Juliette Legler


Juliette Ledger

Professor of Toxicology and Environmental Health; Theme Leader of the Environment and Health Theme

Juliette Legler is Professor of Toxicology and Environmental Health at the College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunel University London. She is also leader of the Environment and Health Theme, a multidisciplinary group of about 60 researchers within Brunel University’s Institute for Environment, Health and Societies. Prior to joining Brunel University London in January 2016, she was employed for over 14 years at the Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University Amsterdam, where she was Deputy Head of the Department of Chemistry and Biology. From 2014-2015 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. Voted the VU’s Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences Teacher of the Year in 2012, she has taught environmental toxicology at the BSc and MSc level at the VU and coordinated an MSc program in Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology. Her research focusses on the molecular mechanisms of toxicity of chemicals and the effects of chemical exposure on humans and wildlife. An author of about 100 scientific articles and book chapters, she is particularly interested in understanding the role of epigenetics in the long term health impacts of early life exposure to environmental chemicals. Prof. Legler is a European registered toxicologist and was elected Vice President of the Netherlands Society of Toxicology in June 2015.


Environmental and human toxicology, molecular and cell biology, epigenetics, developmental biology, bioassay development and validation, endocrine disruption, zebrafish and in vitro models, fetal origins of disease, obesity



Ph.D. degree in Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, The Netherlands.


Master of Sciences degree in Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, The Netherlands.


Honour’s Bachelor degree in Environmental Studies, minor in Biology, University of Waterloo, Canada.


Research area(s)

Current Research Projects

  • Coordinator, Zebrafish as a model for understanding the role of environmental chemicals in obesity. Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Innovational Research Incentives Scheme (VIDI) personal grant, 2010-2016.
  • Participating scientist, Mixture assessment of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDC) with emphasis on thyroidogenicity - using cats as model for human indoor exposure (MISSE). FORMAS Sweden. Jan 2012 – Jan 2017.
  • PhD project supervision, Early life exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals: unravelling relevant exposures and effects on human fetal development. Brunel University London, 2016-2019.
  • PhD project co-supervision, Transgenerational Epigenetics in Zebrafish, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, 2015-2018.

Past Research Projects

  • Principle investigator, High throughput genomics-based monitoring tools for waste- surface- and drinking water, and Integrated effect-based toxicological hazard assessment in bio-based production processes (BE-BASIC). Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs. 2012-2015.
  • Principle investigator, Environmental chemical disruptors of oxidative phosphorylation as a potential cause of wasting and reproductive effects in Baltic wildlife. 2010-2015.
  • Participating scientist, Developmental neurotoxicity assessment of mixtures in children (DENAMIC). European Commission, Seventh Framework Program, 2012-2015.
  • Coordinator, Obesity and Light. Marie-Curie Inter-European Fellowship postdoctoral grant. 2013 – 2015.
  • Principle investigator, Ecological and human health risk assessments of antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs found in the environment (PHARMAS). European Commission, Seventh Framework Program. 2011 – 2014
  • Coordinator, OBELIX: Obesogenic endocrine disrupting chemicals: linking prenatal exposure to the development of obesity later in life. European Commission, Seventh Framework Program. 2009 – 2013.
  • Coordinator, Risk analysis, Chemistry and Genomics. Amsterdam Global Change Institute postdoctoral grant. 2012-2014.
  • Principle Investigator, Assessing the living soil: An ecogenomics approach to explore and unlock sustainable life-support functions of soils (Ecogenomics). Netherlands Genomics Initiative, Ministry of Economic Affairs. 2004-2010.
  • Principle Investigator, Development of techniques to detect and remove contaminants in water and sediment. Ministry of Economic Affairs, 2004-2007.
  • Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Innovational Research Incentives Scheme VENI personal grant, The transgenic zebrafish model: a modern and efficient approach to measuring and understanding the impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals, 2002-2007.

Membership and affiliation

Member (since 1996) and Vice-President, Netherlands Society of Toxicology

Member, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, since 1996

Independent scientific advisor, NGO Women for a Common European Future (WECF), since 2014

  • Advisor, Health Council of the Netherlands, Committee “Signalling Health and Environment”, 2007 to 2010
  • Dutch National Expert, OECD Task Force on Endocrine Disrupters Testing and Assessment Validation Management Group - Non-animal Alternatives, 2005 to 2010
  • Dutch National Expert, OECD Working Group on Test Guidelines Programme - Fish Embryo Toxicity Test, 2006 to present


Special Research Institute(s)

Selected Publications

Journal articles

Kamstra, JH. , Alestrom, P. , Kooter, JM.  and Legler, J.   (2015)   'Zebrafish as a model to study the role of DNA methylation in environmental toxicology'. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND POLLUTION RESEARCH, 22 (21).  pp. 16262 - 16276. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-3466-7 

Trasande, L. , Zoeller, RT. , Hass, U. , Kortenkamp, A. , et al.   (2015)   'Estimating burden and disease costs of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the European Union'. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 100 (4).  pp. 1245 - 1255. doi: 10.1210/jc.2014-4324 

Legler, J. , van Velzen, M. , Cenijn, PH. , Houtman, CJ. , et al.   (2011)   'Effect-Directed Analysis of Municipal Landfill Soil Reveals Novel Developmental Toxicants in the Zebrafish Danio rerio'. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 45 (19).  pp. 8552 - 8558. doi: 10.1021/es201099s 

Gutleb, AC. , Cenijn, P. , van Velzen, M. , Lie, E. , et al.   (2010)   'In Vitro Assay Shows That PCB Metabolites Completely Saturate Thyroid Hormone Transport Capacity in Blood of Wild Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus)'. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 44 (8).  pp. 3149 - 3154. doi: 10.1021/es903029j 

Legler, J.   (2010)   'Epigenetics: An emerging field in environmental toxicology'. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 6 (2).  pp. 314 - 315. doi: 10.1002/ieam.40 

Book chapters

Vethaak, D.  and Legler, J.  (2013)   'Endocrine Disruption in Wildlife: Background, Effects, and Implications', in Endocrine Disrupters: Hazard Testing and Assessment Methods.  pp. 7 - 58. 

Page last updated: Tuesday 01 November 2016