Patricia Holden

Headshot of Patricia Holden pouring liquid in a jar in a nature setting


(805) 893-3195
Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, Room 3508
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5070

Research Description: 

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.