Dr. Ivonne Nijenhuis

Contact / Address:


Phone + 49 (0) 341 235 1356

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Permoserstrasse 15
04318 Leipzig


Curriculum Vitae

2004 -current
Senior Scientist, Department technical Biogeochemistry (up to 2023 Isotope Biogeochemistry)
from 04.2022 Member of the Works Council
09.2022-12.2023 Staff Unit Change Manangement // Internationalisation
04.2020- 08.2022 Scientific Manager Integration Platform 'Tapping nature's potential for sustainable production and a healthy environment-TapNature'; Research Unit Environmental Engineering and Biotechnology
2009-2020 Working Group Leader 'organohalide geomicrobiology'
2016 Habilitation in natural sciences, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
2013 Certified Manager, Helmholtz Academy for managers Malik Management Centre St. Gallen
2010-2015 Coordinator European Union FP7 'People' programme Initial Training Network CSI:ENVIRONMENT
2009-2017 Elected employee representative member of the supervisory board of the UFZ
2002 -
Post-Doctoral Scientist EU Marie Curie Host Development fellowship (BIOISOTOPE) European expert in Anaerobic Microbiology, UFZ-Leipzig
2002 Ph.D. in Microbiology; Cornell University, USA
1996 M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences; Wageningen Agricultural University, the Netherlands

Professional & Research interests

My research in the Department of technical Biogeochemistry focuses on the anaerobic biotransformation of halogenated organic contaminants and the application of stable isotope concepts. Currently, these are applied in the BMBF funded project KONATES, addressing the question on how aquifer thermal energy storage affects the in situ biotransformation of halogenated groundwater contaminants, i.e. chlorinated ethenes.

My main expertise include 1) understanding of microbial transformation of chlorinated and brominated ethenes and ethanes, halogenated pesticides, e.g. hexachlorocyclohexane, and pharmaceuticals, e.g. diclofenac, and 2) development and application of multi-element compound-specific stable isotope (C, Cl, Br, H) fractionation as a tool to analyse microbial reactions and biotransformation in situ.


2011-2019 the DFG Forschergruppe "FOR1530 'Anaerobic Dehalogenation: Organisms, Biochemistry and (Eco-) Physiology'" links research groups in Jena, Halle and Leipzig. Within this project, I was in charge of sub-project 05: 'Characterisation of microbial dehalogenation using compound specific stable isotope analysis'.

Within the European Union FP7 project "GENESIS" we investigated how biogeochemical processes affect natural attenuation of chlorinated benzenes and are focusing on the microbial community involved in contaminant biotransformation.

From 2010-2015, I coordinated the European Union FP7 'People' programme Initial Training Network "CSI:ENVIRONMENT". In this project, 10 Partners and 4 Associated Partners from 9 European countries will work on 'Isotope forensics meets biogeochemistry - linking sources and sinks of organic contaminants by compound specific isotope investigation'.

2012-2014, Joint German-Israeli Water Technology Programme “Development of innovative tools for the assessment of in situ biodegradation of organobromine contaminant in groundwater” – INTIME. In this 3 year project we will investigate the application of CSIA for assessment of the natural attenuation of brominated groundwater contaminants.

Publications (in co-operation with the UFZ)