Dr. R.H.S. (Remco) Westerink

Associate Professor
One Health Toxicology
+31 6 48 456 256

“Microplastics are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and potentially affect nerve function.”

Research focus: pesticide toxicology, environmental pollutants, influence of drugs and natural toxins

Remco Westerink is Associate Professor at IRAS and head of the Neurotoxicology Research Group at Utrecht University. The group studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms of action of toxic substances in food, health products, drugs and environmental pollutants on the nervous system. How do toxic substances influence the development, function and degeneration of the brain? Current projects include:

  • High societal concern when exposed to certain substances (alternative flame retardants, drugs or electromagnetic fields)
  • Neurodegenerative disorders (Parkinson's disease)
  • Developmental neurological disorders (ADHD, ASD)


Through neurotoxicological research, Remco Westerink and colleagues have discovered that microplastics can cross the blood-brain barrier and influence neuronal function. He is therefore involved in the Momentum consortium to further investigate the effects of microplastics on human health, working closely with the plastics industry. In addition to university researchers, academic hospitals, companies and other important stakeholders are involved. Through the new (scientific) knowledge, MOMENTUM provides an important contribution to solving the societal problem of micro and nanoplastic particles in our living environment.

Areas of interest:

  • Toxicology of pesticides
  • Environmental contaminants
  • Influence of drugs and natural toxins on development, function and degeneration of the brain