Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management
Professor Holden studies the microbiology of engineered and natural systems. Two main environmental problems are currently being studied in the Holden lab: 1) bioavailability constraints on the biodegradation of non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) hydrocarbon pollutants in soil, and 2) distribution of pathogenic bacteria in coastal environments. Part of the Holden lab interest includes gaining a fundamental understanding of bacterial growth habits in unsaturated porous media such as soil and sand. Thus, Professor Holden and her students also study bacterial biofilms in unsaturated environments with an objective of knowing when and where they form in soil and how the extracellular polymers associated with biofilms affect pollutant bioavailability and biodegradation. Professor Holden, with colleagues in engineering, chemistry and materials, recently acquired an environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) for use in visualizing soft matter including bacterial biofilms.
Professor Holden is an environmental microbiologist appointed in the Bren School at UCSB with formal affiliations in Mechanical Engineering, Earth Science, and Ecology, Evolutionary and Marine Biology (EEMB) at UCSB. Holden's research regards the physiology and ecology of bacteria involved in pollutant biotransformations, coastal water health, interactions of engineered nanoparticles with bacterial cells, and soil processes.