Katja Bühler studied biology between 1993 and 1998 at the University of Hamburg with a concentration in microbiology and biochemistry and received her degree there.
She then attained her doctorate in the field of biological alkane oxidation at the Hamburg University of Technology.
Afterward, from 2001 to 2004, she took up a postdoctoral residency at the Institute for Biotechnology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland.
Upon completion of her residency, she transferred to TU Dortmund University as a working group leader where she qualified as a university lecturer in 2014 and received the Venia Legendi for general microbiology.
Since 2015, she has been the holder of the Chair for Productive Biofilm Technology at the Institute of Natural Materials Technology at Dresden University of Technology in a joint appointment with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung, UFZ) Leipzig, where she leads the working group for catalytic biofilms. Her scientific research at UFZ focuses using photoautotrophic organisms to produce hydrogen. These biofilms use light energy to split water molecules and create biological energy sources. This is done in order to reduce CO2 to biomass-relevant components. These cells can be altered in such a way that they contribute a part of their own resources to aid in hydrogen production. This line of research is still in its early stages, but it has the potential in the long term to become a powerful production technology that creates hydrogen using solar energy without the need for metal catalysts. This concept falls under the category of white hydrogen. This is because it both deals with naturally produced hydrogen and employs the tools used in white biotechnology to create hydrogen producers.