Career session

In this session, different people (from academia, industry, and others) will tell about their careers. What are your career opportunities as a toxicologist? Where can you work as a toxicologist? They will tell about their study, which choices they made throughout their career, if they are still happy with these choices and if they would’ve done things differently. After a short pitch from all the speakers, there will be an opportunity to ask questions to the speakers and have a (personal) talk with them.

Speakers: Prof. Dr. Juliette Legler (Utrecht University), Dr. Jacqueline van Engelen (RIVM), Dr. Elsa Atunes Fernandes (KeyToxicology), Dr. Martijn Roosenboom (Shell) and Dr. Ilse Tonk (Charles River).

 Prof. Dr. Juliette Legler, Utrecht University

Juliette Legler is Professor of Toxicology and Environmental Health and heads the Toxicology group at the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University. She is a European Registered Toxicologist, and served as Vice President of the Netherlands Society of Toxicology from 2015-2016. Prior to joining IRAS, she led the Environment and Health Theme, a multidisciplinary group of researchers within the Institute for Environment, Health and Societies at Brunel University London. She remains affiliated with Brunel University as Honorary Professor. From 2001-2015, she was employed at the Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University Amsterdam, where she was Deputy Head of the Department of Chemistry and Biology. She received her BSc from University of Waterloo, Canada, and her MSc in Environmental Sciences from Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR). Her PhD focussed on in vitro and alternative (zebrafish) test method development for endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), and was carried out at the Department of Toxicology WUR in collaboration with the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology. Over the years, her research has taken a broader focus, and she has become intrigued by the environmental basis of disease, and how the health of the environment and that of humans and animals go hand in hand. As a toxicologist, she is particularly interested in understanding how exposures to chemicals during development program an organism to be more susceptible to disease later in life and even across generations. Her recent work has been in the role of early life exposure to EDCs in childhood obesity.

Jacqueline van Engelen, Ph.D., RIVM
Jacqueline van Engelen currently is working as a senior toxicologist and risk assessor at the Centre For Safety of Substances and Products at RIVM. She is involved in various projects like alternatives for animal studies, safety of rubber granulate, chromium VI and early warning. She is also participating in various projects on nanomaterials, with the focus on the concept of Safe by Design.

Jacqueline studied molecular sciences at Wageningen University. She finished her PhD at the University of Amsterdam, on occupational toxicology (the effects of combined exposure to solvents) in 1995, and started to work at RIVM. She gained experience s a risk assessor in working for different regulatory frameworks, with a focus on consumer safety and exposure science. She was a member of the EU Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety for over 7 years.

She was a manager in the RIVM unit for environmental health from 2013-2017 and before that she managed the unit of kinetics and modeling.

Elsa Antunes Fernandes Gáspár, Ph.D.,  KeyToxicology
Dr. Elsa Antunes Fernandes Gáspár is a toxicologist with more than 10 years’ experience in general toxicology and metabolomics. She received her Ph.D. in Toxicology from the University of Utrecht (Institute of Risk Assessment Sciences, IRAS) as part of a large international consortium focusing on Assessing the Toxicity and Hazard of Non-Dioxin-Like (NDL) PCBs Present in Food. During her PhD, she performed extensive in vitro and in vivo work on the effects of NDL-PCB’s and environmentally relevant metabolites, on aromatase activity and GABAA receptor. The results of her work helped to elucidate the possible mechanisms of action seen in in vivo studies done with NDL-PCBs. The thesis was entitled: “Effects of non-dioxin-like PCB’s on the neuroendocrine system”. Afterwards she worked as a postdoc within the Food Quality and Design (FQD) group, Wageningen University, combining research on (mainly) metabolics and sustainability of the dairy chain, and teaching. During the postdoc, she was also involved in theoretical and (laboratorial) practical lectures. Further, she supervised groups working on case studies provided by food companies. Group work involved business activities (e.g. business plan, SWOT analysis, WBS and marketing) and product and process design of foodstuff. She was also involved in adopting and improving the use of new techniques in the department, to improve student/teacher communication. In October 2016, together with Dr Karin van Ede they founded KeyToxicology, a consultancy providing services in toxicological risk assessment as well as sustainable practices to govermental and non-govermental clients.

Martijn Rooseboom, Ph.D., ERT, Shell
Martijn Rooseboom obtained his MSc and PhD degrees in chemistry and toxicology in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He then worked for 12 years in the R&D departments of Organon and Merck / MSD in which he had various positions, including project toxicologist and director of drug metabolism and kinetics (DMPK). As of 2015 he is Senior Toxicologist at Shell and responsible for human health risk assessment and product safety for a portfolio of Shell’s oil & chemical products. He is member of the board of the Dutch Society of Toxicology (NVT) and the Aromatics Producers Association (APA) within the European chemicals industry association CEFIC. He chairs the Lower Olefins Sector Group (LOSG) within CEFIC and is a member of the Concawe task force responsible for classification and labeling of petroleum products. He serves on technical steering committees and associated working groups of various REACH consortia including the lower olefins and aromatics (LOA) REACH consortium. As such he is also representing the company in regulatory discussions with ECHA and EU member state competent authorities. He is actively involved in the development of alternative testing strategies through private-public partnership consortia such as CEFIC LRI ECO36 and NC3R programs preDART, Respiratox and DARTpaths. He occasionally represents the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) at OECD.

Martijn will introduce what it is like to work in the industry by touching on several aspects such as multidisciplinary team work, science when working in industry, day-to-day activities, salary and job applications.

As Martijn has worked in various roles (science and management) in both the pharmaceutical and the chemical industry he may be able to give broad insights into a toxicologist’s career in industry. Make sure you bring your questions and discussion topics to get from the session what you want!

Ilse Tonk, Ph.D., ERT, Charles River Laboratories
Ilse Tonk joined Charles River Laboratories (previously known as NOTOX B.V. and WIL Research Europe B.V.) in 2016 as regulatory affairs manager, where she is responsible for the notification of new and existing industrial chemicals under REACH. She performs toxicological evaluations and has written toxicological advice reports for the industry. In addition, she has experience with IUCLID6, read-across, (Q)SARs and substance classification and labeling and is involved in project coordination.

Ilse Tonk has a degree in biomedical sciences (Radboud University, 2006). She then got her PhD in Toxicology at Maastricht University in 2012. Following this, she worked as a post-doc on Toxicogenomics (Maastricht University and RIVM, 2012-2013) and Genomic Medicine (VU University medical centre 2014-2016).

She is recognized as a certified Toxicologist by the Dutch Society of Toxicology and as a European registered toxicologist by EUROTOX, and has published in international recognized journals and presented her work at several conferences. She is a member of the Subcommittee on the Classification of Substances Toxic to Reproduction of the Health Council of the Netherlands.