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Stefan Becker

Doctoral Students


Research group Marine Glycobiology


+49 421 218-65752



MARUM Pavillon, Raum 0040

Stefan Becker


since 04/2015  Ph.D. student in the Joint Research Group for Marine Glycobiology (MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University Bremen and Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology)
 09/2011 – 07/2014 Master of Science in Biotechnology at the University of Applied Sciences Bremerhaven
Master thesis: »Effects of organic carbon enrichment on benthic bacterial communities from the Arctic deep sea (HAUSGARTEN, Fram Strait)«
 09/2007 – 05/2011 Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology at the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt
Bachelor thesis: »Analysis of the hypoallergenic potential of Gly m 5.03 – a major allergen in soybean«

PhD project: Dissecting the marine carbon cycle one molecule at a time

I am working on the application of evolutionary principles to solve the problem of glycans being structurally highly diverse and notoriously difficult to analyze or quantify in natural samples. Microbes evolved to overcome the diversity of glycan’s in nature because they have adapted enzymes many of which are highly substrate specific. First, the highly specific enzymes are identified and cloned from bacterial genomes or metagenomes so that they can be used in the next step to cleave a glycan selectively in algae or marine organic matter. The enzymes work similar to how restriction enzymes cleave DNA, and the breakdown products can more easily be identified and quantified to establish an inventory of glycans in the ocean for a better understanding of their role in the marine carbon cycle. Aside from this primary application in environmental science, the enzymes also have an obvious biotechnological potential because they convert glycans into fermentable sugars for biofuels or other applications. The published enzymes are being shared with the scientific community through the Addgene plasmid repository.

Research interests

  • Marine glycobiology
  • Carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZymes)
  • Structural biology
  • Marine carbon cycle
  • Protein and carbohydrate biochemistry
  • Microalgae
  • Biotechnological applications


  • Becker, S., Scheffel, A., Polz, M. F., & Hehemann, J.-H. (2017). Accurate quantification of laminarin in marine organic matter with enzymes from marine microbes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.03389-16