as vice chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the European Environment Agency (2012-2020) and participated in different risk assessment committees (EFSA, SCHER). Special interests are the use and implementation of molecular biomarkers in cohort studies but also in vitro mechanistic toxicology to better understand the effects of chemicals in humans and to improve the dialogue with decision-makers and stakeholders to promote the uptake and use of the scientific results.  She has been president of the European Society for Toxicology in Vitro (2008-2012) and is an honorary member of ESTIV. Publications from the last years can be found at or at schoeters G – Search Results – PubMed (

Tuesday, September 12 | 08:45 AM – 09:30 AM

Exploring millions of PFAS with FAIR and Open science

Emma Schymanski – University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Associate Professor Emma Schymanski is head of the Environmental Cheminformatics (ECI) group at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB), University of Luxembourg. In 2018 she received a Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) ATTRACT Fellowship to establish her group in Luxembourg, following a 6-year postdoc at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology and a PhD at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig, Germany. Before undertaking her PhD, she worked as a consulting environmental engineer in Perth, Australia. She is involved in many collaborative efforts, with over 100 publications and a book. Her research combines cheminformatics and computational (high resolution) mass spectrometry approaches to elucidate the unknowns in complex samples, primarily with non-target screening, and relate these to environmental causes of disease. An advocate for open science, she is involved in and organizes several European and worldwide activities to improve the exchange of data, information and ideas between scientists to push progress in this field, including the NORMAN Suspect List Exchange (NORMAN-SLE), MassBank, MetFrag, PubChemLite for Exposomics and the PubChem PFAS Tree.

Wednesday, September 13 | 08:45 AM – 09:30 AM

Silicone Wristbands: A Wearable to Support Research on the Personal Exposome

Heather Stapleton – Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, United States

Professor Heather Stapleton is an environmental chemist and exposure scientist in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Her research interests focus on the identification of halogenated and organophosphate chemicals in building materials, furnishings and consumer products, and the estimation of human exposure, particularly in vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and children. Her laboratory utilizes mass spectrometry, including targeted and nontargeted approaches, to characterize chemical burdens in both environmental samples and biological tissues to support environmental health research. She has published more than 230 peer-reviewed publications related to research on chemical exposures, human health and toxicology. Currently, she serves as the Director for the Duke Superfund Research Center, and Director of the Duke Environmental Analysis Laboratory, which is part of NIH’s Human Health Environmental Analysis Resource.

Thursday, September 14 | 08:45 AM – 09:30 AM

Canaries in the coal mine – Birds as sentinels of pollution

Veerle Jaspers – Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway

Veerle Jaspers completed her MSc in Biology in 2003 and her PhD in 2008 both at the University of Antwerp (Belgium), under the supervision of Prof. Marcel Eens and Prof. Adrian Covaci. During her PhD she investigated the contamination of the Belgian environment with organic pollutants, making use of different bird species and with a focus on establishing bird feathers as a non-destructive biomonitor.  After obtaining the doctoral degree she continued with a post doc at the University of Antwerp, financed by a personal grant from the Flemish Research Council. During the post doc, she widened her focus the include perfluorinated compounds and interactions of pollution with ecology in birds of prey. She also obtained an Yggdrasil mobility grant via the Norwegian Research Council for a research stay at the National Institute for Air Research (NILU) in Tromsø, Norway in 2010.

In 2013 Veerle moved to Trondheim (Norway) to start in a new position as an associate professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 2013. In 2019, she was promoted to full professor and since 2021 she is the deputy head of Research at the Department of Biology at NTNU. She has several running projects both as PI and CI, has been a member of the EU COST action European Raptor Biomonitoring Facility (concluded in 2022), and is also teaching in the international Master Program “Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry” at NTNU.  The current research performed by her group is focusing on understanding the effects of pollution and multiple other stressors on individuals and populations of wildlife. Most projects under the umbrella of the group focus on bird species (including songbirds, seabirds, shorebirds and raptors), but studies on small mammals and waterfleas are also performed. Studies are carried out both in vitro (to elucidate cellular responses) and in vivo, ranging from laboratory experiments to field studies.