Public Defense – Jorke Harmen Kamstra

Jorke Kamstra disputerer 3. november.

"In our everyday environment, we are exposed to stressors such as pollutants, like plasticizers in food packaging, and various forms of radiation. When we are exposed to such environmental stressors, they can cause negative effects on our health, such as cancers, and effects on fertility and early development. Current research shows that the effects of environmental stressors can even be transmitted to our offspring, not only by damaging the DNA, but also by changing the way DNA works through altering so-called epigenetic factors. In my thesis project, I studied the ways by which environmental stressors change these epigenetic factors using the small tropical zebrafish as a model organism. Since zebrafish share approximately 70% of the genes with humans and have a similar epigenetic processes, it is regarded as a good model for studying health effects in humans as well as other species. In these studies, zebrafish were exposed to (1) a plasticizer, (2) a cancer drug and (3) low levels of radioactivity. All three stressors caused epigenetic changes, that persisted in up to two subsequent generations. These results show the risk of transmissible effects of environmental stressors and the usefulness of small fish as model organisms to study how such environmental stressors may affect our health, and that of future generations."

Prescribed subject of the trial lecture:

«Epigenomics and epitranscriptomics in health and disease.”


Professor Peter Alestrøm, Department of Basic Sciences and Aquatic Medicine, NMBU

Professor Juliette Legler, Institute for Environment, Health and Societies, Brunel University, London

Evaluation committee:

First opponent: Doctor Eivind Valen, University of Bergen, Norway
Second opponent: Doctor Eduarda Santos, University of Exeter, England

Committee coordinator: Professor Finn-Arne Weltzien, Department of Basic Sciences and Aquatic Medicine, NMBU


Thesis number 2017:85

ISSN 1894-6402

ISBN 978-82-575-1749-6



Published 1. November 2017 - 15:20 - Updated 1. November 2017 - 15:20