Frank Keppler


Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Frank Keppler

​Dr. h.c. University of Szeged

Dfg Logo

Heisenberg professorship



Institute of Earth Sciences

Im Neuenheimer Feld 236, Room 202

D-69120 Heidelberg


+49 (0) 6221 546009


Curriculum Vitae

Professional Experience

since 10/2023 Deputy Managing Director, Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Heidelberg
10/2021 - 09/2023 Managing Director, Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Heidelberg
since 01/2019 Professor of Biogeochemistry, Institute of Earth Sciences, Heidelberg University
11/2014 - 12/2018 Heisenberg Professor, Institute of Earth Sciences, Heidelberg University

01/2014 - 10/2014

Heisenberg fellowship and head of the research group 'Biogeochemistry' at the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Heidelberg and the research group 'ORCAS' at the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry in Mainz

2006 - 2013

EURYI Award, Head of junior research group ‘ORCAS’ at the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Division Atmospheric Chemistry.

2004 - 2006

Research Scientist at the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics Heidelberg, Germany. Former research group of Professor Thomas Röckmann, now at IMAU, The Netherlands.

2002 - 2004

Marie Curie Fellow at the Environmental Engineering Research Centres (EERC) and Food Science Division, Queens University of Belfast, United Kingdom. Research groups of Professor Robert Kalin and Professor David Harper / Professor John Hamilton.

04/2002 - 08/2002

Research Scientist at the Institute of Environmental Geochemistry, University of Heidelberg, Germany. Research group of Professor Heinz-Friedrich Schöler.

2000 - 2002

Post-Doctoral Fellow at a Centre of Excellence, Interdisciplinary Graduate College of Earth Sciences (GRK 273) in Heidelberg, Germany.

Educational Background


Dr. rer. nat. in Mineralogy/Environmental Geochemistry

1997 – 2000

Ph.D. Fellow at a Centre of Excellence, Interdisciplinary Graduate College of Earth Sciences (GRK 273) in Heidelberg, Germany. Dissertation under supervision of Professor Heinz-Friedrich Schöler; subject: Organic Geochemistry:”Abiotic formation of volatile halocarbons in soil”

1995 - 1997

Childcare and work for a geological engineering company

1995 Diploma in Geology
1994 - 1995 Diploma thesis; subject engineering geology: “Conservation of sandstones by adding silicic acid esters”.
1991 - 1994

Study of Geology (minors in Chemistry and Physics), University Heidelberg, Germany

1990 - 1991

Practical training in South-East-Asia and Australia

1987 - 1990 Study of Geology, University of Heidelberg, Germany

Visiting scientists

  • Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie in Katlenburg Lindau, Germany, Dr. Reinhard Borchers (2001/2002)

  • Max-Planck-Institut for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany, Professor Thomas Röckmann (2004)

  • Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht (IMAU), The Netherlands, Professor Thomas Röckmann (2006/2007)


Founder and management of the Ein Zehntel Stiftung

Awards and Fellowships

11/11/2023 Honorary doctorate of the University of Szeged
17/10/2021 Best Papers of 2020 from RSC's Environmental Science journals
04/2018 - 03/2019 Marsilius Fellow at Heidelberg University
29/06/2018 "Goldener Hammer" teaching award, Fachschaft Geowissenschaften Heidelberg University
11/2014-12/2018 Heisenberg Professorship at Heidelberg University
01/2014-10/2014 Heisenberg Fellowship


European Young Investigator (EURYI) Award


Isotope Award of Dr. Karleugen-Habfast-Stiftung


Marie Curie Excellence Award

12/10/2005 Best Lecture Award at the GASIR Annual Meeting in Jena/Germany, 2005
2002-2004 Marie Curie Fellowship, excellence grant awarded by the European Commission (EC, Framework V), 2002


Selected publications

  • J. Hädeler, G. Velmurugan, R. Lauer, R. Radhaman, F. Keppler, P. Comba (2023). Natural abiotic iron-oxido-mediated formation of C1 and C2 compounds from environmentally important natural methyl-substituted substratesJournal of the American Chemical Society, 145, 24590-24602, doi:10.1021/jacs.3c06709.

  • L. Ernst, U. Barayeu, J. Hädeler, T.P. Dick, J. Klatt, F. Keppler, J.G. Rebelein (2023). Methane formation driven by light and heat prior to the origin of life. Nature Communications, 14, 4364, doi:10.1038/s41467-023-39917-0.

  • F. Keppler, M. Boros, D. Polag (2023). Radical-driven methane formation in humans evidenced by exogenous isotope-labeled DMSO and methionine. Antioxidants, 12, 1381.

  • F. Keppler, L. Ernst, D. Polag, J. Zhang, M. Boros (2022). ROS-driven cellular methane formation: potential implications for health sciences. Clinical and Translational Medicine, 12, e905,

  • L. Ernst, B. Steinfeld, U. Barayeu, T. Klintzsch, M. Kurth, D. Grimm, T.P. Dick, J.G. Rebelein, I.B. Bischofs, F. Keppler (2022). Methane formation driven by reactive oxygen species across all living organisms. Nature603, 482–487, doi:10.1038/s41586-022-04511-9.

  • F. Keppler (2021). A surprise from the deep. Science, 374, 821-822.

  • F. Keppler, J.D. Barnes, A. Horst, E. Bahlmann, J. Luo, T. Nadalig, M. Greule, S.C. Hartmann, S. Vuilleumier (2020). Chlorine isotope fractionation of the major chloromethane sinks in the environment. Environmental Science & Technology, 54, 1634-1645.

  • M. Bižić, T. Klintzsch, D. Ionescu, M. Y. Hindiyeh, M. Günthel, A. M. Muro-Pastor, W. Eckert, T. Urich, F. Keppler, H.-P. Grossart (2020). Aquatic and terrestrial cyanobacteria produce methane. Science Advances, 6, eaax5343.

  • K. Lenhart, T. Behrendt, S. Greiner, J. Steinkamp, R. Well, A. Giesemann, F. Keppler (2019). Nitrous oxide effluxes from plants as a potentially important source to the atmosphere. New Phytologist, 221, 1398-1408.

  • F. Keppler, E. Bahlmann, M. Greule, H.F. Schöler, J. Wittmer, C. Zetzsch (2018). Mass spectrometric measurement of hydrogen isotope fractionation for the reactions of chloromethane with OH and Cl. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 18, 6625–6635.

  • K. Lenhart, B. Weber, W. Elbert, J. Steinkamp, T. Clough, P. Crutzen, U. Pöschl, F. Keppler (2015). Nitrous oxide and methane emissions from cryptogamic covers. Global Change Biology, 21(10), 3889-3900.

  • F. Keppler, D.B. Harper, M. Greule, U. Ott, T. Sattler, H.F. Schöler, J.T.G. Hamilton (2014). Chloromethane release from carbonaceous meteorite affords new insight into Mars lander findings. Scientific Reports, 4, 7010.

  • F. Althoff, K. Benzing, P. Comba.,C. McRoberts, D.R. Boyd, S. Greiner, F. Keppler (2014). Abiotic methanogenesis from organosulfur compounds under ambient conditions. Nature Communications, 5, 4205.

  • F. Keppler, I. Vigano, A. McLeod, U. Ott, M. Früchtl, T. Röckmann (2012). Ultraviolet-radiation-induced methane emissions from meteorites and the Martian atmosphere. Nature, 486, 93-96.

  • K. Lenhart, M. Bunge, S. Ratering, T. Neu, I. Schüttman, M. Greule, C. Kammann, S. Schnell, C. Müller, H. Zorn, F. Keppler (2012). Evidence for methane production by saprotrophic fungi. Nature Communications, 3, 1046.

  • F. Keppler, M. Boros, C. Frankenberg, J. Lelieveld, A. McLeod, A.M. Pirttilä, T. Röckmann, J.-P. Schnitzler (2009). Methane formation in aerobic environments. Environmental Chemistry, 6, 459-465.

  • F. Keppler, D.B. Harper, R.M. Kalin, W. Meier-Augenstein, N. Farmer, S. Davis, H.-L. Schmidt, D.M. Brown, J.T.G Hamilton (2007). D/H ratios of lignin methoxyl groups as a paleoclimate proxy and constraint of the geographical origin of woods. New Phytologist, 176, 600-609.

  • F. Keppler, J.T.G. Hamilton, M. Brass, T. Röckmann (2006). Methane emissions from terrestrial plants under aerobic conditions. Nature, 439, 187-191.

  • F. Keppler, T. Röckmann, R.M. Moore, D.B. Harper, J.T.G. Hamilton (2005). New insight into the atmospheric chloromethane budget gained using stable carbon isotope ratios. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 5, 2403-2411.

  • J.T.G. Hamilton, W.C. McRoberts, F. Keppler, R.M. Kalin, D.B. Harper (2003). Chloride methylation by plant pectin: an efficient environmentally significant process. Science, 301, 206-209.

  • F. Keppler, R. Eiden, V.W. Niedan, J. Pracht, H.F. Schöler (2000). Halocarbons as degradation products of organic matter by natural oxidation processes. Nature, 403, 298-301.

For a detailed publication list please refer to Researchgate (including pdf files)

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Letzte Änderung: 2023-11-21
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