The 2011 LRI Innovative Science Award went to Dr. Thomas G. Preuss from RWTH Aachen University.
Thomas G. Preuss field of research is the understanding and prediction of effects from chemical stressors on different biological levels. The main focus is on the use of various modelling techniques to link and extrapolate the effects between various environmental conditions as well as different biological levels. Model techniques are selected by the data availability and the ability to match the complexity and dynamics of biological systems incl. abiotic and biotic interactions. This implies an iterative process of data analysis, modelling and experimental research, in a way that new questions are raised by the models which will be followed by new experiments as input for further models. The biological levels investigated so far include interaction of xenobiotics with proteins (estrogen receptor, heat shock proteins), individuals (daphnia, chironomids, fish) and populations (daphnia, lemna, algae) as well as the impact of land use on terrestrial ecosystems (GraS-model). He is chair of the SETAC Advisory group MeMoRisk (Mechanistic Effect Models for Ecological Risk Assessment of Chemicals) and external expert for aquatic ecotoxicology at the European Food Safety Authority. Currently Thomas holds a position at assistant professor at the Institute for Environmental Research at RWTH Aachen University. His phd-thesis was award by the SETAC-GLB young investigator award in 2006.
His research proposal “Improving mechanistic understanding of population recovery for aquatic macroinvertebrates”aims to develop a scientifically-based approach for the prediction and measurement of recovery for environmental risk assessment. This approach will be based on a systematic evaluation of recovery patterns by analyzing field data and using realistic and theoretical modelling approaches for aquatic macroinvertebrates. This analysis, from both ends of the spectrum, theoretically and empirically, will lead to an increased mechanistic understanding of population recovery and thereby to a scientifically-sound approach for the prediction of recovery under field conditions.
The Award was presented in conjunction with the Federation of European Toxicologists and European Societies of Toxicology (EUROTOX), the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and the International Society of Exposure Sciences (ISES), with Chemical Week as a media partner.
The other finalists were Frederik De Laender from Universiteit Gent, Belgium, and Tjalling Jagen from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with project proposals on “Protecting biodiversity and ecosystem functioning using single-species toxicity” and “Time is of the essence” respectively.