After studying biology and biochemistry at the University of Lorraine (Metz, F), Benoît Ferrari worked on the ecotoxicity of solid waste in his dissertation. Subsequently, as a researcher at Irstea (formely Cemagref) in Lyon, he assessed the environmental risk of pharmaceuticals in aquatic ecosystems. As a senior assistant at the University of Geneva, he contributed to set up the ecotoxicological laboratory at the Institute F.-A. Forel where he established a research program integrating laboratory and field-oriented approaches combining geochemical and ecotoxicological tools. After his return to France, Benoît worked again at Irstea as a scientist assessing the quality of ecosystems, including the use of active biomonitoring systems. He joined the Ecotox Centre in 2013 as the group leader of the sediment and soil ecotoxicology group of the Ecotox Centre branch at EPF in Lausanne.
Benoît’s own field of research is the ecotoxicity of sediments. In recent years, Benoît has helped to develop innovative systems for assessing sediment quality, such as the E-board, a system using chironomid larvae that can be applied directly in rivers or lakes. He contributed also to promote eDNA approaches for monitoring the quality of sediment and helped in the elaboration of a concept for evaluating soil quality. On 1 September 2019, Benoît takes over as interim director of the Ecotox Centre. "I’m honoured to assume this role ad interim to ensure a smooth transition. This is a new exiting challenge for me and I hope that - with the help of all my colleagues - I will be able to continue the extraordinary work that Inge did as director of the Ecotox Centre".
Etienne Vermeirssen, Group Leader of the aquatic ecotoxicology group in Dübendorf, will continue as deputy director. The current director, Inge Werner, will still be working at the Ecotox Centre with a 40% workload until August 2021 and is looking forward to this new phase in her life. "It will allow me to spend more time with my husband, who returned to live in California some time ago, and to continue to work with this great group of scientists at the Ecotox Centre on topics that are close to my heart."