Keynote Speakers

Prof. Dr Michael Depledge, University of Exeter (UK)

His diverse research background led to early success in improving treatment outcomes in patients with leukaemia. His subsequent research has focussed on environmental threats to health, but also opportunities to use the natural environment to foster improvements in health and wellbeing.

He has spent his career at world-leading universities, research institutes and hospitals in the UK, Hong Kong, Denmark and New Zealand. Michael is a founding board member of Natural England (the UK’s conservation agency) and a former member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. He served as the Chief Scientist of the Environment Agency of England and Wales for five years and as the Chair of the Science Advisory Group on Climate Change and the Environment, for the European Commission. In 2010, he founded the EU-funded European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter.

He is currently an advisor to the UK and Irish Governments, the European Union, the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the Wellcome Trust. He has successfully supervised more than 50 PhD students and over 100 Masters students, as well as lecturing to undergraduates. Michael is deeply committed to increasing awareness of the importance of nurturing our relationship with the environment to ensure future human and planetary health.

Michael holds a BSc (Hons) first class in Biological Sciences, a PhD and a DSc, all from the University of London. He is Emeritus Professor of Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School, and Honorary Professor of Public Policy at University College London. He has held (or still holds) several other Honorary Professorships at leading universities including Harvard, Oxford, Imperial College and Chiba University Medical School, Tokyo, Japan. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and of the Royal Society of Biology. In 2017, he was awarded a CBE for services to the environment and health in the Queens New Year’s Honours list.

Dr Amanda Poste, Norwegian Institute for Water Research (Norway)

Dr Amanda Poste works as a research scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) in Tromsø. She also holds a position as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Arctic and Marine Biology at UiT–The Arctic University of Norway. 

Her research crosses disciplinary and ecosystem boundaries, and includes work related to ecosystem ecology, food webs, limnology, biogeochemistry, and environmental contaminants (especially mercury). Building on this broad background, Amanda works together with colleagues and students to carry out collaborative interdisciplinary research related to climate change impacts on northern freshwater and coastal ecosystems.

Amanda’s current research has a strong focus on terrestrial-aquatic (including land-ocean) interactions and investigating the impacts of terrestrial climate change on biogeochemistry, ecology and contaminant cycling indownstream Arctic aquatic ecosystems. In her work, Amanda combines field studies with detailed geochemical analysis, targeted experiments, and emerging sensor-based monitoring approaches, with a goal of better understanding how field-observed conditions are linked to climate drivers and underlying ecosystem processes, and how these conditions vary over both space and time, including over long-term, seasonal, and shorter (e.g. extreme climate event) timescales.

Dr Andy Booth, SINTEF Ocean (Norway)

Dr Andy Booth is Chief Scientist in Environmental Chemistry and Research Manager at the Climate and Environment department at SINTEF Ocean. He is an environmental chemist with significant experience in studying the fate and effects of environmental contaminants such as crude oil, nanomaterials, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and emerging pollutants. His research work focuses on the environmental fate and effects of anthropogenic pollutants in natural systems, with a focus on emerging pollutants, such as nanomaterials, microplastics and nanoplastics. Most recently he has been investigating the role of plastic-associated chemicals, including their leaching behaviour and possible contribution to observed plastic toxicity. He also enjoys contributing to the development of new technologies and innovations, especially through the application of ‘safer by design’ approaches. He has participated in many national and international level research projects, including coordination of the EU JPI Oceans project ‘PLASTOX’ and the Norwegian Research Council-funded projects ‘MICROFIBRE’ and ‘REVEAL’. From 2017-2021 he was co-chair of the International Council for Exploration of the Seas (ICES) Working Group on Marine Litter and Microplastic.

Prof. Dr Beate Escher, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Germany)

Beate Escher is Head of Department of Cell Toxicology at the Helmholtz centre for Environmental research since October 2014. She holds a professorship in Environmental Toxicology at Eberhard Karls University Tübingen. She is lecturer (Privatdozent) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in ETHZ, Switzerland. She holds a professorship at the University of Queensland and an adjunct professorship at Griffith University, Australia. She is member of the German Council of Science and Humanities and Associate Editor with Environmental Science and Technology.

Beate Escher is internationally recognized for her work on chemical pollution in the environment. Her research focuses on developing scientifically sound in vitro tools and methodologies for risk assessment of micropollutants in the environment and in people. Escher’s expertise includes the development of in vitro bioassays and applications of new approach methods for monitoring and mode-of-action based effect assessment of organic micropollutants including pharmaceuticals, pesticides and persistent organic pollutants, environmental transformation products, and mixtures. She works towards improving dosing and interpretation of high-throughput in vitro bioassays and developed the robotic bioassay platform CITEPro at UFZ ( More practically oriented aspects include passive sampling of sediment, biota and human tissue and effect-based methods for water quality assessment, covering a wide range of different water types from wastewater to drinking water and treatment processes including biological treatment, filtration and advanced oxidation processes, as well as applications of in vitro tools for biomonitoring in fish, mammals and human tissues.