Environmental Chemistry of Biomolecules

Elisabeth Janssen

Group Leader

I am a chemist focussing on the environmental behaviour of natural toxins, aquatic enzymes and micropollutants. My group investigates the occurrence and how long-lived these (bio)molecules are in surface waters. I have built an expertise for analytical solutions to study site-specific damage of molecules and environmental transformation processes (photochemical and enzymatic).

Simon Wullschleger

Research Assistant

I am an environmental scientist. I am most interested in analytical chemistry, working with LC-MS. The past three years I have analysed micropollutants in, on, and around biofilm as part of the Ecoimpact2-team. Here I will continue working with LC-MS, using new methods for the analysis of cyanopeptides.

Xuejian Wang

PhD Student

I am a half-microbiologist and half-chemist. I focused on environmental microbiology during my master’s study and developed a great interest in cyanobacteria. Now I will conduct my PhD’s study from the chemistry side, and I would like to build NRPs profiles and study their stability in surface waters.

Synthetic Microbial Ecology

David Johnson

Group Leader

I am a microbial ecologist with the goal of understanding how interactions between different cell-types give rise to complex dynamics and system-level properties. I use synthetic ecology approaches, where we build ecosystems from individual parts (i.e., cell-types) and quantify their dynamics and behaviors. I am primarily an experimentalist, but enjoy playing with mathematical models whenever possible. I also enjoy Greyhound dogs and preventing my kids from destroying my house.

Agustina Ziliani

PhD Student

I am an environmental biotechnologist with a newfound interest in synthetic microbial ecology. Most of my previous studies have focused on the microbiology of wastewater treatment plants, with a metabolic and molecular focus. Now, I will be conducting my PhD undertaking the synthetic microbiology side of the project  by studying the relative fitness of toxic cyanobacteria relative to a range of competitors and different biotic and abiotic conditions.

Phytoplankton Ecology

Francesco Pomati

Group Leader

I am a microbial ecologist with broad interests in community dynamics and evolution of microbes. I’m in love with aquatic ecosystems. I aim at understanding how plankton communities function, maintain high biodiversity and respond to the effects of environmental change. I like to play with new tools to study plankton in the field, focusing on individual and population responses and how they influence ecosystem level interactions.

Marta Reyes


As an aquatic ecologist, I am broadly interested in aquatic food web dynamics and ecosystem processes, as well as in their responses to environmental change. I have worked with several groups of organisms in the past, including fishes and macroinvertebrates, but I am currently most fascinated by the beauty of phytoplankton.

Pinelopi Ntetsika

PhD Student

I am a freshly graduated ecologist excited to start my PhD in cyanoHABs. I have a strong interest in aquatic ecosystems and I am particularly keen on studying contemporary evolution in a community context. In this project, I aim to understand the eco-evolutionary mechanisms that trigger cyanoHABs. I enjoy exchanging ideas and working in an interdisciplinary environment.

Raphaël Bossart


I am a well-rounded research technician at the department of Aquatic Ecology (Eco) at Eawag. I am involved in a multitude of different projects where I am mainly involved in questions and issues related to molecular biology but not exclusively. I was trained as a Lab technician at ETH’s Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) and I have a bachelor in Biotechnology. I like science and being in Nature.

Stefanie Merkli

Research Assistant

I am an ecologist with a background in biology and environmetal sciences and a heart for plankton. I developed my interests during my master thesis in Francesco’s group. After a short detour and internship with the cantonal authorities, I returned to Eawag as a Research Assistant exploring field work, the lab and data.

Theoretical Ecology and Evolution

Rudolf Rohr

Group Leader

I’m a theoretical ecologist and evolutionary biologist. I aim to study how co-evolutionary forces shape communities and their functioning, and in turn, how co-evolution is determined by the ecological dynamics feedback. My research interests included eco-evolution, coexistence theory, ecosystem-functioning, and ecological networks.

Phuong Nguyen


I am an evolutionary biologist. I’m not particularly interested in any specific species or biological system as I find each system is fascinating in its own way. I focus on understanding general evolutionary mechanisms using mathematical models and hope to be able to incorporate empirical work to justify my models.


Olga Schubert

Senior Research Assistant

I’m a molecular systems biologist and ecologist interested in how microorganisms interact with each other. In my research, I integrate genome-wide molecular omics characterizations and large-scale genetic engineering, with live-cell microscopy and different modelling approaches.

Former members

Deepthi Vinod

Intern with David Johnson

I am a biotechnologist and an aspiring microbial ecologist. During my Master’s thesis in Dave’s group, I developed a passion for building cool tools using molecular biology in the lab. Now, I am using this passion for molecular biology for the synthetic microbiology side of the project.


Überlandstrasse 133
8600 Dübendorf