Who is Hanna Johansson?
I am a Swede who moved to Denmark back in 2006 to study. After pursuing studies in both medicine, art and agriculture, I discovered that toxicology and reproductive issues, especially with the female in focus, made me tick. A few years later I was lucky enough to do a PhD on exactly that topic; effects in the female after early life exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals. When not in the lab, I sing in a choir and love to lift heavy weights in my local CrossFit club.
What is the most important take-home message of your recent paper?
In this review paper, we use the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) concept to summarize the current knowledge about how chemical exposure can affect female reproductive health. We propose ten putative AOPs for female reproductive disorders that can serve as a starting point for further work within this area. Further development of these AOPs will, hopefully, lead to better use of alternative test methods for regulatory purposes.
How was the experience of writing this paper for you?
Many of the FREIA partners are co-authors on this paper so it was definitely a team effort. Dr Terje Svingen, who is senior author on the paper and head of our research group, also did a great amount of work. His valuable input and support made the paper possible.
What would you like to accomplish in the coming years within the FREIA project?
Finding at least one sensitive marker for female reproductive disease caused by chemical exposure would be fantastic!
How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting your work?
We were in total lockdown all spring, which forced us to do some changes to the experimental work we had planned, but I think we have solved it in a good way. At present, we work from home as much as possible, but keep our laboratory work up and running. We are preparing for a new FREIA in vivo study in November and hope that our efforts with sanitation and work from home is enough to keep the lab open and all necessary personnel healthy.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the people following FREIA?
For many years, the field of endocrine disruption has focused on effects in the male, leaving concern for female reproductive health in the shadows. I am therefore so glad that we now, with FREIA, finally have a strong focus on women’s health, so we can better protect our future daughters. Three years ago, we wrote another review article on this topic, for those that are interested in reading more. You can find it here.