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Beneficiary 2. VITO - Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek N.V. (Flemish Institute for Technological Research), Mol, Belgium

Beneficiary description - VITO is an independent research centre that conducts customer oriented contract research in the fields of energy, environment and materials for both the public and the private sector. The unit of ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY studies the effects of pollution and chemicals in order to provide a solid scientific basis for risk assessment related to the protection of man and the environment.
Key Personnel - Prof. Dr. Greet Schoeters is WP1 leader. She is currently the head of the Research Unit of Environmental Toxicology of VITO. She has long-standing experience in environmental health and toxicology research and published more than 100 peer reviewed papers. Dr. E. Den Hond is a senior scientist with extended experience in epidemiology, human biomonitoring and with special interest and expertise in the effects of endocrine disruptors. Dr. P. De Boever is a molecular biologist and will be responsible for the gene expression and epigenetic analysis in PBMCs.
Key role - VITO will coordinate the exposure assessment and health effects work package (WP-1) and will contribute with the Flemish birth cohorts to the project. VITO will also be responsible for gene expression and epigenetic analysis of cord blood mononuclear cells (WP-2 and WP-1) and will contribute to the risk assessment in WP-3.

Selected References
Maervoet J, Vermeir G,Covaci A,Van Larebeke N, Koppen G., Schoeters G., Nelen V, Baeyens W, Schepens P, Viaene MK. Association of thyroid hormone concentrations with levels of organochlorine compounds in cord blood of neonates, Environmental Health Perspectives, 115 (12): 1780-1786, 2007.
Den Hond E., Schoeters G. Endocrine disrupters and human puberty. International Journal of Andrology - 29:264-271 (2006)
Dhooge W, Van Larebeke N, Koppen G, Nelen V, Schoeters G, Vlietinck R, Kaufman J, Comhaire F. Flemish Environment and Health Study Group, Serum dioxin-like activity is associated with reproductive parameters in young men from the general Flemish population, Environm. Health Perspectives 114: 670-1676 (2006)
Staessen J.A., Nawrot T., Den Hond E., Thys L., Fagard R., Hoppenbrouwers K., Koppen G., Nelen V., Schoeters G., Vanderschueren D., Van Hecke E., Verschaeve L., Vlietinck R., Roels H., Renal function, cytogenetic measurements, and sexual development in adolescents in relation to environmental pollutants: a feasibility study of biomarkers. The Lancet, vol.357, 1660-1670 (2001).
Hooyberghs J, Schoeters E, Lambrechts N, Nelissen I, Witters H, Schoeters G, Van Den Heuvel R. A cell-based in vitro alternative to identify skin sensitizers by gene expression. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2008, 231, 103111.
Schoeters E, Verheyen GR, Nelissen I, Van Rompay AR, Hooyberghs J, Van Den Heuvel RL, Witters H, Schoeters GE, Van Tendeloo VF, Berneman ZN. Microarray analyses in dendritic cells reveal potential biomarkers for chemical-induced skin sensitization. Mol Immunol. 2007, 44 (12):3222-33
Verstraelen S, Bloemen K, Nelissen I, Witters H, Schoeters G, Heuvel RV. Cell types involved in allergic asthma and their use in in vitro models to assess respiratory sensitization. Toxicol In Vitro. 2008 Sep;22(6):1419-31.
Verstraelen S, Wens B, Hooyberghs J, Nelissen I, Witters H, Schoeters G, Cauwenberge PV, Heuvel RV. Gene expression profiling of in vitro cultured macrophages after exposure to the respiratory sensitizer hexamethylene diisocyanate.Toxicol In Vitro. 2008 Jun;22(4):1107-14.
Schoeters E, Nuijten JM, Van Den Heuvel RL, Nelissen I, Witters H, Schoeters GE, Van Tendeloo VF, Berneman ZN, Verheyen GR. Gene expression signatures in CD34+-progenitor-derived dendritic cells exposed to the chemical contact allergen nickel sulfate. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2006 Oct 1;216(1):131-49.
Schoeters E, Verheyen GR, Van Den Heuvel R, Nelissen I, Witters H, Van Tendeloo VF, Schoeters GE, Berneman ZN. Expression analysis of immune-related genes in CD34(+) progenitor-derived dendritic cells after exposure to the chemical contact allergen DNCB. Toxicol In Vitro. 2005 Oct;19(7):909-13.

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