Carolina Vogs

Affiliated to research

About me

I am a researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and affiliated at the Institute for Environmental Medicine, Unit of Systems Toxicology. My background is computational toxicology, specifically with the focus to link chemical uptake in the body to the development of toxicity.  

Research description

My research interests relate to the understanding and modelling of toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic processes of chemicals. Toxicokinetics explains “how a chemical gets into a body and what happens to it in the body”, while toxicodynamics describes “what the chemical does to the body”. For this purpose, I study the uptake, distribution, biotransformation and excretion of chemicals in an organism that cause the development of effects over time and for different concentrations. I am specifically interested in using zebrafish embryo as alternative model to reduce or even replace animal testing in toxicology.

Project 1: Linking accumulation and distribution to the toxicity of perfluorinated alkyl acids in zebrafish embryo (in collaboration with Emma Wincent and Gunnar Johanson)

Long-chain perfluorinated alkyl acids (PFAA) are currently substituted by short-chain variants based on the view that these are less toxic. Our studies suggest that the difference in toxic potency between short-chain and long-chain PFAA is due to differences in accumulation and distribution in the body.

Perfluorinated alkyl acid carboxylates and sulfonates (PFAA) are a group of persistent organofluorine chemicals that have been broadly used in commercial and industrial products (e.g., surfactants, fluorinated polymers, coatings, fire-resistant foams). Several studies show that PFAA may cause multiple adverse health effects. Many different PFAA have been detected in serum samples in humans worldwide and relative levels in autopsy tissues indicate that the distribution of these chemicals in humans varies depending on their chemical properties such as chain lengths and functional groups. Short-chain PFAA are believed to be less toxic compared to long-chain PFAA which has led to replacement of the long-chain PFAA to ones with shorter chain. Still, it is poorly understood how the toxicity links to toxicokinetics (absorption, biotransformation, distribution and excretion) chemical properties.

The aim of the project is to describe and compare the toxicokinetic profiles for four PFAA (PFOS, PFHxS, PFOA, PFBA) with different chain lengths and functional groups in zebrafish embryo. To this end, we will address the following objectives:

  1. Quantification of internal PFAA accumulation in zebrafish embryo to explain toxicity differences of phenotypical malformations (see Vogs et al. 2019)
  2. Applying Mass spectrometry imaging and autoradiography to visualize PFAAs distribution in zebrafish embryo (in collaboration with Per Andrén, Pharmaceutical Biosciences, Uppsala University; Maria Jönsson, Department of Organismal Biology, Environmental Toxicology),
  3. Linking PFAA accumulation and distribution differences to effect biomarkers (i.e. transcriptomics) (in collaboration with Joëlle Rüegg, Department of Organismal Biology, Environmental Toxicology)

Project 2: Revealing the toxicity mechanisms of oxy PAHs in zebrafish embryo (in collaboration with Kristian Dreij)

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been well-studied and monitored as an important chemical class of environmental contaminants with concern for their impact on human health. However, knowledge is very limited when it comes to natural occurring transformation products of PAHs, i.e. the oxygenated-PAHs (oxy-PAHs) including polycyclic aromatic quinones and ketones. Oxy-PAHs are formed by secondary oxidation of PAHs via chemical oxidation, photooxidation and enzymatic transformation by microorganisms. Thereby, parent PAHs and oxy-PAHs simultaneously occur in the environment that can result in mixture effects. Enhanced PAH degradation may lead to comparable or even higher levels of oxy-PAHs compared to PAHs in the environment. The aim of this project is to study the toxicokinetic-toxicodynamic mechanisms of oxy-PAHs and PAHs in a comparative transcriptomic analysis. 


Peer-reviewed Publications

Nyström-Kandola J, Ahrens L, Glynn A, Johanson G, Benskin JB, Gyllenhammar I, Lignell S, Vogs C (2023). Low concentrations of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in municipal drinking water associated with serum PFAA concentrations in Swedish adolescents. Environ. Int., 108166

Billat P-A, Vogs C, Blassiau C, Brochot C, Wincent E, Brion F, Beaudouin R (2023). PBTK modeled perfluoroalkyl acid kinetics in zebrafish eleutheroembryos suggests impacts on bioconcentrations by chorion porosity dynamics. Toxicol in Vitro. 89, 0887-2333.

Johanson G, Gyllenhammar I, Ekstrand C, Pyko A, Xu Y, Li Y, Norström K, Lilja K, Lindh C, Benskin JP, Georgelis A, Forsell K, Jakobsson K, Glynn A, Vogs C. (2023). Quantitative relationships of perfluoroalkyl acids in drinking water associated with serum concentrations above background in adults living near contamination hotspots in Sweden. Environ Res. 16; 219:115024.

Glynn A, Vogs C, Johanson G, Gyllenhammar I, Ekstrand C, Georgelis A, Forsell K, Jakobsson K. (2022). PFAS i blod - modellering av exponering via dricksvatten. Uppsala: SLU, p. 32

Bajard L, Adamovsky O, Audouze K, Baken K, Barouki R, Beltman JB, Beronius A, Bonefeld-Jørgensen EC, Cano-Sancho G, de Baat ML, Di Tillio F, Fernández MF, FitzGerald RE, Gundacker C, Hernández AF, Hilscherova K, Karakitsios S, Kuchovska E, Long M, Luijten M, Majid S, Marx-Stoelting P, Mustieles V, Negi CK, Sarigiannis D, Scholz S, Sovadinova I, Stierum R, Tanabe S, Tollefsen KE, van den Brand AD, Vogs C, Wielsøe M, Wittwehr C, Blaha L.  (2022) Application of AOPs to assist regulatory assessment of chemical risks - Case studies, needs and recommendations. Environ Res. 27; 217:114650.

Satbhai, K., Vogs, C., Crago, J. (2022). Comparative Toxicokinetics and Toxicity of PFOA and its Replacement GenX in the Early Stages of Zebrafish. Chemosphere, 308(Pt 1), 136131.

Chelcea, I., Örn, S., Hamers, T., Koekkoek, J., Legradi, J., Vogs, C., Andersson, P. L. (2022). Physiologically Based Toxicokinetic Modeling of Bisphenols in Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Accounting for Variations in Metabolic Rates, Brain Distribution, and Liver Accumulation. Environ. Sci. Technol., 56(14), 10216–10228.

Tal, T. & Vogs, C. (2021): Invited Perspective: PFAS Bioconcentration and Biotransformation in Early Life Stage Zebrafish and Its Implications for Human Health Protection. Environ. Health Perspect., 071304.

Krais, A.M., Essig, J.Y., Gren, L., Vogs, C., Assarsson, E., Dierschke, K., Nielsen, J., Strandberg, B., Pagels, J., Broberg, K., Lindh, C.H., Gudmundsson, A., Wierzbicka, A. (2021). Biomarkers after Controlled Inhalation Exposure to Exhaust from Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO). Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 18, 6492.

Lungu-Mitea, S., Vogs, C., Carlsson, G., Montag, M. Friberg, K., Oskarrson, A., Lundqvist, J. (2021): Modelling bioavailable concentrations in zebrafish cell lines and embryos increases the correlation of toxicity potencies across test systems. Environ. Sci. Technol. 55(1), 447-457. 

Cunha, V.*, Vogs, C*., Le Bihanic, F., Drej, K. (2020): Mixture effects of oxygenated PAHs and benzo[a]pyrene on cardiovascular development and function in zebrafish embryos. Environ. Int. 143. 105913.*contributed equally to this work

Xu., Y., Fletcher, T., Pineda, D., Lindh, CH., Nilsson, C., Glynn, A., Vogs, C., Norström, K., Lilja, K., Jakobsson, K., Li, Y. (2020): Serum Half-Lives for Short-and Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Acids after Ceasing Exposure from Drinking Water Contaminated by Firefighting Foam. Environ. Health Perspect., 128(7). 077004.

Vogs, C., Johanson, G, Näslund, M., Wulff, S., Sjödin, M., Hellstrandh, M., Lindberg, M., Wincent, E., (2019): Toxicokinetics of perfluorinated alkyl acids influences their toxic potency in the zebrafish embryo (Danio rerio). Environ. Sci. Technol.  53(7), 3898-3907.

Kühnert, A., Vogs, C., Serwert, B., Aulhorn, S., Altenburger, R., Hollert, H., Küster, E., Busch, W., (2017): Biotransformation in the zebrafish embryo –temporal gene transcription changes of cytochrome P450 enzymes and internal exposure dynamics of the AhR binding xenobiotic benz[a]anthracene. Environ Poll., 230, 1 - 11.

Klüver, N., Vogs, C., Altenburger, R., Escher, B., Scholz, S., (2016): Development of a general baseline toxicity QSAR model for the fish embryo acute toxicity test. Chemo, 50(14), 164 - 173.

Vogs, C., Altenburger, R., (2016): Time-dependent effects in algae for chemicals with different adverse outcome pathways: A novel approach. Environ. Sci. Technol., 50(14), 7770 - 7780.

Massei, R., Vogs, C., Renner, P., Altenburger, R, Scholz, S., (2015): Differential sensitivity in embryonic stages of the zebrafish (Danio rerio): the role of toxicokinetics for stage-specific susceptibility for azinphos-methyl lethal effects. Aquat. Toxicol., 166, 36 - 41.

Vogs, C., Kühnert, A., Hug, C., Küster, E., Altenburger, R., (2015): A toxicokinetic study of specifically acting and reactive organic chemicals for the prediction of internal effect concentrations in Scenedesmus vacuolatus. Environ. Toxicol. Chem., 32(5), 1161 – 1172.

Faust, M., Vogs, C., Rotter, S., Wöltjen, J., Höllrigl-Rosta, A., Altenburger, R., (2014): Comparative assessment of plant protection products: how many cases will regulatory authorities have to answer?, Env. Sci. Eur., 26(1): 11

Kühnert, A., Vogs, C., Altenburger, R., Küster, E., (2013): The internal concentration of organic substances in fish embryos – a toxicokinetic approach. Environ. Toxicol. Chem., 32 (8), 1819-27.

Liu, Z., Flury, M., Harsh, J.B., Mathison, J.B., Vogs, C., (2013): Colloid mobilization in an undisturbed sediment core under semiarid recharge rates. Water Resour. Res., 49 (8), 4985 – 4996.

Vogs, C., Bandow, N., Altenburger, R., (2013): Effect propagation in a toxicokinetic/ toxicodynamic model explains delayed effects on the growth of unicellular green algae Scenedesmus vacuolatus. Environ. Toxicol. Chem., 32 (5), 1161 – 1172.

Teaching portfolio

I am supervising master students in the physiologically based pharmacokinetic modelling course and zebrafish embryo laboratory course in Karolinska Institutet. I have further experiences as supervisor for bachelor and master students. Please contact me, if you are interested in conducting a thesis work.


PostDoc in Toxicology, Karolinska Institutet, Institute of Environmental Medicine

PhD in Ecotoxicology, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research/RWTH Aachen University

Diploma in Geoecology, Technical University of Braunschweig