Doctor Sietske Berghuis is working as a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Pediatrics at the University Medical Center Groningen. She is interested in Pediatric Environmental Health, including the impact of environmental chemicals on child development.

Several chemical compounds are resistant to degradation and end up in the food chain. One group of these chemicals are polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), i.e. used as plasticizers. Although PCBs have been banned since 1985, 17 years later they were still detectable in all pregnant women and showed to transfer to the fetus, in a Dutch cohort study. This raises the important question whether this prenatal exposure can influence the development of the child.

Doctor Berghuis is the project leader of the follow up study at adolescence, aiming to determine whether exposure to chemicals is associated with pubertal development, neuropsychological status, thyroid hormone homeostasis, and metabolic status. She will present the results of the longitudinal cohort study, including the finding that higher exposure to PCBs during pregnancy is associated with advanced pubertal development in both boys and girls.

You can visit Sietske A. Berghuis’ lecture on the 3th of June from 15:00 till 16:00!