Department of Bioanalytical Ecotoxicology. Photo: Prof. Dr. Rolf Altenburger/UFZ

Department of Bioanalytical Ecotoxicology

Modern societies deal with chemicals in various numbers and quantities. The effects of chemicals in the environment depend on the properties of the organisms exposed to them, the respective environmental system and on the mixture of compounds. But what determines the biologically relevant dose of chemicals? How does a cumulative dose become biological action? And how does joint action translate into adverse outcome?

Our research strives to assess adverse mixture effects based on a mechanistic understanding of biological action. Our goal is to provide bioanalytical tools for detection of environmental risks and for chemical safety assessment. An essential part of our work in the Department of Bioanalytical Ecotoxicology is to establish dose-response relationships.

Our current research focuses on the analysis and diagnosis of combined effects from environmental pollutants, nanoparticles and microplastics. We perform experimental studies using various biological model systems. We also develop methods with zebrafish embryos that serve as alternatives to animal testing.

We communicate our research to the public in the form of original publications, innovative methods, and extrapolation tools. Furthermore, expert statements and consultancy on potentially adverse effects of chemical mixtures in the environment are used to transfer our knowledge into society. Moreover, we provide ample training opportunities for young researchers.