Work in our lab is characterised by interdisciplinary collaboration between molecular biologists, bioinformatics specialists and social scientists. Within the framework of the EDC-MixRisk project, we work together to produce cutting edge-understanding of the adverse neurodevelopmental effects of exposure to endocrine disruptors mixtures, and translate it into regulatory meaningful arguments.
Recently, experimental biology and bioinformatics work has been focusing on evaluating the impact of the EDC mix associated by the epidemiological module to adverse developmental outcomes. To this end, we employed in vitro cellular models, including both fetal primary neural stem cells and cortical organoids, a tridimensional system able to recapitulate the human brain development. After exposing these models to the mix of chemicals, we employed advanced molecular and computational biology techniques that identified the key perturbed molecular events. Among the top dysregulated hits, we found genes already known to be associated to autism spectrum disorders.
Social scientific work not only draws on the work of experimental and computational biologists, but integrates with it. In this way we are able to produce mappings of the EU chemical regulatory field (public engagement, EU stakeholders and EU chemical regulations) and pinpoint areas where input from the project’s results will be most useful to mitigate EDC exposure risks. Moreover, this enables us to come at a more nuanced interpretive understanding of the relations between EDC exposure risks, governance and real-life contexts.