VLIZ Science Symposium: the Ocean and Human Health | Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee

Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee

Platform voor marien onderzoek

VLIZ Science Symposium: the Ocean and Human Health

Door het organiseren van een VLIZ Science Symposium wil het VLIZ wetenschappers samenbrengen rond een specifiek thema uit haar onderzoeksagenda. Het thema wordt vanuit verschillende invalshoeken belicht door keynote sprekers met een ruime ervaring in hun onderzoeksgebied. Via pitch presentaties krijgen mariene onderzoekers de kans om de laatste wetenschappelijke ontwikkelingen rond het thema voor te stellen. Het VLIZ Science Symposium is een gelegenheid om kennis uit te wisselen, netwerken uit te bouwen en samenwerkingen op te starten. Op woensdag 6 september draait het VLIZ Science Symposium volledig rond 'de oceaan en menselijke gezondheid', waarop vijf nationale en internationale sprekers geprogrammeerd zijn. Twee van hen zijn de laureaten van de prestigieuze Prijs Dr. Edouard Delcroix 2016, die daags voordien werd uitgereikt.


Op woensdag 6 september 2017 organiseert het Vlaamse Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ) zijn eerste VLIZ Science Symposium op de InnovOcean site. Dit symposium vindt plaats tussen 09:30 en 13:00.



Meeting room Beaufort
Wandelaarkaai 7
8400 Oostende, België
Hoe ons bereiken?


PROGRAMMA (Engelstalig event)

9.30 – 9.40 Introductie
9.40 – 10.25

Prof. Dr. Irina Vetter - University of Queensland
The pathophysiological mechanism of ciguatera

Ciguatera is a form of ichthysarcotoxism caused by consumption of many species of tropical and subtropical fishes from the lndo-Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea that have become contaminated by ciguatoxins, orally effective polyether sodium channel activator toxins that cause characteristic neurological, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular symptoms in humans. Arguably, ciguatera is the most significant form of fish toxicoses in terms of the number and severity of poisoning episodes. The increased harvesting of tropical marine resources together with an increase in incidence, has meant that fish consumption is associated with an increasing incidence of human intoxication, making ciguatera the most common non-bacterial seafood poisoning and a significant health concern globally. Although it is known that the ciguatoxins are the most potent sodium channel activators known, the effect on the nine known isoforms of human voltage-gated sodium channels has never been assessed. Using cone snail venom-derived peptides, we determined the molecular basis of ciguatoxin-induced sodium channel dysfunction, which is expected to lead to improved treatment approaches for ciguatera.

10.25 – 10.40 Dr. Paula Kellett - European Marine Board

What next for oceans and human health in science and maritime policy: a European perspective

In this presentation, Dr Kellett will introduce background information on the links between oceans and human health, the risks and benefits, and the challenges and opportunities they bring. The presentation will summarize the policy context for oceans and human health in Europe and will outline the work carried out to date by the European Marine Board in this field, presenting the 2013 EMB position paper and its recommendations, what has been done since then, and the next steps.

10.40 – 10.55

Prof. Dr. Lynn Vanhaecke – Universiteit Gent
The central role of modern analytical tools in studying the link between oceans & human health

A plethora of human activities (e.g. industrial processes, domestic households and agriculture) severely impacts our marine environment, and as a result thereof also human health. In this context, it is essential to acquire valuable insights on 1) the presence of potentially bioactive residues, contaminants and toxins in our marine environment originating from human activities, 2) the uptake, bioaccumulation and metabolisation of these bioactive substances by edible aquatic species, and 3) the health risks or benefits associated with human exposure to these substances and their conjugates. New tools for monitoring (i.e. passive samplers) as well as high-end analytical instrumentation (i.e. high-resolution mass spectrometry for profiling and fingerprinting) are indispensable to acquire a correct view on the status of the marine environment and its impact on human health. In this presentation, several practical examples will be shared that demonstrate this.

10.55 – 11.10 Pitch presentaties
11.10 – 11.40 Koffiepauze
11.40 – 12.10

Dr. Marjolein Vanoppen – Universiteit Gent
Seawater, drinking water of the future?

While natural fresh water sources are being depleted and contaminated, the seas and oceans are a virtually unlimited source of water. There is one big catch though; to remove the salt, high amounts of energy are needed. The research of Dr. Vanoppen looks into more economical and sustainable ways to desalinate seawater and aims to generate fresh water from the sea available to water scarce regions all over the world.

12.10 – 12.25

Prof. Dr. Jan Tytgat – KU Leuven
α-Nemertides, a novel family of marine peptide neurotoxins from ribbon worms

Ribbon worms (nemerteans) are marine predators, which capture their prey using a proboscis containing a mixture of toxins which brings on rapid paralysis. We have discovered a novel family of peptides (a-nemertides), of which one causes death in green crabs and targets invertebrate voltage-gated sodium channels at low nanomolar concentrations, suggesting a role as drug lead for novel insecticidal and anti-parasitic agents.

12.25 – 12.40

Prof. Dr. Costantino Balestra (Haute école Bruxelles-Brabant ISEK)
From Breath-hold diving to patient’s bed: The normobaric oxygen paradox

There is a great concern regarding the increased need for blood products in an aging population and the cost of safe blood transfusion in developing countries. The use of blood red cell precursor enhancers like exogenous erythropoietin (EPO) is one of the alternative techniques to blood transfusion as it stimulates the hemoglobin and reticulocytes production in anaemic patients. In this presentation, Dr. Balestra, shows the first results of increased EPO production after intermittent hyperoxia through breath-hold diving, a process also known as the normobaric oxygen paradox. After the dive, the return back from the increased oxygen partial pressure is considered by the body as a drop of oxygen in the tissues and thus leading to an increase in EPO (similar to a stay at high altitudes). Dr Balestra was amongst the first scientists to report the possibility to increase EPO with a single non hypoxic stimulus.

12.40 – 12.55 Pitch presentaties
12.55 – 13.00 Epiloog en lunch



Alle geïnteresseerde wetenschappers zijn welkom om deel te nemen. Het event is gratis. We vragen evenwel om te registreren via de volgende link. Deadline voor registratie is 1 september 2017.



Gaat je onderzoek over ‘the Ocean and Human Health’ of heb je interesse in dit onderzoeksthema? Mis dan zeker dit dit symposium niet. Het is de ideale gelegenheid om je resultaten te delen en te bediscussiëren met je collega-wetenschappers. Als je een bijdrage wil leveren tot dit symposium, dien dan je Engelse abstract (max. 2500 karakters, inclusief spaties) online in en stel je werk voor in een presentatie van 5 minuten. Uiterste indiendatum: 23 augustus 2017.