Staff

Kathrin Fenner

Dr. Kathrin Fenner

Senior scientist

Department Environmental Chemistry

About Me

I am passionate about learning how chemicals degrade in the environment and whether any hazardous transformation products are formed during degradation. The ultimate goal of my research is to develop more accurate methods to assess persistence and risk from transformation product formation in regulatory risk assessment procedures. My research focuses on the following three areas in particular.

  1. Prediction of biodegradation pathways and rates
    Current (Q)SBRs tools to predict biodegradation half-lives produce highly uncertain results and available pathway prediction tools suffer from combinatorial explosion due to a lack of methods to prioritize possible pathways. In my research, I mine biotransformation pathway and rate information to develop novel algorithms for biotransformation prediction. In parallel, my team performs bioreactor experiments with pertinent microbial communities and employ high-resolution mass spectrometry to identify transformation products to use that data to further improve biotransformation prediction
  2. Hazard and risk assessment of transformation products
    The goal of this aspect of my research is to develop models and indicators to predict and assess the environmental fate of transformation products. In collaboration with the team of Prof. B. Escher (UFZ Leipzig, Universität Tübingen) we are developing methods to estimate mixture toxicity of transformation products and their parent compound, using the strong structural resemblance to the parent compounds and what is known about parent toxicity as a guiding principle.
  3. Improved tools for persistence assessment
  4. Persistence assessment is key to all chemical legislations in Europe. In my research, I try to contribute to a critical reflection of current persistence assessment paradigms and methods. For instance, I introduced the concept of joint persistence as novel persistence indicator that accounts for transformation product formation. Currently, I am also working on a project that evaluates the value of the OECD 308 guideline for evaluation of persistence of chemicals at the sediment-water interface.

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Projects

Predicting environment-specific biotransformation of chemical contaminants
Biodegradation simulation tests are an essential element of environmental risk assessment in most chemical regulations.

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Curriculum Vitae

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Selected publications

Wicker,J.; Lorsbach,T.; Gütlein,M.; Schmid,E.; Latino,D.; Kramer,S.; Fenner,K. (2016) enviPath – The environmental contaminant biotransformation pathway resource, Nucleic Acids Research, 44(D1), D502-D508, doi:10.1093/nar/gkv1229, Institutional Repository
Gulde,R.; Meier,U.; Schymanski,E.L.; Kohler,H.P.E.; Helbling,D.E.; Derrer,S.; Rentsch,D.; Fenner,K. (2016) Systematic exploration of biotransformation reactions of amine-containing micropollutants in activated sludge, Environmental Science and Technology, 50(6), 2908-2920, doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b05186, Institutional Repository
Lee,M.; Zimmermann-Steffens,S.G.; Arey,J.S.; Fenner,K.; von Gunten,U. (2015) Development of prediction models for the reactivity of organic compounds with ozone in aqueous solution by quantum chemical calculations: Role of delocalized and localized molecular orbitals, Environmental Science and Technology, 49(16), 9925-9935, doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b00902, Institutional Repository
Johnson,D.R.; Helbling,D.E.; Men,Y.; Fenner,K. (2015) Can meta-omics help to establish causality between contaminant biotransformations and
genes or gene products?
, Environmental Science: Water Resource & Technology, 1, 272-278, doi:10.1039/c5ew00016e, Institutional Repository
Honti,M.; Fenner,K. (2015) Deriving persistence indicators from regulatory water-sediment studies - Opportunities and limitations in OECD 308 data, Environmental Science and Technology, 49(10), 5879-5886, doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b00788, Institutional Repository
Johnson,D.R.; Helbling,D.E.; Lee,T.K.; Park,J.; Fenner,K.; Kohler,H.P.E.; Ackermann,M. (2015) Association of biodiversity with the rates of micropollutant biotransformations among full-scale wastewater treatment plant communities, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 81(2), 666-675, doi:10.1128/AEM.03286-14, Institutional Repository
Gulde,R.; Helbling,D.E.; Scheidegger,A.; Fenner,K. (2014) pH-Dependent biotransformation of Ionizable organic micropollutants in activated sludge, Environmental Science and Technology, 48(23), 13760-13768, doi:10.1021/es5037139, Institutional Repository
Fenner,K.; Canonica,S.; Wackett,L.P.; Elsner,M. (2013) Evaluating pesticide degradation in the environment: Blind spots and emerging opportunities, Science, 341(6147), 752-758, doi:10.1126/science.1236281, Institutional Repository
Helbling,D.E.; Ackermann,M.; Fenner,K.; Kohler,H.P.E.; Johnson,D.R. (2012) The activity level of a microbial community function can be predicted from its metatranscriptome, ISME Journal, 6(4), 902-904, doi:10.1038/ismej.2011.158, Institutional Repository
Helbling,D.E.; Johnson,D.R.; Honti,M.; Fenner,K. (2012) Micropollutant biotransformation kinetics associate with WWTP process parameters and microbial community characteristics, Environmental Science and Technology, 46(19), 10579-10588, doi:10.1021/es3019012, Institutional Repository

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Address

E-Mail: kathrin.fenner@eawag.ch
Phone: +41 58 765 5085
Fax: +41 58 765 5802
Address: Eawag
Überlandstrasse 133
8600 Dübendorf
Office: BU E19

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Research Group

See my team page

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