Dr. Katja Kehlenbeck

Senior Scientist

Katja works as a Senior Scientist in the Climate Change and Health Group, which is part of Research Department 2 (Climate Resilience) of PIK. She is also a guest Senior Scientist at the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Institute of Public Health.

Katja graduated from University of Göttingen (Germany) in 2007 with a PhD in International Agriculture. Before joining PIK/Charité, Katja worked for 3.5 years as an interim professor for Sustainable Horticulture at the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences in Kleve, Germany, and for almost eight years as a Scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in the department ‘Tree Diversity, Domestication and Delivery’ based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Katja’s research interests include agrobiodiversity, agroecology, tropical agroforestry and homegardens, diversification of farming systems, sustainable food systems, and promoting fruit tree diversity for improved human nutrition and health. Katja performed and supervised research mainly in Indonesia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Malawi, Bangladesh and Nepal.


Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
P.O. Box 60 12 03
14412 Potsdam



2003 - 2007    PhD International Agriculture, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany

1999 - 2002    MSc Tropical Agriculture, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany

1990 - 1997    Studies in Biology (Diploma, equivalent to MSc and BSc), Universities of
                            Bielefeld and Hamburg, Germany


since 2023       Senior Scientist, Climate Change and Health Group, Research
                             Department 2, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany

2021-2022       Senior Scientist, Institute of Public Health, Charité –
                             Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany   

2016 - 2019     Interim Professor for Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems with Special Focus on
                             Horticulture, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Faculty Life Sciences, Kleve, Germany

2012 - 2016     Scientist, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), SD3 Unit (Tree Diversity, Domestication and
                             Delivery), Nairobi, Kenya

2008 - 2011     Post Doctoral Fellow, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), GRP 1 Unit (Tree Genetic Resources
                             and Domestication), Nairobi, Kenya

2005 - 2007     Research assistant, Institute of Crop and Animal Production in the Tropics, Georg-August-
                             University Göttingen, Germany

Journal articles of the last 5 years (see full publication list as pdf file)

Orina J, Mukundi JB, Adimo AO, Rimberia FK, Omondi MA, Gebauer J, Kehlenbeck K (2021). Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) population structure across different agro-ecological zones in Coastal and lower Eastern Kenya. Forests, Trees and Livelihoods 30: 13-27.

Chiveu JC, Ubbenjans U, Kehlenbeck K, Pawelzik E, Naumann M (2019). Partitioning of dry matter and minerals in guava (Psidium guajava L.) accessions under salt stress: Implications for selection of adapted accessions for saline soils. Forests, Trees and Livelihoods 29: 99-118.

Fischer S, Jäckering L, Kehlenbeck K (2020). The Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in southern Kenya - A study on status, distribution, use, and importance in Taita-Taveta County. Environmental Management 66: 305-318.

Joshi N, Ghorbani A, Siwakoti M, Kehlenbeck K (2020). Utilization pattern and indigenous knowledge of wild medicinal plants among three ethnic groups in Makawanpur district, Central Nepal. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 626, Article 113219 (available online).

Stadlmayr B, Wanangwe J, Waruhiu CG; Jamnadass R, Kehlenbeck K (2019) Nutritional composition of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) fruit pulp sampled at different geographical locations in Kenya. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 94, Article 103617 (available online).

Chiveu JC, Mueller M, Krutovsky KV, Kehlenbeck K, Pawelzik E, Naumann M (2019). Genetic diversity of common guava (Psidium guajava L.) in Kenya: an underutilized naturalized fruit species. Fruits 74: 236-248.

Chiveu JC, Naumann M, Kehlenbeck K, Pawelzik E (2019). Variation in fruit chemical and mineral composition of guava (Psidium guajava L.): Inferences from climatic conditions, soil minerals, and fruit morphological traits. Journal of Applied Botany and Food Quality 92: 151-159.

Chládová A, Kalousová M, Mandák B, Kehlenbeck K, Prinz K, Šmíd J, Van Damme P, Lojka B (2019) Genetic diversity and structure of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in south-eastern Kenya. Royal Society Open Science 6: 1-11.

Jäckering L, Fischer S, Kehlenbeck K (2019). A value chain analysis of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) products in Eastern and Coastal Kenya. Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics 120: 91-104.

McMullin S, Njogu K, Wekesa B, Gachuiri A, Ngethe E, Stadlmayr B, Jamnadass R, Kehlenbeck K (2019). Fruit tree portfolios for linking agriculture to nutrition: a new approach to provide year-round micronutrients to smallholder farmers in Kenya and beyond. Food Security 11: 1355-1372.

Omondi M, Rimberia FK, Wainaina CM, Mukundi JBN, Orina J, Gebauer J, Kehlenbeck K (2019) Fruit morphological diversity and productivity of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in Coastal and Lower Eastern Kenya. Forests, Trees and Livelihoods 28: 266-280.

Whitney CW, Lüdeling E, Hensel O, Tabuti J, Krawinkel M, Gebauer J, Kehlenbeck K (2018). The role of homegardens for food and nutrition security in Uganda. Human Ecology 46: 497-514.

Whitney CW, Lüdeling E, Tabuti J, Nyamukuru A, Hensel O, Gebauer J, Kehlenbeck K (2018). Crop diversity in homegardens of southwest Uganda and its importance for rural livelihoods. Agriculture and Human Values 35: 399-424.

Keding GB, Kehlenbeck K, Kennedy G, McMullin S (2017). Fruit production and consumption: practices, preferences and attitudes of women in rural Western Kenya. Food Security 9: 453-469.

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