Jan Willem Foppen

Associate Professor of Hydrology


Jan Willem Foppen (1965) received his M.Sc. degree in Hydrogeology from the VU University in Amsterdam in 1990. After his graduation, he started to work at Natuurmonumenten (nature conservation organization), and then as a consultant at the Institute of Applied Geosciences of TNO. In 1995-1996, he was stationed in Sana'a, Yemen, where he was part of a project team aimed to identify sources for the drinking water supply of Sana'a. 

Intrigued by poor groundwater health conditions in Sana'a, he focused on the transport of the fecal indicator organism Escherichia coli in saturated porous media, whereby the aim was to extend the colloid filtration theory. This work resulted in 10 publications in peer reviewed journals, and in June 2007, he obtained his PhD degree from the VU University, Amsterdam.

Besides the transport of bacteria in the subsurface, JWs research interests include: 

1) Water and sanitation in slums: T-GroUP website, SCUSA website

2) DNA as a marker to study hydrologic processes. In search of new tracer substances to identify hydrologic processes, JW and his team used synthetic DNA in surface water injection experiments. Synthetic DNA is a small piece of 'organic matter', 100% natural, and completely harmless. Detection of these synthetic DNA molecules is carried out by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a method widely used in molecular microbiology, biomedical research, forensic diagnostics, etc.


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