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2021 Fellow

Sema Karakurt-Fischer

PhD Institution
Technical University of Munich
Postdoctoral institution and lab

Microbial Community Assembly Group, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag)

As a process engineer, Sema completed her PhD at the Technical University of Munich where she investigated the contributions of treated wastewater in rivers and its impact on downstream drinking water quality. Her research involved working on the development and optimization of a novel treatment concept for potable reuse for more sustainable water management.

As a Schmidt Science Fellow working in Microbial Community Assembly Group led by Dr. David R. Johnson and in close collaboration with the Environmental Fate Modelling Group led by Dr. Kathrin Fenner, and Microbial Specialized Metabolism Group led by Dr. Serina Robinson at Eawag, Switzerland, Sema aims to engineer a microbial assembly and explore the potential for biodegradation of poly- and perfluorinated chemicals by directed evolution or genome editing tools.

Sema grew up in the suburbs of Istanbul and often faced water scarcity, polluted tap water, and flooding due to poor urban planning. Her upbringing still motivates her to pursue scientific achievements in the field of water supply and treatment, which is highly multifaceted and requires interdisciplinary efforts. In the future, she hopes to explore and push the boundaries of biodegradation and to contribute to the development of sustainable concepts for water treatment and environmental remediation.