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Elin Engdahl

Postdoctoral researcher

Department and organisational affiliation:

Research description

My research interest lies in how endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) affect fetal development, with a focus on neurodevelopment and epigenetic changes.

Hormones play an important role during fetal development, where small changes in hormone balance can interfere with for example brain development of the fetus. It is therefore worrying that we are constantly exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals, especially since research shows that these chemicals during the fetal stage affect various aspects of neurodevelopment. However, we lack knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that link exposure to health outcomes, and therefore no sensitive test methods are available for chemical hazard assessment.

My projects have an interdisciplinary approach that uses both epidemiological data and relevant cell models, with the overall aim to identify mechanisms that underlie associations between chemical exposure and impaired neurodevelopment. I want to pinpoint molecular mechanisms and epigenetic markers that are affected by these chemicals, and evaluate whether these EDC-induced epigenetic markers observed experimentally can also be a link between prenatal exposure and children's cognitive and behavioral development.

This research is needed to increase knowledge of how EDCs affect neurological development, and to develop new biomarkers that can make chemical hazard assessment more sensitive. Better methods for chemical risk assessment would in the long term contribute to fewer harmful chemicals in our environment, and thus to a sustainable development.

In my main project I work with a cell model of the blood-brain barrier where I study how bisphenols affect the function of this barrier, more info here [link].

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