Dr. Stephanie Spahr

Junior Research Group Leader - Aquatic Environmental Chemistry

Universität Tübingen
Zentrum für Angewandte Geowissenschaften (ZAG)
Schnarrenbergstr. 94-96
72076 Tübingen
Office: Room 4U21
Phone: +49-(0)7071-29-73124
Email: stephanie.spahrspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de

Main Research Areas

  • Trace organic contaminants and metals in wastewater, stormwater, and drinking water: Occurrence, source identification, and elimination technologies
  • Water treatment with carbonaceous adsorbents: Unraveling removal processes of organic contaminants using stable isotope analysis
  • Chemical oxidation processes in water treatment: Elucidation of contaminant transformations
  • Urban green infrastructure: Geomedia amendments for enhanced urban stormwater purification

Current group

Scientific Career



Junior Research Group Leader, University of Tübingen, Germany

Aquatic Environmental Chemistry

2016 - 2019

Postdoctoral Researcher, Stanford University, USA

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Research Center for Re-Inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt)
Project 1: Biochar-filters for enhanced removal of trace organic contaminants
from urban stormwater at the Los Angeles Rory M. Shaw Wetlands Park.
Project 2: Prevention of sediment recontamination at US military sites: Geomedia mixtures to remove organic and metal contaminants from stormwater. (ongoing)
Advisor: Prof. Richard G. Luthy

2012 - 2016
PhD in Environmental Chemistry Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Laboratory for Water Quality and Treatment & Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag, Switzerland), Department of Environmental Chemistry

Thesis: Formation of N -nitrosodimethylamine during water disinfection with chloramine: Insights into reaction mechanisms from isotope fractionation analyses.

Advisors: Prof. Urs von Gunten, PD Dr. Thomas Hofstetter

2010 - 2012
Master of Science in Geoecology, University of Tübingen, Germany

Thesis: Carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of benzotriazoles (conducted for 8 months at Eawag, Switzerland)

2007 - 2010
Bachelor of Science in Geoecology / Ecosystem management University of Tübingen, Germany

Thesis: Influence of AQDS on redox reactions in goethite-Fe(II) systems.

Honors and Awards

2020 Selected fellow in the Postdoc Academy for Transformational Leadership 2020-2022 (Robert Bosch Stiftung) 
2020 Selected fellow in the Athene Program for early female career researchers at the University of Tübingen
2019 Selected participant in the Rising Environmental Leaders Program, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University (CA, USA)
2017 Selected participant in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Rising Stars Workshop at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA, USA)
2014 American Chemical Society (ACS) Certificate of Merit for outstanding first platform presentation (CA, USA)


  • Hydrogeochemical Modeling
  • Aquatic & Environmental Chemistry II - Lab Course
  • Environmental Organic Isotope Chemistry

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Spahr, S., Teixido, M., Sedlak, D. L., Luthy, R. G. Hydrophilic trace organic contaminants in urban stormwater: Occurrence, toxicological relevance, and the need to enhance green stormwater infrastructure. Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology, 2020, 6, 15-44.
Ashoori., N., Teixido, M., Spahr, S., LeFevre, G. H., Sedlak, D. L., Luthy, R. G. Evaluation of pilot-scale biochar-amended woodchip bioreactors to remove nitrate, metals, and trace organic contaminants from urban stormwater runoff. Water Research, 2019, 154, 1-11.
Spahr, S., von Gunten, U., Hofstetter, T. B. Carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen isotope fractionation trends in N-nitrosodimethylamine reflect the formation pathway during chloramination of tertiary amines. Environmental Science and Technology, 2017, 51 (22), 13170-13179.
Spahr, S., Cirpka, O. A., von Gunten, U., Hofstetter, T. B. Formation of N-nitrosodimethylamine during chloramination of secondary and tertiary amines: Role of molecular oxygen and radical intermediates. Environmental Science and Technology, 2017, 51 (1), 280-290.
Spahr, S., Bolotin, J., Schleucher, J., Ehlers, I., von Gunten, U., Hofstetter, T. B. Compound-specific carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen isotope analysis of N-nitrosodimethylamine in aqueous solutions. Analytical Chemistry, 2015, 87(5), 2916-2924.
Hofstetter, T. B., Bolotin, J., Pati, S. G., Skarpeli-Liati, M., Spahr, S., Wijker, R. S. Isotope effects as new proxies for organic pollutant transformation. CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, 2014, 68(11), 788-792.
Huntscha, S., Hofstetter, T. B., Schymanski, E. L., Spahr, S., Hollender, J. Biotransformation of benzotriazoles: Insights from transformation product identification and compound-specific isotope analysis. Environmental Science and Technology. 2014, 48(8), 4435-4443.
Spahr, S., Huntscha, S., Bolotin, J., Maier, M. P., Elsner, M., Hollender, J., Hofstetter, T. B. Compound-specific isotope analysis of benzotriazole and its derivatives. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 2013, 405(9), 2843-2856.