I am an organic biogeochemist: I use chemicals of micro- and other organisms to find out what they eat, where they get their food from, and how much greenhouse gas they produce. I then use these molecules to answer questions about past environments - from thousands to hundreds of millions of years ago. In order to answer more questions and find better answers, I develop and improve analytical methods for these chemicals.
Keywords: Biogeochemistry; Stable isotopes; Carbon cycling; Paleoclimate; Environmental Chemistry; Organic Geochemistry
A more detailed explanation:
My research topics have developed out of a strong interest in analytical techniques for detection of biomarkers / polar molecules and microbial ecology / biogeochemistry. I worked on Archaea (production and biodegradation of lipids) in sediments, on products of microbial biodegradation of oil, on polar compounds (sterols) in sponges and fossil concretions. Now, I am working on a way to enable the determination of the stable isotopic composition of large, polar biomarkers for the methane cycle. For my research, I use highly developed analytical methods such as HPLC-ESI-MSn, GC-IRMS, GCxGC-TOFMS and GC-IRMS. I am also very interested in the use of advanced data processing and statistical methods for geochemistry, in order to investigate patterns of naturally produced and anthropogenic compounds in the environment, and to compare recent organisms or samples with fossil biomarker distributions.
Grants & contracts
2014 Rubicon Fellowship (NWO, Netherlands Organization for scientific research), for conducting research on the methane cycle at the University of Bristol with Prof. R. Pancost (151 000 €)
2007 Double Degree program (Cranfield University / Graz University ofTechnology), for courses in Environmental Diagnostics and Master’s dissertation at Cranfield University, UK (ca. 4 000 €)
2006 Vulcanus in Japan Fellowship, EU/Japan Center for industrial Cooperation, for studies of Japanese language/business culture andinternship (15 000 €)2006 Faculty of science grant, University of Graz, for attendance of a course in Arctic Microbiology, University of Trømsø – The University Center in Svalbard, Norway (ca.1 000 €)
2004 Erasmus scholarship, Graz University of Technology, for studies at theUniversity of Oviedo, Spain (ca. 4 000 €)
Biogeochemistry Research Centre (BGC)
Petroleum and Environmental Geochemistry