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Dr Rachel Benstead

15 years' experience of conducting and overseeing aquatic studies to OECD Guidelines

Rachel has extensive knowledge and experience of chemical risk assessment, whole effluent assessment, endocrine disruption in aquatic wildlife, the Water Framework Directive and environmental impact assessments. At Fera, she is responsible for conducting research and managing projects regarding aquatic environmental protection, including studies that are conducted to OECD guidelines. She is also a GLP study director.

Rachel holds a BSc (Hons; 1) in Environmental Science from Leicester University and an MSc in Ecotoxicology of Natural Populations (Dist.) from Reading University. She was awarded a doctoral degree from Brunel University for her PhD thesis titled "Potential for (neuro-) endocrine effects of oestrogens in freshwater gastropods". Prior to joining Fera in 2013, she worked for CEFAS and the Science Department of the Environment Agency.

In her free time Rachel enjoys being outdoors, especially gardening and walking her dogs, when she likes to stop at the margin of every water body to look for interesting aquatic wildlife. She also likes frequenting posh coffee shops after these activities, which can be amusing because they usually involve becoming less neat and tidy than might generally be expected!

Key achievements:

  • Participation in OECD Expert Working Groups and Validation Management Groups
  • Water Framework Directive UK Lead for EU Intercalibration of Invertebrate Monitoring Tools
  • Programme lead for Environment Agency Endocrine Disruption Research Programme
  • Rachel contributes actively to the scientific community by regularly presenting at international conferences, participating in expert workshops and acting as reviewer for international peer-reviewed journals

Key publications:

  • Benstead R., Baynes A, Casey D., Routledge E.J. and Jobling S. (2011) 17B-Oestradiol may prolong reproduction in seasonally breeding freshwater gastropod molluscs. Aquatic Toxicology, 101, 326-334
  • Williams R., Keller V., Johnson A, Young A., Holmes M., Wells C., Gross-Sorokin M and Benstead R. (2009) 'A national risk assessment for intersex in fish arising from steroid estrogens'. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 28 (1) 220-230
  • Thorpe K., Maark G., Benstead R. and Tyler C. (2009) 'Estrogenic wastewater treatment works effluents reduce egg production in fish' Environmental Science and Technology, 43 (8) 2976-2982

Contact Rachel:


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Telephone: +44 (0)1904 462479

Office address: Fera Science Ltd. (Fera), National Agri-Food Innovation Campus, Sand Hutton, York, YO41 1LZ

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