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Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hinrichs

Organic Geochemistry, University of Bremen

Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hinrichs

Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hinrichs

© DFG / David Ausserhofer

Kai-Uwe Hinrichs brings together geochemistry and microbiology in his research. Hinrichs is especially interested in understanding how particular micro-organisms affect the carbon cycle, and how these processes afftect our planet. Early in his career he showed that the deep oceanic biosphere is inhabited by archaea. These single-celled micro-organisms play a role in the production of both methane and complex hydrocarbons such as ethane and propane; phenomena about which little was known at the time. Hinrichs developed an innovative method of examining organic molecules – also known as biomarkers – contained in geological environmental samples, which he used to identify and quantify microbial processes. In other research Hinrichs has studied mass mortality phenomena, evolutionary niches, and archaebacteria, addressing research questions with implications extending beyond biogeochemistry into the fields of evolutionary biology and research into the origins of life.

A trained chemical scientist, Kai-Uwe Hinrichs wrote his diploma dissertation in organic geochemistry in Oldenburg, and went on to complete a doctorate in this field. Hinrichs was drawn to his core research areas during his time as a post-doctoral graduate at the world-famous Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the USA, where he was subsequently made an Assistant Professor before transferring to the University of Bremen in 2002. A professor of the Department of Geosciences at the University of Bremen, Hinrichs is a prominent member of MARUM, the DFG Oceanographic Research Centre and cluster of excellence in Bremen. Kai-Uwe Hinrichs was recently also awarded a prestigious European Research Council Advanced Grant.