Prof. dr. ir. J. (Juliette) Legler

One Health Toxicology
+31 6 48 456 262

Juliette Legler is Professor of Toxicology and heads the Division of Toxicology at the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University. She was Head of the Department of Population Health Sciences at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine from 2020-2022.

Impacts of environmental contaminants
Her research focusses on the molecular mechanisms of toxicity of environmental contaminants and the effects of contaminant exposure on humans and wildlife. She is particularly interested in understanding the long term health impacts of exposure to environmental contaminants during early development. Her research on the role of developmental exposures to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in health and disease using zebrafish and in vitro models was awarded VENI and VIDI grants from the Netherlands Foundation for Scientific Research (NWO). She coordinated the first European research project on the link between EDC exposure and obesity, and has participated as principle investigator in various EU and national research projects. 

Testing metabolism disrupting compounds
Since January 1, 2019, she coordinates the 5 year European H2020 project GOLIATH (Generation of Novel, Integrated and Internationally Harmonised Approaches for Testing Metabolism Disrupting Compounds), a consortium comprised of world-leading experts in endocrinology, molecular biology, toxicology, epidemiology, test method development, validation and chemical regulation. GOLIATH addresses the role of EDC exposure in the worldwide rise in metabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes and fatty liver by developing much needed in vitro and alternative methods to identify metabolism disrupting chemicals. Prof. Legler also coordinated the EURION cluster of eight H2020 projects on endocrine disrupting chemicals from 2019-2020.  She was recently granted the 5 year Dutch Research Agenda (NWA)-funded project 'Animal-free assays for endocrine disruption – from science to regulatory acceptance' (AFARA), which will run from 2023-2028.  

Microplastics and Human Health

Prof. Legler was recently successful in attracting funding from the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) and leads pioneering research on the exposure and effects of microplastics (and associated EDCs) in the human fetal environment. She is the coordinator of  the "Microplastics and Human Health Consortium" (MOMENTUM), a 3-year public-private partnership with 13 research organisations, which started on June 1, 2021, funded by ZonMw, Health~Holland, TNO and 15 private sector partners. She was recently awarded a ZonMw 'Pearl" award for this work. She also participates in AURORA, a European H2020 project focussing on early life stage exposure to microplastics.


Safety assessment of chemicals and pharmaceuticals based on human biology

Prof. Legler coordinates the 11.4 M Euro NWO NWA-ORC project 'Virtual Human Platform for Safety Assessment.' The mission of the VHP4Safety project is to improve the prediction of the potential harmful effects of chemicals and pharmaceuticals based on a holistic, interdisciplinary definition of human health. The project will accelerate the transition from animal-based testing to innovative safety assessment based solely on data from humans.  This research will be extended in a recently awarded project from NWO, within the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA) 'Non-animal models: acceptance and implementation' programme. This new project, entitled 'Animal-free assays for endocrine disruption – from science to regulatory acceptance' (AFARA) will determine how the use of non-animal models for testing EDCs can be improved as well as their regulatory acceptance. 

Prior to joining IRAS in January 2018, she was employed at Brunel University London, where she was leader of the Environment and Health Theme within Brunel’s Institute for Environment, Health and Societies. From 2001 to 2015, she worked at the Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), where she was appointed Professor of Toxicology and Environmental Health in 2013. She served as Director of the SENSE Research School for Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment, a joint venture of the environmental research institutes of ten Dutch universities. Prof. Legler is a European Registered Toxicologist and was President of the Netherlands Society of Toxicology from 2019-2022. In 2018, she was awarded the Poulsson Prize in Toxicology from the Norwegian Society of Toxicology and Pharmacology. 

Professor of Toxicology
Inaugural lecture date