I am a full professor of Industrial Ecology and Climate Change at Humboldt-University Berlin and head of the FutureLab Social Metabolism and Impacts at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany. Previous positions include assistant and associate professor at the Institute of Social Ecology, Vienna, guest professor at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, University St. Gallen, and Yale University. My academic background is in Molecular Biology (Mg. rer.nat. University of Vienna, 1995), Cultural Studies (PhD, Humboldt-University Berlin 2002) and Social Ecology (venia docendi, Alpen-Adria University Klagenfur 2006).
My research focuses on the socially organized extraction of raw materials and energy, its transformation into goods and services, its use and final disposal to the environment as waste, emissions and heat, which, collectively, define the social metabolism. Transforming the industrial metabolism to reduce its environmental and resource impacts, while maintaining its function for human well-being, is a crucial challenge for sustainability. I investigate socio-metabolic transitions and patterns at global, national, local, and sectoral scales and their implications for wellbeing, inequality and power relations. I have published in high ranking general and specialized journals such as PNAS, Science Advances, Nature Communications, Scientific Reports, Environmental Research Letters, Earth System Dynamics, Journal of Industrial Ecology, or Ecological Economics among others.
Among many other science community services, I am a member of the governing board of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), located in Laxenburg, Austria, of the steering committee of the Swiss National Science Foundation's National Research Program "Sustainable Economy" (NRP 73), of UNEP’s International Resource Panel and editor–in-chief of the transdisciplinary sustainability journal GAIA.