29
Sep
Audhumbla, VHC, Uppsala

Docent lectures NJ faculty

associate professorship lectures | events | internal events |
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Welcome to docent lectures at the Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences the 29th of September in "Audhumbla", VHC, Ultuna. Lectures by Carl Brunius at 09:00, Mari Jönsson at 11:00, Staffan Åkerblom at 14:00 and Joep de Leeuw at 15:30.

Summaries

Carl Brunius

Nutritional Metabolomics

Cardiometabolic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes are major causes of death and disease. Diet is a major determinant of these health condition, but luckily is also modifiable. Detailed investigations into the relationships between of diet, health and risk are thus highly warranted and the identification of individuals at risk is crucial for early intervention.

Unfortunately, classical markers and risk factors along with recently identified genetic risk markers lack the desired predictive accuracy despite large efforts and resources invested. Untargeted metabolomics aims to profile the global metabolome, i.e. the quantitative collection of low molecular weight metabolites, usually in biofluids such as urine, serum, plasma or tissue/cellular extracts. Metabolomics is thus placed furthest downstream in the gene cascade and, through its interactions with the exposome, represents the omics technique closest to phenotype. Over the past decade, it has become an increasingly used tool in biological and medical research through possibilities offered for predictive biomarker discovery, elucidation of metabolic pathway alterations and disease aetiology and reflection of demography, lifestyle and exposures.

I was recruited to the “Food and Health” unit to develop metabolomics strategies with emphasis on data methodology for OMICs research and its main application in diet/health and personalized nutrition. I envision my future research within the diet/health area in three main directions:

Biomarkers & Metabotypes. Using untargeted metabolomics, we are discovering biomarkers for multiple diets and diseases in several collaborative efforts for epidemiological end-use. We are also extending into integrative OMICs (gene x diet x microbiota); By linking metabolome to health outcomes, microbiota composition and genome, I aim to develop methods to identify metabotypes, i.e. phenotype groups with similar metabolic regulations and responses to e.g. dietary stimuli.

Data fusion. Integration of data from multiple OMICs domains (e.g. metabolomics and microbiomics) is a complex task. Through development and adaptation of algorithms for these purposes, I aim to deconvolute effects involved in phenotypical subgroupings of individuals (metabotypes). Through dimensionality reduction techniques, fusion can also be used to integrate high and low dimensionality data (e.g. OMICs and clinical data) and also help with multifactorial modelling.

Statistical modelling. Multivariate techniques are superior tools for identifying latent structures in regressions and classifications. However, they are less adapted to dealing with complex experimental design (e.g. time series data and interactions). There is much ongoing research in this field. The combination of statistical approaches will be fundamental in resolving these issues.

 

Mari Jönsson

Vårda skogslandskapet för livskraftiga råttsvansmossor och köttickor!

Skogen är en viktig resurs som förser oss med en rad olika ekonomiska och miljömässiga nyttor såsom skogsbiomassa och biologisk mångfald. Ändrad markanvändning har medfört att många skogslevande arter har minskat till följ av habitatförlust och fragmentering, och detta gäller i synnerhet arter som är knutna till naturskogar med gamla och döda träd. För att förhindra att dessa arter försvinner och att viktiga ekosystemtjänster sätts ur spel krävs det goda insikter i arternas ekologi och hur ekosystemen fungerar. Det krävs också kunskap om hur arterna och ekosystemen påverkas av olika skogliga naturvårdsåtgärder i dagsläget och framskrivet över tid.

Tusentals vetenskapliga studier har påvisat effekterna av habitatets storlek, kanteffekter, isoleringsgrad och landskapets sammansättning för ekosystemens funktion och arter. Emellertid har slående skillnader i resultaten av dessa studier väckt betydande debatt om den relativa betydelsen av olika mekanismer som ligger bakom fragmenteringseffekter. Effekterna har visat sig vara starkt kontextberoende, vilket gör att det är viktigt att kunna diskriminera mellan direkta och indirekta orsakssamband för olika områdes- och landskapsvariabler. Viktigt är också att förstå tidsförskjutningar i arters respons och hur arternas inneboende egenskaper påverkar deras respons, samt möjliga synergistiska interaktioner mellan fragmentering och globala miljö-förändringar. För många skogslevande kryptogamer saknas det idag mycket kunskap om fragmenteringseffekter, också i samband med olika naturvårdsåtgärder. Sådan kunskap behövs för att kunna vårda landskapet för livfulla skogar som hyser både råttsvansmossor och köttickor!

I denna föreläsning kommer jag att berätta om ovanstående ämnesområde i relation till min forskning om skogslevande kryptogamer i boreala skogslandskap. Jag kommer också att belysa vilka vetenskapliga frågeställningar och metoder som jag anser är angelägna att utveckla och arbeta vidare med för en ökad förståelse för skogslevande arters ekologi och framtida överlevnad i relation till förändrad markanvändning och olika naturvårdsåtgärder. Varmt välkomna till att lyssna!

 

Staffan Åkerblom

Pathways of mercury exposure: from the global to molecular scales

Mercury (Hg) is naturally occurring and ubiquitously distributed in the environment thus exposing this heavy metal to humans and wildlife globally. Being a potent neurotoxin, Hg is an important environmental pollutant. While Hg in nature exists mainly as inorganic Hg, its organic forms, mainly methyl-Hg, are the most toxic and have a potential to override biological defense barriers in mammals. Exposure to Hg is determined by specific and complex pathways in the atmosphere, as well as chemical and biological processes in terrestrial and aquatic environments. Aquatic ecosystems are especially important pathways for the exposure of Hg to piscivorous and insectivorous animals but also to humans that eat fish. Starting with natural and anthropogenic Hg emissions to the atmosphere, atmospheric Hg is dispersed over large areas before being deposited. Reducing anthropogenic Hg emissions is the main mitigation strategy for decreasing adverse effects of Hg in the environment and for protecting human health. There are, however, other factors that interact with Hg on the molecular level that control Hg exposure. In my lecture, I will specifically address the role of organic matter and sulphur for Hg exposure. The lecture will give examples of how Hg is deposited, transported and methylated within watersheds, and ultimately bioaccumulated in aquatic ecosystems. I will also demonstrate how Hg content and exposure vary in space and time, and why some ecosystems are more sensitive than others to Hg loads.

 

Joep de Leeuw

Functional aquatic ecology - searching for key processes in changing ecosystems

Sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems relies on our knowledge of how these systems function, i.e., how organisms interact with each other and with their environment, and how human impacts affect ecosystem functioning.

Driving forces of ecosystem changes such as climate shifts, pollution, exploitation of food resources, and habitat alterations operate in parallel on global and local scales, and often include complex ecological interactions. A major challenge for ecologists today is to identify key processes and at what scale they operate in order to understand and anticipate ecosystem changes.

In my work I focus on ecological mechanisms, linking individual behavior and phenotypic traits with community and ecosystem processes. Such a functional approach can explain for example how mollusk prey quality regulates the size and distribution of wintering populations of diving ducks via constraints on their individual energy budgets, how migration barriers for fish obstruct river rehabilitation, or how climate-related food limitations for juvenile flatfish alter the nursery function of shallow marine habitats.

A future challenge is to characterize mechanisms explaining both the resilience of aquatic ecosystems, buffering human impacts, and so-called tipping points where ecosystems or fish community structures become instable and shift to alternative states.

Related pages:

Contact

Elisabeth Pettersson
Faculty Administrative Officer
Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, SLU
elisabeth.pettersson@slu.se, +46 18 671025

Page editor: par.aronsson@slu.se