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ERC: Basic Research in the Field of Marine Carbon Storage [March 2022]

Fotos: Jens Lehmkühler

Jan-Hendrik Hehemann has been awarded the ERC Consolidator Grant, one of the European Research Council's most highly endowed awards. He and engineering scientist Andreas Fischer, also from the University of Bremen, will each receive around 2 million euros for their foundation research in the coming years.

More information

Heisenberg Professorship for Dr. Jan-Hendrik Hehemann from the Faculty of Biology/Chemistry / New working group investigates the relevance of fiber in marine cycles

Jan-Hendrik Hehemann
Fotos. Volker Diekamp

[March 2021]

"Dear Professor Jan-Hendrik

We are very proud of you and happy to be part of your team"


More information on the Heisenberg-Professorship

Nguyen P. Nguyen

[November 2020] We wel­co­me Nguyen P. Nguyen as new PhD student in our group

Nadine Gerlach

[October 2020] Suc­cess­ful PhD de­fen­se of Nadine Gerlach

Con­gra­tu­la­ti­on to Nadine Gerlach, who suc­cess­ful­ly de­fen­ded her doc­to­ral the­sis with the tit­le "Macroalgae polysaccharides- a bittersweet feast for ma­ri­ne bac­te­ria"


Joris Krull

[June 2020] We wel­co­me Joris Krull as new PhD student in our group.


[February 2020] Congratulations for the new appointments of our two former PhD students

We wish our two succesful PhDs students Agata Mystkowska and Stefan Becker all the best in their new jobs as Science and Innovation Manager at mk2 Biotechnologies in Munich (Germany) and Scientist Bioconjugates at Lonza in Visp (Switzerland).

The Plant Journal

[January 2020] Publication in The Plant Journal

Plant species‐specific recognition of long and short β‐1,3‐linked glucans is mediated by different receptor systems (Link).




[November 2019] We welcome Yi Xu as new PhD student and fellow of the China Scholarship Council (CSC).


Jan-Hendrik Hehemann with some Ulva near Roscoff, France

[July 2019] Publication in Nature Chemical Biology

A marine bacterial enzymatic cascade degrades the algal polysaccharide ulvan (Link).


Thorsten Dittmar, Jan-Hendrik Hehemann, Agata Mystkowska and Nicole Koropatkin (from left to right)

[July 2019] Successful PhD defense of Agata Mystkowska

Congratulation to Agata Mystkowska, who successfully defended her doctoral thesis with the title "Carbohydrate-binding proteins from marine bacteria".


[July 2019] Jan-Hendrik Hehemann will talk at FEMS2019 and GRC

Jan-Hendrik Hehemann is going to give a talk at the 8th Congress of European Microbiologists (FEMS2019), which will take place from July 7-11 in Glasgow, Scotland. He will also talk at the Gordon Research Conference on Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes for Glycan Conversions, which will take place from July 21-26 at the Proctor Academy in Andover, New Hampshire, United States.


Photo: Huebi/Wikipedia; CC-BY 2.5

[June 2019] Retreat on the island of Spiekeroog

For three days our group retreated to the island of Spiekeroog, in the western part of the German Bight, one of our main research areas. We discussed the future directions of our scientific work and the local ecosystem was explained to us in detail by the educators at the Nationalpark-Haus Wittbülten.


[May 2019] We welcome Jaagni Parnami and Hagen Buck-Wiese as new PhDs in our group.



[April 2019] Publication in The ISME Journal

Single cell fluorescence imaging of glycan uptake by intestinal bacteria (Link).


[March 2019] We welcome Nicola Steinke and Mikkel Schultz-Johansen as new PostDocs in our group.



[February 2019] Publication in New Phytologist

FGB1 and WSC3 are in planta‐induced β‐glucan‐binding fungal lectins with different functions (Link)


[January 2019] MARUM Research Award for Stefan Becker

Congratulations to Stefan Becker for receiving the MARUM Research Award for his doctoral thesis: "Biocatalytic quantification of laminarin - a major carbohydrate polymer in the Ocean".


[January 2019] BremenIDEA Grant awarded to Andreas Sichert

Congratulations to Andreas Sichert for obtaining a BremenIDEA out Grant from the University of Bremen and the DAAD! This Grant will support his visit to the MIT to do a part of his PhD work in the lab of Otto Cordero where he will learn metagenomics.





[December 2018] Publication in Biochemical Journal

Specificity and mechanism of carbohydrate demethylation by cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (Link)



[October 2018] Publication in The FEBS Journal

In this study, we characterized a surface protein, GMSusD from the planktonic BacteroidetesGramella sp. MAR_2010_102 that thrives during algal blooms. Our biochemical and structural analyses show that GMSusD binds glucose polysaccharides such as branched laminarin and linear pustulan. We queried metagenomes of global surface water datasets for the occurrence of SusD‐like proteins and found sequences with the three structurally conserved residues in different locations in the ocean. Our findings provide insight into the molecular details of β‐glucan binding by GMSusD and our bioinformatic analysis reveals that this molecular interaction may contribute to glucan cycling in the surface ocean (Link).



[September 2018] We welcome Guoying Huang as new PhD student and fellow of the China Scholarship Council (CSC).


© S. Becker, MARUM

[August 2018] Glycobiology session at the ISME 17 conference

Nicole Koropatkin (UMich) and Jan-Hendrik Hehemann chaired the first session on the 'Importance of glycobiology in microbial interactions' at the 17th conference of the International Society for Microbial Ecology in Leipzig, Germany. Invited speakers were Otto X. Cordero (MIT) and Mario Murakami (CNPEM).



[August 2018] Two new publications in The ISME Journal

  • Biphasic cellular adaptations and ecological implications of Alteromonas macleodii degrading a mixture of algal polysaccharides (Link)


  • Polysaccharide utilization loci of North Sea Flavobacteriia as basis for using SusC/D-protein expression for predicting major phytoplankton glycans (Link)


Photo: W. Rademacher/Wikipedia; CC-BY-SA 3.0

[August 2018] Retreat on the island of Norderney

For three days our group retreated to the island of Norderney, in the western part of the German Bight, one of our main research areas. We discussed the future directions of our scientific work. Besides, we took windsurfing lessions and explored the island by bike.



[July 2018] Publication in The ISME Journal

In this study, we use environmental proteomics and metagenomics in combination with cultivation experiments and biochemical characterizations to investigate the molecular details of in situ polysaccharide degradation mechanisms during microalgal blooms. We show that highly specialized bacterial strains of the Bacteroidetes phylum repeatedly reached high abundances during North Sea algal blooms and dominated laminarin turnover. It was revealed that genome reduction, enzyme fusions, transporters and enzyme expansion, as well as a tight coupling of carbon- and nitrogen metabolism provide the tools, which make Formosa spp. so competitive during microalgal blooms (Link).


[June 2018] Successful PhD defense of Stefan Becker

Congratulation to Stefan Becker, who successfully defended his doctoral thesis with the title "Biocatalytic quantification of laminarin - a major carbohydrate polymer in the ocean".



[June 2018] Poster prize for Nadine Gerlach

Congratulation to Nadine Gerlach, who won the third poster prize during the 15th edition of the Summer Course Glycosciences in Wageningen (Netherlands) for her poster on the "Molecular enzymatic recycling of sulfated algal polysaccharides by marine microbes"



[June 2018] Publication in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

Biochemical characterization of an ulvan lyase from the marine flavobacterium Formosa agariphila KMM 3901 (Link)



[April 2018] Publication in Bio-Protocol

In the spirit of the open science movement and in order to further promote its application, we published an easy-to-use protocol of our method paper from 2017 (Link) on the open-access platform Bio-Protocol (Link).


[April 2018] Just published: Bacteria go vegetarian!

New publication in the Journal of Bacteriology (Link).



[March 2018] We welcome Alek Bolte as new technician in our group.


[February 2018] Jan-Hendrik Hehemann will talk at GRC

Jan-Hendrik Hehemann is going to give a talk at the Gordon Research Conference on Organic Geochemistry, which will take place from July 29 to August 3 at the Holderness School in Holderness, New Hampshire, United States


© T. Wilfried und Nature chemical biology

[February 2018] Publication in Nature Chemical Biology

The discovery of a new class of sugar demethylating enzymes from the P450 cytochrome monooxygenase family defines a mechanism to enhance bacterial agar degradation (Link).





[December 2017] Jan-Hendrik Hehemann will talk at UVIC

At 5th January 2018, Jan-Hendrik Hehemann is going to give a talk at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada



[September 2017] We welcome Tina Trautmann as new technician in our group.


[September 2017] Publication in Protein Science

Crystal structure of a marine glycoside hydrolase family 99‐related protein lacking catalytic machinery (Link)


© S. Becker, MARUM

[August 2017] Retreat on the island of Neuwerk

For three days our group retreated to the island of Neuwerk, in the middle of the Wadden Sea National Park in the German Bight, one of our main research areas. We had fruitful discussions and were able to explore the Wadden Sea on foot.



[July 2017] We welcome Nadine Gerlach as new PhD student in our group.



[July 2017] Participation in the POMPU research project

The Hehemann Lab is taking part in the POMPU research project together with our partners at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität in Greifswald, the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen and the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Helgoland. The DFG research unit FOR 2406 (Proteogenomics Of Marine Polysaccharide Utilization (POMPU)) is working on mechanisms of bacterial polysaccharide utilization during marine phytoplankton blooms. Our task is the functional analysis of glycan-binding proteins and glycan transporters (Subproject A3). Link



[June 2017] NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowships awarded

Congratulations to Melissa Cid Robb and Craig Robb for both receiving Postdoctoral Fellowships of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)!


[March 2017] Publication in Environmental Microbiology

Aquatic adaptation of a laterally acquired pectin degradation pathway in marine gammaproteobacteria (Link)



[February 2017] Plasmids deposited at the Addgene plasmid repository

In our recent study (Link) we described two enzymes that are used for the fast, stereo and sequence specific analysis of laminarin in marine organic matter. The respective plasmid are now available at the Addgene plasmid repository. FaGH17A is a highly specific endo-β-1,3-glucanase hydrolyzing the β-1,3 glucose backbone of laminarin (Link), whereas FbGH30 is an exo-β-1,6-glucanase that removes the β-1,6-glucose side chains (Link).


[February 2017] Publication in Applied and Environmental Microbiology

February 2017: Marine algae produce varieties of glycans, which fulfill diverse biological functions and fuel the carbon and energy demand of heterotrophic microbes. However, the common approach to analyze marine organic matter using acid to hydrolyze its glycans into measurable monosaccharides does not distinguish between glycans in natural samples. Stefan Becker and colleagues developed a method to selectively digest and thereby quantify laminarin in particulate organic matter by using carbohydrate active enzymes from marine Flavobacteria. The results demonstrate the potential of enzymes as toolkits for faster, stereo and sequence specific analysis of select glycans in marine organic matter. (https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.03389-16)