PD Dr. Thomas Maskow


PD Dr. Thomas Maskow

Department of Environmental Microbiology
Working Group Ecothermodynamics / Biocalorimetry
Helmholtz Centre for
Environmental Research - UFZ
Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany

Phone +49 341 235-1328

Thomas Maskow

CV / Scientific Career


Diploma in Theoretical and Physical Chemistry,
TU Leuna-Merseburg


PhD, University of Halle-Wittenberg;
Subject: 'Thermodynamics of complex multicomponent mixtures'


Head of the analytical division of the engineering consultants 'R. Meyer Laboranalysen Umwelttechnik GmbH'


Postdoc at the Department of Environmental Microbiology at the UFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle

since 2001

Senior scientist at the Department of Environmental Microbiology at the UFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle


Guest researcher at the Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Aberystwyth (University of Wales Aberystwyth College Research Fund)


Guest researcher at the Laboratoire de Genie Chimique et Biologique (LGCB), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (founded by EPFL)


Habilitation at the Technical University Dresden ' Thermodynamic Characterization and Calorimetric Control of Microorganisms in Transient Growth States '.

2006 - 2009

Election in the ' Scientific and Technical Council ' of the Helmholtz Centre of Environmental Research UFZ

2007 - 2009

Guest researcher for one month per year at China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, Hubei province, P.R. China (founded by DAAD/CSC)

2010 - 2012

Chair person of the ISBC (International Society for Biological Calorimetry)

14 June 2018

Awarded with the Lavoisier-Medal by the International Society for Biological Calorimetry (ISBC)

Research interests

I am highly interested in a quantitative understanding of bioconversions in natural and technical systems. This is a basic prerequisite to develop a sustainable chemistry and to clean up polluted sites. Irreversible thermodynamics is for that purpose though particularly valuable but surprisingly seldom used. Thus, I develop both biothermodynamic models and new real time analytical tools for analysis and control of complex biological systems. The field of applications of such models and tools comprises the adaptation of microbes to hostile environments, food webs in ecosystems, new concepts for bioenergy generation and optimization of technical biosynthesizes. The consideration of heterogeneous systems (e.g. biofilms, subsurface processes) or the inclusion of light (e.g. photosynthesis) and electrical energy (e.g. microbial fuel cells) in biothermodynamic considerations are challenges for the future.

Current research

  • Energetics of biofilms
  • Biothermodynamic models for complex networks in metabolism (system biology) as well as in ecosystems
  • Development of thermal bio-chip technologies
  • Research on new control strategies for bioprocesses basing on physical signals which reflects metabolic changes in statu nascendi,e.g. calorimetry, impedance spectroscopy and redox processes
  • Extremophiles as source and producers of valuable products (main focus: protector molecules like compatible solutes)

Lecture course

Bioprocess technology, BA Riesa University of Cooperative Education

Biophysics and biophysical chemistry; study course: Bioprocess engineering (WS), Dresden University of Technology

Innovative potential of white biotechnology; (System biology, Biothermodynamics, Extremophiles); branch of study: Biology and Biochemistry (SS), Leipzig University

Other Professional Activities

  • DECHEMA - member of the working group "Bioprocess technology"
  • DECHEMA - member of the working group "Biothermodynamics"
  • Editorial Board Member of "Engineering in Life Sciences", "Bioenergetics"

Selected Co-operations / Projects

  • Title: Development of a method and device for quick and easy detection of Legionella. Funding: BMWi;  ZIM Cooperation projects (01.06.2018 - 31.05.2021), Cooperation with 3 SMEs 
  • Title: Glycolysis: Thermodynamics and predictions of metabolic pathways. Funding: DFG (01.06.2016 - 31.05. 2019), Cooperation: S. Verevkin (Uni Rostock), Ch. Held (TU Dortmund)
  • Title: Global Climate Changes Influence CO2-Fixation by Phytoplankton Photosynthesis - a Biothermodynamic Analysis. Funding: HIGRADE-Helmholtz (01.09.2008 - 31.08.2011), Cooperation: Ch. Wilhelm (Uni Leipzig)
  • Title: Biothermodynamics and Miniaturized Calorimeters for Biofilm Analysis and Control. Funding: DFG (01.03.2010 - 29.02.2012), Cooperation: J. Lerchner (TU Freiberg)
  • Title: Development of calorimeters as real time instruments to analyze and control complex environmental bioprocesses. Funding: DAAD/CSC (01/2007 - 12/2009) Cooperation: Yao Jun -Wuhan University China
  • Title: Analysis and control of bioprocesses with chip-calorimetry. Funding: AiF (01.03.2007 - 27.02.2009), Cooperation: J. Büchs - RWTH Aachen, J. Lerchner - TU Freiberg + 7 medium sized companies
  • Title: Biothermodynamic characterization and analysis of biofilms with new chip-calorimetry Funding: DFG (01.07.2006 - 30.06.2008), Cooperation: J. Lerchner (TU Freiberg)
  • Title: Production of chiral R-3-hydroxyalkanoates from methylotrophic bacteria using renewable raw materials, Funding: AiF (03/2007 - 11/2008), Cooperation: U. Breuer - UFZ, L. Braun - UIT Dresden
  • Title: From waste products to valuable materials: Innovative use of calorimetry and genetic engineering for increasing the efficiency of a procedure for the synthesis of compatible solutesn, Funding: AiF (02/2004 - 01/2007), Cooperation: U. Breuer - UFZ, W. Loettel - BEC GmbH
  • Title: Optimization of genetically modified yeasts as producers of biopolymers using renewable raw materials, Funding: IB Investitionsbank Sachsen-Anhalt (12/2004 -12/2006), Cooperation: U. Breuer - UFZ, G. Kunze - Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research Gatersleben, W. Loettel - BEC

Publikationen / Publications

Vorlesungen / Lectures