Jochem Baan - Research Interests and Education

I am a biologist interested in the interaction between organisms and their environment, and how variation in stable isotope compositions is associated with this interaction. In previous work, I studied how plant metabolism shapes the hydrogen stable isotope composition of various organic compounds. This work has provided new insights into the cryptic biochemical information stored in the hydrogen stable isotope composition of plant compounds.

My current work is aimed at improving the interpretation of the stable isotope composition of nitrogen contained in the frustules of diatom algae. My focus in particular is on quantifying the species-variation and environmental sensitivity of the diatom frustule-bound nitrogen isotope composition relative to that of the algae’s nitrogen source. In other words, how consistently the nitrogen isotopic signal of nitrate is transferred to the diatom biomass and ultimately, frustule-bound nitrogen. I will do this by investigating diatom cultures under controlled conditions as well as through sampling of diatoms in different lakes and oceans. A better understanding of the controls on the generation of the N isotopic signature of diatom-bound organic matter is crucial for its use as a proxy for reconstructing past environmental conditions.  

Educational Background

2023 – Present: Postdoctoral researcher – University of Basel, Switzerland, group of Aquatic and Isotope Biogeochemistry

2018 – 2022: PhD in Botany – University of Basel, Switzerland, group of Physiological Plant Ecology

2018: Erasmus internship at Ghent University, Belgium, group of Evolutionary Morphology of Vertebrates

2016 – 2018: MSc in Limnology & Oceanography – University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2015: Erasmus internship at Uppsala University, Sweden, group of Animal Ecology

2012 – 2016: BSc in Applied Biology – HAS University of Applied Sciences, Den Bosch, The Netherlands


Baan, J., Holloway-Phillips, M., Nelson, D. B., & Kahmen, A. (2023). The metabolic sensitivity of hydrogen isotope fractionation differs between plant compounds. Phytochemistry, 207, 113563.

Holloway‐Phillips, M., Baan, J., Nelson, D. B., Lehmann, M. M., Tcherkez, G. and Kahmen, A. (2022) Species variation in the hydrogen isotope composition of leaf cellulose is mostly driven by isotopic variation in leaf sucrose. Plant, Cell and Environment, 45(9), 2636-2651.

Baan, J., De Meyer, J., De Kegel, B. and Adriaens, D. (2020) From yellow to silver: Transforming cranial morphology in European eel (Anguilla anguilla). Journal of Anatomy. 237, 979–987. Available at:


Baan Jochem

Jochem Baan