dr. Tess Goessens (PhD)

CRIG member
Tess Goessens

Postdoctoral researcher - Centre of Excellence in Mycotoxicology and Public Health – Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UGent
Principal investigator: prof. Marthe De Boevre (PhD) 


Research focus

Foods may be contaminated by microorganisms during cultivation, harvest, storage, processing or distribution. Under certain conditions, some fungi that contaminate crops may produce toxic components, such as mycotoxins. Many different classes of mycotoxins (aflatoxins, trichothecenes, fumonisins, etc.) may be produced by a range of fungi. Contaminated crops are consumed directly, or indirectly, through animal products (meat, milk, etc.) raised on contaminated feed. Mycotoxins can cause a wide range of toxic effects in humans, from reportedly inducing carcinogenesis or DNA damage, to targeting specific organs, like the kidney, liver, or intestines. Although the health effects of some specific mycotoxins are already investigated, the effect of chronically consuming multiple mycotoxins has not been researched so far. Therefore, the ERC-funded HUMYCO project aims to investigate the risk for hepatocellular, colorectal and renal cancer among others due to chronic low-contamination of multiple mycotoxins. The study will use large cohorts in Europe and Africa, including half a million subjects from ten European countries, namely The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study cohort. Participants’ mycotoxin exposure will be investigated via dietary questionnaires and blood, urine and feces samples, collected at baseline of the EPIC study, which started in 1992, and using multi-mycotoxin levels in foods obtained via EFSA and its member states. Dietary intakes among cancer cases, as well as biomarker levels in the collected biological samples, will be compared against non-cancer cases, to identify mycotoxins associated with cancer risk. Finally, mycotoxin-induced genome mutations will be identified in mice and human cells.


  • Master in Veterinary Sciences, 2015, Ghent University 
  • Top Student Certificate - 2012 
  • Clinical Internist Small Animal Medicine, 2016, Ghent University
  • Doctor in Veterinary Sciences, 2021, Ghent University    
    (Screening of chemicals in fresh water ecosystems and organ-specific bioaccumulation and elimination of fungicides in the Japanese red-bellied newt)
  • Scientific Writer, 2021, TRIUM Clinical Consulting, Belgium
  • Postdoctoral assistant (2022-to date), Ghent University: coordinator of the ERC-funded HUMYCO project within the Centre of Excellence in Mycotoxicology and Public Health 

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