Marthe De Boevre - HuMyco

Description of the PI

marthedeboevre.jpgMarthe De Boevre was born in Ghent (Belgium) on February 7th 1986. In 2013 dr. Marthe De Boevre graduated at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Ghent University) with the PhD-dissertation ‘Chemical risks related to food and feed containing masked Fusarium mycotoxins’ under supervision of Prof. dr. Carlos Van Peteghem and Prof. dr. Sarah De Saeger. To date, she coordinates the research line ‘clinical mycotoxicology’ within the research framework of the Centre of Excellence in Mycotoxicology & Public Health & the Department of Bioanalysis at Ghent University. Dr. Marthe De Boevre investigates the impact of multiple mycotoxins as potential contributing factors on human carcinomas and other adverse health effects within multiple (inter)national research projects with partners at WHO-IARC, Medical University Groningen, University of Liverpool, CAAS Beijing, University of Aveiro, a.o.. In addition, she is coordinator of the ITN UGent MYTOX-SOUTH®, which is an intercontinental partnership to improve food security & food safety through mitigation of mycotoxins at global level. This well-structured multi-disciplinary partnership, which deals with all known aspects of mycotoxins and toxigenic mould issues, is able to provide the most adequate strategies and solutions for different stakeholders covering both fundamental as applied research. In 2019, dr. Marthe De Boevre and her team received the CRIG young investigators proof-of-concept grant (YIPOC grant). The concept of YIPOC and preliminary data derived from other external funding resources such as FWO and BOF formed the backbone for a research section in the ERC StG-project HUMYCO. From February 2021 onwards, she will be appointed as Professor in Clinical Mycotoxicology at Ghent University.

Description of the project

Mycotoxins are toxic fungal metabolites, known to be the most hazardous of all food contaminants in terms of chronic toxicity. They have the potential to contribute to a diversity of adverse health effects in humans, and are unfortunately present in our daily diet.
The ERC research project HUMYCO hypothesizes that chronic low-dose intake of multiple mycotoxins are associated with an increased risk of developing human carcinomas. Focus is set to generate newly hypotheses-driven insights into the role of multiple mycotoxin exposure in the aetiology of human carcinomas. To understand these potential effects on human health, the behaviour of these mycotoxins in the human body is determined through both in vitro as human in vivo intervention studies by identifying and validating biomarkers of exposure and effect. The impact of mycotoxins on cancer development will be further investigated by measuring mycotoxin biomarkers in biological samples in both healthy individuals as cancer patients in Europe and Africa. These two regions are included as they both reflect different mycotoxin exposures: chronic low-dose and acute high-dose, respectively. Within the framework of the ITN UGent MYTOX-SOUTH® and the strong collaboration with a.o. WHO-IARC, access is granted to large epidemiological cohorts in both regions. In order to further explore causal relationships, a.o. genome-wide mutation spectra associated with chronic multi-exposure to mycotoxins will be experimentally determined. This multi-disciplinary & innovative project combines both fundamental as applied science, and contributes to health promotion and disease prevention by identifying possible risks for developing cancer as a result of our daily diet.