Nelly Saenen

Postdoctoral assistant

Bachelor in Biology
Master Biomedical Sciences – Environmental Health Sciences
PhD in Sciences – Biology

Joined the group in January 2019

Research project: Effect of micro/nanoplastics on human health: an in vitro assessment.

Currently, my research interest is to investigate the effect of micro/nanoplastics in our environment on human health by using an in vitro approach. My research will mainly focus on characterization, detection, uptake and kinetics of micro/nanoplastics. I will focus specifically on new detection methods for micro/nanoplastics; the screening of different micro/nanoplastics according type, size, and shape with regard to uptake and kinetics in human cell lines; and I want to gain insight on the effects of rubber on human cell lines.

In 2017, I obtained my PhD in the field of Environmental and Molecular Epidemiology at UHasselt. Here, I investigated the relationship between air pollution exposure and underlying molecular processes that could influence (neuro)development in the fetus and cognitive performance in children. During this period, I gained experience in all aspects of study design: ranging from ethical file preparation, fieldwork and biological sample collection; environmental exposure modelling; performing biomolecular measurements (including DNA methylation); as well as data processing and statistics. For this research, I have been awarded several prizes including the “Prof. dr. Paul Vermeire Prize”, from the Flemish Association for Respiratory Healthcare and Tuberculosis Control and The Belgium Association for Pneumology, the “dr. Monique Govaerts Prize” from the Royal Academy for Medicine Belgium, and the “Science and Health prize 2018” from the Superior Health Council of Belgium.

My favorite quote: “Almost all aspects of life are engineered at the molecular level, and without understanding molecules we can only have a very sketchy understanding of life itself.” -Francis Crick 1988

E-mail | UHasselt profile | ResearchGate | ORCID | LinkedIn