Head of Neurotoxicology
Remco Westerink (PhD, ERT) is head of the Neurotoxicology Research Group at IRAS since 2005. He is member of the Society of Toxicology (SOT), the Netherlands Society of Toxicology (NVT), and the International Neurotoxicology Association (INA) where he served as President (2017-2019). Currently, he serves as Editor-in-Chief of NeuroToxicology (Elsevier).
Emma Kasteel (PhD, ERT) is a postdoctoral researcher and project manager at IRAS. She completed her PhD in 2021 on Next Generation Risk Assessment of Chemicals, looking into alternative (in vitro/in silico) approaches for toxicity testing. In 2022, she (re)joined the NTX group as a postdoctoral researcher on the MOMENTUM project, which focusses on the human health effects of micro- and nanoplastics.
Heeteak Kang joined the Neurotoxicology group as a part-time PhD-student in July 2023. His research is focused on investigating the acute and chronic neurotoxicological effects of additive by-products(Arvin substances) formed in plastics and found in drinking water. Heeteak is also working as a toxicologist at LyondellBasell since 2019.
Lora Gerber started in the Neurotoxicology Research Group as PhD student on the EU-funded TUBE project in Autumn 2019. Her research will focus on assessing the effects of air pollution on in vitro neurotoxicity. To ensure a realistic inhalation exposure scenario, part of her work will be performed at RIVM using air-liquid interface lung models.
Lennart van Melis
Lennart van Melis started as PhD student in the Neurotoxicology Research Group in Autumn 2019. He is working on the EU-funded ENDpoiNTs project, which is focused on investigating the developmental neurotoxicity of endocrine disruptors in vitro. As part of his research, Lennart will also develop new assays and models to improve (developmental) neurotoxicity testing.
Julia Meerman started as a PhD student on the Virtual Human Platform for Safety Assessment project at the end of 2021. She is part of the Neurotoxicology Research Group at IRAS and the department for Innovative Testing Strategies at the RIVM. Her research focuses on the mechanisms underlying development of Parkinson’s disease in relation to exposure to pesticides. To improve regulatory risk and safety assessment of pesticides in the future, she will work on developing a novel in vitro test battery.
Gina van Kleef
Gina van Kleef is one of our research-technicians. Since 1980 she trained dozens of MSc and PhD students how to take care of the cells and learned them to perform voltage-clamp recordings in cultured cells and oocytes. Additionally, she takes care of most daily lab routines and has helped many of the PhD students to finish their thesis just in time!
Pepijn Wopken started as a technician in the Neurotox lab in March 2022. He is partially working on the NWO-funded VHP4Safety project which focusses on assessing the safety of chemicals and pharmaceuticals without using laboratory animals. Specifically, he will set up an in-vitro Blood-Brain-Barrier model using differentiated hIPSC’s to test integrity against chemicals. Furthermore, he is responsible for keeping the lab up and running together with Gina.
Manon van Rossum
Manon van Rossum started as a MSc student Health and Environment on a research project at the Neurotoxicology research group in February 2024. Her research focusses on the neurotoxic effects of micro- and nanoplastics, considering both the uptake and toxicity. Manon has a background in environmental sciences.