Sachsenhofer, Reinhard, Univ.-Prof. Mag.rer.nat. Dr. mont., Head of Chair

+43 3842 402-6300


Reinhard F. Sachsenhofer is Head of Petroleum Geology at Montanuniversitaet Leoben. Previously, he was visiting professor at the Donetsk National Technical University, Ukraine. He is also an honorary guest professor at Jilin University, China, and editorial board member of several international journals. His main research interests lie in basin analysis, conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon systems, coal geology, and organic petrology. Current research topics include Oligocene (“Maikopian”) source rocks and petroleum systems in the Paratethys area (Central Europe, Black Sea, Caucasus, Caspian Sea), as well as the development of improved techniques for oil-source correlation.

Misch, David, Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.mont., Deputy Scientific Head

+43 3842 402-6305

David Misch completed his PhD in 2016 on "Conventional and unconventional petroleum systems in the Ukrainian Dnieper-Donets Basin." His postdoctoral research focused on the integration of advanced geochemical and image-based analytical tools in shale geology, emphasizing the role of organic matter in porosity evolution during diagenesis. His further expertise includes organic-geochemical tools applied in basin analysis, paleoclimatology, and oil/gas-source-correlation, organic petrography, as well as reservoir geology. In 2017, he worked as an invited postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Structural Geology, Tectonics and Geomechanics (GED) at RWTH Aachen University. In 2023, he was appointed Professor of Energy Geosciences, focusing on low-carbon geoenergy topics including geothermal energy recovery, aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES), natural hydrogen, underground hydrogen storage (UHS), and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Gawlick, Hans-Jürgen, Ao.Univ.-Prof. Mag. et Dr.rer.nat.

+43 3842 402-6317

Fields of experience and interest: Integration of geology, sedimentology, palaeontology, biostratigraphy combined with microfacies analysis and geochemistry, geodynamics and structural geology (including palaeomagnetics) for palaeoenvironmental and palaeogeographic reconstructions, basin evolution and deposit forming processes. In-depth field-based expertise regarding basin evolution, mountain building processes, sedimentology, biostratigraphy of shallow- and deep-water environments in the western Tethyan realm in Mesozoic times. Source rock deposition and diagenetic history of reservoir rocks. Special interest e.g., in raw materials for cement industry, evaporites, manganese, lead-zinc, and bauxite.

Bensing, Joel, MSc

Joel Bensing is currently a PhD student conducting seal rock investigations in the context of underground hydrogen storage. His project focusses on improved laboratory characterization workflows for top seal lithologies such as mudstones. Prior to his PhD studies, he spent over 15 years working in oil and gas exploration and various geo-consulting positions where he undertook work in the USA, New Zealand, the High Arctic of Canada, and Antarctica.

Safaei Farouji, Majid, MSc

Majid Safaei Farouji is a PhD student from Iran and works on CO2 capture and storage (CCS) in coal. For his project, several techniques, including gas adsorption measurements, are being used. Before he joined the chair Majid completed a bachelor's degree in geology and a master's degree in petroleum geology.

Aghayeva, Vusala, Mag.

Vusala Aghayeva is a PhD student from Azerbaijan and works on her thesis titled "Re-assessing the hydrocarbon potential of Cenozoic rocks in Azerbaijan". Her research project covers various organic-petrographical and geochemical (molecular and isotope compositional) analyses for investigating the hydrocarbon potential of the entire Cenozoic succession in the South Caspian Basin (SCB). She investigates the composition of offshore and onshore samples in a series of reference sections in order to understand the regional distribution, depositional environment, and oil-to-source correlations of these organic matter-rich intervals.

Ambig, Ashok, MEng

Ashok Ambig is a PhD student from India and works on the simulation of fracture properties of shale using finite element analysis aided by experimental methods. His goal is to develop an appropriate numerical simulation model using advanced methods such as phase-field fracture/damage models (PFMs) and the extended finite element method (XFEM).


Shi, Xiangyun, MSc

Xiangyun Shi (Mia) is a PhD student focusing on pore characteristics of sedimentary rocks for storage and geological barrier purposes. She takes advantage of the trainable image segmentation for BIB-SEM data analysis, in combination with other porosity determination techniques such as NMR, µ-CT, mercury injection porosimetry and gas adsorption porosimetry, aiming at furthering the understanding of pore space evolution with respect to depositional environments and diagenetic processes. She completed her master's studies at RWTH Aachen University and previously worked on numerical modelling of geothermal reservoirs.

Ajuaba, Stephen, Dott.mag.

+43 3842 402-6307


Stephen Ajuaba is a PhD student from Cameroon and works on “Enhanced oil-source correlation using biomarkers and compound-specific isotopes". His work covers the application of various geochemical and petrographic techniques for the analysis of the molecular and isotopic composition of oil and rock extracts, as well as the characterization of organic matter in rocks. Previously, he gained work experience in sedimentary geology during his MSc project in Italy and Spain (2018) and in organic geochemistry during his post-graduate traineeship at the Montanuniversitaet Leoben.

Skerbisch, Lukas, DI

Lukas Skerbisch finished the Economic, Environmental and Technical Geology Master of Applied Geosciences at Montanuniversität Leoben in 2022. In his master thesis he compared 50-year-old, altered caprock cores with fresh drill core material. Currently he is working as a PhD student on a seal rock prediction tool for the Vienna Basin. This project aims to implement a compaction-depth trend, correlate it with log data and estimate seal rock quality distributions. In addition, he is investigating cap rock cores for secondary storage of hydrogen and CO2, focusing on image-based analyses tools.

Fikri, Hafidz Noor, MSc

Hafidz Noor Fikri is a visiting PhD student from Indonesia and works on "Depositional environments and coal characteristics in the Warukin and Tanjung formations, Indonesia". This research project targets the geological evolution of Kalimantan and SE Asia during Tertiary time. In addition, the prediction of coal properties based on statistical methods should promote optimized utilization in the local coal mining industry.

Steiner, Timotheus, Dipl.-Ing.

Timotheus Steiner completed his MSc on a molybdenum deposit in the Hohe Tauern (Austria) in 2018, and subsequently started his PhD work on "Mesozoic karst bauxites in the Eastern Alps and the Dinarides: genesis, age and Rare Earth Element potential". While he is familiar with methods of igneous petrology, field geology in high alpine terrain, sedimentology, and micropaleontology, his present work focuses on carbonates, bauxites, and heavy mineral/component analysis. Furthermore, he gained work experience in exploration geology during previous projects.

Mrdak, Milica, MSc

Milica holds a master's degree in geology and has extensive experience in geological mapping, sedimentology, Mesozoic and Cenozoic stratigraphy, and tectonics. Her research topic is the geology in the transitional area between the Inner and Outer Dinarides (focusing on Montenegro), as well as their tectonostratigraphic comparison with the Alps. In 2019 she started a PhD thesis with the topic "Reconstruction of the Middle Triassic depositional history in the transitional area between the Inner and Outer Dinarides (northwestern Montenegro) based on conodont biostratigraphy and microfacies analysis".

Sleziakova, Petra, MSc

Petra Sleziaková holds an MSc degree in Environmental Geochemistry which she completed in 2010 at Comenius University in Slovakia with a focus on medical-geochemical research. She joined the chair in 2021 and works as a research assistant specialized on GC-MS and stable isotope analyses. Furthemore, she is responsible for sample preparation and the documentation of laboratory workflows, as well as student training.

Seidl, Franz, AR

+43 3842 402-6311

Franz Seidl holds a position as lab technician and is mainly responsible for X-ray diffractometry, as well as sample preparation for various analytical techniques. He is furthermore responsible for work safety and first aid. 

Nobis, Günter

+43 3842 402-6390

Günter Nobis holds a position as lab technician since 2018 and has formerly worked in various fields of the chemical industry, as well as on the development of medical devices. He is in charge of the organic-geochemical labs, as well as the sample archive and database. His tasks include the preparation of solid, liquid and gaseous samples, the execution of GC-MS analyses and student training on geochemical lab equipment.