dr. H.A. Leslie

dr.

20062020

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Dr. Heather A. Leslie is a leading expert in international (micro)plastics research with an interest in studying how marine litter, plastics and industrial chemicals can impact our ecosystems, health and society and what can be done about it. At the E&H laboratory, Dr. Leslie uses her background in ecotoxicology and environmental analytical chemistry to make the invisible visible, developing analytical techniques that enable the detection and quantification of microplastics, chemical additives in plastic and other industrial chemicals (e.g. persistent organic pollutants) in environmental matrices such as: birds, invertebrates, fish, food chains, sediment, canals, rivers, sea water, harbours, sewage treatment plants, air, products (e.g. cosmetics, plastic consumer goods) and product waste streams and in humans. Tracing the toxic micro and macromolecular debris of our contemporary consumer society through ecoystems, product systems and our own bodies and increasing our understanding of the fate, distribution and effects provides input to multiple users from research, policy, civil society and industry. She often works together in interdisciplinary teams, not only with chemists and ecotoxciologists but also governance experts, economists, humanities scholars, oceanographers, engineers, modellers, ecologists, industrial partners, polymer chemists, designers and artists, civil society et al.

At the VU since 2006, she’s responsible for supervising graduate students and technicians, teaching and acquiring research grants from UN, European Commission, Dutch ministries, the Dutch Research Council (NWO), research institutions, the chemical, oil and gas and water sectors and NGOs. She coordinated the first European FP7 research project on marine litter: the interdisciplinary CleanSea project. She co-chaired WG40 of the UN GESAMP Joint Group of Experts for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Pollution, co-writing the first global assessment report in 2015. She is a (past) member of EU Technical Subgroup Marine Litter, Chemical Monitoring Activity, SETAC, the Dutch Toxicological Society and recently contributed to the T20 think tank for the G7.

Dr. Leslie is a regular invited (keynote) speaker at events of e.g. European Parliament, DG ENV, DG RTD and European Chemicals Agency, JPI Oceans, scientific conferences, European Space Agency, NGOs, industry events e.g. VNO-NCW, Pakhuis de Zwijger, Nemo Science Museum, Dutch government stakeholder meetings etc. She appears regularly in the printed and broadcast media as well as in documentaries and television programmes in the Netherlands and abroad, such as ARTE, BBC Radio 4, NOS Journaal, Danish Broadcasting Corporation, NRC, Volkskrant, AD, het Parool, Trouw, BNR Radio, RTL etc. She wrote and produced the CleanSea documentary film which premiered at the EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam (2015). Heather Leslie has guest lectured in the Industrial Design graduate programme at the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague. Together with artist and collaborator Cheng Guo, she won the BioArtDesign Award (2017) for a joint project at the interface of design, art and environmental science.

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Research Output

The world is your oyster: low-dose, long-term microplastic exposure of juvenile oysters

Maes, T., Barry, J., Stenton, C., Roberts, E., Hicks, R., Bignell, J., Dick, V. A., Heather, L. A. & Sanders, M., 1 Jan 2020, In : Heliyon. 6, 1, e03103.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
  • Measuring Marine Plastic Debris from Space: Initial Assessment of Observation Requirements

    Leslie, H. A. & Vethaak, A. D., 21 Oct 2019, In : Remote Sensing. 11, 20, p. 1-20 20 p., 2243.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
  • Microplastics in drinking water: A review and assessment

    Eerkes-Medrano, D., Leslie, H. A. & Quinn, B., Feb 2019, In : Current Opinion in Environmental Science and Health. 7, p. 69-75 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

  • Overview of known plastic packaging-associated chemicals and their hazards

    Groh, K. J., Backhaus, T., Carney-Almroth, B., Geueke, B., Inostroza, P. A., Lennquist, A., Leslie, H. A., Maffini, M., Slunge, D., Trasande, L., Warhurst, A. M. & Muncke, J., 15 Feb 2019, In : Science of the Total Environment. 651, Part 2, p. 3253-3268 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
  • Towards the integrated marine debris observing system

    Maximenko, N., Corradi, P., Law, K. L., Sebille, E. V., Garaba, S. P., Lampitt, R. S., Galgani, F., Martinez-Vicente, V., Goddijn-Murphy, L., Veiga, J. M., Thompson, R. C., Maes, C., Moller, D., Löscher, C. R., Addamo, A. M., Lamson, M., Centurioni, L. R., Posth, N., Lumpkin, R., Vinci, M. & 40 others, Martins, A. M., Pieper, C. D., Isobe, A., Hanke, G., Edwards, M., Chubarenko, I. P., Rodriguez, E., Aliani, S., Arias, M., Asner, G. P., Brosich, A., Carlton, J. T., Chao, Y., Cook, A. M., Cundy, A., Galloway, T. S., Giorgetti, A., Goni, G. J., Guichoux, Y., Hardesty, B. D., Holdsworth, N., Lebreton, L., Leslie, H. A., Macadam-Somer, I., Mace, T., Manuel, M., Marsh, R., Martinez, E., Mayor, D., Le Moigne, M., Jack, M. E. M., Mowlem, M. C., Obbard, R. W., Pabortsava, K., Robberson, B., Rotaru, A. E., Spedicato, M. T., Thiel, M., Turra, A. & Wilcox, C., 28 Aug 2019, In : Frontiers in Marine Science. 6, August, p. 1-25 25 p., 447.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
  • Activities

    • 28 Lecture / Presentation
    • 2 Conference
    • 1 PhD thesis examination
    • 1 Membership

    Synthetic Fiber Workshop

    H.A. Leslie (Invited speaker)
    4 Nov 2019

    Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

    VU Bachelordag 2019

    H.A. Leslie (Speaker)
    1 Nov 20192 Nov 2019

    Activity: Lecture / PresentationProfessional

    Art in the Anthropocene conference

    H.A. Leslie (Invited speaker)
    8 Jun 2019

    Activity: Lecture / PresentationProfessional

    Springtij Plastic Soup Session

    H.A. Leslie (Invited speaker)
    Sep 2019

    Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

    Toekomst van de Duurzaamheid: Ben jij een beetje plastic?

    H.A. Leslie (Speaker)
    10 Oct 2019

    Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

    Prizes

    BioArtDesign Award

    H.A. Leslie (Recipient), 2017

    PrizeSocietal

    Press / Media

    De onbekende gevaren van microplastics

    H.A. Leslie

    5/10/19

    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    The Dangers of Plastic to Human Health

    H.A. Leslie & A.D. Vethaak

    4/10/19

    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Verontrustende eerste bevindingen nederlands onderzoek microplastics

    H.A. Leslie

    3/10/19

    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Hoe-schadelijk-zijn-microplastics-voor-je-lichaam

    H.A. Leslie

    30/09/19

    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Expert Comment