Excellence Initiative

Excellence Junior Professors

Prof. Dr. Carla Cederbaum

Junior Professor for Differential Geometry and Mathematical General Relativity

My research interests lie at the interface between differential geometry, geometric analysis, and general relativity. At the moment, I pursue three main lines of research: One line is to mathematically model and investigate astrophysically relevant relativistic phenomena. One example are trapped light rays running in circles. The second line is to derive and solve geometric partial differential equations that are useful to translate classical physical concepts such as the center of mass of an object to general relativity. The third line of my research is to explore the relationship between various physical and geometric parameters of objects such as black holes. Homepage

Prof. Dr. Erin Chernick

Institute for Organic Chemestry

page will come soon

Prof. Dr. Marie Duboc

Junior Professor for Comparative Politics: Applied Transformation Research

My research interests focus on Middle East politics through the lens of social movements and collective action. I am particularly interested in examining how sociopolitical transformations resulting from economic policies influence mobilisations. In my previous research I studied labour protests in Egypt during the last decade of Hosni Mubarak’s rule. My next project focuses on social justice as a contentious issue since the overthrow of dictators in Tunisia and Egypt. I am currently working on a socio-historical study of energy politics in North Africa. Homepage.

Prof. Dr. Jennifer Ewald

Junior Professor for Molecular Cell Biologie

My main research interest is how cells coordinate their metabolism with other cellular processes. In many diseases such as cancer or premature ageing, altered cellular metabolism can be both cause and effect of a cell´s malfunction. Using the model organism baker`s yeast I want to understand how metabolism is regulated to support normal cell function. Currently, we are focusing on how metabolism fuels the cell division cycle, i.e. how the cell provides all the small molecules at just the right time to make two cells from one. We investigate this regulation of metabolism using yeast genetics, live cell microscopy and mass spectrometry. Homepage.

Prof. Dr. Ivana Fleischer

Junior Professor for Organic Chemestry

The research of the Fleischer group focuses on the development of new catalytic transformations for organic synthesis. General goals of our investigations are innovation, efficiency and sustainability. In this context, the ideal transformation should be atom and energy economic, waste neutral and safe. Therefore, we are interested in the use of earth abundant metals, such as nickel or cobalt as homogeneous catalysts. Catalysis can be regarded as an enabler of chemical reactions, since the presence of a catalyst leads to the increase of reaction rates. Specific subjects of our research are defunctionalization reactions and transformations of olefins and carboxylic acid derivatives. Possible applications of these reactions are production of fine chemicals and valorisation of renewable raw materials. Homepage.

Prof. Dr. Monika Fleischer

Junior Professor for Plasmonic Nanostructures

The research of M. Fleischer focuses on the nano-fabrication and optical characterization of specifically engineered plasmonic nanostructures for applications in nano-optics, near-field microscopy, and sensing. The nanostructures are investigated by optical, fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy as well as Raman and dark field spectroscopy. They are further combined with nano-objects (molecules, quantum dots) to form hybrid structures for investigating interactions and light harvesting. Homepage.

Prof. Dr. Fei Huang

Junior Professor for Chinese History and Society

Prof. Huang’s research interests concentrate on the interdisciplinary combination of landscape studies, cultural geography, historical anthropology, art history and material culture studies in late imperial China, with a special focus on the southwest frontier area. She believes that tracing history is always about people – how people have remembered and told stories that capture their understanding and imagination of their inner and outer worlds that reflect each other simultaneously. Taking landscape as both objective nature and subjective culture, she is interested in bridging the divide between “reality” and “imagination” in the process of mutual influence between human agency and landscape. She explores this avenue by considering the place of landscape in everyday social life. Homepage

Prof. Dr. Mandy Hütter

Junior Professor for Social Psychology

My main research focus lies on attitude formation and change. I dissociate higher and lower cognitive processes using stochastic modeling procedures. I am now also using these validated stochastic models to predict spontaneous and deliberate behavior. I am especially interested in the boundary conditions and situational moderators of (different processes in) attitude acquisition. Thus, I investigate the adaptive capacity of these acquisition processes to requirements of the environment. Homepage

Prof. Dr. Markus Janczyk

Junior Professor for Cognitive Psychology

My group focuses mainly on three different topics in the field of cognitive psychology: perception and action, memory, and language. Results from these lines of research are also considered with regard to human factors and human-computer interaction: (1) How do perception and action interact and how does anticipated perception contribute to dual-task performance? (2) How are working memory items selected and what is the role of the language production modality for long-term memory retrieval? (3) How and when is presuppositional information processed during the online construction of sentence’s meaning? In addition to these topics, we address statistical questions of relevance to quantitative analyses in experimental research and use cognitive computational modelling (e.g., diffusion and accumulator models) to complement the behavioral research. Homepage

Prof. Dr. Johannes Lipps

Junior Professor for Classical Archaeology

I studied Classical Archaeology, Ancient History, Papyrology, Epigraphy and Numismatics at the Universities of Marburg, Rome and Cologne. My research focuses on ancient architecture, the study of ornaments and sculpture, especially in Rome and the Roman provinces.

The currently realized projects include among others the publication of the stucco findings in the so-called Augustus’ house on the Palatine Hill in Rome, the documentation and publication of Elector Carl Theodor’s Roman stone monuments in Mannheim and the investigation of a late antiquity destruction horizon of the Roman Forum in Rome. Homepage.

Prof. Dr. Anna Pawlak

Junior Professor for Art History

Anna Pawlak’s main research focus centres on the visual arts of the early modern period, especially on northern painting, sculpture and graphics from the 15th to the 18th century. Her research interests continuously focus on various historical interdependencies between art, politics, and religion as well as on explicit artistic strategies to generate meaning. Her current research project focuses on early modern figurations of death and explores the different artistic concepts in representing immaterial reality. Articles on sepulchral art and early modern body imagery, on the history of art history, on eyewitnessing and collective visual experience as well as on comics and movies reflect her epoch- and media-spanning interest on cultural studies approaches. Homepage

Prof. Dr Cynthianne Debono Spiteri

Junior Professor for Archaeometry

My main research interests lie in palaeodietary reconstructions, particularly during transitory periods, and how these relate to the economy, general health and social dynamics of a community. I extract lipid residues which become absorbed within the walls of porous ceramic vessels during their use-life, and I identify the contents of the different vessels using chromatographic and spectroscopic analysis. This methodology produces direct evidence for vessel use, and informs on the culinary preferences and cooking techniques of ancient communities. I also target dietary lipids trapped within dental calculus using Thermal Desorption-GC-MS and Pyrolysis-GC-MS. Dental calculus traps within its matrix a wealth of biomolecules which provide direct palaeodietary evidence, with the added advantage of enabling us to target populations further back in prehistory, prior to the introduction of pottery. Homepage

Prof. Dr. Beate Stelzer

Junior Professor for Space-based Observational Astronomy
The research group “Space-based Observational Astronomy” is focused on multi-wavelength studies dealing with the formation and evolution of cool stars and brown dwarfs. The latter ones are objects with masses too low for the ignition of hydrogen burning which, lacking an internal energy source, become successively cooler and fainter as they age.
Data are collected with ground-based telescopes (such as the ”Very Large Telescope”, VLT, of the European Southern Observatory in Chile) as well as with instruments on space satellites (e.g. the X-ray Observatories Chandra and XMM-Newton, or the Kepler and Gaia missions). Recording the spectral energy distribution from radio to X-ray wavelengths is essential for understanding stellar structure, the interaction between star and circumstellar disk, and the structure and dynamics of the stellar atmosphere. Long-term monitoring on various time-scales, tracking down the variability of the stellar emissions, provides information complementary to the spectral studies. This includes very diverse phenomena such as reconnection of the stellar magnetic field, stellar rotation or mass accretion in young stars. Homepage

Prof. Dr. Christiane Zarfl

Junior Professor for Environmental Systems Analysis

The environment is faced with a number of anthropogenic threats like climate change, pollution, habitat degradation, biodiversity loss, depletion of natural resources. Our research group contributes to finding solutions for these global challenges by understanding the basic processes and underlying mechanisms.

We tackle a broad range of research questions related to environmental pollution and infrastructure development, e.g. hydropower dams, which directly induce habitat changes and may contribute to the depletion of natural resources.

Our research employs mathematical modelling in combination with empirical and experimental data to understand biochemical processes that determine the environmental fate and effects of contaminants. In addition, another research domain focuses on improving decisions on location of dam construction, type of dam and operation mode. In the long-term, integration of socioeconomic aspects into environmental research will provide knowledge that directly serves the exchange at the science-policy interface. Homepage