Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Stable isotope applications in microbiology and environmental studies

Date: 11 December 2017 - 14 December 2017
Location: Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen


Stable isotope concepts currently are being used for the investigation of microbial processes in natural and contaminated environments. Stable isotope fractionation allows characterizing microbial reactions in laboratory studies as well as in the environment, e.g. for the investigation of the fate of groundwater contaminants. Stable isotope tracer concepts furthermore provide insight in microbial networks and interactions and degradation pathways in e.g. bioreactors and gut microbiomes. This four day course intends to provide an overview of current stable isotope applications and concepts in form of lectures, case studies and exercises and laboratory visits.

Learning goals

  • Understanding of the theoretical background and applications:
    - How to apply compound-specific stable isotope analysis (CSIA) in the assessment of organic contaminant degradation for investigation of microbial reactions 
    - CSIA for assessment of organic compounds in contaminated environments 
    - CSIA for the analysis of element cycling, including S, Fe and methane
    - Stable isotope tracer concepts for analysis of microbial communities and metabolism 
    - Stable isotope tracer concepts for the analysis of single-cells and interactions 
  • Grasping the main principles, methods and techniques of stable isotope applications 
  • Application in case studies and your own research: how to interpret and analyse stable isotope values, designing a stable isotope tracer experiment

General information

Target groupPhD candidates and other scientists who want to get an overview and basic understanding of current stable isotope methods and applications and are interested to apply these concepts in their research.
Intended credits1 ECTS
Lecturer(s)•  Ivonne Nijenhuis, Axel Horst, Nico Jehmlich, Niculina Musat (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Germany)
•  Caroline Plugge (Wageningen University & Research)
•  Boris van Breukelen (Delft University of Technology)
•  David Berry (University of Vienna, Austria)
•  Paul Bodelier (Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
•  Francien Peterse, Paul Mason, Jack Middelburg, Lubos Polerecky (Utrecht University)
•  Markus Egert (Furtwangen University, Germany)
More informationIvonne Nijenhuis

Registration form

Please register online by submitting your one page CV as well as a motivation (max. 250 words) for taking part in this course. Please indicate your current experience as well as future interests in applying stable isotopes.
Registration deadline   Early bird: 21-10-2017
Final: 15-11-2017
FlyerFlyer Stable Isotopes 2017 (pdf)

Course fee and cancellation conditions

Course feeEarly bird Fee *Normal Fee *
• SENSE PhD candidates with an approved Education Plan (TSP) 
• HIGRADE PhD students (to be paid by HIGRADE) 
• PE&RC PhD candidates with an approved TSP
• PhD candidates of Wageningen University with an approved TSP, who are registered at one of the WU graduate schools
• Postdocs of Wageningen University who are registered at one of the WU graduate schools
€ 150€ 175
Other PhD candidates / students and academic staff€ 300€ 325

* Lunch and coffee/tea breaks are included and one dinner. If you need overnight accommodation, please contact Marjolijn Dannenburg -

Cancellation conditionsUp to 4 (four) weeks prior to the start of the course, cancellation is free of charge.
After this date you will be charged the full fee. Unless:
  • You can find someone to replace you in the course and supply the course coordinator with the name and contact information of your replacement. In this case you will only be charged a € 50,- cancellation fee.
  • You are a SENSE, PE&RC and WASS PhD candidate with an approved TSP and have a valid reason to cancel (illness or death in the family 1st or 2nd degree), for which your supervisor/PI must send a mail indicating the reason for cancellation. In this case you will be charged the reduced fee.