About the speakers

In alphabetical order:

Charmaine Ajao (ECHA, FI)
Charmaine Ajao is an ecotoxicologist. She has been working with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki for 7 years. At ECHA she started as a Helpdesk officer then as a scientific secretary of the Member State Committee and currently she is also Chairing the Scientific Platform for Environment and Exposure in ECHA. She has over 12 years of experience in regulatory science. She started with chemical market surveillance, followed by implementation of EU environmental legislation on ozone depleting substances, hydrofluoro carbons and industrial emissions (IPPC) with the Malta Environment and Planning Authority until she moved to Helsinki where she started working on REACH with ECHA. She has served in many regulatory committees and boards, both nationally and EU-wide. She received a Bachelors degree with Honours in Chemistry and Biology, and a Masters degree in Biology, both from the University of Malta. Her postgraduate research focused on the assessment of the biological impact of heavy metals generated by shipyard activities on sediments, bottom and surface waters and a marine gastropod. She is also a SETAC member.

Charles Eadsforth (Shell, UK)
Charles Eadsforth holds a B.Sc (Hons) in Applied Chemistry and a Ph.D in Biochemistry from the University of Salford, Manchester. He has worked for Shell since 1980, initially in research at Sittingbourne Research Centre and Shell Technology Centre, Thornton and more recently providing environmental support to Shell businesses. He is a member of a number of inter-industry working groups (e.g. CONCAWE, ERASM, ISOPA) dealing with environmental safety assessment of chemicals and oil products. He has been actively involved in ECETOC Task Forces addressing ecotoxicity and PBT issues, more latterly extraction methods for bioavailable residues and risk assessment of non-extractable residues (NERs)

Malyka Galay Burgos (ECETOC, BE)
Dr. Malyka Galay Burgos joined ECETOC (European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals) in September 2007 as the Environmental Sciences Manager.  She has a background in environmental molecular biology and genetics, obtaining a PhD from the University of London in Environmental Toxicology. Her research work concerned the responses of cells/organisms to natural and anthropogenic stress and the physiological adaptation to environmental change in soils and aquatic systems. She has collaborated in UNEP projects at King's College London and whilst at Cardiff University, she led and contributed to a broad spectrum of multidisciplinary UK and EU funded research projects. Her current areas of interest are in strengthening risk assessment through an evolving systems toxicology approach, utilising an understanding of chemical, biological interactions across natural compounds, emerging contaminants and potentially novel technologies.

Joop Harmsen (Alterra, WUR, NL)
Dr. Joop Harmsen working at Alterra Wageningen UR, studied analytical chemistry at the University of Utrecht and has a PhD on Environmental sciences at Wageningen University. In his field of research he connects the fate of contaminants with possibilities for risk reduction and site development. In his research he is looking for equilibrium between the environmental risks caused by man, the possibility of nature to recover and the necessity of adding technologies to help nature. He is active in (inter)national standardization in order to translate scientific concepts to practical methods for risk assessment. He chairs the working group of ISO/TC190 Soil Quality on bioavailability.

Michiel T.O. Jonker (IRAS, NL)
Michiel T.O. Jonker is an assistant professor at the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) of the Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He has been active for many years in the field of bioavailability of hydrophobic organic chemicals in soils and sediments and has published several scientific papers on the development of bioavailability tools, their application in the lab and the field, and the comparison of different bioavailability methods. Michiel Jonker performs bioavailability measurements for problem owners through bioavailability-lab.com. 

Ravi Naidu (University of South Australia, AU)
Ravi Naidu is Professor of Environmental Remediation at the University of South Australia (UniSA) and Director of UniSA’s Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation, which he established in 2002. Ravi is also the Managing Director and CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation (CRC CARE), which he established in 2005 after winning an Australian National Centre of Excellence grant in 2004. With Commonwealth and industry funding through to 2020, CRC CARE brings together major industry sectors, regulatory agencies and research providers. Despite his managerial work, Ravi has remained active for 25 years in the field of bioavailability and contaminated site remediation research. As part of his vision to bring together world-renowned contamination researchers, major industries and environment protection authorities (EPAs), Ravi has organised numerous international events, including workshops on chemical bioavailability (biennial since 2000) and ‘CleanUp’, an international conference on contaminated site assessment and remediation (biennial since 1996). More recently he initiated global-CARE™, an international knowledge network that brings together key industry sectors, EPAs and researchers with the aim of defining, quantifying, setting limits to and cleaning up chemical contamination worldwide. 

Robin Oliver (Syngenta, UK)
Robin currently leads Syngenta’s Soil Platform which elucidates the environmental behaviour of early stage research compounds to enable the optimisation of their efficacy and registrability. Robin has 20+ years’ experience in plant and soil metabolism with Syngenta and previously with Aventis CropScience.  He has led several successful research projects and initiatives aimed at developing a better understanding of a number of environmental fate processes and the development of more realistic test systems.

José-Julio Ortega-Calvo (IRNASE-CSIC, ES)
Dr. José-Julio Ortega-Calvo is scientific researcher at Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology, from Spanish National Research Council (IRNASE-CSIC), Seville (Spain) and head of the research team “Bioremediation and Bioavailability”. After obtaining his Ph.D. in 1991, he worked on different aspects of microbial ecology during postdoctoral stays in Amsterdam University (The Netherlands) and Cornell University (USA), and obtained his permanent position as tenured scientist at IRNASE in 1996. He has experience in microbiology and environmental chemistry, working on microbial aspects of bioavailability of organic pollutants since the last 21 years. His involvement in SETAC activities includes: Current member of SETAC Europe Council since (2011), SETAC Europe Executive Committee member and treasurer (2012-2014), Chairman of the Scientific and Local Organizing Committees of the 20th annual meeting of SETAC Europe in Seville (2010), and Annual Meetings Scientific Committee member (2009-2012).

John Parsons (University of Amsterdam, NL)
John performed his PhD project on the biodegradation of chlorinated aromatic compounds at the University of Amsterdam under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Otto Hutzinger. He currently is assistant professor at the same university in the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics. His research interest is in the environmental behaviour of organic contaminants and how they interact with natural biogeochemical processes. The focus of his research is on the fate of organic pollutants or contaminants in the environment and more specifically how they interact with organic matter (sorption) and with microbial communities (biodegradation) and the relationships between these interactions (bioavailability).

Willie Peijnenburg (RIVM, NL)
Prof. Dr. Willie Peijnenburg is senior researcher at the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven (The Netherlands) and extraordinary professor at the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) of the Faculty of Science of Leiden University, Leiden (The Netherlands), chair position “Environmental Toxicology and Biodiversity”. He obtained his PhD in 1988. His research interests deal with the impacts of chemical stressors on ecosystems, focussing on topics like bioavailability, nano-ecotoxicology, fate assessment, QSAR modelling. He is active as editor and editor-in-chief of a number of scientific journals, including the SETAC Journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and has published over 140 papers in peer reviewed journals.

Jörg Römbke (ECT GmbH, DE)
Dr. Römbke has a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Frankfurt a.M. In 1994, he co-founded ECT Oekotoxikologie GmbH as a private contract research laboratory, where he is still one of two Managing Directors. ECT GmbH is located in Flörsheim/Germany and employs some 35 scientists and technicians. Dr. Römbke is responsible for ecotoxicological and environmental fate tests and environmental risk assessment for the chemical industry and for national and international governmental authorities (e.g. in the area of pesticide registration). Especially he is interested in the development and standardization of ecotoxicological test methods as well as in the international harmonization of methods for biological soil monitoring.

Kirk T. Semple (Lancaster University, UK)
Prof Kirk Semple is an environmental microbiologist with over 20 years of research experience in the fields of organic contaminant-biota interactions in soils, availability of contaminants in soil, availability of contaminant residues in soils, and risk assessment and bioremediation of contaminated land and, most recently, the use of anaerobic digestion for energy generation in wastewater treatment and the use of resulting by-products as soil amendments. A particular area of expertise lies in organic contaminant bioavailability in soil, and it is in this area where his reputation is best known internationally.  Funding has come from TSB, NERC, BBSRC and EPSRC; Government agencies, including the DTI and Pesticide Safety Directorate; environmental consultancies, such as Remedios, and industry, including National Grid, Syngenta and United Utilities. He continues to manage an active research group, having supervised 35 PhD students, and has published over 160 articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and international conferences; his current H index is 36.

George Streck (European Commission)
Georg Streck is employed by the European Commission, DG Enterprise and Industry, as a Policy Officer in the unit responsible for REACH, the Regulation on chemicals substances. As such, his working life is at the crossing point of risk assessment of chemicals, and regulatory and policy issues. Before joining the EU Commission in 2012, Georg was a (senior) researcher and lecturer in Bayreuth and Leipzig (Germany), being active in bioavailability research of organic chemicals in aquatic systems. He has experience in field and laboratory methods for determining bioavailable fractions in sediments and the water phase as well as in the application of modeling approaches. For several years, he was deeply committed in establishing passive sampling methods. One of his current tasks comprises the assessment of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals.

Bram Versonnen (ECHA, FI)
Dr Bram Versonnen is an ecotoxicologist working at the European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki for more than 6 years. He holds a PhD in Bioengineering Sciences (environmental toxicology) from Ghent University (Belgium) and has research experience in soil, sediment and aquatic ecotoxicology and endocrine disruption in aquatic species in particular. He gained further experience in environmental risk assessment working as an environmental consultant advising both industry and regulators. In ECHA, he is involved in the evaluation of registration dossiers under the REACH Regulation and in environmental fora bringing together ecotoxicologists within ECHA. He is also active in scientific and international organisations such as SETAC and the OECD.