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Host Institute: Bayerisches Geoinstitut, Universität Bayreuth
Tiziana Boffa Ballaran studied at the University of Milan (Italy) and Pavia (Italy) and received her doctorate at the University of Pavia in 1997. Since then she has been a scientific assistant at the universities of Cambridge (Great Britain), and Bayreuth.
Research Project: Tailor-Made Crystals
As a physical chemist specializing in minerals, Dr Ballaran investigates the way in which the structure of minerals changes as a function of pressure, temperature and composition. Minerals are regarded as examples of complex materials which display a remarkable diversity in structure and in chemical and physical properties. Study of their high-pressure, high-temperature behaviour and of their structure-property relationships can provide critical information on the properties and dynamic behaviour of the Earth. Dr Ballaran is currently planning to investigate the nature of local distortions which arise in a crystal structure when atoms with one size and charge are replaced by other atoms with different size and charge and the influence of the elastic interactions created by such distortions on cation ordering and phase transformations. Insights into these interactions on a various length scale can be obtained combining infrared spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction methods.
Host Institute: Institut für Kardiovaskuläre Physiologie, Universität Frankfurt am Main
Anne Bouloumié studied at the Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse (France) and received her doctorate there in 1994. She was an academic collaborator at the university hospital of Frankfurt University (Frankfurt/Main) and most recently at the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM) in Toulouse.
Research Project: Therapeutic Approaches in the Treatment of Obesity
The research area of biologist Dr Anne Bouloumié concerns the processes involved in the growth of the human adipose tissue. Adipose tissue (or the fat mass) constitutes an essential body energy store. However, excessive body fat mass found in severely overweight people (obesity) lead to the development of pathologies such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and abnormal reproductive capacities. Since obesity is considered as a world-wide epidemic by the World Health Organization (WHO, Geneva, 1998), it is necessary to understand the mechanisms underlying the fat mass development better. It is well established that the growth of a tissue (normal or tumoral) requires the concomitant development of its blood vessels (neovascularization). The present project is based on the hypothesis that neovascularization is also required for adipose tissue growth.
The research will be performed on the cells which constitute the stroma-vascular fraction of the human fat mass. It will define and characterise how and under what kind of stimulation the cells can grow and produce new blood vessels and whether the appearance of new blood vessels is necessary for the development of the fat mass. Such a project will help to determine whether reducing neovascularization might be a new therapeutic target to treat obesity.
Host Institute: Zentrum Philosophie und Wissenschaftstheorie, Universität Konstanz
Luc Bovens studied at the Catholic University Leuven (Belgium) and received his doctorate in 1990 at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (USA). Since then he has been conducting research in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Boulder in Colorado (USA). From 1998 till 1999 he was supported by a Research Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
Research Project: Computer Philosophy
Professor Bovens applies techniques in probability theory and probabilistic modeling to solve questions of philosophical import. His interdisciplinary research group 'Philosophy, Probability, and Modeling' deals, among others, with the following questions:
Professor Bovens has brought the editorial home of the international journal Economics and Philosophy to the University of Konstanz. Together with the University of Bayreuth, the editors of the journal are investigating the possibility of organizing a prize in Philosophy of Economics. Professor Bovens' research group work together closely with the department of philosophy in the London School of economics. They have brought forward a range of publications, including two books. They have organized a conference, a work shop and a Summer School in the framework of the project. Two more international workshops are planned for this year.
Host Institutes: Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Garching, and Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik, Universität München
Stephane Charlot studied at the University of Paris 7 (France), where he gained his doctorate in 1992. He has been a scientific assistant at the University of California, Berkeley, California (USA), at the Kitt Peak National Observatory, Tucson, Arizona (USA), and at the Space Telescope Institute, Baltimore, Maryland (USA). Since 1995 he has been Chargé de Recherche at the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris. In 1998 he won the Bronze Medal of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).
Research Project: A Star is Born
How and when did stars form in the Universe are among the many questions which Dr Charlot's projects are meant to answer. The French scientist has dedicated himself to the formation and evolution of galaxies, and in particular to the interpretation of galaxy spectra in large-scale observation projects. His starting-off point is the vast mass of data material that has been collected by a very wide variety of international organisations. To interpret this material, Dr Charlot developed a new modelling approach, which he has named the "Advanced Stellar Population Synthesis".
Dr Charlot plans to return to France, but he definitely will maintain very close links with the MPA Garching, in particular in the framework of research training networks funded by the European Commission.
Host Institute: Institut für Angewandte Photophysik, Technische Universität Dresden
Volker Deckert studied at Würzburg University, where he received his doctorate in 1994. He worked at the Kanagawa Academy of Science and Technology (KAST) in Kawasaki (Japan) and at the University of Tokyo (Japan). Most recently, Deckert conducted research in the Laboratory for Organic Chemistry at the ETH Zurich (Switzerland).
Research Project: Magnifying Glasses Made of Light
In the last few years, it has become impossible to ignore the trend towards smaller and smaller structures. Both in telecommunications and computing technology as well as in biology and medicine it has become essential to produce or to understand ever smaller structures. In his research Dr Deckert is trying to obtain information on the exact composition of materials using optical procedures similar to microscopy. What is special and new is the possibility to gain information with visible light which would otherwise only be accessible using electron microscopes. It is achieved with sources of light which are so small that traditional ray optics are not able to describe their special properties. In this way it is possible, for example, to carry out an examination of living organisms without causing damage. The potential of this method in relation to physics, chemistry, and biology is concomitantly diverse. In the long term, it might be possible, for instance, to use this method for directly sequencing a single DNS strand.
Host Institute: Institut für Englische Philologie, Universität München
Paulo D'Iorio studied at the Luigi Boccherini Conservatoire in Lucca (Italy) and at the University of Pisa. He received his doctorate at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa in 1994. He subsequently worked as a scientific assistant at the University of Pisa and, in 1997/98, as a Humboldt Research Fellow at the Technical and Humboldt Universities in Berlin. Since 1998 he has held a research position at the Institut des Textes et Manuscrits Modernes of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS/ENS) in Paris.
Research Project: HyperNietzsche Lives in Cyberspace
Dr D'Iorio's research combines the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche with scholarly editing and the new media. The objective of his project, HyperNietzsche, is to create an infrastructure for collective work in the humanities. It will enable scholars to access primary sources (texts and manuscripts) via Internet, publish essays in secondary literature, and network them directly with the primary sources. On top of this, Dr D'Iorio is developing a system of evaluating contributions (peer review) on the Internet and is working on a study of copyright and copyleft in the era of electronic communication.
HyperNietzsche is already able to manage manuscript zones, facsimiles, transcriptions, and essays and comprises more than 10 000 digital manuscript pages of Nietzsche, of which roughly 700 are already online. In order to publish scholarly contributions on the Internet, Dr D'Iorio has drawn up a licence model and, in cooperation with the Foundation Weimarer Klassik, made it possible to access facsimiles of Nietzsche's hand-written manuscripts freely. During the current year Dr D'Iorio will submit a proposal for a European Project on Hyper Learning. It applies the structure of HyperNietzsche to other authors and disciplines and thus pushes ahead the development of a complex research infrastructure for the Internet. The partners in the project include the Swedish Academy of Science, the universities of Bergen, Craiova, Dublin, Frankfurt, Leicester, Pisa, Plovdiv, the CNRS Paris, MSH and INRIA, as well as UNESCO.
Host Institute: Abteilung für Innere Medizin, Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik 2, Universität Gießen
Oliver Eickelberg studied at the medical faculties of the universities of Lübeck, Vienna (Austria) and Basel (Switzerland). He obtained his doctorate in medicine at Basel University in 1997. Eickelberg worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Research Department of Basel University and went to Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (USA) in 1998 under the Alexander von Humboldt Feodor Lynen Fellowship Programme. Most recently, Eickelberg conducted research at the Department of Pathology at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (USA).
Research Project: Strategy for the Treatment of Fibrotic Diseases
Dr Eickelberg examines mechanisms leading to fibrotic diseases, particularly in the lungs. Such diseases eventually lead to organic failure and either do not respond to treatment or do so only inadequately. He deals in detail with the effect of a specific signal molecule – Transforming Growth Factor (TGF)-ß – which contributes substantially to the occurrence of diseases with a fibrotic component. While Dr Eickelberg has been able to identify essential mechanisms in the signal transduction chain of TGF-ß, his current research consists mainly in the identification of substances and mechanisms which may constitute efficient strategies in the treatment of fibrotic diseases.
Host Institutes: Institut für Hochfrequenztechnik, Technische Universität Darmstadt and Fakultät für Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik, Technische Universität Chemnitz
Michael Feiginov studied at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (Russian Federation), and gained his doctorate at the Institute of Radio Engineering and Electronics (IRE) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). For this work he was awarded the Russian State Fellowship for young scientists. He is now a senior researcher at the IRE of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.
Research Project: From Space Research to Medicine
Dr Feiginov works in physics of high-frequency semiconductor devices. Previously, electro-magnetic radiation in the tera-Hertz range was mainly the object of space research, but applications have recently started to emerge for it in medicine and other fields. With his project, Dr Feiginov is planning to study the existing tera-Hertz radiation sources and to develop new ones. He pays particular attention to so-called photonic bandgap structures which possibly can be used to measure the properties of materials, particularly biological ones and that of biological cells. The promising sources that Dr Feiginov is looking at are the tunnel semiconductor structures (resonant tunneling diodes and tunnel Schottky contacts with 2D channels) and so-called photomixers.
It has been predicted that the tunnel Schottky contacts with 2D channels designed in a special way can have a negative differential conductance. A number of interesting effects are expected in such kind of structures and some applications can be foreseen. The research group is heading now to an experimental demonstration of the effects.
Host Institute: Forschungsgruppe Molekulare Medizin, Experimentelle Gentherapie und Lipidstoffwechsel, Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin, Berlin
Michael Gotthardt studied at Heidelberg University and Humboldt University Berlin, where he received his doctorate in 1997. He conducted research at the Southwestern Medical Center of the University of Texas at Dallas, Texas (USA), and most recently has been working in the Department of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Physiology (VCAPP) at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington (USA).
Research Project: Protein Framework of the Heart and the Skeletal Muscles
Titin is the largest protein in the human body and forms an elastic framework in the heart and skeletal muscles. Due to its molecular structure titin can expand like a spring and therefore enables the effective functioning of muscle cells. Patients with a changed titin develop heart conditions associated with a limited cardiac pumping function. Due to its large size titin is not easy to modify. Dr Gotthardt has developed mouse models for modification of titin in the live organism and its structural as well as functional analysis. These titin-deficient animals are the basis for development of medicamentous, cellular and genetic therapies for heart and muscle weakness. Dr Gotthardt will study the function of titin in the detection and transmission of mechanical signals (stretching of muscles) at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin-Buch. The results of his research group will help to understand the development and progress of congenital muscle and heart diseases and to develop new treatment strategies.
Host Institute: Institut für Chemie / Organische Chemie, Freie Universität Berlin
Stefan Hecht studied at Humboldt University Berlin and received his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley, California (USA), in 2001.
Research Project: Molecular Set for the Nanofactory
Dr Hecht is fascinated with investigating chemical processes at the scale of individual molecules. He is interested in the rational design of molecular building blocks that serve as components of a nanosize construction kit for the generation of well-defined very small features. In his research program, Hecht and his group are synthesizing large polymers that are folded and locked into discrete helical tubes of controlled dimension and functionality. Further manipulation involves state-of-the-art physical tools to spatially arrange the synthesized nanoobjects and to specifically induce local chemical reactivity thereby creating nanosized patterns. This bottom-up approach to nanofabrication is expected to ultimately lead to a variety of future applications ranging from circuitry for tomorrow's computers and high-density data storage devices to ultrasensitive detectors. In addition, this research could provide new fundamental insight into the world of chemistry.
Host Institute: Abteilung Optoelektronik, Universität Ulm
Daniel Hofstetter studied Physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich (Switzerland). During his PhD thesis, he worked at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Zurich. In 1996, he earned a doctoral degree from the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland). As a post-doctoral fellow, Dr Hofstetter spent two years at the XEROX Palo Alto Research Center in California (USA), and later joined the University of Neuchâtel. In 1997, his dissertation was awarded the prize of the Swiss Physics Society.
Research Project: Surfing on a Ray of Light
Lasers for telecommunications, printing, and environmental sensing are amongst the products that Dr Hofstetter intends to develop in his project. This Swiss scientist is concentrating particularly on the development of "Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Devices". These can either be configured as interband semiconductor lasers that work in the violet wavelength range or as intersubband devices emitting near or mid-infrared laser radiation. Whereas the violet lasers are particularly interesting for optical data storage and laser printing, the near-infrared lasers are especially important for telecommunications. The mid-infrared wavelength range,finally, is used for applications in environmental sensing, process control, or the analysis of biological liquids.
Host Institutes: Fachbereich Chemie, Universität Frankfurt/Main and Institut für Biologische Informationsverarbeitung, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Judith H. Klein-Seetharaman studied at Cologne University and gained her doctorate from M.I.T. in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA), in 2000. She has been a visiting researcher at the Cologne University, at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, and at Imperial College London (Great Britain). She has been a postdoctoral associate at M.I.T. and at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA). Dr Klein-Seetharaman has won a number of awards for her work.
Research Project: Proteins – Wrinkled Workers in the Cell Membrane
Dr Klein-Seetharaman studies the mapping between sequence, structure, dynamics and function of proteins. She is particularly interested in membrane receptor proteins because they are involved in many vital cellular processes. Her methods are interdisciplinary. They include computational analysis of protein sequences and biophysical characterization of purified proteins. One example is the membrane protein rhodopsin. Dr Klein-Seetharaman is studying it by spectroscopic methods and thus unravels the structural differences between dark-adapted and light-activated rhodopsin. These studies contribute to the development of new methods for the investigation of folding and conformational changes in proteins. Furthermore, Dr Klein-Seetharaman has developed novel approaches to the teaching of biomedical concepts and processes.
Future biomedical problem solving is beyond traditional means because of the existing challenges in cross-disciplinary communication and utilization of vast quantities of available biomedical data. Dr Klein-Seetharaman's research group wants to build a virtual Problem Solving Environment (PSE) that combines advanced computer graphics, computer vision, artificial intelligence technologies and creative instruction technologies. In this PSE, crossdisciplinary education will be on-demand, entertaining and interactive. Towards this longterm goal, the group has developed a game-based PSE, where users can explore complex biological interactions with navigation, role-play, and networked collaboration. The prototype has been implemented on PC and tested in a preschool environment where users have little knowledge in biology. The experiment shows that the game greatly inspired users both in concept learning and entertainment suggesting that the game-based PSE helps users to learn bio-system dynamics and multiple object interactions.
Host Institute: Institut für Biochemie, Medizinische Fakultät, Universität Köln
Manuel Koch studied at Basel University (Switzerland), where he received his doctorate in 1995. Since 1996 he has been conducting research in the Cutaneous Biology Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts (USA).
Research Project: Networks of Proteins between Cells
This biochemist studies the function of proteins of the extracellular matrix. These molecules are secreted by cells and form a network between cells, which provides tissue and organs with the necessary stability and elasticity. In addition to their structural function the proteins are needed for a large number of different developmental processes. For example one of the newly discovered proteins belongs to a group of proteins which are decisive for connecting up the nervous system.
During his research work in the United States Dr Koch identified and partly characterized several new proteins with the help of genetic databases. His future research work at the University of Cologne will focus on further investigation of these proteins. In addition to their biochemical characterization, the role of these proteins with regard to human diseases will also be investigated. The results of this research may not only be applied to diagnostic medicine but may also be useful for tissue regeneration.
Host Institute: Institut für Theoretische Festkörperphysik, Universität Karlsruhe
Yuriy Makhlin studied at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (Russian Federation), and gained his doctorate in 1995 at the Landau Institute of Theoretical Physics in Moscow. Since then he has been a scientific assistant at the Landau Institute and at the University of Illinois, Urbana (USA), and as a Humboldt Research Fellow at Karlsruhe University in 1997/98.
Research Project: Set of the Smallest of All Particles
As a solid-state physicist, Dr Makhlin researches into the way quanta migrate and how they can be measured. His field of work here is at the intersection of quantum information processing and nano-technology, and the project is devoted to development of quantum computers based on superconducting nanoelectronics. In particular, Dr Makhlin's system of coupling various quantum bits has won him international acclaim. Prior to this, Dr Makhlin was doing research into superliquids and vortex motion.
Host Institute: Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik, Bonn
Matilde Marcolli studied at the Universities of Milan (Italy) and Chicago, Illinois (USA), gaining her doctorate at Chicago, Illinois (USA) in 1997. She then worked at various institutes of learning and research, including M.I.T. in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA), and currently has a research position as a Professor at the Max Planck Institute of Mathematics in Bonn.
Research Project: Geometry between Particle Physics and Number Theory
Dr Marcolli’s main field is the combination of mathematics and theoretical physics, and she is chiefly interested in gauge theories and non-commutative geometry, hyperbolic geometry, and arithmetic. She devotes herself to the development of gauge theories in mirror-image symmetries and the fractional quantum-Hall effect.
Host Institute: Institut für deutsches und europäisches Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsrecht, Universität Heidelberg
Krzysztof Piotr Oplustil studied at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Poland). In 2000 he received his doctorate at the Heidelberg University where he has been a member of the faculty in Law and Administration as a scientific assistant.
Research Project: The "Societas Europea" Will Replace the Limited Company, Ltd
The "Societas Europaea" (SE) is a supranational corporate structure for companies working throughout Europe. However, the SE-directive only provides the legal framework for founding and running European companies and hardly contains any regulations of its own. In this, jurisprudence is also facing new tasks. On the one hand, it has to support national legislation, while on the other, guaranteeing a genuinely European character. Dr Oplustil's working group is dealing with the areas in which the SE has to be treated differently from national companies. It is investigating all the questions relevant to founding and running a European public limited company to determine whether they can be definitively regulated in the directive or whether they can or must be complemented by national legislation. When the researchers have determined where the responsibility for regulation lies, they will make concrete regulatory proposals to the national legislators. Over and above this, they are establishing general basic principles in European corporate law which will help to interpret the directive and close up any legal loopholes. In this context, the so-called evaluative comparison of laws, which Dr Oplustil is investigating using German and Polish company and money market law, is of particular significance. Research into the common features and differences in European legal systems will contribute to avoiding friction in the practical operation of the company later on.
On 11/12 November 2002 Dr Oplustil organized an international conference in Heidelberg. Academics and lawyers from 13 countries laid the foundation stone for lasting collaboration on the project "European Corporate Law". Authors from 14 countries are involved in a book project on developing legislation on the European public limited company. On top of this, a draft for a German implementing act on a European public limited company, which was published by the Federal Ministry of Justice at the beginning of 2003, was drawn up with the assistance of members of the research group.
Host Institute: Institut für Physikalische Chemie, Universität Göttingen
Kawon Oum studied at the Yonsei University in Seoul (Korea) and received her doctorate from Oxford University (Great Britain) in 1996. Since then she has been conducting research at the University of California, Irvine, California (USA), and as a Humboldt Research Fellow at the Institute for Physical Chemistry at Göttingen University.
Research Project: Ecological Solvents of Water and CO2
The physical chemist Dr Kawon Oum focuses her research on elucidating the reaction kinetics of large organic radicals in supercritical fluids. Because of the importance of supercritical CO2 and supercritical water fluids as a promising alternative for hazardous organic solvents in many industrial processes, the detailed knowledge of the elementary reaction kinetics occurring in the supercritical fluid environment is required. She has investigated several radical recombination reactions in the gas to liquid transition range in order to understand the complicated behavior of their pressure and temperature dependend rate constants. In the current project, she utilizes a variety of optical spectroscopic techniques to learn in detail about the microscopic interactions between radicals and solvent molecules in supercritical media: how and to what extent solvent molecules attach to the reacting species and influence their electronic structure.
Host Institute: Abteilung Molekulare Pflanzengenetik, Max-Planck-Institut für Züchtungsforschung, Köln
Jane Elizabeth Parker studied at the University of Bradford (Great Britain) and received her doctorate in 1987 at the University of Wales, Swansea (Great Britain). She worked at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne and at the Sainsbury Laboratory of the John Innes Center in Norwich (Great Britain).
Research Project: Immune Systems in Plants
Dr Parker has spent several years researching mechanisms by which plants recognize and defend themselves against microoganisms that cause disease. As in animals, plants can respond to attack by pathogens by triggering local and systemic defence pathways. This is an important means of natural disease control. Precisely how the plant activates these vital processes is, however, not clearly understood. Dr Parker has used a combination of genetics and molecular biology to isolate genes that are important regulators of plant defence in a model plant called Arabidopsis. With these genes in hand, and with access to plant genome databases and modern molecular genetic technologies, she can now explore the functions of their corresponding proteins in Arabidopsis as well as a range of other plant species. This will allow us to dissect plant signaling processes and gain important insights to how plants avoid disease.
Host Institute: Institut für Theoretische Physik 2, Universität Bochum
Maxim Polyakov studied at St. Petersburg State University (Russian Federation), where he received his doctorate in 1993. Most recently he has been working concurrently at the Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, Gatchina (Russian Federation) and at the Institute for Theoretical Physics II at the Ruhr University in Bochum, where he was supported by a Humboldt Research Fellowship in 1998.
Research Project: Quarks and Gluons – the Constituents of Atoms
The matter we see around us consists almost entirely of quarks which are kept together within protons, neutrons and other particles by the strong force carried by gluons. This force is so strong that almost massless quarks and massless gluon form massive nucleons. One of the important questions of the theory of strong interactions is: How nucleons, and hence all atoms around us, get their mass? Dr Polyakov's project aim is to study dynamical phenomena in strong interactions which shape our world to be what it is. He suggested theoretical methods which will allow us to study these phenomena at high energy particle accelerators in a new way. Dr Polyakov's research is intended to provide a deeper insight into the quark and gluon structure of nucleons.
Dr Polyakov's group is working now on a new classification scheme of baryons (building blocs of atomic nuclei). This scheme predicted new states which are absent in the commonly accepted quark classification scheme. Recently, experimental results from Osaka have given a first confirmation of these ideas which, if eventually confirmed, may lead to revision of concepts of the baryon physics.
Currently, the group is taking part in establishing two big projects: the 6th European network on hadronic physics, and the transregio project of the German Research Society (DFG). With active participation of the group, a new Bochum-Dortmund Graduate College has been established. In the near future, the group aims at integrating nuclear and particle physics section of Bochum University into further international and national scientific projects. One of the group's aims is also to establish interdisciplinary connections with other fields, such as solid state physics and theory of complex phenomena. A workshop on field theoretical methods in high energy and solid state physics will take place this summer.
Host Institute: Institut für Theoretische Physik, Universität Düsseldorf
Alexander Pukhov studied at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (Russian Federation), where he gained his doctorate in 1991 and was later employed as an Professor. He has been a research associate at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching since 1994, and has also worked as a visiting scientist at the universities of Turin (Italy), Osaka (Japan), and Princeton, New Jersey (USA). Since November 2001 he is a Professor at Dusseldorf University.
Research Project: Plasma as a Target
Dr Pukhov studies laser-plasma interactions at the highest intensities, which are technically available now. At these intensities, any matter is instantaneously ionized and becomes plasma with very interesting new physical properties. These laser pulses drive strong currents of relativistic electrons and generate magnetic fields of such an amplitude never observed earlier on the Earth. The similar plasma conditions may exist in the nature only in the deep space, in the vicinity of white dwarfs and pulsars. The new generation of powerful lasers allows us for the first time to observe these effects in laboratory experiments. Dr Pukhov uses complex numerical simulations on parallel computers to study the relativistic laser-plasma. His simulations provide a better understanding of the experimentally observed laser acceleration of charges particles. Dr Pukhov also investigates the possibilities for new sources of short-wave and nuclear radiation from laser-plasma. Another very important topic of his research is the new approach to the laser fusion energy, where the short pulse lasers may play the central role for the target ignition.
Dr Pukhov and his research group are planning a large Transregio DFG project on Relativistic Laser Plasma with Universities of Duesseldorf, Jena, Munich (LMU), Max-Born-Institut in Berlin and Max-Planck-Institut for Quantum Optics in Garching. Duesseldorf University will be the leading organisation in this project.
Host Institute: Abteilung Molekulare Pflanzengenetik, Max-Planck-Institut für Züchtungsforschung, Köln
Tina Romeis studied at Tübingen University, gaining her doctorate in 1994. After a period of research work at the Institute of Genetics in Munich, she went to the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich (Great Britain) in 1997, working initially as a Post-doctoral Fellow and later in a permanent scientific position.
Research Project: When Plants Suffer – Tomatoes under Stress
Dr Romeis is investigating how plants adapt to changing environmental conditions and how they react to biotic and abiotic stress. Amongst other things, she has already investigated the initial signal reactions of plants which fight off a certain mould protein after being attacked by mould. She has developed methods of combining protein-biochemical and genetic approaches and uses them in the project. In this way Dr Romeis would like to explain which signals within the plant are involved in the stress reaction and how these signals are transduced. Hence, she has identified the so-called Calcium Dependent Protein Kinases (CDPKs): CDPKs can be controlled biochemically on several levels. On top of this, it has been possible to allocate them a function as a molecular junction in a regulatory network of abiotic and biotic stress reactions.
Dr Romeis' research group is collaborating with the MPI of Molecular Plant Physiology in Golm. Together with 17 other university research groups and the MPI for Plant Breeding Research, the group at the SFB 1976 is contributing to the topic "Posttranslational functional control of proteins". In July 2002 Dr. Romeis completed her Habilitation at the Department of Biology, University of Munich.
Host Institute: Institut für Theoretische Physik, Universität Hannover
Luis Santos studied at the University of Salamanca (Spain), where he received his doctorate in 1998. Since then he has been conducting research at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Hanover University.
Research Project: Ultra-Cold in the Light of a Laser
The theoretical physicist Dr Luis Santos has devoted his research to the area of ultra cold atomic gases. In particular he has analysed novel methods of achieving extremely cold atomic samples using laser light (laser-cooling), and studied different effects in which the atoms behave as a wave (atom-optics). In the last two years, he has turned his interest to the analysis of the Bose-Einstein condensation, a state of matter in which a macroscopic amount of atoms occupy a single quantum state. Such a phenomenon can be considered one of the hottest topics in modern atomic physics, due to the remarkable experimental results, which have obtained the coldest atomic samples ever, and also due to its intrinsic interdisciplinary character which links a broad spectrum of research areas. Currently, Dr Santos continues the analysis of the physics of Bose-Einstein condensates, and is additionally interested in the links between Atomic and Condensed-Matter Physics in the case of strongly-correlated systems in cold atomic gases, including one-dimensional gases, and lattice gases.
Dr Santos' research group has published more than fifteen papers in refereed journals, including five Physical Review Letters, the most prestigious journal in their research field. The group has been presented its work at more than fifteen conferences and has been invited to colloquia in Spain, The Netherlands, Russia, Italy, and Germany. The Sofja Kovalevskaja Award has supported different visitors from the United Kingdom, Italy, and Finland, and has allowed for the buying of new computational facilities.
Dr. Santos plans to remain within the German academical and research system within the next future, strengthening his current collaborations with German and foreign top-qualified groups.
Host Institute: Lehrstuhl für Theoretische Hüttenkunde und Metallurgie der Kernbrennstoffe, Technische Hochschule Aachen
Jochen Schneider studied at the University of Hull (Great Britain) and at Northwestern University of Illinois, Urbana (USA). He received his doctorate in 1998. Since then he has been working at Linköping University (Sweden). He has also done research work as a visiting scientist at various institutions, including the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California (USA).
Research Project: A Second Skin of Nanocrystals
Professor Schneider is regarded as one of the leading experts in coating-technology. As a material scientist, he is creating oxide layers with tailor-made properties, and is developing a method using totally ionised plasmas for the deposition of nanocrystalline films from the gas phase. In his project, Dr Schneider will seek to understand the correlations between plasma chemistry and energetics, the structure evolution and the properties of thin films. Special attention is paid to impurity incorporation during growth due to residual gases.
Professor Schneider has built-up collaboration with RWTH departments as well as non-university institutes (FZ Rossendorf, IWS FhG Dresden, Physical Chemistry University Chemnitz) and others will follow. He was awarded the Chair in Materials Technology on 1 March 2002.
Host Institute: Klinik 1 für Innere Medizin, Universität Köln
Joachim L. W. Schultze studied at Tübingen University, where he received his doctorate in 1992. Since then he has been conducting research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts (USA).
Research Project: Cancer Vaccines
The immunologist Professor Schultze researches into the immune response to tumors and tumors derived from blood cells in particular and develops vaccines for cancer treatment. In April 2002 he was appointed Professor for Tumor Immunology at the University of Cologne. Over the last 12 months together with his colleague Professor Wolf he has established a new and innovative research unit "Molecular Tumor Biology and Tumor Immunology" which combines basic, translational and clinical research in Cologne. Such integrative projects are essential for excellent research in the medical sciences. At present more than 10 scientists and physicians with a similar number of diploma and graduate students are working under the leadership of Professor Schultze and Wolf. The team is particularly focusing on the use of genomic techniques to answer important questions of tumor immunology. In the summer of 2003, the first study concerning blood derived immune cells in healthy individuals and cancer patients has been successfully concluded. Preliminary results about defects of immune cells in cancer patients have been established, also revealed by using modern genomic techniques. A strong emphasis is also the detection of new targets to be integrated into cancer vaccines as well as the development of novel immunodiagnostic techniques for cancer vaccine trials. For those two areas of development Professor Schultze together with colleagues at the University Hospital in Cologne founded already a biotech company.
Most recently, Professor Schultze has also been instrumental in founding a new initiative at the University of Cologne establishing a working group for preventative medicine. The main goal of this working group is the development of scientifically based clinical programs of preventative strategies - primarily in the areas of oncology, cardiology and immunology.
The team of Professor Schultze and Wolf are working closely together with scientists and clinicians at the Harvard Medical School, Boston University, University of Pennsylvania, and also from the Deutsche Krebsforschungszentrum, the Universities of Bonn and Frankfurt, and the GSF Neuherberg and the Max Delbrück Zentrum in Berlin.
Host Institute: Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie, Technische Hochschule Aachen
Eva Stoger studied at Salzburg University (Austria) and received her doctorate at Vienna University (Austria) in 1994. She has been conducting research at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida (USA), and most recently in the Molecular Biotechnology Unit of the John Innes Center in Norwich (Great Britain).
Research Project: Pharmaceutical Factories in Rice and Wheat
Dr Stoger is researching into the production of pharmaceutical proteins in plants. In the last few years, she has demonstrated that medical antibodies can, in principle, be produced in rice and wheat. Stoger's research group is already producing important pharmaceutical proteins in cereal plants, including coli Toxin B, humanes Serum-Albumin, and an antibody to the bacterial cause of tooth decay. The objective of the current research project is to refine the manipulation of these procedures with the help of molecular and cell-biological methods. Dr Stoger is developing a purification procedure to obtain significant amounts of these proteins from the plants for further analysis. She is examining in detail the effectiveness and biological security of recombinant pharmaceutical proteins from plants. She is receiving support in this work from medical working groups in Germany and abroad. The utilization of useful plants - particularly cereals - as bio-reactors for producing vaccines, therapeutic anti-bodies, and similar pharmaceutical proteins makes it possible to produce such substances free of contamination and at a reasonable price and thus employ them routinely in human medicine.
In the course of the project Dr Stoger has built up a network of national and international collaboration which will be involved in follow-up projects.
Host Institute: Universitätsklinikum, Physiologisches Institut 1, Universität Freiburg
Greg J. Stuart studied at Monash University in Melbourne (Australia) and at the Australian National University, Canberra (Australia), where he received his doctorate in 1991. As a Humboldt Research Fellow, he worked at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. Since 1995 he has again been conducting research at the Australian National University, Canberra (Australia).
Research Project: How Memories are Created
Dr Stuart is interested in understanding how we make memories. Our brains contain billions of nerve cells connected into complex networks. Previous work indicates that repetitive activation of individual networks can lead to changes in the strength of connections between nerve cells. These changes in connection strength are thought to underlie learning and memory. This project will address the cellular mechanisms underlying changes in the strength of connections between nerve cells. In particular, as most of the information nerve cells receive is made onto their dendrites (small branching processes that extend from the cell body), one of the main objectives will be to determine the role dendrites play in modulating changes in connection strength between nerve cells. This research will increase our understanding of how our brains make memories. In the long run it is hoped that this research will help us to fix them when things go wrong.
Host Institute: Abteilung Grenzflächen, Max-Planck-Institut für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung, Potsdam
Gleb Sukhorukov studied at Lomonosov University in Moscow (Russian Federation), where he gained his doctorate in 1994. He worked as a scientific assistant at the Institute of Crystallography of the Russian Academy of Sciences and at the Max Planck Institute for Colloid and Surface Research in Potsdam.
Research Project: Polymer Capsules – Medication in Micropackages
As a biophysicist with a powerful reputation, Dr Sukhorukov has been specialising in hollow capsules made from polymers, such as are used for pharmaceutical and similar products, in the food industry, and in genetic engineering. Dr Sukhorukov has already developed new methods for producing capsules, and he also does research into the permeability and elasticity of polymer capsules and into the way these properties can be controlled. He has gained world-wide respect for his development of methods for colloid coating with polymer multi-layers.
Host Institute: Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Stuttgart
Grigori Vajenine studied at the Higher Chemical College of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow (Russian Federation) and Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas (USA). He gained his doctorate in 1997 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York (USA). Since then he has been a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Solid-State Research in Stuttgart. He was also granted a Humboldt Research Fellowship and has won a number of research awards.
Research Project: Atomic Patterns in Crystals
The main goal of Dr. Vajenine's work is to prepare and characterise new solid-state inorganic materials. He analyses chemical bonding and interprets their physical properties. The interdisciplinary project builds up on the fields of chemistry, materials reaserch, and physics. On the one hand, Vajenine investigates a group of metal-rich compounds containing electropositive metals such as sodium and barium. The goal is to understand the interplay of ionic and metallic bonding in these substances. On the other hand, he applies a promising synthetic route employing plasma-activated nitrogen to prepare novel metal nitrides.
Employment of low-temperature nitrogen plasma allows one to access an alternative synthetic route to preparation of new nitrogen-containing materials. In conventional inorganic chemical synthesis high temperatures are typically used to bring the starting materials to react with each other. However, overheating of the reaction mixtute is sometimes undesirable because it complicates the process and may prevent formation of desired products. The application of plasma discharge enables more selective activation of reacting molecules while maintaining relatively low processing temperature. This opens a way to materials inaccessible by other synthetic approaches. Specifically, Dr Vajenine's group concentrate their efforts on obtaining transition metal nitrides with useful electrical and magnetic properties. They have demonstrated viability of this approach by preparing the superconducting niobium nitride NbN as an example.
Host Institute: Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH, Universität Kaiserslautern
Zhong Zhang studied at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei (China), where he received his doctorate in 1999. He worked at the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing since 1990. Between 1997 and 1998, he worked at the Karlsruhe Research Centre (Germany) and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (England) as a guest scientist. He has been working concurrently at the Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH (Institute for Composite Materials) at University of Kaiserslautern as a Humboldt Research Fellow since September 2000, and as a group leader sponsored by the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award program since November 2001.
Research Project: Parts for the Hydrogen Motor
Understanding of processing-structure-property relationships of polymer composites is the main research area of Professor Zhong Zhang, a professor from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. He worked in some leading research institutions in UK and Germany between 1997 and 1998, concentrating on low-temperature properties of polymers and composites. Parts of the results on failure processes in resins are of importance to support the design of large (11m diameter) superconducting magnets for the Atlas experiment at CERN. The objective of this new project is to investigate the long-term behaviour of short fibres/particles (including nanoparticles) reinforced thermoplastics at different environmental temperatures, finally leading to an accelerative use of these materials in various industrial applications, for example, the blossoming hydrogen technology for vehicle application. Artificial neural networks are also used in his project to predict the performance of these materials as a function of their compositions and testing conditions. Up to now, he has more than 60 research publications in refereed journals and international conferences.
Professor Zhong Zhang's research group has published 7 scientific papers in international journals. Other 12 papers have been submitted for reviewing or are in preparation. Parts of the work are on the way for a German patent application, due to the high potential for industrial purpose.
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