Winona State University will host Fulbright Scholar Thomas Hein, Ph.D., from May to September.

Hein is a professor at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria. He also works with the Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management and WasserCluster Lunz – Inter University Research Center.

Hein received a Ph.D. through his research on river floodplain interactions and the effects of restoration on fundamental ecosystem processes from the University of Vienna in 2000. He received the habilitation in Limnology, with a specialization in biochemistry of aquatic systems at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna in 2007.

The research interest of Hein is aquatic ecosystem-human interactions in riverine landscapes, with a focus on water sediment interactions, aquatic-terrestrial linkages, ecosystem restoration and the coupling between society and ecosystems in socio-ecologic systems. His investigations include linking the changes in the biodiversity in ravine landscapes to those in the ecosystem processes and management. His research also highlights the connectivity, resilience and the co-evolution of interlinked systems.

Hein has received grants from national and international funding organizations, such as the FWF (Austrian Science Fund) and the European Commission. He has worked with international organizations and companies in the energy, transportation, production and governmental sectors. Hein has helped supervise Master of Science and Ph.D. students in East Africa and assisted in international teaching programs at the master and Ph.D. levels.

He has authored more than 60 papers in journals and has more than 50 conference proceedings, book chapters and scientific articles.

Hein began teaching at the Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management in 2017 and became the managing director of WasserCluster Lunz in 2008. He was elected president of the International Association for Danube Research from 2011 to 2016 and is currently the vice president until 2022.

Hein is the second biology Fulbright Fellow WSU has hosted in the last five years. In 2012, WSU hosted Professor Martin Thoms of Australia for research with the Large River Studies Center at WSU. Hein will also work with the Large River Studies Center in a comparison of the ecology of the Upper Mississippi and Danube rivers.

For more information, contact Michael Delong at

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Brian Waldbillig

Brian is a Public Relations major and Communication Studies minor from Farmington, MN. His hobbies include photography, hiking and going to concerts.