Can you explain a bit more about your study?
In my PhD project I will work with freshwater crustaceans (Daphnia magna) and study how the chemical inhibition of chitin synthesis (the major part of the outer skeleton of these creatures consists of chitin) is linked to developmental disorders and mortality. To achieve this, I will develop and evaluate conceptual Adverse Outcome Pathways and populate them with data that originate from targeted bioassays and toxicogenomic as well as computational methods. I hope to make a valuable contribution to new approaches in the risk assessment of chitin synthesis inhibitors."
What is your background?
I obtained my MSc in Drug Sciences from the University of Basel in Switzerland. I conducted my Master's thesis in ecotoxicology at the University of Applied Sciences (also in Basel) where I investigated how environmental steroid hormones affect zebrafish embryos on a molecular level.
How did you get interested in this field of research? What do you believe is its importance?
Already in high school I was very interested in the effects small (organic) molecules can have on organisms and decided to study pharmaceutical sciences. Throughout my studies I felt increasingly drawn to toxicology and in particular ecotoxicology. Due to the increasing number of chemicals in the environment and a large number of potentially affected species, it is unfeasible to assess the risk of chemical substances available by traditional means. I therefore believe it is essential to understand the molecular mechanisms leading to adverse effects in organisms in order to estimate the risk from chemicals.
Happy to have come to Norway for your PhD?
Being a Swiss, of course I like hiking and skiing in my freetime and Norway is not a bad place to be for that!