Department Environmental Toxicology

Particle Ecotoxicology

CaLIBRAte is part of European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and addresses risk management / governance for assessment of human and environmental risks of manufactured nanomaterials (MN) and MN-enabled products.
Particulate plastics (nano- and microplastic particles; size < 5µm) are an extremely persistent pollutant in the environment. As a consequence...

Computational Ecotoxicology

One of the most important challenges in environmental toxicology is to understand how responses to chemical pollutants scale through levels of biological complexity...
The development of mathematical models for prediction of ecological risks posed by environmental chemicals requires good understanding of toxicological mechanisms.
Environmental risk assessment is essential but often relies on ethically controversial and expensive methods...
In collaboration with a high level international expert group we are currently developing a framework to advance adverse outcome pathways...

Alternatives to animal testing

With this research project we aim to establish the Moderlieschen (Leucaspius delineatus) as a fish model in ecotoxicolgy and ecology...
The project, funded by 3R Research Foundation Switzerland (3R-Project 145-15) aims to develop an animal-free alternative to replace experiments with fish for quantifying the impact of chemicals on fish growth at early life stages...
Cellular epithelia are gate keepers that regulate the interaction of an organism with its surrounding environment...
Fish are the most frequently used vertebrates in regulatory ecotoxicology. Numerous OECD guidelines depend on the use of fish, including OECD 203 (acute fish test), OECD 210 (early life stage toxicity test) and OECD 305 (bioconcentration test)...
Marine mammals accumulate the greatest levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) due to their long life, high proportion of body fat, and top position of the marine food chain...
Quantification of chemical toxicity continues to be based mainly on measurements of external exposure. Yet, in order to understand, interpret and extrapolate toxic effects, using internal concentrations of chemicals is more suitable...

Community Ecotoxicology

EcoImpact is an Eawag-wide interdisciplinary research effort, strongly motivated by the planned modifications of the Swiss wastewater treatment plants.
Particulate plastics (nano- and microplastic particles; size < 5µm) are an extremely persistent pollutant in the environment. As a consequence...
In order to comprehend and in the future be able to predict impacts of chemicals on aquatic biofilm communities, such as periphyton or sediment-associated biofilms...

Behavioral Ecotoxicology

Insecticides are extensively used in Switzerland and all over the world to control pests and pathogens in medicine, households, and agriculture...
Some individuals are more susceptible to chemical exposure than others, but underlying reasons remain largely obscure....

Enabling Technologies

For the identification and monitoring of chemical effects in organisms exposed in the environment there is an array of approaches and specific endpoints available...
Imagine to engineer cells so that they harbor specific gene deletions or depleted proteins of selected pathways...
We are interested in understanding the capacity of aquatic organisms to combat environmental stress caused by pollutants...
With this research project we aim to establish the Moderlieschen (Leucaspius delineatus) as a fish model in ecotoxicolgy and ecology...
For many research questions it is very important to know base line concentrations of nutrients and trace elements in model systems, in order to understand perturbations caused by stressors...

Concluded projects

In recent years, OMICS (transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics) datasets combined with bioinformatic methods, such as differential gene expression analysis and network inference, have proven very useful for discovering biological networks.
Treatment of water by oxidation processes – Testing schemes for assessment of toxicity ...
A major challenge in environmental risk assessment of micropollutants (MPs) entering fresh waters via effluents of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is the establishment of a causal relationship between field exposure and observed effects on biotas...