UA Ruhr News Center

02. 05. 2024

Ecotoxicologist Professor Ralf B. Schäfer strengthens water research

Top-class expertise for the Research Center One Health Ruhr of the Research Alliance and the Excellence Strategy: environmental scientist Prof. Dr. Ralf B. Schäfer has accepted an appointment at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

The renowned scientist will strengthen the university's international cutting-edge research in the field of water research. The scientist moved from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern-Landau to the Ruhr region in April.

How do microorganisms and invertebrates in bodies of water react to human influences such as pollutants and climate change? This is what Prof. Dr. Ralf B. Schäfer is researching. "I'm interested in how these reactions affect ecosystems, for example the conversion of nutrients," explains the researcher. He specializes in ecotoxicology and ecology and is experienced in chemical and statistical analysis, e.g. for modelling water risks, such as those posed by agricultural pesticides.

At the Research Center One Health Ruhr, Schäfer wants to research the connection between biodiversity in water bodies and human health. "We are delighted that Professor Schäfer will be conducting research with us in the future," emphasizes Prof. Dr. Dirk Schadendorf, Director of the Research Alliance Center. "With his profile, he fits perfectly into the research agenda of One Health Ruhr, because here we are researching the well-being of human society in direct connection with the quality and health of our environment," Schadendorf continues. "At the Center, for example, I would like to investigate how wastewater treatment plant inputs into the ecosystem contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains," adds Schäfer.

Prof. Dr. Ralf B. Schäfer
Prof. Dr. Ralf B. Schäfer
© UDE / Fabian Strauch

At the University of Duisburg-Essen, the environmental expert will strengthen the water research profile, which is unique in Germany. "With his proven scientific expertise, Professor Schäfer enriches our research profile in water and health research at the University of Duisburg-Essen and above all in the Research Alliance Ruhr," explains Rector Prof. Dr. Barbara Albert.

Ralf. B Schäfer studied environmental sciences (1997-2003) at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg and statistics, philosophy and sociology (2003/04) at the University of Kassel. He then went to the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig as a doctoral student, received his doctorate in environmental sciences in 2008 and was a postdoc at the Australian RMIT University, Melbourne, until 2010. In 2010, he accepted a junior professorship at the University of Koblenz-Landau, where he also completed his habilitation (2013). From 2016 until his appointment at UDE, he researched and taught as Professor of Landscape Ecology in Landau at what is now the Rhineland-Palatinate Technical University of Kaiserlautern-Landau.

Further information

Prof. Dr. Ralf B. Schäfer, Professor for Ecotoxicology Research Center One Health Ruhr, University Alliance Ruhr & Faculty of Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Tel. 0201/18 3-3962,