Prof. Dr Ir J. Legler

Full professor


Juliette Legler is a toxicologist with training in environmental sciences, aquatic ecotoxicology and molecular biology. She is Professor of Toxicology and Environmental Health and Deputy Head of IVM’s Department of Chemistry and Biology. She teaches toxicology at BSc and MSc level at the VU and is coordinator of the MSc Ecology – Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology specialization. Her research focuses on determining molecular mechanisms of toxicity of chemicals and their effects on humans and the environment. She is coordinator of the EU OBELIX and NWO-VIDI projects, which study possible links between early life stage exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals and the development of obesity later in life. In addition, she participates in various advisory committees such as the Dutch Health Council and OECD.


Environmental toxicology, molecular and cell biology, zebrafish developmental biology, bioassay development and validation, endocrine disruption, obesity, genomics, epigenetics.

Academic training

1996-2000Ph.D. degree in Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, The Netherlands. Bioassay development for endocrine disrupting chemicals.
1992-1994Master of Sciences degree in Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University.
1987-1992Honour’s Bachelor degree in Environmental Studies, minor in Biology, University of Waterloo, Canada.

Professional employment history

Jan 2013- presentProfessor and Deputy Head, Department of Chemistry and Biology, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University (VU) Amsterdam, the Netherlands
May 2006- Dec 2012Associate Professor and Deputy Head, Department of Chemistry and Biology, IVM/VU, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Jan 2005- May 2006Interim Head, Department of Chemistry and Biology, IVM/VU, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Jun 2001 – Dec 2004Research Scientist, Department of Chemistry and Biology, IVM/VU, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Feb 2000 – May 2001Post-doctoral researcher, Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology), Utrecht in collaboration with Department of Toxicology, Wageningen University

Selected publications

Link to full publication list at IVM since 1999

Legler, J., Van den Brink, C.E., Brouwer, A., Murk, A.J., Van der Saag, P.T., Vethaak, A.D. & Van der Burg, B. (1999). Development of a stably transfected estrogen receptor-mediated luciferase reporter gene assay in the human T47D breast cancer cell line. Toxicol. Sciences48, 55-66.

Legler, J., Broekhof, J.L.M., Brouwer, A., Lanser, P.H., Murk, A.J., Van der Saag, P.T., Vethaak, A.D., Wester, P., Zivkovic, D. & Van der Burg, B. (2000). A novel in vivo bioassay for (xeno-) estrogens using transgenic zebrafish. Environ. Sci. Technol., 34, 4439-4444.

Legler, J., Zeinstra, L.M., Schuitemaker, F., Lanser, P.H., Bogerd, J., Brouwer, A., Vethaak, A.D., De Voogt, P., Murk, A.J. & Van der Burg, B. (2002). Comparison of in vivo and in vitro reporter gene assays for short-term screening of estrogenic activity. Environ. Sci. Tech.,36, 4410-4415.

Legler, J. & Brouwer, A. (2003). Are brominated flame retardants endocrine disruptors? Environment International, 29, 879-885.

Houtman, C.J., Van Oostveen, A.M., Brouwer, A., Lamoree, M.H. & Legler, J. (2004).
Identification of estrogenic compounds in fish bile using bioassay-directed fractionation. Environmental Science and Technology, 38(23), 6415-6423.

Vethaak, A.D., Lahr, J., Schrap, S.M., Belfroid, A.C., Rijs, G.B., Gerritsen, A., de Boer, J., Bulder, A.S., Grinwis, G.C., Kuiper, R.V., Legler, J., Murk, T.A., Peijnenburg, W., Verhaar, H.J. & de Voogt, P. (2005). An integrated assessment of estrogenic contamination and biological effects in the aquatic environment of The Netherlands. Chemosphere, 59(4), 511-24.

Van Boxtel, A.L., Kamstra, J.H., Cenijn, P.H., Pietersen, B., Wagner, M.J., Antink M., Krab, K., Van der Burg, B., Marsh, G., Brouwer, A. & Legler, J. (2008). Microarray analysis reveals a mechanism of phenolic polybrominated diphenylether toxicity in zebrafish. Environ.Sci. Technol., 42(5), 1773–1779.

Van Boxtel, A.L., Kamstra, J.H., Fluitsma, D.M. & Legler, J. (2010) Dithiocarbamates are teratogenic to developing zebrafish through inhibition of lysyl oxidase activity, Tox. Appl. Pharm. 244(2):156-61.

Van Boxtel, A.L., Gansner, J.M., Hakvoort, H., Snell, H., Legler, J. & Gitlin, J.D. (2011) Lysyl oxidase-like 3b is critical for proliferation of chondrogenic progenitor cells during zebrafish craniofacial development. Matrix Biology, 30(3):178-87.

Legler, J., Hamers, T., van Eck van der Sluijs-van de Bor, M., Schoeters, G., van der Ven, L., Eggesbo, M., Koppe, J & Tronovec, T. (2011) The OBELIX project: early life exposure to endocrine disruptors and obesity. American Journal Clinical Nutrition, 94(6): 1933S-1938S.

Legler, J., van Velzen, M., Cenijn, P., Houtman, C.J., Lamoree, M. & Wegener, J.W. (2011). Effect-directed analysis of municipal landfill soil reveals novel developmental toxicants in the zebrafish Danio rerio, Environ. Sci. Technol., 45(19):8552-8.

Govarts, E., Nieuwenhuijsen, M., Schoeters, G., Ballester, F., Bloemen, K.1, de Boer, M., Chevrier, C., Eggesbø, M., Guxens, M., Krämer, U., Legler, J., et al. (2012). Prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and birth weight: a meta-analysis within 12 European and Inuit birth cohorts. Environ. Health Perspectives, 120(2):162-70.

Bastos Sales L, Kamstra JH, Cenijn PH, Van Rijt LS, Hamers T, Legler J. (2013). Effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on in vitro global DNA methylation and adipocyte differentiation. Toxicol In Vitro. 27:1634–1643.

Legler J. (2013). An integrated approach to assess the role of chemical exposure in obesity. Obesity. In press.

PhD project supervision

·       Corine Houtman. Tracing Endocrine Disruptors: Identification and effects of endocrine disrupting compounds in the aquatic environment. PhD project VU University 2001-2006. PhD successfully defended July 3, 2007.

·       Rinus Bogers. Markers of Endocrine Disruption in Fish. PhD project conducted at NOTOX B.V. 2003-2008. PhD successfully defended at Wageningen University, November 12, 2008.

·       Antonius van Boxtel. Lysyl oxidases in zebrafish craniofacial development and teratogenesis. PhD project VU University 2006-2010. PhD successfully defended October 8, 2010.

·       Alessa Hawliczek. Chemical categorization with molecular biological and physicochemical approaches in vitro. PhD project University of Bern, 2009-2013.

·       Anna Karin Dahlberg. Environmental chemical disruptors of oxidative phosphorylation as a potential cause of wasting and reproductive effects in Baltic wildlife. PhD project Stockholm University, 2010-2014.

·       Joantine van Esterik. Effects of early life stage exposure of endocrine disrupting chemicals on the development of obesity in mice. PhD project VU University in collaboration with Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, 2009-2013.

·       Liana Bastos Sales. Zebrafish as a model for understanding the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on the development of obesity. PhD project VU University, 2011-2015.

Inaugural speech

On May 8, 2013, Juliette Legler held her inaugural speech as Professor of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Pdf.