Our lab seeks to unravel complex microbial community composition and function in environmental and engineered systems, and understand how they can be harnessed to help society develop in a sustainable manner. Research involves components of the urban water cycle in the context of nutrient and carbon removal from wastewater treatment systems, understanding factors driving community and functional assembly in urban waterways, and studying the effect of microbial and chemical pollution in freshwater systems.
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.