Prof. Patricia Burkhardt-Holm, PhD


Our societies have to face a multitude of existing and upcoming challenges in the field of environment and energy. To tackle those challenges, it takes experts who are able to think across boundaries and in multiple dimensions. This is why I took strong interest in the development of a specialized masters programme, the master in sustainable development (MSD), which is designed to train those experts.
As a member of an interdisciplinary association of professors (Gruppe 2004 – Hochschule neu denken) I actively participate in the present discussion about the future roles of University.


My research interest focuses on fish as indicators for environmental health. At the moment, I am particularly interested in the effects of chemicals which influence the hormone balance of fish. As a whole, I aim to contribute to a better understanding of the intricate relations between fish and their environment. Only if we understand those connections, we can use the resource water sustainably.



Suspended sediment pulse effects in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss – relating apical and systemic responses. 2013. Michel C, Schmidt-Posthaus H, Burkhardt-Holm P. DOI 10.1139/cjfas-2012-0376, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences70(4):630-641 

Arrival of round goby Neogobius melanostomus (Pallas, 1814) and bighead goby Ponticola kessleri (Günther, 1891) in the High Rhine (Switzerland). 2013. Kalchhauser I, Mutzner P, Hirsch P, Burkhardt-Holm P.  BioInvasion Records (2)1:79-83


Measurement of spatial and temporal fine sediment dynamics in a small river. Schindler Wildhaber Y, Michel C, Burkhardt-Holm P, Bänninger D, Alewell C. 2012. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 16:1501-1515

Uptake and effects of microplastics on cells and tissue of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis L. after an experimental exposure. Von Moos N, Burkhardt-Holm P, Köhler A. 2012. Environmental Science and Technology.

Variability in swimming performance and underlying physiology in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and brown trout (Salmo trutta). Ralph AL, Berli BI, Burkhardt-Holm P, Tierny KB. 2012. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A 163:350-356

Pathogenic infection confounds induction of the estrogenic biomarker Vitellogenin in rainbow trout.
Burki R, Krasnov A, Bettge K, Rexroad CE, Afanasyev S, Antikainen M, Burkhardt-Holm P, Wahli T, Segner H. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 31(10):2318-2323


Molecular and cellular effects of chemicals disrupting steroidogenesis during early ovarian development of brown trout (Salmo trutta fario). A Marca Pereira ML, Eppler E, Thorpe KL, Wheeler JR, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2011. Environ Toxicol.

Life-cycle exposure to the estrogenic mycotoxin zearalenone affects zebrafish (Danio rerio) development and reproduction.
Schwartz P, Bucheli TD, Wettstein FE, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2011. Environ Toxicol. 1522-7278

Mode of sexual differentiation and its influence on the relative sensitivity of the fathead minnow and zebrafish in the fish sexual development test. Thorpe KL, Pereira ML, Schiffer H, Burkhardt-Holm P, Weber K, Wheeler JR. 2011. Aquat Toxicol. 105(3-4):412-20.

Frequent biphasic cellular responses of permanent fish cell cultures to deoxynivalenol (DON). Pietsch C, Bucheli TD, Wettstein FE, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2011. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 256(1):24-34.

Embryotoxic and genotoxic potential of sewage system biofilm and river sediment in the catchment area of a sewage treatment plant in Switzerland. Häfeli N, Schwartz P, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2011. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 74(5):1271-9.

Development of an ex vivo brown trout (Salmo trutta fario) gonad culture for assessing chemical effects on steroidogenesis. A Marca Pereira ML, Wheeler JR, Thorpe KL, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2011. Aquat Toxicol. 101(3-4):500-11.

How hormonally active substances in our environment affect humans and wildlife - What do we know and what can be done? Burkhardt-Holm P. 2011. On the Water Front 2:50-63.

Linking water quality to human health and environment: the fate of micropollutants. Burkhardt-Holm P. 2011. Institute of Water Policy Working Paper series 3.


Short-term exposure to the environmentally relevant estrogenic mycotoxin zearalenone impairs reproduction in fish. Schwartz P, Thorpe KL, Bucheli TD, Wettstein FE, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2010. Sci Total Environ. 409(2):326-33.

Pathogenic infection attenuates the response of the estrogenic biomarker, vitellogenin, in rainbow trout. Burki R, Wahli T, Segner H, Burkhardt-Holm P, Rexroad CE, Afanasyev S, Antikainen M, Krasnov A. 2010. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology a-Molecular, Integrative Physiology, 157(1):23.

Polychlorierte Biphenyle (PCB) in Gewässern der Schweiz. Daten zur Belastung von Fischen und Gewässern mit PCB und Dioxinen, Situationsbeurteilung. Schmid P, Markus Z, Holm P, Pietsch C, Brüschweiler B, Kuchen A, Staub E, Tremp J. 2010. Umwelt-Wissen Nr. 1002, Bundesamt für Umwelt, Bern. 101 S.

Educating Experts for Sustainable Development: The Master's Degree in Sustainable Development at the University of Basel. Burger P, Burkhardt-Holm P, Krysiak FC. 2010. In: Darbellay, F., Paulsen, Th. (eds.), Im Spiegel der Disziplinen - Gedanken über inter- und transdisziplinäre Forschungs- und Lehrpraktiken. Verlag Peter Lang, 133-153.

Endocrine Disruptors and Water Quality: A State-of-the-Art Review. Burkhardt-Holm P. 2010. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 26: 3, 477- 493.

Faszinierende Fische – Biologie, Bedeutung und Zukunft. Holm P. 2010. Haupt-Verlag, Bern.

Kinder und Karriere - ein Spagat, der zu meistern ist. Holm P. 2010. In: Piechulla, B. (ed.), Professorin und Mutter - wie geht das?, Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg, 48-55.


Klimawandel und Bachforellenrückgang - gibt es einen Zusammenhang? Resultate in der Schweiz. Burkhardt-Holm P. 2009. Umweltwiss. Schadst. Forsch. 21:177-185.

Climate and land-use changes affecting river sediment and brown trout in alpine countries--a review. Scheurer K, Alewell C, Bänninger D, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2009. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 16(2):232-42.

Psychologie des Umdenkens und Umlernens - wie Umweltpsychologie zur nachhaltigen Entwicklung beitragen kann. Burkhardt-Holm P. 2009. In: Mitteilungen des Verbandes für Geoökologie in Deutschland e.V. (VGöD), Forum der Geoökologie 20 (2).

Bioindikatoren - wie uns Pflanzen und Tiere helfen können. Burkhardt-Holm P. 2009. In: Renneberg, R., Bioanalytik für Einsteiger, Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, 138-139.


Water temperature and concomitant waterborne ethinylestradiol exposure affects the vitellogenin expression in juvenile brown trout (Salmo trutta).
Körner O, Kohno S, Schönenberger R, Suter MJF, Knauer K, Guillette LJ, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2008. Aquatic Toxicology 90:188-196.

Sensitivity of brown trout reproduction to long-term estrogenic exposure. Schubert S, Peter A, Burki R, Schönenberger R, Suter MJF, Segner H, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2008. Aquatic Toxicology 90:65-72.

Decline of brown trout (Salmo trutta) in Switzerland - How to assess potential causes in a multi-factorial cause-effect relationship. Burkhardt-Holm P. 2008. Mar. Environ. Res. 66/1:181-182.

Master's Degree in Sustainable Development in Switzerland, the first master course comprising three faculties. Burkhardt-Holm P, Chebbi C. 2008. Env Sci Pollut Res 15(2):136-142.

Estrogenic endocrine disruption in Switzerland – assessment of fish exposure and effects. Burkhardt-Holm P, Segner H, Burki R, Peter A, Schubert S, Suter MJF, Borsuk ME. 2009. Chimia 62:376-382.

Fischnetz: Involving anglers, authorities, scientists and the chemical industry to understand declining fish yields. Burkhardt-Holm P. 2008. In: G. Hirsch Hadorn, H. Hoffmann-Riem, S. Biber-Klemm, W. Grossenbacher, D. Joye, C. Pohl, U. Wiesmann and E. Zemp (eds), Handbook of Transdisciplinary Research, Springer, 127-142.


Occurrence of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in brown trout bile and liver from Swiss rivers. Hartmann PC, Burkhardt-Holm P, Giger W. 2007. Environm. Poll. 146:107-113.  

Lebenswissenschaften und Allgemeine Ökologie. Gemeinsamkeiten, Unterschiede und gegenseitige Beeinflussung. Burkhardt-Holm P, Segner H. 2007. In: Di Giulio, A., Defila, R., Hammer, T., Bruppacher, S. (eds), Allgemeine Ökologie. Innovationen in Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft. Festschrift für Ruth Kaufmann-Hayoz, Haupt Verlag, Bern, 103-125.

Project Fischnetz: Decline of fish catch in Switzerland. Burkhardt-Holm P. 2007. Aquat. Sci. 69(1):1-2.  

Application of the weight-of-evidence approach to assess the decline of brown trout (Salmo trutta) in Swiss rivers. Burkhardt-Holm P, Scheurer K. 2007. Aquat. Sci. 69(1):51-70.

Reproductive health of brown trout inhabiting Swiss rivers with declining fish catch. Körner O, Vermeirssen ELM, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2007. Aquatic Sciences 69(1):26-40.

Status of young-of-the-year brown trout (Salmo trutta fario) in Swiss streams: factors influencing YOY trout recruitment. Schager E, Peter A, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2007. Aquat. Sci. 69(1):41-50.

Assessment of fish health status in four Swiss rivers showing a decline of brown trout catches. Zimmerli S, Bernet D, Burkhardt-Holm P, Schmidt-Posthaus H, Vonlanthen P, Wahli T, Segner H. 2007. Aquat. Sci. 69(1):11-25.  


Estrogenicity patterns in the Swiss midland river Lützelmurg in relation to treated domestic sewage effluent discharges and hydrology. Vermeirssen ELM, Suter MJF, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2006. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 25(9):2413-2422.

Assessment of estrogenic exposure in brown trout (Salmo trutta) in a Swiss midland river – integrated analysis of passive samplers, wild and caged fish, and vitellogenin mRNA and protein. Burki R, Vermeirssen ELM, Körner O, Joris C, Burkhardt-Holm P, Segner H. 2006. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 25(8):2077-2086.

Assessing the decline of brown trout (Salmo trutta) in Swiss rivers using a Bayesian probability network. Borsuk ME, Reichert P, Peter A, Schager E, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2006. Ecological Modelling 192:224-244.

Was ist mit unseren Fischen los? In: Fisch und Fischer aus zwei Jahrtausenden. Eine fischereiwirtschaftliche Zeitreise durch die Nordwestschweiz. Holm P. 2006. Forschungen in Augst, Schwabe, Co. AG, Muttenz.

Consequences of climatic change for water temperature and brown trout populations in Alpine rivers and streams. Hari RE, Livingstone DM, Siber R, Burkhardt-Holm P, Güttinger H. 2006. Global Change Biology 12:10-26.


Characterization of environmental estrogens in river water using a three pronged approach: active and passive water sampling and the analysis of accumulated estrogens in the bile of caged fish. Vermeirssen ELM, Körner O, Schönenberger R, Suter MJF, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2005. Environmental Science and Technology 39:8191-8198.

Where have all the fish gone? Burkhardt-Holm P, Giger W, Güttinger H, Ochsenbein U, Peter A, Scheurer K, Segner H, Staub E. 2005. Environmental Science and Technology 39:441A-447A.

Characterization of the estrogenicity of Swiss midland rivers using a recombinant yeast bioassay and plasma vitellogenin concentrations in feral male brown trout. Vermeirssen ELM, Burki R, Joris C, Peter A, Segner H, Suter MJF, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2005. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 24(9):2226-2233.

Intersex in feral brown trout from Swiss midland rivers. Körner O, Vermeirssen ELM, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2005. Journal of Fish Biology 67:1734-1740.

"Wir brauchen unbedingt stärkere Synergien!" Transdisziplinarität und Lehrforschung in der Schweiz. Oxenfarth A. & Ebermann V. 2005. Interview mit Patricia Holm. Politische Ökologie 93, 50-51.

2004 and earlier

Hochschule neu denken. Neuorientierung im Horizont der Nachhaltigkeit. Ein Memorandum. Adomßent M, Altner G, Becker E, Beckervordersandforth C, Dehler J, Fischer H, Grundwald A, Grupp H, Holm P, Jastorff B, Kreibich R, Kruse L, Michelsen G, Neuweiler G, Simonis UE. 2004. Verlag für akademische Schriften, Frankfurt, 43 pp.

Dem Fischrückgang auf der Spur. Fischnetz. Kurzbericht des Projekts Netzwerk Fischrückgang. Schipper O, Suter M, Holm P. 2004. Bundesamt für Umwelt, Schweiz.

Dem Fischrückgang auf der Spur. Fischnetz. Schlussbericht. Meili M, Scheurer K, Schipper O, Holm P. 2004. Bundesamt für Umwelt, Schweiz.

Challenges in ecotoxicology. Eggen RI, Behra R, Burkhardt-Holm P, Escher BI, Schweigert N. 2004. Environ Sci Technol. 38(3):58A-64A

Stress status of gudgeon (Gobio gobio) from rivers in Switzerland with and without input of sewage treatment plant effluent. Faller P, Kobler B, Peter A, Sumpter JP, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2003. Environ Toxicol Chem. 22(9):2063-72.

Ecotoxicological assessment of surface waters: a modular approach integrating in vitro methods. Schweigert N, Eggen RI, Escher BI, Burkhardt-Holm P, Behra R. 2002. ALTEX. 19 Suppl 1:30-7

Morphological organ alterations and infectious diseases in brown trout Salmo trutta and rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss exposed to polluted river water. Schmidt-Posthaus H, Bernet D, Wahli T, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2001. Dis Aquat Organ. 44(3):161-70.

Effluent from a sewage treatment works causes changes in serum chemistry of brown trout (Salmo trutta L.). Bernet D, Schmidt H, Wahli T, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2001. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 48(2):140-7.

Nonylphenol provokes a vesiculation of the Golgi apparatus in three fish epidermis cultures. Lamche G, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2000. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 47(2):137-48.

Nonylphenol affects the granulation pattern of epidermal mucous cells in rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss. Burkhardt-Holm P, Wahli T, Meier W. 2000. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 46(1):34-40.

Exposure of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) to nonylphenol is associated with an increased chloride cell fractional surface area. Stoffel MH, Wahli T, Friess AE, Burkhardt-Holm P. 2000. Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd. 142(5):263-7.

Toxicity of 4-chloroaniline in early life stages of zebrafish (Danio rerio): Cytopathology and regeneration of liver and gills after prolonged exposure to waterborne 4-chloroaniline. Burkhardt-Holm P, Oulmi Y, Schroeder A, Storch V, Braunbeck T. 1999. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 37(1):85-102.

Increase of metallothionein-immunopositive chloride cells in the gills of brown trout and rainbow trout after exposure to sewage treatment plant effluents. Burkhardt-Holm P, Bernet D, Hogstrand C. 1999. Histochem J. 31(6):339-46.

Transient increase in chloride cell number and heat shock protein expression (hsp70) in brown trout (Salmo trutta fario) exposed to sudden temperature elevation. Schmidt H, Posthaus H, Busato A, Wahli T, Meier W, Burkhardt-Holm P. 1998. Biol Chem. 379(10):1227-33.

Immunohistochemical detection of vitellogenin in male brown trout from Swiss rivers. Wahli T, Meier W, Segner H, Burkhardt-Holm P. 1998. Histochem J. 30(10):753-8.

Primary culture of dispersed skin epidermal cells of rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss Walbaum. Lamche G, Meier W, Suter M, Burkhardt-Holm P. 1998. Cell Mol Life Sci. 54(9):1042-51.

Heat shock protein (hsp70) in brown trout epidermis after sudden temperature rise. Burkhardt-Holm P, Schmidt H, Meier W. 1998. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 120(1):35-41.

Lectin histochemistry of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) gill and skin. Burkhardt-Holm P. 1997. Histochem J. 29(11-12):893-9.

Testosterone elevates expression of tenascin-R and oligomannosidic carbohydrates in developing male zebra finches. Burkhardt-Holm P, Kafitz KW, Güttinger HR, Schachner M. 1996. J Neurosci Res. 46(3):385-92.

Exogenous testosterone alters expression pattern of cell recognition molecules in brains of juvenile zebra finches. Burkhardt-Holm P, Kafitz KW, Güttinger HR, Schachner M. 1995. Neuroreport. 6(3):433-6.

Rainbow trout and zebrafish, two models for continuous toxicity tests: relative sensitivity, species and organ specificity in cytopathologic reaction of liver and intestines to atrazine. Braunbeck T, Burkhardt-Holm P, Görge G, Nagel R, Negele RD, Storch V. 1992. Schriftenr Ver Wasser Boden Lufthyg. 89:109-45.


Prof. Dr.
Patricia Holm

Program MSE
University of Basel

Vesalgasse 1
CH-4051 Basel

Tel: +41 61 207 04 02