Rik Eggen

Prof. Dr. Rik Eggen

Deputy Director


About Me

Education and degrees

2004-to date Adjunct Professor, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.
1984-1988 Ph.D, Department of molecular biology, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands (Dr. rer. nat.).
1978-1984 M.Sc. in Biology (majors in molecular biology and cell biology, minor in microbiology), Nijmegen University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Professional Experience

2007-to date

Deputy director, Eawag, Switzerland

2005-2007 Member of directorate, Eawag, Switzerland
2004-to date Adjunct professor in environmental toxicology, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
2000-2007 Head department of environmental toxicology, Eawag, Switzerland
1996-2000 Head department of environmental microbiology, Eawag, Switzerland
1999-to date Lecturer at ETH Zürich, Switzerland.
1994-to date Senior Scientist Eawag, Dübendorf, Switzerland.
1992-1994 Senior Researcher and Lecturer, Department of Microbiology, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
1988-1992 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Micro­biology, Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands.
1984-1988 Research Assistant, Department of Molecular Biology, Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands.

Professional Activities

2014-to date
Member of Scientific Advisory Board, Tareno Waterfund AG, Basel
2013-to date Member international peer review panel BE-Basic Dutch Scientific programme (yearly R&D budget 45 Mio Euro)
Aug 2012/Jan 2013
NL-CH exchange on innovation in the waste water sector. Member of delegation.
Member of the board of the Solaqua Foundation
2011-to date
Scientific expert committee EU project EuroEcotox.
2011-to date
Member of the steering board of the Swiss Environmental Protection Agency for a large scale project on “ diffuse pollution”.
2010-to date Steering group SAP4Four
Invited participant, workshop on water research horizon for the development of a new water research strategy in Germany, Berlin, Germany
2009-to date
Member of the Scientific Advisory Board BLW-Agroscope
2008-to date
Vice Chairman of the board of GlaTec Technology Centre
2008-to date Member of the Board of directors of the centre for applied ecotoxicology in Switzerland.
Invited participant, workshop on gaps in pollution sciences towards the development of new research strategies in pollution sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
2007-to date Deputy Director of Eawag.
2007-2008 Chairman Taskforce to establish the centre for applied ecotoxicology in Switzerland.
2007 Co-organizer Latsis symposium September 17-19, 2007 - Research frontiers in Environment and Sustainability, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.
2006-to date
Member of the steering board of the Swiss Environmental Protection Agency for a large scale project on “ the reduction of the entrance of micropollutants in ecosystems”.
2006-2008 Member of the Management Committee of the Competence Centre Environment and Sustainability (CCES) in the ETH domain.
Co-coordinator of the EC-funded “FaceIt” project (Total volume 4,049,011 Euro).
2005-2007 Member of the Eawag directorate.
2004-2007 Head, Research division Environmental Toxicology at the Eawag.
2004-2005 Head (ad interim) Research division Environmental Microbiology at the Eawag.
Vice-president competence centre for xenobiotic and environmental risk research Zürich (XERR).
2003-2005 Member strategic planning committee at the Eawag.
2002-2003 Member “Unterrichtskommission” for the development of a new curriculum at the “centre for environmental studies”, ETH Zürich.
2000-2004 Head, Research division Environmental Microbiology and Molecular Ecotoxicology at the Eawag.
2000-2007 Member of the project management-team of the multidisciplinary Querproject “Novaquatis” at Eawag (total volume 1’260’000 SFr.).
1999-2004 Member Leitungsausschuss of the competence center for xenobiotic and environmental risk research Zürich (XERR).
1999-2002 Co-coordination (with Marc Suter) of Eawag participation in EC-funded “COMPREHEND” project (Total volume of 720’000 SFr.).
1999 Member of the reorganization committee at the Eawag.
1998-2004 Member of Expertgroup "Wirkungsbezogene Verfahren zur Gewässerbewertung" im Hauptausschuss II der Fachgruppe Wasserchemie, Gesellschaft für deutscher Chemiker.
1998-1999 Member Task Force for the preparation of a new phase of the Indo-Swiss Collaboration in Biotechnology (ISCB).
1997-2004 Member of the coordinationgroup Hauptausschusses II “ Stoffe und Gewassergüte”, Gesellschaft für deutscher Chemiker.
1997-1998 Projectleader on an interdisciplinary Eawag project to diminish a crayfish Procambarus clarkii population in the Schübelweiher, a small lake near Zürich.
1996-2000 Head of the department of Microbiology at the Eawag.
1995-1999 Chairman Forum for Ecotoxicology at the Eawag.
1994-2008 Head research group molecular ecotoxicology at the Eawag.
1993 Chairman Organization Committee International Symposium "Microbes in Engineered Ecosystems", Wageningen, The Netherlands.
1993 Guest Editor special issue of FEMS Microbiology Reviews.
1984-1994 Leader Isotope Laboratory, Departments of Molecular Biology (1984-1988) and Microbiology (1988-1994).
1988-1994 Leader Recombinant DNA Laboratory, Department of Microbiology.

Major research interest

  • Assessment and mechanistic understanding of effect of aquatic chemical pollution on environmental and human health, development of mitigation strategies.
  • Multiple stressor effects.
  • Molecular stress responses ((photo)-oxidative stress, DNA damage, developmental toxicology).
  • Functional toxicogenomics.
  • Development of mechanism-based effect assessment tools (biomarkers, biosensors, arrays).

Teaching activities

PEAK Course lecturer at the Eawag on: “Die Wasser Expertise”.
2012-to date
Lecturer at PhD skill course, ETHZ.
PEAK Course lecturer at the Eawag on: “Die Wasser Expertise der Eawag”.
2008-to date Lecturer at ETHZ: Practical course: Molecular Ecotoxicology.
2007 Lecturer at ETHZ: Practical course: Molecular Ecology and Ecotoxicology.
2007-to date Lecturer at ETHZ: Advanced Ecotoxicology.
2002-to date Lecturer at ETHZ: Grundlagen in der Ökotoxikologie.
2003-2006 Lecturer at ETHZ: Mechanisms in toxicology.
2002 Lecturer at COETOX (collaboration in ecotoxicology, EPFL-Eawag): endocrine disruption, mechanisms, screening methods and strategies, cases.
2001 PEAK Course co-leader and lecturer at the Eawag on: “biologische Mikroanalytik in Umweltsystemen”.
2000-2006 Lecturer at ETHZ: Umweltchemie II: allgemeine Toxikologie und Ökotoxikologie.
1999-2005 Lecturer at ETHZ: Integriertes Grundpraktikum IV: Mikrobiologie.
1999-2005 Lecturer at ETHZ: Umweltmikrobiologie I.
Lecturer at NDK course (ETH Zürich) on " Risiko und Sicherheit: chemische Stoffe und Umwelteffekte".
1998 PEAK Course co-leader and lecturer at the Eawag on: ”moderne methoden zum Nachweis von Mikroorganismen und deren Aktivität”.
1995-1996 Lecturer at Peak Courses at the Eawag on:
  • Die Rolle von Schwermetall für das Wachstum von Mikroorganismen, 1995
  • Toxicity of pollutants, 1995
  • Oekotoxikologie der Metalle, 1996.
1991-1994 Lecturer of EEC/EERO-Courses (European Environmental Research Organization) on:
  • Introduction of genetically modified organisms into the environment: Biosafety aspects, Wageningen, The Netherlands, December 1991 and 1992 (Lectures and practical course).
  • Environmental Chemistry of inorganic pollutants, a course on risk assessment of metal compounds and other inorganics, Belleville-sur-Saône, France, March 1994.
1993-1994 Lecturer at the Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands on regulation of microbial metabolism.
1993-1994 Supervisor problem-oriented teaching projects, department of Microbiology, Wageningen Agricultural University.
1984-1988 Practical course in molecular biology.
1989-1994 Practical course in microbiology.
1984-to date About 30 Masterstudents have been co-supervised during their practical training (6 to 12 month each).

Supervision of Ph.D students

2014-to date
Frederik Weiss. Determination of exposure scenarios, hazard assessment and potential mitigation options of pesticides, released in a catchment area with different agricultural systems in a Low- or Middle-Income Country. (ETHZ/Eawag; PhD advisor).
2013-to date Krishna Tulasi Kirla. (UniZH; Thesis Committee).
Cornelia Fürstenberger. Disruption of androgen metabolism, regulations and effects; involvement of steroidogenic enzymes. (UniBS; Thesis Committee).
Verena Grundler. Investigation of the Toxicity of Cyanobacterial Peptides by Chemical Biology Approaches. (UniBS; Thesis Committee).
2011-to date Milena Madry. Metabolite to Parent Drug Ratios of Tramadol in Hair for the Differentiation of Tramadol Intake from External Contamination. (UniZH; Thesis Committee).
2010-to date Muris Korkaric. Impact of acclimation and exposure to ultraviolet radiation on the toxicity of pollutants to Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (ETHZ/Eawag; PhD advisor)
2008-2012 Danielle Madureira. Time- and Concentration-dependent response of a liver cell line to Benzo(a)pyrene exposure. (ETHZ/Eawag; Thesis Committee).
2006-2012 Holger Nestler. Investigations on Multiple Stressor Effects of Combined Herbicide and UV Exposure on Clamydomonas reinhardtii (ETHZ/Eawag; PhD advisor).
Régine Dayer. Regulation of singlet oxygen- induced Gpxh expression in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (ETHZ/Eawag; PhD advisor).
2009 Mirjam Fröhlicher. Mechanisms of action of (xeno)estrogens on the early development and differentiation of brain and gonads in zebrafish (ETHZ/Eawag; PhD advisor).
2008 Christiane Vögeli. Endocrine disruption: bioassay-directed fractionation of fish and human tissue samples (ETHZ/Eawag; PhD advisor).
2007 Nathalie Vallotton. Effect Assessment of Fluctuating Exposure of Herbicides with Different Modes of Action on Algae (ETHZ/Eawag; PhD advisor).
2006 Ksenia Cheshenko. Regulation of (xeno)estrogen-activated genes in zebrafish (UniBern; Thesis Committee).
2006 Evangelia Kallivretaki. Mechanisms of action of (xeno)estrogens on the early development and differentiation of brain and gonads in zebrafish (UniBern; Thesis Committee).
2006 Jane Muncke. Development of a mechanism-based, short-term test-system with zebrafish eggs for the detection of potential chronic toxicity ETHZ/Eawag; PhD advisor)
Beat Fischer. Molecular mechanisms of singlet oxygen reponse in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (ETHZ/Eawag; PhD advisor)
2003 Barbara Rutishauser. Analysis, development and use of in vitro tools to screen for estrogenicity in environmental samples (ETHZ/Eawag; PhD Supervisor and Thesis Committee)
2001 Urs Leisinger. Regulation of gene expression upon oxidative stress in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (ETHZ/Eawag; supervisor and Thesis Committee)
1999 Nina Schweigert. Modes of toxic action and toxicity of (chloro)-catechol/copper combinations (has obtained the “Otto Jaag Price for water protection”). (ETHZ/Eawag; supervisor and Thesis Committee)
Joyce Lebbink. Molecular characterization of the thermostability and catalytic properties of enzymes from hyperthermophiles (Wageningen University; Supervisor and Thesis Committee).
1998 Wilfried G.B. Voorhorst. Molecular characterization of hydrolytic enzymes from the hyperthermophilic archae (Wageningen University; Supervisor and Thesis Committee).
1993 Jörk Nölling. Mobile genetic elements in Methanobacterium thermoformicicum (Wageningen University; Supervisor and Thesis Committee).
1992 Jan Roelof van der Meer. Molecular mechanisms of adaptation of soil bacteria to chlorinated benzenes (Wageningen University; Supervisor and Thesis Committee).

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Phone: +41 58 765 5320
Fax: +41 58 765 5802
Address: Eawag
Überlandstrasse 133
8600 Dübendorf
Office: FC E03

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Expert of

aquatic ecotoxicology, micropollutants, surface water

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