We are an interdisciplinary research group working at the interface of microbiology and environmental engineering. A central theme is the role of microbial communities in various environments ranging from bioreactors to clean contaminated waters to the interactions between sediment bacteria and various bacterial and viral pathogens. Our research is underpinned by ecological principles and theories as applied to community succession and functional traits. In other words, we want to understand how microbial communities provide ecosystem services and enhance bioreactor performance.
Stefan was born and raised in Germany. He caught the travel bug early and went to study Microbiology at the National University of Ireland, Galway, before embarking on an interdisciplinary PhD in Environmental Sciences with Joe Cooney at the University of Massachusetts in the U.S. He did his post-doc in molecular biology on heavy metal resistance in bacteria in the laboratory of Max Mergeay at VITO in Belgium, in collaboration with Daniel van der Lelie and Jean-Marc Collard. During that time, Stefan was a recipient of an EU postdoctoral scholarship. Next he moved back to Germany and began working on public health and engineering-related research questions at Technical University Munich. In 2001, he obtained his Dr. habil. In Environmental Biotechnology and accepted a faculty position in Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis. In 2011, Stefan co-founded the Singapore Centre of Environmental Life Sciences Engineering at Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore with Staffan Kjelleberg, Stephan Schuster, Mike Givskov and colleagues. Since 2016 he is a full-time Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. When not in lab, he enjoys long-distance running, exploring Southeast Asian countries and culture, dappling in folk guitar music, and spending time with family.