Department Environmental Toxicology

How do aquatic organisms respond to stress?

We investigate how freshwater organisms respond to chemical exposure and other stressors in their environment. In particular, we explore adaptive and toxicological response pathways and develop conceptual and computational models to support knowledge-based risk assessment.

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And the winner is...

Congratulations to Marina Zoppo, Post-Doc in the laboratory of Kristin Schirmer, for the SPARK grant from SNSF for her project “CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to dissect the molecular mechanisms of rainbow trout antimicrobial peptides (AMPs)”!

Kristin Schirmer explains to Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin how gill cells from rainbow trout are used in the fish cell line test, thereby replacing tests on live fish. Photo: Mallaun Photography
January 27, 2020 –

“Innovative and successful: the start-ups and spin-offs in the ETH Domain” – this is the motto which Eawag used to present itself at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.

“Innovative and successful: the start-ups and spin-offs in the ETH Domain” – this is the motto which Eawag used to present itself at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.

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Humpback whales (Photo: Michael Burkard)
February 4, 2020 –

Although use of the fungicide hexachlorobenzene has been banned since 2004, this compound is chemically stable – and accumulates in the polar regions where humpback whales replenish their fat reserves each year. Cell line studies...

Although use of the fungicide hexachlorobenzene has been banned since 2004, this compound is chemically stable – and accumulates in the polar regions where humpback whales replenish their fat reserves each year. Cell line studies conducted at Eawag have now shown that, while hexachlorobenzene does not have acute toxic effects, it can cause damage to DNA in humpback whale cells.

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Kristin Schirmer (second from left) and Melanie Fischer (second from right). (Photo: Swiss 3R Competence Centre)
September 4, 2019 –

The 3RCC award has been conferred on two Eawag researchers by the 3R Swiss Competence Centre (3RCC) for their outstanding research work. For the first time ever, the researchers managed to obtain ISO certification for a toxicity...

The 3RCC award has been conferred on two Eawag researchers by the 3R Swiss Competence Centre (3RCC) for their outstanding research work. For the first time ever, the researchers managed to obtain ISO certification for a toxicity test using cultured fish gill cells, thanks to their project work in this area. This represents a milestone in the promotion of alternatives to animal experiments. The prize was awarded on September 2nd in Bern.

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Current publications

Maner, J.; Burkard, M.; Cassano, J. C.; Bengtson Nash, S. M.; Schirmer, K.; Suter, M. J. -F. (2019) Hexachlorobenzene exerts genotoxic effects in a humpback whale cell line under stable exposure conditions, RSC Advances, 9(67), 39447-39457, doi:10.1039/C9RA05352B, Institutional Repository
Tierbach, A.; Groh, K. J.; Schönenberger, R.; Schirmer, K.; Suter, M. J. -F. (2020) LC-APCI(-)-MS determination of 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene, a model substrate for glutathione S-transferases, Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, doi:10.1021/jasms.9b00116, Institutional Repository
Burkard, M.; Betz, A.; Schirmer, K.; Zupanic, A. (2020) Common gene expression patterns in environmental model organisms exposed to engineered nanomaterials: a meta-analysis, Environmental Science and Technology, 54(1), 335-344, doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b05170, Institutional Repository
Fitzgerald, J. A.; Kirla, K. T.; Zinner, C. P.; vom Berg, C. M. (2019) Emergence of consistent intra-individual locomotor patterns during zebrafish development, Scientific Reports, 9, 13647 (14 pp.), doi:10.1038/s41598-019-49614-y, Institutional Repository
Drieschner, C.; Könemann, S.; Renaud, P.; Schirmer, K. (2019) Fish-gut-on-chip: development of a microfluidic bioreactor to study the role of the fish intestine in vitro, Lab on a Chip, 19(19), 3268-3276, doi:10.1039/C9LC00415G, Institutional Repository
Aengenheister, L.; Dugershaw, B. B.; Manser, P.; Wichser, A.; Schoenenberger, R.; Wick, P.; Hesler, M.; Kohl, Y.; Straskraba, S.; Suter, M. J. -F.; Buerki-Thurnherr, T. (2019) Investigating the accumulation and translocation of titanium dioxide nanoparticles with different surface modifications in static and dynamic human placental transfer models, European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 142, 488-497, doi:10.1016/j.ejpb.2019.07.018, Institutional Repository