Goldglitter mit der Jahreszahl 2020

Honours Students 2020

Goldglitter mit der Jahreszahl 2020
Image: FSU Jena

68 students were selected in 2020. Due to the pandemic, we had our opening event online.


Digital Opening event of the Honours Year of 2020 Digital Opening event of the Honours Year of 2020 Screenshot: Norbert Krause
Digital Opening event of the Honours Year of 2020 Digital Opening event of the Honours Year of 2020 Screenshot: Norbert Krause

Faculty of Theology

Maja Friederike Menzel Show content

Course of Studies: Protestant Theology (Teacher Training)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Michael Wermke

Philipp Oberschelp Show content
Philipp Oberschelp Philipp Oberschelp Image: privat


Course of Studies: Protestant Theology (Diplom)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Christopher Spehr

Remembrance of 100 years of Religious Peace of Augsburg in 1655
The Religious Peace of Augsburg in 1555 is considered to be a turning point in the Reformation era. Compared to its beginnings, however, it receives less attention in historical research and the interested public. With my research project I want to counteract this disparity. The focus of my work is therefore the jubilee festival proclaimed by Elector Johann Georg I of Saxony in 1655. It can provide information about how people in the shadow of the Thirty Years' War and the Peace of Westphalia assessed the Religious Peace of Augsburg and what consequences on the religious and denominational level were drawn. To this end, I am not only examining the role of the Ernestine ruler Wilhelm IV of Saxe-Weimar, but also looking at the cheering sermons of e.g. Johann Hülsemann and Jacob Weller as well as the role of the theologians and then university rectors Johann Ernst Gerhard the Elder and Christian Chemnitz.

Julius Schwarz Show content
Julius Schwarz Julius Schwarz Image: privat

Course of Studies: Protestant Theology (Diplom)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Hannes Bezzel

Faculty of Arts

Michel Braun Show content
Michel Braun Michel Braun Image: privat

Course of Studies: Arabic Studies (M.A.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Tilman Seidensticker

Regulating the prohibited - Interest rates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
In some states with an Islamic majority, Islamic legislation plays an important role. A prominent example is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has formally enshrined the Koran and Sunnah as its constitution. On some economically sensitive issues, such as customs duties, insurance and interest rates, there are conflicts between a rather conservative interpretation of Islamic sources by Saudi Arabian legal scholars on the one hand, and the requirements of modern economies on the other. Within the framework of my research project, I therefore deal with the question of what consequences this problem has and how the Saudi legislator deals with it. A special focus is on the handling of interest and its assessment in the context of legal disputes before ordinary courts and special Saudi arbitration committees such as the Committee for the Settlement of Bank Disputes.

Anna Bundt Show content

Course of Studies: History, English and American Studies (Teacher Training)

Supervision: PD Dr. Franziska Schedewie

Lisa Gersdorf Show content
Lisa Gersdorf Lisa Gersdorf Image: privat

Course of Studies: Modern History (M.A.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Carola Dietze

Ruth Diederichs between self- and foreign interpretation
Biographies are not only re-narrated life stories, but also serve to investigate different contexts of a person’s life and thus general historical questions and contexts. In this way, biographies can be used to expand perspectives on specific parts of history. In an interdisciplinary project seminar held by modern historian Carola Dietze and the scholar of German literature Peter Braun, Ruth Diederichs (1899-1984) became the focus of interest for a group of students. Until then, only her name was known. Her father was the publisher Eugen Diederichs, her mother Helene Voigt-Diederichs as well as her stepmother Lulu von Strauss and Torney-Diederichs were well-known writers. Ruth Diederichs however remained unknown – until 2018 when an important part of her papers coming from the family archive arrived in Jena.
Researching an unknown (female) person is both an opportunity for historians and germanists as well as a desideratum well overdue. Within this article, another research gap will be considered: Ways of dealing with mental illness within German society in the early Weimar Republic. A special focus is placed on alternative healing concepts as compared with conventional methods and on the gender-specific treatment of mental illness.

Carolin Grzenia Show content

Course of Studies: English and American Studies (M.A.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Caroline Rosenthal

Affect and Emotion in Climate Fiction
Rising sea levels, shrinking glaciers, thawing permafrost – the effects of climate change on our physical world are scientifically undeniable; however, to what extent do these consequences affect our emotional world? As of recently, scholars have begun to point towards the psychological and emotional dimensions of climate change. The large scale and intangibility of the phenomenon have brought forth novel affective responses to the crisis (such as climate anxiety, ecological grief, and climate trauma). In my project, I turn to the role of the literary imagination as a vehicle to capture, explore, and form a more nuanced understanding of such negative feelings. To that end, I investigate how affect is illustrated in and generated by climate fiction – literary works that portray climate change. By doing so, I examine in how far the literary representation of emotions like climate anxiety might hold the productive potential to spark reflection, turning climate change-induced distress into environmental consciousness.

Anja Heidemann Show content

Course of Studies: German as a Foreign Language ‐ German as a Second Language (International Master) (M.A.) 

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Christine Czinglar

The uncontrolled acquisition of the employment of two young refugees from Afghanistan with limited literary skills
The research project is part of the project DaZ-UMF (German as a second language of unaccompanied minor refugees) under the head of Prof. Dr. Czinglar, professor at the department of German as a foreign and second language at the University of Jena.
Despite the ongoing integration of many refugees into the German schools, there are only a few studies about their acquisition of German. The question about the efficiency of integrating them into regular classes after one year will be discussed in this project. This is why the language acquisition of the verb placement in German and its duration by two Afghan young refugees with low literacy levels will be analysed.
The on the acquisition’s order of verb placement basing instrument by Grießhaber (Profilanalyse) is the basis of the language data analysis. Due to the low literacy of the probands and their slow acquisition, the focus lies on the lower levels.

Emilia Henkel Show content
Emilia Henkel Emilia Henkel Image: privat


Course of Studies: History and Politics of the 20th Century (M.A.)

Supervision: Dr. Franka Maubach

Years without children – Declining birth rates as an experiential dimension of the post-socialist transformation in Eastern Germany
During the system change in Eastern Germany the birth rates dropped drastically to only half of the birth rate from 1989. It took over ten years until the number of children born in the former territory recovered. Until today, this "halved generation“ poses substantive problems to Eastern German regional governments and society. Thuringia, for example, struggles with the late effects of a hiring freeze in schools, which was in place for the first fifteen years after unification. One fifth of the state´s teachers will retire in the next five years causing an immense shortage of qualified teaching personal. Like no other image the dropping graph of Eastern German births per woman exemplifies aspects of the post-socialist transformation, that have been neglected in previous research: Firstly, the imploding birth rates illustrate that the ruptures of the early nineties continue to have an effect on the society until today. Secondly, the demographic shock shows how deeply Eastern German bodies and biographies and even the most intimate spheres of life were affected by the system change, that is often only understood in its political and economic dimensions. In my research project, I want to take the imploding birthrates as a point of departure to develop a new perspective on the historical bounded experience of living in the Eastern German society undergoing radical change. How are the societal dynamics of the system change affecting the family planning and the life courses of individuals and how are the resulting birth rates in turn shaping the post-socialist society until today?

Amandus Hopfgarten Show content
Amandus Hopfgarten Amandus Hopfgarten Image: privat


Course of Studies: English and American Studies, German Literature (B.A.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Stefan Matuschek

Animal Allegory or Animal Advocacy? Contemporary readers’ perspectives on (metaphorical) animal representations in canonical 20th century literary texts
Never has there been as vigorous a public debate about animal welfare issues as today: Not only is the number of Vegetarians and Vegans continuously rising in Germany and several other countries; both meat-free cookbooks and non-fiction on human-animal relations are booming on the book market as well. More and more people, one imagines, are reflecting on their relationship with nonhuman animals. But how are these developments impacting the individual literary understanding of modern readers? This research project investigates if and how the contemporary societal sensitisation to animal welfare establishes new perspectives on those literary texts that stand in an allegorical interpretative tradition, i.e. whose animal protagonists have been and are usually interpreted as metaphors for human agents, political entities or the like. Kafka’s “Ein Bericht für eine Akademie” (“A Report to an Academy”) as well as Orwell’s Animal Farm will be adduced exemplarily for reader interviews in order to develop hypotheses, drawing on current research in the field of literary animal studies.

Maximilian Huscke Show content
Maximilian Huschke Maximilian Huschke Image: privat

Course of Studies: Philosophy (M.A.)

Supervision: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Andrea Marlen Esser

The "Aesthetic Theory" as a Critical Theory of Art. On Kant and Adorno
The central concern of the research project is to figure out how Theodor W. Adorno productively takes up and develops Immanuel Kant's so-called first moment of the aesthetic judgement in his Aesthetic Theory. This reconstruction will be used as a model to illustrate how Adorno mediates the historical and systematic aspect of philosophical considerations. The guiding perspective is to reconstruct the specific procedure of the Aesthetic Theory and its particular form of Kant-reception under the insights of "critical theory".
In keeping with this self-understanding, Adorno takes up the thinking of classical German philosophy and, under the thesis of a "truth content", endeavours to productively reappropriate it. With the necessary awareness of the problem based on a specific philosophy of history and a theory of society, this method of reception demonstrates how a systematic approach to traditional theories can be successful without misjudging the contemporary constellations of the reception itself, but rather to "intervene" in these circumstances.

Marco Krüger Show content
Marco Krüger Marco Krüger Image: privat

Course of Studies: Medieval Studies (M.A.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Uwe Schirmer

Communicative practice and regional networking of a manor village in the 16./17. century
My project aims to investigate the structures of communication and mobility in a rural community in Northern Thuringia in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. In the days before the Internet, telephone or television, face-to-face contacts and communication by letter were the primary media of exchange between people. The mobility of the village population (occasion, frequency, distance, means of transport) is to be examined, with a focus on the various social groups. In addition, I am interested in how the village was economically, politically and socially intertwined with its surroundings and which communicative activities can be demonstrated in the different areas. In addition, I try to consider the influence of supraregional developments on village life, especially in terms of communication and mobility. This applies, for example, to pre-modern globalization processes, in which these "small" actors e.g. participated in goods, or major politico-military conflicts like the Thirty Years War.

Annalena Lohfelder Show content
Annalena Lohfelder Annalena Lohfelder Image: privat

Course of Studies: German Linguistik (M.A.)

Supervision: PD Dr. Barbara Aehnlich

A linguistic study of gender equality: "Wer schwanger ist, der/*die kommt hierher."
The German language offers the possibility to refer to both male and female persons by using the masculine version of the noun. Studenten (students, m.) includes female students as well as male ones, even if there is a separate form for women (Studentinnen). In terms of gender equality, such pair forms (Studentinnen und Studenten) are used increasingly instead of masculines.
Other than nouns, some pronoun paradigms do not even provide feminine forms. The relative pronoun wer (who) is defined as gender neutral, but some sentences prove a masculine gender: Wer schwanger ist, der/*die kommt hierher! While wer seems to require the masculine pronoun der, the sentence semantically refers to female persons, therefore the feminine pronoun die seems to be the correct one. In 1995 the linguist Karin Pittner found a strong preference of German native speaker for grammatical gender correctness over the natural one. In my project I am going to investigate if there are any changes in language use that allow feminine forms in cooccurrence with the pronoun wer. Furthermore, alternative forms will be discussed.

Marcel J. Paul Show content
Marcel J. Paul Marcel J. Paul Image: privat

Course of Studies: History, German (Teacher Training)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Timo Stickler

The armenian Eunuch Chrysaphius and his contemporary gender-specific reflection and his political Importance in the Byzantine Empire
One of the most important political actors in Constantinople in the 5th century was a clear maverick, both in terms of his gender and his geographical origin: the armenian eunuch Chrysaphius was one of the most important manipulators at the court of Theodosius II (408 - 450 A.D.), but he was socially marginalized due to his belonging to the so-called "third sex", his oriental homeland and his little-regarded position as chief chamberlain (praepositus sacri cubiculi) at court. Contemporary authors create a thoroughly negative image of him that is pervaded by stereotypes. The research project aims to use the case of Chrysaphius as an example to illustrate the specific possibilities that eunuchs at the court had and the means they used to assert their interests. At the same time, it aims to show the limits that restricted their power. In addition, the source images will be subjected to an in-depth gender-historical investigation in order to understand the construction of stereotypes about persons of the "third sex“.

Alexandra Treder Show content
Alexandra Treder Alexandra Treder Image: Vicente Alfonso Sánchez

Course of Studies: German as a Foreign Language ‐ German as a Second Language (International Master) (M.A.) 

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Michael Schart

Qualification of Future-German-as-a-Foreign-Language-Teachers regarding their Ability to Impart Intercultural Competence - a Case Study
The society we live in is heterogeneous. This is by no means a recent development, but increasing globalisation and migration movements are making this heterogeneity more and more apparent. If we want to live in an inclusive society in which the dignity of men is unimpeachable, it is indispensable for us to develop intercultural competence among the youth. For this purpose, German educational standards and curricula have included not only linguistic aims but also intercultural ones. To reach these goals it is necessary for language teachers to enable their students to act consciously when facing intercultural encounters. This project analyses a case study in the teaching degree ”Deutsch als Zweitsprache“ (German as a Second Language) of the University Friedrich Schiller in Jena. Here we will examine the qualification of future teachers of German as a foreign language in light of their ability to impart intercultural competence. Our aim is to suggest ways in which teachers can be qualified in this area and to point out possible discrepancies between demand, curriculum, seminar-planning and subjective perception of student competence. By doing so, this investigation seeks to contribute to the body of teacher education research.

Niklas Unterdörfel Show content

Course of Studies: History, Classical Archaeology (B.A.)

Supervision: Dr. Christoph Klose

Mapping of Friedrich Wilhelm and Ernst Schmidt's topographic studies of the Roman Rhineland
Within the framework of the scientific research of the Academic Coin Cabinet of the University of Jena, this project aims at a topographical investigation of the subcollection Schmidt. The brothers Friedrich Wilhelm (d. 1844) and Ernst Schmidt (d. 1877) bequeathed posthumously to the Großherzogliches Gymnasium Weimar a collection of Greek and Roman coins of more than 4300 pieces, which today makes up the largest part of the Academic Coin Cabinet.
The project intends to present the archaeological and topographical studies of the Schmidt brothers in the provincial Roman regions of Germany (and some neighbouring countries) from a numismatic point of view for the first time. The coin finds are then localised and incorporated into a virtual map stock using the open source program QGIS.
The aim of this project is to gain new insights into the provenance of the coins of the Academic Coin Cabinet of the University of Jena in order to demonstrate the institutionalisation of the 19th century collection history using Jena as an example.

Monika Urbich Show content
Monika Urbich Monika Urbich Image: privat


Course of Studies: Modern History (M.A.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Carola Dietze

The writer Lulu von Strauss and Torney in the context of the Jena publishing house Eugen Diederichs 1916-1930: On the intellectual biography of a conservative poet between the youth movement and National Socialism
As part of an interdisciplinary project seminar in modern History (Prof. Dr. Carola Dietze) and German Studies (Dr. habil. Peter Braun), a biography of the Jena publisher's daughter Ruth Diederichs is currently in progress. At the center of my work is her stepmother, the writer Lulu von Strauss and Torney (1873-1956). She was married to the publisher Eugen Diederichs from 1916 until his death in 1930 and embodied the 'quiet' center of the cultural circles around this publisher. At the same time, she depicts some of the diverse crossroads of the history of ideas in the event space Jena around 1900 and thereafter in a not yet sufficiently researched way in personam. Based on the period between 1916 and 1930, the present project examines the family position and intellectual role of Lulu von Strauss and Torney in the difficult circumstances of the large Jena publishing house and especially in relation to Ruth Diederich's stepdaughter.

Elia Joël Weber Show content
Elia Joël Weber Elia Joël Weber Image: privat

Course of Studies: Indo‐European Studies (M.A.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Martin Joachim Kümmel

Ancient Indo-European Languages in contact with respect to ancient DNA
Where languages meet and influence each other, speakers might exchange genetic material which – even if thousands of years old – can be studied thanks to the latest advances in genetic sequencing. However, an individual’s DNA is not necessarily correlated with their language or culture. The necessity to develop more complex models in order to allow realistic comparisons between linguistic and genetic data is still outstanding. Ideally, the time and place of linguistic contact phenomena will be individuated based on linguistic and genetic data.
My research project aims at evaluating less studied linguistic contacts between ancient Indo-European languages based on linguistic and genetic material. In my M.A. thesis I will analyze the origins of the Ancient Greek suffix -άδ- within the neighboring context of ancient Anatolia in order to determine whether an Anatolian suffix -at- could have been borrowed into Ancient Greek.

Irene Weiß Show content
Irene Weiß Irene Weiß Image: privat

Course of Studies: Intercultural Human Resources Development and Communications Management (M.A.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Xun Luo

Revisiting East Asian Conflict Management
The importance of the research field of East Asian conflict management has increased over the time. Due to globalization, the importance of the Asian market, as well as today's trend of diversity and working internationally, the interest in researching East Asian behavior has increased. Above all, the culturally related conflicts, which has high influence on success and failure in cooperation are the focus of the investigation. East Asian conflict management is a research area that has not yet been well developed and is characterized by Western views and research perspectives. This goes hand in hand with the risk of stereotyping.
As part of the research project, I pursue the hypothesis that the research area of East Asian conflict management needs an intercultural perspective for further expansion, which has gained prominence in cross-cultural research.

Faculty of Physics and Astronomy

Oliver Dubnack Show content
Oliver Dubnack Oliver Dubnack Image: privat

Course of Studies: Material Science (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. -Ing. Frank A. Müller

"Ultrathin films - Unlimited potential" - Synthesis of crystalline oxide monolayers
Both the production and the characterization of atomic thin films have gained increasing scientific importance in recent years. The variety of extraordinary properties resulting from the almost two-dimensional spatial orientation of a crystal reduced to a few atomic layers opens up access to a wide range of applications. Consequently, the extension of the production of technologically relevant materials of minimal thickness to various inorganic non-metallic materials seems promising. The objective of the planned project is to investigate the pulsed laser deposition process for the production of perovskite thin films with atomic dimensions. Subsequently, heterostructures based on laminated layers of different composition and on layers of the same composition twisted against each other will be analyzed. The resulting material combinations provide the potential for the development of multifunctional electronic applications.

Florian Funke Show content
Florian Funke Florian Funke Image: privat

Course of Studies: Physics (B.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Gerhard G. Paulus

Nano-scale material identification of laterally structured monolayers using XUV coherence tomography
Without integrated semi-conducting circuits at the nanometer scale, nowaday’s ubiquity of electronic devices would surely be inconceivable. Modern production procedures make use of single-layered atoms (so-called monolayers) of certain materials, which, however, need to be buried under particular types of glass (such as SiO2) for protection from environmental influences.
In this project, I intend to focus on a specific non-invasive laboratory-based optical imaging technique that is capable of a three-dimensional nano-scale resolution without depending on synchrotron radiation. It is based upon the so-called optical coherence tomography, an interferometric imaging method using the coherence properties of a broadband radiation source to reconstruct the depth profile from the measured reflection signal. In the visual spectrum, this procedure already is well approved and has now been transferred to the technically challenging region of extreme ultraviolet radiation allowing significantly superior resolutions.
My task is going to be the further investigation of this technique‘s application scope regarding the material contrast of specifically manufactured monolayers.

Ke Li Show content
Ke Li Ke Li Image: privat

Course of Studies: Photonics (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Andreas Tünnermann

Towards Single Shot 3D Scanning Using Synthetic Data and Deep Learning
Structured light illumination (SLI) is a popular technique for non-contact 3D shape measurement widely used in the industry. Among many SLI patterns, the phase shifting patterns, combined with gray code patterns, are the most robust when it comes to material variation, noises, and ambient light level. Although the phase shifting 3D reconstruction technique could produce 3D shape result with very high spatial resolution, the amount of projection patterns highly restrict the temporal resolution. With the help of deep neural networks such as Perceptual Style Transfer network, we could potentially reduce the number of projection patterns from 30-40 shots to only single shot, which will open up 3D sensing application to many high speed processes. In addition, we use physics based 3D rendering method to generate massive training data for a data-hungry but robust single shot 3D scanning deep learning model.

Julian Späthe Show content

Course of Studies: Physics (B.Sc.)

Supervision: Dr. rer. nat. Matthias Kübel

Carrier-envelope phase (CEP) measurement of ultrashort laser pulses in mid-IR
An ultrashort laser pulse can be expressed mathematically as the product of an envelope function and a carrier wave. Their phase difference, i.e. the phase of the carrier at the maximum of the envelope, is called CEP and influences the interaction of intense laser light with matter. The central goal of the current project is the control of simple chemical reactions in gas phase by intense femtosecond laser pulses. Thus, the measurement of the CEP is a key task.
These measurements require the use of nonlinear optical effects to generate high harmonics (integer frequency multiples of the origin pulse) and to overlap them spectrally.
My tasks are the participation in the measurements and the setup improvement as well as the development of a measurement software with the aim to calculate the CEP by analysing the spectral overlap of the generated harmonics. The goal is a single shot measurement of the pulse’s CEP, i.e. a measurement frequency of 1kHz.

Felix Wechsler Show content
Felix Wechsler Felix Wechsler Image: privat

Course of Studies: Photonics (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Rainer Heintzmann

Microscopy Deconvolution with "Julia"
A microscope capturing incoherent light emitted by a specimen always introduces some blur to the image. The mathematical description of that blur is a convolution of the object with the point spread function (PSF). The latter characterizes the optical response of the microscope with respect to a point source. Deconvolution is an algorithm which tries to reverse this blurring process providing a sharper image. However, it is an ill-conditioned inverse problem which cannot be solved directly.
In our research project we are trying to develop a framework which addresses deconvolution through an optimization problem. Using the novel programming language "Julia" allows a rapid high level development and the use of modern tools like automatic differentiation.

Further information:

Faculty of Medicine

Micha Banz Show content

Course of Studies: Medicine (State Examination), Molecular Medicine (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Ignacio Rubio

Identification of small GTPases in endothelial dysfunction
The Permeability of blood vessels is dependent on tightly regulated, complex molecular mechanisms. In case of local inflammation, the host responds by upregulating the permeability of blood vessels to enable the recruitment of mediators and immune cells to the inflamed tissue. In systemic inflammation, like e.g. sepsis, the exaggerated host immune response often leads to the dysfunction of endothelial permeability regulation. This is frequently followed by a drop in blood pressure and in the worst case, multiple organ dysfunction.
Small GTPases of the Ras superfamily act as molecular switches and are well-established regulators of cell-cell-contact, cytoskeletal architecture and therefore crucial for endothelial integrity. In this project we aim to metabolically label all members of the small GTPases family with radioactive isotopes. After induction of inflammation, we will be able to detect and quantify via two-dimensional gel electrophoresis specific GTPase versions targeted by inflammation and important for endothelial dysfunction.

Leopold Böhm Show content
Leopold Böhm Leopold Böhm Image: privat

Course of Studies: Medicine (State Examination), Molecular Medicine (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Helen Morrison

The peripheral nervous system in hematopoietic stem cell aging
Hematopoietic stem cells are found in the bone marrow of adult humans and mice, which are continuously regulated by soluble factors and direct contact with other cells in their niche. During aging, stem cell intrinsic and extrinsic changes cause hematopoietic stem cells to fail in their task of creating an intact blood system. As a result, old individuals generally have a more vulnerable immune system and a higher risk of anemia. In my scientific work I am interested in how the peripheral nervous system in the bone marrow influences the function of hematopoietic stem cells and how the relationship between the nervous system and the hematopoietic system changes during the aging process.

(Böhm, L., Helbing, D., Oraha, N. and Morrison, H., 2020. The peripheral nervous system in hematopoietic stem cell aging. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 191, p.111329.)

Dario-Lucas Helbing Show content
Dario-Lucas Helbing Dario-Lucas Helbing Image: privat

Course of Studies: Medicine (State Examination)

Supervision: Prof. Reinhard Bauer

Examination of the immune cells of the brain after stroke
In Germany, around 250,000 patients suffer a stroke every year, with sometimes devastating long-term consequences. In view of demographic change, this number will increase in the future, especially in western nations such as Germany. Therapeutic options are currently still limited to early interventions (thrombolysis, thrombectomy) in order to prevent neuronal tissue from death. This is because the complex inflammatory processes and cell-cell interactions between neurons, the resident immune cells of the central nervous system, the microglia and other cell types after a stroke are still insufficiently understood. In particular, the signalling cascades and protein networks that change over time have so far only been partially characterised.
Therefore, using an experimental stroke model in mice and different experimental approaches (e.g. genetically modified mice, mice pretreated with an immune system stimulating substance), we will try to understand how the natural immune cells of the brain, the so-called "microglia", contribute to the pathological processes after a stroke. These special cells are isolated from the brains of mice and will be analysed using mass spectrometry. Conducting detailed bioinformatic characterization of the multidimensional proteome data sets, we will be able to identify the molecular networks behind the activation and functions of microglia cells after an experimentally induced stroke. We expect new insights into whether and how the signalling pathways regulated by different interventions can be used in stroke treatment.

Klara Luise Metzner Show content
Klara Luise Metzner Klara Luise Metzner Image: privat


Course of Studies: Molecular Medicine (M.Sc.)

Supervision: PD Dr. med. Julian Grosskreutz

Skin biopsies as a novel approach in research of neurodegenerative diseases
Neurodegenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), are characterized by an increasing loss of motor neuron function. Motor neurons innervate the muscles of the body and are therefore necessary for its movement. Patients suffering from that kind of disease show partial paralysis and spasticity depending on which motor neuron is affected. One part of the molecular basis of these diseases is a destabilization of the components of the cytoskeleton – the internal skeleton of the cells, in this case of neurons. The reasons for the changes of motor neuron structure are not yet fully understood. A novel approach is the analysis of human skin biopsies which would be applicable for clinical use because of the noninvasive intervention. Additionally to disease-related differences, initial data suggest age- and gender-dependent correlations of the distribution of cytoskeleton components which are to be proven in this project.

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Amina Aissaoui Show content
Amina Aissaoui Amina Aissaoui Image: privat


Course of Studies: Psychology (B.Sc.)

Supervision: Dr. Marcus Mund

Rieke Borges Show content
Rieke Borges Rieke Borges Image: privat


Course of Studies: Sociology (M.A.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Sylka Scholz

An intersectional approach to Eastern Germany: The experiences of young migrants in rural Saxony
Rural areas in Eastern Germany are a symbol of current shrinking and de-democratisation processes. While these areas are often depicted as places of crisis a more nuanced analysis of rural areas is rare – despite the fact that life in Eastern Germany is particularly characterised by a provincial and rural life-style. With this research project I aim to critically reflect on this one-sided discourse and promote an intersectional perspective on the housing and living space in rural Eastern Germany. For this purpose, I will conduct interviews with marginalised and silenced voices. The voices of the youth from a migrant or BIPOC background living in the rural Saxony. How do they experience their housing and living space? Do they undergo (spatial) segregation? How do they deal with unemployment/immobility/racial violence? Based on their stories, I ask what spatial particularities and social power structures shape the lives of young people in rural Saxony and how they still free up space for themselves.

Melissa Büttner Show content
Melissa Büttner Melissa Büttner Image: privat

Course of Studies: Sociology (M.A.)

Supervision: Dr. Dennis Eversberg

A social-ecological perspective on mentalities of mobility
Human mobility plays a major role in the emission of CO2, not only in Germany but worldwide. Given this fact, the cry-outs demanding a major shift in societal use of the means of transportation are becoming louder whereas the political measures taken towards this goal are seemingly small.
In my Master’s thesis, I want to examine the current mentalities towards mobility from a socio-ecological perspective. These mentalities, or mindsets and structures of practice, seem to be highly influenced by the use of fossil fuels as they are the material and energetic basis of our mobility. In the first part of the thesis, I want to analyze the relation between fossil fuels and mobility mentalities from a historical perspective to point out that our current mobility mentalities can be understood as "fossil mentalities". Employing an explorative cluster analysis from a recent representative survey about mobility and sustainability, I want to describe the given mentalities towards mobility as of today. The analysis focuses furthermore on describing different social groups, their mentalities and their openness for a new postfossil mobility system. The ultimate goal is to detect those mentalities that promote a postfossil mobility and to contrast them with more conservative mentalities.

Alexia Dalski Show content
Alexia Dalski Alexia Dalski Image: privat

Course of Studies: Psychology (M.Sc.)

Supervision: PhD Géza Ambrus 

Analysis of neuronal representations using EEG
My research project focuses on understanding how our brain processes language and semantics by analyzing Electroencephalograms (EEG). I present my participants several items in different modalities. Tough shown in these different ways, the semantic content remains the same, otherwise our communication would hardly work. As a result, I investigate whether the EEG-signals evoked from this exposure must as well have certain similarities. These similarities in neuronal representation can only be calculated with the help of advanced statistical methods. Therefore, my research project in the Honours-Programme, supervised by Dr. Géza Ambrus, is on the interface between biological psychology and data science.
In the future, I plan to further investigate how neuronal representations emerge and how they are linked to each other. In this regard, I am specifically interested in the question, whether and how it is possible to decode on a neuronal basis what we perceive as “human”.

Pauline Endler Show content
Pauline Endler Pauline Endler Image: privat

Course of Studies: Psychology (B.Sc.)

Supervision: apl. Prof. Dr. Karinba Weichold

Positive Youth Development (PYD) and social media use during the Covid-19 pandemic
The current Corona pandemic is a unique historical example of major political, economic, and social changes, which go hand in hand with radical effects on everyday life. For instance, due to various contact restrictions, such as "social distancing" and "homeschooling", it has become much harder to stay in contact with others. One of the few options for pupils to stay connected to their friends is the use of social media. The planned study aims at investigating the psychosocial adjustments of pupils as a result of the effects that the current crisis has on young people. In particular, the impact of social media use on positive youth development of young adults and their mental health will be of special interest. Prior to the pandemic, a survey (790 adolescents) was already conducted, which took various psychological and social factors into consideration with regards to positive youth development of young adults. These data will be incorporated into the planned longitudinal study.

Julia Freitag Show content


Course of Studies: Psychology (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Dr. Marcus Mund

What happens psychologically during the transition to college?
I have conducted a five-month diary study during the winter semester 2020/21 in order to answer this question. In this study, first-year undergraduate students were repeatedly surveyed on themselves and perceptions of their fellow students. A second study of similiar design will be conducted during the winter semester 2021/22. 
The data from my honours project can be used for other research projects, degree theses and honours projects. If you are interested, you can contact me or my supervisor.

Aaron Korn Show content
Aaron Korn Aaron Korn Image: privat

Course of Studies: Sociology (M.A.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Sylka Scholz

Care in the everyday life of male youths
Western capitalistic societies currently face a profound crisis of social production which results in a care deficit regarding everyday life but also succession of generations. While constant changes in gender relations slowly lead to a subversion of the prevalent linkage between femininity and care in capitalistic societies, public discourse still distributes the solution of the crisis towards women. Some elements of the one-dimensional approach prevail in the scientific debates of care. A central gap represents the connection between care and masculinity. Especially in the field of critical studies on men and masculinities male youths are mainly displayed as irresponsible and careless through their orientation towards an ideal of hegemonic masculinity. Given the fact that a crucial part of adolescence is the development of a caring attitude towards others, it is the main objective of the research project to challenge the dominant assumption of the irresponsible and careless male youths. The project mainly focuses on how care is present in the everyday life of male youths and what potential concepts of care they might develop.

Vanessa Leisner Show content
Vanella Leisner Vanella Leisner Image: privat

Course of Studies: Applied Ethics and Conflict Management (M.A.)

Supervision: Dr. Christian Knüpfer

The Impact of Organizational Culture on Responsible AI Utilization – Purpose, Principles, and Values as Competitive Advantage?
With a spectacular velocity, advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) have found their ways into our daily lives. Experts are convinced that organizations in all domains are, or will soon be, applying AI solutions to their products or services. Society is increasingly asking for a responsible approach to the design and utilization of respective systems. Organizations are hence facing the challenge how to reflect this demand in their AI systems. Just recently, the potential positive influence of certain elements of an organization’s culture (i.e. for instance its values, principles, or purpose) on responsible AI design and utilization is being highlighted within research. My project draws on this consideration and seeks to demonstrate if, and if so, why this is true for responsible AI utilization. Moreover, it tries to show that an organization’s culture can in this context be a competitive advantage.

Clemens Lindner Show content
Clemens Lindner Clemens Lindner Image: privat

Course of Studies: Psychology (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof.- Dr. Thomas Kessler

Precursors of prejudice
The focus of my research is to investigate the assumed precursors of prejudices of two theoretical perspectives. In social psychological prejudice research, there has been a controversy for decades about the predictive validity of two theoretical approaches, one explaining prejudices with a certain personality and the other through (inter-)group processes. Whereas the personality approach emphasizes interindividual differences, i.e. people with certain personality characteristics are more prejudiced and while others without these traits are more tolerant, the group process approach emphasizes the social context of prejudice as a social and dynamic phenomenon. Prejudice must therefore be understood in the respective group context that mediates the prejudices of a person as a group member. At the Social Psychology Department, we are conducting a multiwave study to test the assumptions and predictions of both approaches against each other. This should give us further insights into the intraindividual stability and variation of prejudices and thus help us understand a phenomenon that is of great significance for intergroup relations and societal cohesion.

Alina Oschwald Show content
Alina Oschwald Alina Oschwald Image: privat

Course of Studies: Psychology (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Dr. Julia Dietrich

Which characteristics of teaching quality increase the situational motivation of students?
The motivation of students varies from moment to moment and is partly determined by the characteristics of the learning situation. These situational characteristics include, for example, the proximity to practice, the quality of the instruction and the enthusiasm of the teacher. The teacher, their didactic approach and their lesson arrangement are of great importance. The study “Momentane Motivation” (MOMO) deals with situational differences in teaching behavior and how these can predict the motivation of students in a certain situation. For this purpose, students were asked about their motivation several times per lecture over ten weeks. At the same time, video recordings of the lecturer were made and evaluated qualitatively. The study is intended to determine context factors for the development and maintenance of motivation.

Charlotte Raithel Show content

Course of Studies: Psychology (B.Sc.)

Supervision: Dr. Marcus Mund

Loneliness and Dream
The main subject of my honours-project is supposed to be the connection between loneliness and sleep and the content of dreams. Since sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and necessary for maintaining a high functional level, I considered this topic to be important and worthy of further research. Previous studies have already shown a connection between loneliness and low subjective sleepquality. However, if and how loneliness and dreams are connected is not known so far.
Therefore, I plan to examine possible connections between loneliness and dreamcontent in the form of a diary-questionnaire. In this process data in regard to loneliness, sleepquality and dreamcontent will be used.
The basic question of this project is whether lonelier people have a higher amount of social content in their dreams, for example to compensate their subjectively perceived deficit in social realtionships. Moreover, I want to investigate further, how the perceived sleepquality differs dependent on the expressed loneliness and therefore influences daily experiences.

Lena-Emilia Schenker Show content
Lena-Emilia Schenker Lena-Emilia Schenker Image: privat


Course of Studies: Psychology (B.Sc.)

Supervision: Dr. Jennifer A. Bellingtier

Ageism in German Fairy Tales
Content analyses have revealed that older adults in children’s literature in the United States are underrepresented and often depicted in negative, stereotypical ways. According to Bigler & Liben’s developmental intergroup theory (2007), both of these factors can cause the formation of negative ageist attitudes in the children consuming this literature. These attitudes can be harmful to older adults and, when internalized, influence individuals’ beliefs about their own aging, leading to negative mental and physical health outcomes.
So far, no studies have examined in what way older adults are characterized in German children’s literature yet. To contribute to the relatively new area of research investigating how ageist attitudes in children might develop, I want to analyze German fairy tales regarding the portrayal of older characters.

Isabelle Schilka Show content
Isabelle Schilka Isabelle Schilka Image: privat


Course of Studies: Communication Science, Psychology (B.A.)

Supervision: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ines Engelmann

Understanding Constructive Journalism
Current news reporting is mainly problem-centred, so that the representation of political and social problems often underlies a negativity bias. Because of that, citizens see the political and social reality in a more negative manner than it actually is. This may not only result in decreased interest towards the topics addressed, but could also weaken the social commitment as well as the political engagement. Constructive reporting, in contrast, can have positive effects towards society. It uses techniques from positive psychology, and does not stop at the observation of the problem, but further offers solutions for it. On a short term, this could result in higher well-being of the recipients, and could long-term improve social coexistence. Currently, there is no consent about how constructive journalism constitutes in journalistic practice. Moreover, the scientific research is not in consent about constructive journalism as well. This gap in research will be addressed during this scientific project. At first, characteristics of constructive journalism will be carved out through a systematic literature review. Second, a content analysis will explore which features of constructive journalism appear in journalistic practice. Especially due to the linking of these two analytical steps, the concept of constructive journalism is expected to be further conceptualized.

Leoni Schlender Show content
Leoni Schlender Leoni Schlender Image: privat

Course of Studies: Sociology (M.A.)

Supervision: Post-Doc Fabricio Rodríguez

An exploratory research of feminist epistemologies and their effects in Chile and Argentina
Feminist movements in Chile and Argentina have caused global sensation in recent years: In Chile, protests against the neoliberal political system and in favor of a feminist and plurinational constitutional change lasted for months starting in October 2019. In Argentina, feminist movements have been fiercely fighting for legal abortions and against femicides for years. In both cases, broadly based and little studied mobilizations stand out, in which queer activists as well as environmentalist and indigenous groups take part.
Within the Honours Program, I will conduct participatory observations at online events as well as qualitative interviews with activists and scientists to investigate the following question: Which epistemologies underlie the feminist movements in Chile and Argentina enabling them to appeal to and to mobilize politically diverse subjectivities and large parts of the population?

Dorothea Schmitt Show content
Dorothea Schmitt Dorothea Schmitt Image: privat

Course of Studies: Psychology (B.A.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Gabriele Wilz

Pilot study: "Individualised music for people with dementia in home care“
Research indicates that listening to music that has a personal meaning can illicit highly positive responses in people with dementia (PwD). For example, the study "Individualised Music for People with Dementia" by the Department of Counseling and Clinical Intervention, (funded by the GKV-Spitzenverband der Pflege- und Krankenkassen), showed that listening to individualised music may trigger positive reactions such as rhythmic entrainment, humming, and singing along. It also showed that this music intervention met with a high level of acceptance among the participants and can be successfully implemented in nursing homes.
Based on a pilot study conducted by Prof. Wilz’s working group, my collaborative project involves the planning, implementation and evaluation of a music intervention in a home care setting, in which the feasibility of home visits, individualised music listening and acceptance of daily assessments in this setting will be investigated. This study will be incorporated into a planned large-scale research project of the department. Through the use of an individualised music intervention, this project aims to achieve an improvement in the quality of life of PwD, an increase in the well-being of relatives in a carer role, and improvement in the quality of PwD – Carer/Relative interactions.

Louise Wagner Show content
Louise Wagner Louise Wagner Image: privat

Course of Studies: Sociology (M.A.)

Supervision: Dr. rer. pol. Anne Tittor 

Terraforming Earth: How Geoengineering changes everything so that nothing has to change
Geoengineering refers to the intentional interference with the mechanisms of ecosystems by means of large-scale technological interventions. The dominantly narrated goal is to mitigate or even reverse climate change. Weather Modification, Solar Radiation Management and Carbon Dioxide Removal are the three main strands of ideas how global warming could be addressed via technological means.
Despite numerous known (and equally numerous unknown) negative ecological, political and social implications, geoengineering continues to be treated as a viable strategy to mitigate climate change. I will investigate the reasons for this phenomenon first by first discussing geoengineering as a spatio-temporal fix to address the associated economic interests. In a next step, I will discuss the observable shift within social sciences towards a stronger engagement with the potentials of geoengineering programs and trace the arguments that would favor the endeavor from a critical socio-scientific perspective.

Franziska Wiest Show content
Franziska Wiest Franziska Wiest Image: privat

Course of Studies: Sociology (M.A.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Sylka Scholz

Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Jakob Bruhnke Show content
Jakob Bruhnke Jakob Bruhnke Image: privat

Course of Studies: Chemistry (B.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Stefanie Gräfe

Asymmetries and spin correlation in XUV induced ionization dynamics
The understanding of the behaviour of electrons is of high relevance in various branches of natural science: Just think of the emission of electromagnetic waves or of light-induced reactions in our everyday lifes such as photosynthesis. For approximately 20 years it has now been possible to generate laser pulses of extremely short length (attosecond laser pulses), thus enabling real-time observation of electronic motion. One consistent finding of these experiments was that photoemission is subject to delay caused by electronic correlation. Thus, it is of great interest to accurately predict these ionization processes in larger systems. This, however, proves to be challenging due to the high complexity of correlated electronic motion. In my project, I simulate the correlated ionization dynamics of a model system. In order to find imprints of electronic as well as nuclear-electron correlation, photoelectron spectra – the momentum distribution of the emitted electron – are investigated. Furthermore, I will examine the spin-correlated dynamics.

Jonathan Hammer Show content
Jonathan Hammer Jonathan Hammer Image: Franziska Barth

Course of Studies: Biogeosciences (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Dr. Torsten Schubert

Cross-feeding of nutrients and vitamin B12 between a marine microalga and a heterotrophic bacterium
The microscopically small, single-celled alga Emiliania huxleyi is part of the marine phytoplankton, which is responsible for about half of the photosynthesis on earth and thus substantially contributes to the fixation of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Like many algae, E. huxleyi requires the cobalt-containing vitamin B12 for the synthesis of essential building blocks of the cell but is unable to produce B12. In this project the role of the bacterium Phaeobacter inhibens, which lives closely associated with E. huxleyi, in supplying the alga with B12 is analyzed. Among other aspects, the stimulation of P. inhibens’ B12 production by small organic compounds, so called osmolytes, that are leaking from the algal cells and serve as growth substrates for the bacteria, is investigated and whether the low concentration of cobalt in seawater represents a limiting factor.

Kira Herwig Show content
Kira Herwig Kira Herwig Image: privat

Course of Studies: Chemical Biology (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Dr. Nico Ueberschaar

Analysis of human milk oligosaccharides with ion mobility spectrometry coupled with mass spectrometry
Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOS) are found in human milk along with lactose, lipids and proteins. They pass the stomach of infants undigested into the intestinal tract. There they promote the growth of beneficial bacteria while inhibiting the adhesion of pathogenic bacteria, fungi and viruses. The probiotic and immune-modulatory activity of HMOS depends on the structure of the HMOS.
After investigating the antimicrobial activity of saccharide fractions derived from human milk against various pathogenic bacteria, I will analyze the saccharide fractions by liquid chromatography coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry. Since many saccharides have the same molecular formula and practically identical polarity, Ion mobility spectrometry should be used as a complementary technique. This method allows for the size of the molecules to be distinguished.

Valentin Kasburg Show content
Valentin Kasburg Valentin Kasburg Image: privat

Course of Studies: Earth Sciences - Geophysics (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Nina Kukowski

Investigation of the aquifer characteristics based on geological, petrophysical and borehole geophysical insights of the core drilling Moxa 2013
The Geodynamic Observatory Moxa with its numerous instruments for exploring the earth's interior is surrounded by marine sedimentary rocks of the Paleozoic. For these lithologies of the Saxothuringian Zone, an important unit of Central Germany, very little petrophysical data are available so far - apart from geological investigations. In the course of the 100 m deep core drilling from 2013, extensive geophysical borehole measurements were carried out and continuous temperature measurement systems have been installed in addition to the obtained drill core material.
As part of the Honours Program, I would like to discuss the drill core data I collected in conjunction with the geophysical logging data in an article. This publication should include the stratigraphy, the petrophysical characterization of the drill core, as well as the characterization of the aquifers.

Imelda Paulina Levario Sánchez Show content
Imelda Paulina Levario Sánchez Imelda Paulina Levario Sánchez Image: privat

Course of Studies: Chemistry of Materials (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Dr. Courtney Calahoo

Study of the structure-property relationship and phase separation of tungsten phosphate glasses through mapping techniques.
Tungsten oxide-based compounds are used in diverse applications (eg. gas and temperature sensors). Due to their high ionic conductivity, tungstates can create unique properties in an amorphpous state. This is due to the coexistence of W5+ and W6+ ions. A majority of W6+ ions results in transparent glasses while, a majority of W5+ ions produces colored glasses.
Therefore, I aim to prepare tungsten phosphate glasses, heat-treat them to induce phase separation and characterize via mapping techniques. By studying the composition-structure and structure-property relationships I strive to understand how compositional variation and temperature affect phase separation and how their different phases influence its properties. Through mapping techniques, I can correlate their different phases with its properties and observe how temperature and composition influence properties and processes such as ionic and electronic conductivity, phase separation and mechanical properties.

Marlin Müller Show content

Course of Studies: Geoinformatics (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Dr.-Ing. Clémence Dubois

Investigation of the influence of different external seasonal parameters on the radar signal
Through advancement of previous research work on the investigation of seasonal environmental influences on the radar signal, I support a better process understanding of general vegetation parameters and their temporal influences thereof. The focus lies primarily on the observation of deciduous and coniferous forests in Thuringia. By examining satellite-based radar imagery (Sentinel-1) over the years, I want to analyze temporal characteristics and possible developments or trends. Further research should also answer questions about the influence of external parameters (e.g. precipitation, evapotranspiration, temperature, etc.) on the radar signal. In the long term, an improved understanding of temporal changes in vegetation should arise and, for example, a detailed description of land cover parameters should be made possible. It is also important to me to develop the methodical steps with open and freely available software. This work is supervised by Dr.-Ing. Clémence Dubois.

Janine Otto Show content

Course of Studies: Chemical Biology (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Dr. rer. nat. Nico Ueberschaar

Analysis of microcystins from lakes during algal blooms
Due to increasing extreme weather events such as heat, heavy rain and summer storms, which temporarily disturb the natural stratification of lakes, intensive algal blooms are increasingly occurring. When the algae die after blooming, they release partly strong toxins, so-called microcystines. These are a number of different toxins that are built up from amino acids. The release of these toxins has far-reaching consequences. Microcystins are considered toxic in higher doses, but carcinogenic effects and a promotion of tumour growth have already been proven at lower concentrations. For fauna, the release of these toxins is even more drastic. In addition to fish and water birds, aquatic mammals are also affected, sometimes with lethal consequences.
In cooperation with the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Neuglobsow, I would like to perform microcystin analyses of various lakes in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. First, the biologically characterised algae during a bloom will be chemically analysed for microcystins using mass spectrometry. In addition to comparison with commercially available standard microcystins, I will also search specifically for other microcystin congeners known from literature.

Yasaman Pourdakheli Hamedani Show content
Yasaman Pourdakheli Hamedani Yasaman Pourdakheli Hamedani Image: privat

Course of Studies: Chemistry of Materials (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Dr. Stephanie Schubert

The project will be done within the framework of the collaborative research center “PolyTarget” and is entitled “Preparation, characterization and utilization of polymeric nanoparticles for treating chronic inflammatory diseases”. The investigated nanoparticles (NPs) are based on tailor-made polymers, which provide a non-invasive and novel pathway to transport pharmaceutical agents (such as drugs, enzymes, peptides, protein and gene) to their site of action. Then their interaction with cells and functionality will be further studied. The big picture aim of this research is to convey therapeutic molecules to treat diseases, which are result of inflammatory response and include a wide range of diseases such as asthma, allergy, hepatitis, transplant rejection and etc.

Dulce María Sánchez Cerrillo Show content

Course of Studies: Chemistry of Materials (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Dr. Carlos Guerrero Sánchez

Synthesis of Multifunctional Polymeric Catalyst and their Application in Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Recycling
The aim of my research project consists in the design and optimization of multifunctional copolymer catalyst for depolymerization of Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a polymer presented nowadays in many materials such as soft drinks bottles and textile fibers. These catalysts aim to overcome drawbacks from traditional depolymerization processes, to achieve high yields and purity of the obtained monomer, Bis (Hydroxyethyl) Terephthalate (BHET). The process of depolymerization will be optimized using an automated parallel synthesizer to establish a computerized protocol of catalyst evaluation. The final product and the kinetics of depolymerization will be examined by proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR), size exclusion chromatography (SEC), gas chromatography (GC) and Elemental Analysis to optimize the conditions of reaction (i.e. temperature, time), as well as the amounts of catalyst and solvent used in the formulation. This research will take place in the Institute for Organic Chemistry and Macromolecular Chemistry (IOMC) at the research group of Prof. Dr. Ulrich S. Schubert.

Konstantin Schellenberg Show content
Konstantin Schellenberg Konstantin Schellenberg Image: privat

Course of Studies: Geoinformatics (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Dr. Marcel Urban

Radar satellites measure environmental change in Africa
My research focusses on the quantification of land degradation processes in the South African savannas. Efforts are done to detect, map and assess bush encroachment patterns in rangelands by means of the latest Sentinel radar and optical remote sensing time series. Conclusions from the study help to gain insight into how climate change may affect semi-arid regions and provides a tool for quantifying their negative impacts for biosphere and farmers. A field campaign in 2021 aims to supply further ground validation data and is thematically integrated in a broader framework within the South African Land Degradation Monitor (SALDi) project. The project is supervised by Dr. Marcel Urban and Prof. Schmullius, Department for Earth Observation, Institute for Geography.

Antje Uhde Show content
Antje Uhde Antje Uhde Image: privat

Course of Studies: Geoinformatics (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Christiane Schmullius

Study of flood dynamics in the Amazon
The biodiversity in the Brazilian Amazon basin secures the livelihood of the indigenous population. The increasing deforestation of the rainforest and agricultural use are threatening them. In the project "Balancing biodiversity conservation with development in Amazon Wetlands" (BONDS), opportunities are now to be created for the controlled development of the economic use of local resources such as fish in order to ensure food security. For example, closed seasons for certain fish species or catch quotas could be established. Detailed information on the distribution of habitats of important animal species serves as a basis for this. At the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, I am researching ways to derive this information from satellite data. In addition to the determination of vegetation species, the seasonal changes in wetlands play a major role in this process. This allows potential fish stocks to be determined and climatic changes to be predicted.

Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

Marian Landgrebe Show content
Marian Landgrebe Marian Landgrebe Image: privat

Course of Studies: Business Administration (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Peter Walgenbach 

The influence of success on learning in organizations: An empirical study
In my research project, I aim to investigate the triggers of organizational learning. Since learning and innovations are crucial for the survival of organizations, there is a high theoretical and practical relevance in analyzing the antecedents of innovation.
The theoretical framework of my research project builds upon the behavioral theory of the firm. The theory suggests that at low level of success organizations will (most probably) fall below their own acceptability threshold. Subsequently, organizations will engage in organizational learning and innovation. It can further be assumed that the level of competition, as well as certain organizational characteristics (e.g. the age of the organization), may influence the proposed negative relationship between organizational success and innovativeness.
The objects of investigation are German public theaters (in the period from the early 2000s until today), which are confronted with the contradictory demands of innovativeness and traditionality.

Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science

Lino Joss Fidel Haupt Show content

Course of Studies: Mathematics (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Tobias Henrik Oertel-Jäger

(Counter-) Examples in topological dynamics
My research goal is to better understand the relevance of a certain class of topological dynamical systems.
One possible application is the theory of quasi-crystals. After their discovery by Shechtman (nobel prize in chemistry in 2011) they became important tools in analyzing matter and structure. Quasi-crystals look similar to a crystal lattice but do not repeat spacially. Methods from dynamics have proven to be useful in the classification of quasicrystals. In particular geometric properties have dynamical counterparts and vice versa. One geometric property with relevance for quasi-crystals is "mean equicontinuity".
The mathematicians Downarowicz and Glasner proved the existence of a special class of those mean equicontinuous systems with quite abstract methods.
In my project I will try to construct examples of this class in nice spaces (the two dimensional torus) and with geometric methods (Anosov-Katok).

John Wigg Show content
John Wigg John Wigg Image: privat

Course of Studies: Computational and Data Science (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Christian Eggeling

Open-Source Single Particle Tracking
Cellular signalling is ruled by molecular interactions, whereby molecules in motion meet. Here, tracking the trajectories of individual molecules in living cells using high frame rate Single Particle Tracking (SPT) has proven an important tool. Analysis of these experiments is, however, challenging and current analysis tools are proving progressively more inadequate to produce accurate results.
As part of my project I am working on building an open source solution tackling this problem. So far, preliminary work has been done on a novel approach to SPT data analysis in collaboration with Universities in Oxford and Montréal which will be released as open source software.
It is also planned to expand the project by implementing advanced tracking and image processing algorithms as well as real-time detection and analysis tools.

Faculty of Biological Sciences

Philipp Albrecht Show content
Philipp Albrecht Philipp Albrecht Image: privat


Course of Studies: Biochemistry (M.Sc.)

Supervision: PD Dr. Alexander S. Mosig

Implementation of a novel human microphysiological model mimicking pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the cancer with the highest mortality rate worldwide with less than 10% of people surviving 5 years post-diagnosis. According to estimates, 19,000 people died from PDAC in Germany in 2018 making it the third leading cause of cancer deaths. Despite decades of research, the mortality rate remains largely unchanged. This project aims at recapitulating the complexity of PDAC on an objective slide-sized biochip. Human tumor and endothelial cells as well as fibroblasts will be integrated into the chip. Microfluidic pumps will be used to simulate blood flow. By using a human cell-based model, the obtained results will be of higher relevance than animal models due to the biological differences between species. Additionally, animal experiments can be avoided. In the future, this model shall be used for drug testing and the development of novel treatment strategies.

Dongik Chang Show content
Dongik Chang Dongik Chang Image: privat

Course of Studies: Evolution, Ecology and Systematics (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Nicole van Dam

Until recently, pesticides were considered as powerful and revolutionary chemical weapons to secure our food resources. However, the overuse of pesticides has cast a dark shadow over the environment and is threatening our ecosystem. For this reason, in the Biodiversity strategy for 2030 issued by the European Union, it is specified that we should reduce the risk and use of pesticides by 50% in 2030.
Beneficial microorganisms in the root zone are known to enhance the resistance of crop plants against pest insects in agriculture; therefore, applying microbes is a highly promising alternative to using pesticides. My experiment will include an integrated “-omics” approach to unravel the molecular and chemical mechanisms that underlie direct and indirect defenses of tomato plants. Gene expression analyses targeting defense-related genes using qPCR, chemical analyses using GC-MS and Y-tube olfactometer assay will be carried out.

Merle Lisa Hammer Show content

Course of Studies: Microbiology (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Ilse Denise Jacobsen

The interaction of a probiotic bacterium and pathogenic fungus in the human gut
The human digestive tract is densely colonized by various microbes one of them being the yeast Candida albicans. As an opportunistic pathogen, C. albicans’ potential to harm the human host is tightly connected to the host’s immune status and local homeostasis of the microbiota. A disseminating infection spreading from the gut to the blood stream is difficult to treat and results in remarkably high mortality. Recent research has demonstrated that bacterial-fungal interactions in the human gut contribute to the local homeostasis and thereby to a harmless lifestyle of C. albicans. In my research project I am focusing on the relationship between the probiotic gut bacterium Bacteroides vulgatus and C. albicans. The bacterium can prevent damage caused by the fungi in a cell-culture model mimicking the human gut epithelium. My aim is to elucidate the mechanism behind the bacterium’s protective properties.

Tom Haufschild Show content
Tom Haufschild Tom Haufschild Image: privat

Course of Studies: Microbiology (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Christian Jogler

Planctomycetes – fishing champions among bacteria?
Planctomycetes are bacteria with a lot of special features e.g. life-style switching between planktonic-swimming and sessile-stalked mother cells. Furthermore, they form thread-like structures (so-called pili) at their cell surface. Previous experiments showed that carbon molecules were stuck to the pili and subsequently ingested. This led to the hypothesis that those pili could work as "molecular rods" for nutrient fishing. We will start this investigation with deletion of molecular components of the "rod". Afterwards, feeding experiments and transmission light/ transmission electron microscopy will be used to unravel the biological function of those pili and will show if planctomycetes are capable for "molecular fishing" for carbon sources. In addition, we will scrutinize how underlying molecular mechanisms function and in which way the deleted molecular components influence this ‘rod’-like uptake.

Alexander Krüger Show content

Course of Studies: Evolution, Ecology and Systematics (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Nicole van Dam

The role of gut microbes during the detoxification process in two species of pest flies
Synthetic pesticides in agriculture are a threat not only for pest insects but insects in general. They are held responsible for the global insect decline. To develop sustainable alternative strategies for pest management, we must understand the biology and the ecological interactions of pest organisms.
I aim to study the role of specific gut bacteria of two cabbage root fly species, Delia spp., in the detoxification process of natural host plant defenses. Brassica plants produce toxic substances when the larvae feed on them. The larvae possess a detoxification mechanism. It is unclear if the larvae produce the detoxification enzyme or if they are dependent on their gut microbes. I will examine and compare the performance of the larvae with and without gut microbes, the expression rate of the enzyme, and the appearance of the known breakdown products in sterile larvae and microbes.

Mariana Paetzolt Show content
Mariana Paetzolt Mariana Paetzolt Image: privat

Course of Studies: Evolution, Ecology and Systematics (M.Sc.)

Supervision: PD Dr. Markus Bernhardt-Römermann

Population development and ecology of the lady ́s slipper orchid in the Jenaer Forst
The lady ́s slipper orchid
( Cypripedium calceolus ) is one of the largest and most conspicuous native orchid species. Unfortunately, habitat change and loss as well as further human interventions have led to population declines so that the species is now enlisted as threatened within Germany. In order to preserve the remaining lady ́s slipper orchid populations adequate management and regular monitoring are indispensable. The aim of my project is (1) to estimate the population development of the lady ́s slipper orchid in the NSG Jenaer Forst during the last 20 years, as well as (2) the identification of the main environmental factors influencing growth and regeneration of this particular species.
This is of great importance for nature conservation because the results can provide insights into the effectiveness of current management practices and can help to develop new management strategies for the protection of the lady ́s slipper orchid in the NSG Jenaer Forst and beyond.

Hannes Schmietendorf Show content

Course of Studies: Biochemistry/Molecularbiology (B.Sc.)

Supervision: apl. Prof. Dr. Michaela Schmidtke

Identification and characterisation from new antiviral drugs
The influenza causes 290.000 to 650.000 deaths around the world each year (Iuliano et al. 2018). Through secondary infections with Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae, mortility rate can increase (McCullers et al. 2014). The effects of current influenzadrugs are limited, since increasing numbers of new resistences are rendering most antiviral and antimicrobial drugs useless. Researching novel therapie options is therefore of great importance (Naesens et al. 2016).
The section of experimental virology from the university hospital Jena and the department of pharmacognosy from the university Wien are tackling this problem as part of a joint project titled "Natural products targeting low respiratory tract infections“. Part of this project includes the analysis of a plant extract which is known to have neuraminidase inhibitory effects on influenzavirus, S. aureus and S. pneumoniae in vitro. Said analysis will be conducted by me.

Sheethal Vepur Ramamurthy Show content

Course of Studies: Evolution, Ecology and Systematics (M.Sc.)

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Nicole van Dam

Social insects collectively build structures that are quite complex in nature. These structures are built by without having any blueprint or any central control. An interesting question is then how do these structures emerge over time and what are the underlying mechanisms that explain the global pattern? Few proposed mechanisms that explain coordinated, collective activity are Stigmergy, Self-Organisation, Self-assembly and use of templates.
The nests of leaf-cutting ants consists of a complex architecture with underground nest chambers to house their symbiotic fungus and brood. These chambers are interconnected through a network of tunnels and also connecting outside foraging areas. The foraging tunnels are usually found to be of varying size, possibly due to population density and frequency of usage.  The aim of my current research is to investigate how leaf-cutting ant workers adjust underground foraging tunnel size in order to accommodate traffic flow of the workers, look at the temporal dynamics of digging behavior and regulatory feedbacks underlying its control.

Hephzibah Elisabeth Winter Show content
Hephzibah Elisabeth Winter Hephzibah Elisabeth Winter Image: privat

Course of Studies: Molecular Life Science (M.Sc.) 

Supervision: Dr. rer. nat. Diana Maria Morales Prieto 

Investigation into the placenta-derived vesicle uptake by blood immune cells and their uptake mechanism
The maternal-fetal communication is an important aspect for the development of healthy pregnancy. As part of this, signals are transferred from fetal side to maternal side through the placental tissue. These signals are packed and transported in so-called extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs exert regulatory effects in the expression profiles of distinct proteins when they are taken up by target cells such as maternal immune cells. Since EVs can reach the maternal peripheral blood, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) are potential targets. Distinct immune cell populations are of great importance inducing fetal tolerance and are essential at the early pregnancy during the placentation process. In this research, I identify the main target immune cells from PBMCs for placenta-derived EVs and investigate into their uptake mechanisms using flow cytometry technology. Furthermore, I examine changes in gene and protein expression in PBMCs as a result of the placenta-derived EVs uptake.

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