ERASMUS traineeship at E3T

18. April 2024

Lucija Sara Kovačić, a Master's student from the Department of Biology at the Josip Juraj Strossmayer University in Osijek, Croatia, is currently doing an ERASMUS traineeship at E3T. Her work here focuses on assessing the toxicological effects of pharmaceuticals on zebrafish (Danio rerio) at the developmental and behavioural levels. During the traineeship, she will also be involved in establishing a protocol for ecotoxicological testing using the marine medaka (Oryzias latipes) as a model organism.

E3T participation in CALUX® ring study

12. February 2024

Aquatic animals and consumers of aquatic animals are exposed to increasingly complex mixtures of known and as-yet-unknown chemicals with dioxin-like toxicities in the water cycle. Effect- and cell-based bioanalysis can cover known and yet unknown dioxin and dioxin-like compounds as well as complex mixtures thereof but need to be standardized and integrated into international guidelines for environmental testing. To extend our bioassay portfolio, we participated in an international laboratory testing following ISO/CD 24295 to generate precision data for the development of a full ISO-standard for the DR CALUX system. The results of this ring test have now been published and are available as via the link below.

Behnisch, P., Besselink, H., Suzuki, G., Buchinger, S., Reifferscheid, G., Lukas, M., Wollenweber, M., Wollenweber, S., Hollert, H., Kunisue, T., Tue, N.M., Alijagic, A., Larsson, M., Engwall, M., Ohno, K., Brouwer, A., 2024. Results of an international interlaboratory study on dioxin-like activities in drinking-, river surface- and wastewater using DR CALUX bioassay. Science of The Total Environment 170759.

Raccoons in Germany: What makes the invasive predators so dangerous

05. January 2024

It has long been suspected that raccoons are a threat to native biodiversity. A study provides new information. Two pairs of raccoons were released at Lake Edersee in Hesse in 1934. Today, it is estimated that well over a million specimens of the North American predator roam our meadows and forests. Read about the effects here.

Wood-burning stoves: Combining electrostatic precipitators and catalytic converters is the best way to reduce pollutants

20. December 2023

In the collaborative project “TeToxBeScheit", researchers from Goethe University Frankfurt, RWTH Aachen University and the university hospitals in Aachen and Freiburg have studied how effectively electrostatic precipitators and catalytic converters reduce pollutant emissions from wood-burning stoves and in so doing protect humans and the environment. On the basis of their study, the scientists recommend that both technologies are prescribed in the future in order to minimize the pollutant load for humans and the environment. The research project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Joint research project on groundwater: searching for underground pollutants

28. November 2023

The joint project, recently launched under the name “gwTriade," involves six scientific institutes with Goethe University Frankfurt as the coordinator, which are investigating groundwater quality in Germany. This is the first time the triad approach has been applied to combine chemical analyses and methods revealing how pollutants entering the groundwater affect the ecosystem there – called effect-based methods. The project aims to develop a concept that water suppliers and nature conservation authorities can use in the future to examine and assess the groundwater quality themselves. The gwTriade project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Final conference - Bad Waldsee project

09. November 2023

This year's Bad Waldsee final conference took place on site from 9.11. to 11.11.2023 and was attended by Prof. Henner Hollert, Florian Gigl and Polina Kanj. The Bad Waldsee project is an interdisciplinary DFG-funded project consisting of historians and natural scientists who examined the anthropogenic influences on the Stadtsee from the 12th to the 18th century. The E3T working group investigated dioxin-like activity using sediment core samples and the current results were presented. The overall project results were also presented to the public in an evening talk and poster sessions. Around 100 people attended the event, and an interesting exchange took place between project participants and the audience. Overall, the event was very impressive and interesting. Many new impressions were gathered, and new ideas for future cooperation were developed.

Picture: The picture shows the participants at the final conference - consisting of project members and external guest speakers

NORMAN Workshop and General Assembly

27. October 2023

Activities from the NORMAN network: We are glad to announce that this year the NORMAN General Assembly meeting will take place together with the “Biodiversity" Workshop on 6-8 December at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany where the events will be kindly hosted by Henner Hollert and his team. The NORMAN Biodiversity workshop: “Innovative Approaches for Environmental Monitoring of Chemical Pollution and Biodiversity – Linking Biodiversity Loss and Chemical Pollution" which is part of The NORMAN JPA 2023 will take place on 6 December. The aim of the workshop is to improve the collaboration between NORMAN and the biodiversity community and to promote combination of innovative tools from the two communities. 

The NORMAN GA meeting will follow on 7-8 December (morning of 7 December until 8 December at noon). 

The registration link is open now! Both events will be hybrid.

The power of nanoparticles for cleansing our environment

19. October 2023

This review explores the power of hydrochar and nanoparticles to remove arsenic from wastewater. Arsenic (As) contamination poses a significant threat to human health, ecosystems and agriculture, with levels ranging from 12 to 75% attributed to mine waste and stream sediments. This naturally element is abundant in the Earth's crust and gets released into the environment through mining and rock processing, causing ≈363 million people to depend on As-contaminated groundwater.

A Molecular Fingerprint of Sewage Pollution in Peninsular Malaysia

16. October 2023

This paper describes the development of a method using linear alkylbenzenes (LABs) as molecular fingerprints of wastewater pollution in the coastal and river environments of Peninsular Malaysia. The degradation levels of LABs were evaluated. This work underscores the potential of LABs as indicators for monitoring wastewater contamination.

PhD defense of Maria Yu at SLU

13. October 2023

It was a great honour for Henner Hollert to be invited as an opponent of Maria Yu's excellent disputation at SLU in Uppsala. Many thanks especially to Johan Lundqvist and his team at the SLU for the wonderful time, the hospitality and pleasant conversations! Looking forward to more cooperations.

Transatlantic DFG-NSERC Workshop on Water Health

29. September 2023

It was a great pleasure to host at Goethe University Frankfurt a transatlantic DFG-NSERC Workshop together with colleagues from the University of Saskatchewan and RWTH Aachen University on Water Health. The goal of the Transatlantic Water Health Networking Workshop and Writing Retreat at Goethe University Frankfurt was to bring together the German and Canadian teams to develop the full application for a DFG-IRTG and NSERC-CREATE proposal for a transatlantic degree program in Water Health. It builds on numerous previous virtual meetings that have been held over the past two years to initiate and grow this transatlantic partnership and to develop the framework for this proposal. This in-person workshop allowed the group of interdisciplinary researchers to build relationships, identify concrete collaborative research activities, and to explore joint funding opportunities to implement the partnership established between Goethe University and the University of Saskatchewan in a recent MOU, which is not possible with virtual meetings alone. Not only conceptual and content-related work was carried out, but also sites for the later sampling in the catchment area of the Rur were visited, as well as the participating institutes at Goethe University, Senckenberg and RWTH Aachen.

Prof. Henner Hollert and Dr. Francisco Sylvester - Trip to Latin America

20. September 2023

SETAC Latin America 15th Biennial Meeting, Montevideo, Uruguay, 17-20 September 2023

Prof. Henner Hollert and Dr. Francisco Sylvester co-chaired a session on “Planetary Health: Chemical Pollution as Driver for Loss of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity", with participation of international speakers from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, and Canada. A talk by Karen Kidd (McMaster University, Canada) on the effects of municipal wastewater discharges on symbiont microbiomes was given. Our Robust Nature recent Nature Ecology and Evolution paper on chemical pollution and biodiversity loss was also presented. Prof. Hollert gave a plenary talk on “Environmental Impacts of Chemicals – Beyond the Planetary Guardrails". 

Scientific visits and talks in Buenos Aires 

Prof. Henner Hollert and Dr. Francisco Sylvester visited research centres in Buenos Aires looking for collaboration partners on chemical pollution and biodiversity research. An institutional visit was given to the Buenos Aires Natural History Museum “Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturals Bernardino Rivadavia". Hollert and Sylvester also visited  lectured at the University of Buenos Aires. 

Cooperation with science organisations in Northern Argentina

Prof. Henner Hollert and Dr. Francisco Sylvester visited the Universidad Nacional de Salta (UNSa), where collaboration bridges with E3T have been set up. They visited research facilities and talked to researchers, students, and authorities looking forward to strengthen collaboration.

E3T at Dioxin 2023

10. September 2023

Prof. Dr. Saeed. S. Albaseer successfully participated in Dioxin2023, the 43rd International Conference on Halogenated Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). He presented his recent research on the effects of dioxins on human and animal health. He also exchanged ideas with leading scientists in this field and established new collaborations. 

Participation at WC12 conference 2023 on animal alternatives

31. August 2023

At the 12th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences in Canada, PhD student Inska Reichstein was able to present her work on the use of animal-free, chemically defined media and the implementation of metabolism processes in cell-based assays on endocrine activity. It was a great, interdisciplinary conference with inspiring and insightful topics and a fruitful exchange about current developments on New Approach Methods.

SETAC YES-Meeting 2023 in Landau

28. August 2023

Great success for the young generation of E3T at the SETAC YES-Meeting 2023 in Landau! With contributions of all kinds, including platform and poster presentations as well as session chairing and conference organization, the young scientists of our department had a great time. Thank you SETAC SAC for this wonderful networking opportunity and platform for first conference experiences!

Check out our new joint publication in Environmental Sciences Europe

18. August 2023

The extreme flood of July 2021 deposited large amounts of sediment across the town of Eschweiler (western Germany), with the inundation area exceeding previously mapped extreme flood limits (HQextreme). These sediments are rich in fine material (with the < 63 µm fraction making up 32% to 96%), which either can stick to the skin and be ingested or inhaled. They are moderately to heavily enriched in Zn > Cu > Pb > Cd > Sn compared to local background concentrations. The concentrations of Zn, Pb, Cd, Cu, and As in flood sediments exceed international trigger action values. A simple assessment of inhalation and ingestion by humans reveals that the tolerable daily intake is exceeded for Pb. Despite the enrichment of other trace elements like Zn, Cu, Cd, and Sn, they presumably do not pose a risk to human well-being. However, exposure to high dust concentrations may be a health risk. A great co-operation between the Department of Geography, the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management and the Institute of Neotectonics and Natural Hazards, RWTH Aachen University as well as the Department Evolutionary Ecology & Environmental Toxicology (E3T), Faculty Biological Sciences (FB15), Goethe University Frankfurt and the Department Environmental Media Related Ecotoxicology, Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME, Schmallenberg.

Chemical pollution as a potential driver of biodiversity loss

30. July 2023

Chemicals in the environment are not sufficiently considered by the scientific community as one of the causes of biodiversity. This is shown by a study of 40 scientists of the RobustNature research network of the Goethe University Frankfurt and cooperating institutes. The researchers see a new opportunity in an interdisciplinary approach, to better understand the loss of biodiversity in order to take more efficient countermeasures. To this end, they are investigating the interactions between chemical pollution and biodiversity loss. Their results have now been published in the journal "Nature Ecology and Evolution".

Assessment of invertebrate behavor using the ToxmateLab

18. July 2023

Sublethal effects are gaining importance in ecotoxicological testing due to their higher sensitivity to lethal endpoints and their preventive nature. The locomotor behavior of invertebrates is of particular interest in ecotoxicology because it is directly linked to the maintenance of various ecosystem processes. Disrupted locomotor behavior is often associated with neurotoxicity and can affect drift, mate choice, predator avoidance, and thus population dynamics. We demonstrate the practical application of the ToxmateLab, a new device for monitoring locomotor behavior of up to 48 organisms simultaneously. Here, we quantified behavioral responses of Gammarus pulex following exposure to two pesticides (dichlorvos and methiocarb) and two pharmaceuticals (diazepam and ibuprofen) at sublethal environmentally relevant concentrations. Please refere to the link below for a time-limited free access.

A mechanistic approach to identify and predict the adverse effects of chemicals in the zebrafish embryo model

03. July 2023

While chemicals play an important role in the modern civilisation and human well-being, they can also impact on the environment and human health. To assess, understand and predict they impacts, we need mechanistic foundation to infer potential adverse effects of such chemical and mixtures. Today, Dr. Stefan Scholz, from the Department of Bioanalytical Ecotoxicology at the UFZ, gave insight into how utilize Danio rerio in AOP scenarios.

Linking chemical pollution and biodiversity loss

30. June 2023

Chemicals in the environment are not sufficiently addressed in science as one of the causes of biodiversity loss. This is shown by 40 scientists from the RobustNature research network of Goethe University and cooperating institutes in a study that has now been published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution (early access link). The researchers see an interdisciplinary approach as a new opportunity to better understand the loss of biodiversity in order to be able to take countermeasures more efficiently. An official press release of the Goethe University website is linked below.

Building strong cooperations with the University of Birmingham

27. June 2023

Henner Hollert joined the networking event of the Centre for Environmental Research and Justice (CERJ) at University of Birmingham last week. Thanks to Luisa Orsini, Jiarui (Albert) Zhou Xiaojing Li Robert Lee John Colbourne Anurag Chaturvedi, PhD Niamh Eastwood and the Head of Schooll for the inspiring meeting. Connecting CERJ with our RobustNature network at Goethe University in Frankfurt to investigate jointly the interaction between chemical pollution and biodiversity loss in a trans disciplinary perspective!

Insects in ecotoxicology

20. June 2023

Today, Prof. Dr. Andreas Vilcinskas, director of the Institute for Insect Biotechnology (Yellow Biotechnology) at the Justus-Liebig-University and head of the Branch Bioresources of the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biologoy and Apllied Ecotoxicology in Giessen, gave a talk about the possiblities of insect models in ecotoxicological risk assessment. The talked adressed specifically the use of species with a fully sequences genome and of multi-endpoint approaches to understand insect biodiversity loss.

Currently in the SensoryTox-Project

15. June 2023

Enhancing our understanding of neurodevelopmental toxic mode of actions induced by petroleum exposure. In detail, primary and secondary motor neuron development is investigated by using a double transgenic zebrafish line (nrp1a:eGFP/xla.tubb:DsRed), which highlights caudal primary motor neurons (nrp1a; green) in a pan-neuronal reporter background (xla.tubb; red).

Mosquitoes: Technological innovation can protect against the spread of tropical diseases

14. June 2023

Mosquitoes from tropical and Asian regions are increasingly appearing in Central Europe. They can transmit the Zika or West Nile viruses, which trigger dangerous fever diseases. A team of scientists from the Hessian LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics and partner institutions is showing how the further spread of these mosquito species can be prevented in a targeted and environmentally friendly way. Feel free to read the whole press release using the link below.

Inaugural lecture of Prof. Dr. Luisa Orsini

13. June 2023

Today, Prof. Dr. Luisa Orsini gave her inaugural lecture for a Hückmann professorship at the Goethe University Frankfurt. The talk, titled "The time machine chronicles: resurrected crustaceans and ghost DNA", adressed the use of mondern tools in ecotoxicology to identify causes of biodiversity loss. We are very much looking forward to Prof. Orsini, who now also joined forces in our RobustNature network.

Environmental impact of the attack on the Kachowka dam

12. June 2023

The attack on the Kachowka dam may have severe consequences for the environment, as floods spread contaminants over large areas and across different habitats. In this respect, Dr. Johann was interviewed about the environmental impact of possible oil contaminations. You may read the article by clicking the link below.

Advances in behavioural assessment

08. June 2023

Florian Gigl performed a case study, in which he investigated the vertical swimming behaviour of Daphnia magna using the ToxmateLab. Please find more detailed information in the lastest blog article of ViewPoint Behaviour Technology.

Congratulations Laura!

29. May 2023

Laura Loewe, one of our master students, attended the JRC summer school on non-animal approaches in science taking place in Italy. She presented her research, joined interesting debates, and won the award for the second best poster out of 180 participants. Congratulations!

Participation at Philipp Schwartz and Inspire Europe Stakeholder Forum

23. May 2023

We are very pleased to announce that Prof. Dr. Saeed S. Albaseer participated in the Philipp Schwartz and Inspire Europe Stakeholder Forum 2023 in Berlin. The event comprehensively addressed the challenges and opportunities for refugee and vulnerable researchers in Europe. Prof. Dr. Saeed S. Albaseer attended many interesting presentations and participated in exciting discussions. Looking forward to further collaborations.

New pespectives on textile waste water

15. May 2023

Leading authors Mira Gossen and Dhivakar Govindarajan recently published their pespective on waste water treatment strategies with respect to the environmental impacts of textile industry effluents, summarizing the main pillar of the Indo-German project "Effect-based Monitoring demonstrates Efficiency of Electrically-driven Water treatment Processes to Remove Salts and Micropollutants from Process Water (EfectroH2O)". Make sure to check it out, using Elsevier's 50-day access.

Gossen, M., Govindarajan, D., John, A.A., Hussain, S., Padligur, M., Linnartz, C., Mohseni, M., Stüwe, L., Urban, V., Crawford, S., Schiwy, S., Wessling, M., Nambi, I.M., Hollert, H., 2023. EfectroH2O: Development and evaluation of a novel treatment technology for high-brine industrial wastewater. Science of The Total Environment 883, 163479.

New E3T team members have joined the SETAC Europe SAC

12. May 2023

Great News! Four Ph.D. students of our E3T group decided to get involved in the Student Advisory Council (SAC) of SETAC Europe. Markus Schmitz took over as the current chair and Bianca Dechent successfully stood up for election as a full member of the SAC. Florian Gigl and Jakob Pfefferle became SAC associates now. They will, together with 7 other elected and more associate members, join forces and organize student activities such as the upcoming young environmental scientists (YES) meeting in Landau or other early career events under the aegis of SETAC Europe. Congratulations, and best of luck to you!

Sucessfull participation at SETAC Europe 2023

11. May 2023

E3T sucessfully participated at SETAC Europe 2023 in Dublin. Amoung a fortunate amount of poster presentation, our contribution included two amazing talks from Sarah Johann and Francisco Silvester.

"An effect-based toolbox for petroleum toxicity testing": Sarah presented a bioassay battery specifically validated for the toxicity assessment of petroleum products such as crude oils. Using a multivariate approach she evaluated >40 biological test systems jointly applied within the EU funded project GRACE. The suggested bioassay battery can be applied for monitoring programs and for the hazard assessment of e.g. new fuel types.
"Chemical pollution: An overlooked elephant in the room of ecology" was presented at the session Ecosystems Responses Under a Multiple Stressors Scenario in a Rapidly Changing Climate (Part III: environnemental risk, modelling, ecosystem-level) by Francisco Sylvester. Coauthors: Fabian Weichert, Henner Hollert, and 40 more RN colleagues from the Goethe University Frankfurt and other research centres across Germany, Switzerland, and Argentina. In the talk we showed the results of a literature search encompassing 30 years of research on chemical pollution. We compared patterns of publication on chemical pollution and three other main drivers of global biodiversity loss –climate change, invasive species, and habitat loss–. We analyzed to what extent research on chemical pollution is studied in concert with other stressors of nature and biodiversity loss, and concluded that a better integration of chemical pollution research with ecology is needed to further our understanding of biodiversity loss.

We are looking forward to be back in 2024, at SETAC Seville.

GU and UoS symposium on aquatic ecotoxicology

26. April 2023

The Goethe University Department Evolutionary Ecology & Environmental Toxicology (E3T) welcomes Prof. Markus Hecker, Phillip Ankley, and Emely Kennedy from the University of Saskatchewan's Toxicology Centre. Markus Hecker holds a professorship at the Toxicology Centre, the leading research facility for environmental sciences in North America, and the Canada Research Chair in Predictive Aquatic Ecotoxicology. Philipp Ankley and Emily Kennedy are both Ph.D. students under Markus' supervision. To foster the recently signed agreement of understanding between both our universities, it is our pleasure to have hosted short symposium to exchange research highlights of both our groups, discuss science and develop ideas for future exchange and collaboration opportunities.

Welcome, Prof. Dr Saeed S. Albaseer!

03. April 2023

We are proud to welcome Prof. Dr. Saeed S. Albaseer to our department. Prof. Albaseer is a chemist with sound experience in environmental chemistry. His main research interests include the understanding and quantification of emerging environmental pollutants, in particular, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals. Together with Prof. Albaseer, we want to address current and future research question with respect to chemical pollustion.

We are happy that you joined our group and are very much looking forward to work with you, Saeed.

Participation at SETAC Latin America 2023

30. January 2023

Prof. Henner Hollert and Dr. Francisco Sylvester have been invited to co-chair a session in the upcoming SETAC Latin America 15th Biennial Meeting, to be held in Montevideo, Uruguay, 17–20 September 2023. The session will reunite experts on planetary health working on chemical pollution as driver for loss of ecosystem services and biodiversity.

EU project planning meeting at E³T department

27. January 2023

To promote cooperation, the Finnish Environment Institute (Syke, Kari Lehtonen) invited to a face-to-face meeting at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. As co-hosts the department of Evolutionary Ecology & Environmental Toxicology (E3T) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME organised the meeting at the Biologicum. 19 participants from 11 European institutions joined this 2-day productive meeting.

New publication on chemically defined medium

18. January 2023

Congrats to Inska for her publication on replacing animal-derived components in in vitro test guidelines OECD 455 and 487 by the use of chemically defined media for cell cultivation and biotechnological S9 mixtures to include metabolic transformation.

News Archives


Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Henner Hollert

Goethe University Frankfurt
Biologicum, Campus Riedberg
Max-von-Laue-Str. 13
60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Room: 3.319
Phone: +49 (0)69 798 42171
Fax: +49 (0)69 798 42161
Email: hollert(at)bio(dot)uni-frankfurt(dot)de

Former Affiliation: