Nora Sutton

Name & affiliation
Nora B. Sutton, Reusable Water, Environmental Technology, Wageningen University


Postdoctoral Researcher


2005, BA Biology-Chemistry Claremont McKenna, USA
2005, BA German, Claremont McKenna, USA
2008, MS Geochemistry, Utrecht University
2014, PhD Environmental Technology, Wageningen University
2014-present Postdoctoral Researcher, Environmental Technology, Wageningen University


Both as a PhD and now as a postdoctoral researcher at the department of Environmental Technology I work closely in collaboration with the Laboratory of Microbiology on a number of topics related to the biodegradation of organic contaminants. During my PhD, I investigated the combination of in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) with in situ bioremediation for the remediation of soil contaminated with either hydrocarbons or chlorinated solvents. Here I focused on illuminating the impact of chemical oxidation on the abundance, activity, and diversity of bacteria and determining the importance of the microbial community structure for the regeneration of biodegradation activity following chemical treatment. Molecular techniques, including sequencing of 16SrRNA gene for microbial diversity as well as quantitative PCR of 16SrRNA genes of key biodegraders and their functional genes, were performed on samples from both laboratory and field investigations coupling chemical and biological remediation processes.

Currently, I investigate the fate and degradation of emerging contaminants (micropollutants) in different portions of the water cycle. For most contaminants, little is known about biodegradation under environmental conditions or the structure and function of microbial communities that facilitate transformation. Thus, this research focuses on understanding the microbiological and geochemical requirements for natural attenuation of compounds such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and hormones, in order to be able to predict the degradation of these compounds in natural and engineered systems. The overall goal of this project is the development of new molecular tools to facilitate monitoring and prediction of biodegradation of micropollutants in the environment.