New professors appointed in 2020

Prof. David Bendig
© Uni MS-Lukas Walbaum

Prof. David Bendig (School of Business and Economics)

Prof. David Bendig has held the newly established Chair of Entrepreneurship at the School of Business and Economics since June 2020. Before moving to Münster, he was a professor at the University of Magdeburg, as well as being a lecturer and coach for start-ups at RWTH Aachen University. Bendig studied economics at the University of Bochum, Baylor University Texas and the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and took his PhD at RWTH Aachen.
David Bendig gained practical experience as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group in Düsseldorf and Hong Kong. Today he still works as a trainer and consultant for established companies, as well as being a mentor for start-ups. He was a visiting scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing and at the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. In his research and teaching, he focuses on (corporate) entrepreneurship, digitalisation, innovation management and strategic management.
As a member of the Executive Board at the Euregio Start-up Center “REACH”, he will be promoting entrepreneurship in the EUREGIO.

Prof. Dr. Sascha Buchholz
© Uni MS - Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Sascha Buchholz
(Faculty of Geosciences)

Sascha Buchholz has been teaching and researching animal ecology since September. He studied landscape ecology, zoology and botany at the University of Münster, where he also gained his PhD. Before he took up his appointment at Münster, Buchholz was a visiting Professor of Plant Ecology and Ecosystem Science at the Technical University of Berlin. Further steps in his career were at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Ecuador and the Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research.

Sascha Buchholz’ focus in his research is on the analysis of spatial and temporal changes in biodiversity. Here, he is looking in particular at the different aspects of global change, biodiversity, biotic interactions and ecosystem functions. He is currently researching new types of habitats for animals and the stress factors occurring there, such as light and noise pollution or disturbances by humans. These habitats are usually considered to be unattractive for animals, but research shows that an important contribution to protecting biodiversity can also be made in urban environments. Do animals, over time, adapt to new types of habitats as well as to people? Is it possible that in urban environments new species can emerge which have adapted to global changes? Buchholz is also a liaison lecturer at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and he provides support for students applying for example for grants.

Prof. Dr. Christos Gatsogiannis
© Uni MS - Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Christos Gatsogiannis
(Faculty of Medicine)

Christos Gatsogiannis, who has been at Münster University since September 2020, studied biology at the University of Mainz and also gained his PhD there. Before he moved to Münster he was a project group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund. Further steps in his career included a spell at the University of Berlin.

Gatsogiannis is currently researching the molecular bases of central cellular processes. He is especially interested in thereby gaining insights into various human diseases. Using cryogenic electron microscopy, he visualises the central proteins and macromolecular complexes in order to gain a better understanding of the way they function in molecular detail. In doing do, he focuses on the so-called peroxisomes in order to find out how they import their enzymes. Another focus of his research is the mechanism of action of neurotoxins and so-called AAA-ATPase nanomachines for the regulation of protein degradation.

Prof. Fabian Gieseke
© Uni MS-Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Fabian Gieseke (School of Business and Economics)

Prof. Fabian Gieseke has been teaching at the School of Business and Economics since April 2020. He graduated in Mathematics and Computer Studies at Münster and took his PhD in 2012 at the University of Oldenburg with his thesis “From Supervised to Unsupervised Support Vector Machines and Applications in Astronomy”. With a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), he then worked as a postdoc at the University of Copenhagen and at the University of Nijmegen. For the last four years he was engaged as a tenure-track assistant at the University of Copenhagen.
Fabian Gieseke’s research interests are in the interface between machine learning and data engineering. Over the past few years, the quantities of data have increased dramatically in many areas. Analysing such quantities “by hand” is generally no longer possible, and automated analytical methods are required. The aim of his work, both in the past and today, is the development of new scalable methods of data analysis and the practical application of such technologies. For example, inexpensive massively parallel systems can generally be used to radically reduce the running times of such methods in practice. One prominent example of this is the creation and application of so-called deep learning models, which have revolutionised automated analysis in almost every data-intensive area over the past few years. Together with other researchers, Fabian Gieseke uses such models for example to automatically record and monitor trees and forests on the basis of large quantities of satellite data.
Here at the University of Münster, Gieseke will be working on data science, connected with questions relating to software engineering.

Prof. Dr. André H. Gröschel
© Uni MS-Lukas Walbaum

Prof. André H. Gröschel
(Faculty of Chemistry)

Prof. André Gröschel has been teaching Physical Chemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry since February 2020. After studying at the University of Bayreuth, where he majored in Macromolecular Chemistry, and then taking his PhD in 2012 in the field of the hierarchical structure formation of polymer nanostructures, he undertook research as a postdoc at the Chair of Applied Physics at Aalto University, Helsinki. In 2016 he accepted the position of endowed assistant professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
The focus of André Gröschel’s research at Münster is on the synthesis, structure formation and analysis of polymers and colloids. For many applications in nanomedicine, catalysis and energy conversion, it is important to be able to carry out predictive monitoring and modifications of interfaces on various length scales. Gröschel’s team is studying in particular the design of block copolymer and colloid components which come together independently to form tailor-made nanoscale, mesoscale and microscale materials which have a complex hierarchical structure.
“After several moves – both private and also with my working group – we now have the feeling at Münster University that we have ‘arrived’,” says Gröschel. “We’re looking forward to be able to plan and carry out projects and research in the long term, without interruptions.”

Prof. Dr. Kristin Kleber
© Kristin Kleber

Prof. Kristin Kleber
(Faculty of Philology)

Since September 2020, Prof. Kristin Kleber has been teaching Ancient Near Eastern Studies in the Faculty of Philology. After studying Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Near Eastern Archaeology and Semitology at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, she took her PhD in 2008 at the University of Münster on the subject of Ancient Near Eastern Philology; her thesis was entitled “Temple and Palace. Relations between the King and the Eanna Temple in Uruk in late Babylonian Times”. After this, until 2010, she undertook research as a postdoc in the “Topoi” Cluster of Excellence at the Freie Universität Berlin. Until 2020 she taught Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the Free University of Amsterdam
Kristin Kleber’s research focuses on the first advanced civilizations of mankind in the Ancient Near East, where writing was invented around 3,400 BCE. The script used was cuneiform, written on clay tablets, primarily in Sumerian and Akkadian – two languages which she will also be teaching in Münster. Because clay preserves well, these written sources today represent one of the most comprehensive bodies of texts in the ancient world, most of which have not yet been researched. Kleber reads and translates these texts in order to gain information about the ways people thought and lived at that time. “When I gained my PhD in Münster, I never dreamed that I would one day hold a Chair there,” she says. “It’s wonderful to return to my alma mater.”

Prof. Dr. Norbert Köster
© Uni MS - Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Norbert Köster
(Faculty of Catholic Theology)

Norbert Köster has been teaching and researching at the Department of Historical Theology and its Didactics since the winter semester of 2019/2020. After studying in Münster and Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem, he also gained his PhD and his habilitation at Münster University. From 2010 he worked at the Chair of Medieval and Early Modern Church History. In 1993 he was ordained to the priesthood. He was vicar general in the Diocese of Münster and, before that, he was youth chaplain to the diocese, president of the Federation of German Catholic Youth, and a priest in the young people’s church of “effata”.

Three focuses are at the centre of Köster’s research work: firstly, he is studying the possibilities for enabling people from different backgrounds and of different ages to participate in the Christian cultural heritage, also by using digital technologies. A more long-term project is devoted to Xanten Cathedral and Chapter. The second focus of Köster’s research is about historical learning in religious instruction, which he wants to retrieve from his niche existence so far. Thirdly, he is investigating the regional (cultural) history of Christianity in the Münsterland and the regions adjacent to it.  

Prof. Dr. Martin Kriegel
© Uni MS - Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Martin Kriegel
(Faculty of Medicine)

Since August 2020, Martin Kriegel has been Head of Translational Rheumatology and Immunology at the Institute of Musculoskeletal Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, as well as Head of the Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at Münster University Hospital. After studying in Erlangen and the USA, he gained his PhD in Erlangen. Before moving to Münster, Kriegel lived and worked in the USA for 17 years, including Harvard and Yale, and latterly in Switzerland, where he worked as a scientist with Roche while continuing to coordinate research projects as Associate Professor Adjunct in the Department of Immunobiology

Martin Kriegel is researching the role of the microbiome in the occurrence of rheumatological and other immune-mediated diseases. A focus here is on interactions between the immune system and bacteria on the skin, in the intestine and in the oral cavity. At Yale, his team discovered disease-carrying germs which, through various cellular and molecular mechanisms, trigger or worsen autoimmunity in the body. From this, the researchers derive strategies for treatment which, in experimental models, reduce or even prevent the autoimmune pathologies through a modification of the microbiome. The interventions refer, among other things, to vaccinations against commensal germs as well as to changes of diet.

Prof. Dr. Nora Markard
© Nora Markard

Prof. Nora Markard (Faculty of Law)

Since January 2020, Prof. Nora Markard has been teaching International Law and International Human Rights Protection at the Faculty of Law. After studying Law at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in France, she gained her master’s degree in International Peace and Security at King’s College, London. Between 2005 and 2011 Markard worked as a research associate at Humboldt University Berlin and took her PhD there on the subject of “War Refugees: Violence against Civilians in Armed Conflicts as a Challenge for Refugee Law and Subsidiary Protection”. At this time she also undertook her legal traineeship, which took her back to London. After research stays in Michigan and New York, Markard taught Public Law and Global Constitutionalism at the University of Hamburg – initially as a Deputy Professor, then as an Associate Professor of International Law
Nora Markard’s research focus is on constitutional law, international law, and critical legal research. In particular, she carries out research in the field of European and international refugee law and on fundamental rights and human rights.
For her dissertation, Nora Markard was awarded the Humboldt Prize and the Marie-Elisabeth Lüders Prize. She has numerous publications to her name and also undertakes voluntary work for the Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (Society for Civil Rights). She set up the Humboldt Law Clinic for Fundamental Rights and Human Rights, as well as the Refugee Law Clinic in Hamburg.

Prof. Dr. Ines Michalowski
© Ines Michalowski

Prof. Ines Michalowski (Faculty of Educational and Social Science)

Prof. Ines Michalowski has been a professor at the Institute of Sociology since December 2019. Before that, Michalowski, a religions sociologist, worked at the Berlin Social Science Center in the department of migration, integration and transnationalisation. Research stays led her to Harvard, to the Universities of Vienna and Nijmegen, and to the Institute of Political Studies in Paris.

Ines Michalowski studied Sociology and Political Science at the Université Paris X – Nanterre, the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris and the University of Münster. The main focuses of her research include negotiation processes redating to the role of religion in the public sphere, in particular in state organisations. She is particularly interested in processes formulating, or deviating from, rules on dealing with religion from a micro-sociological perspective. In this connection Michalowski is on the one hand investigating the power imbalance between historically established religious majorities and immigrant minorities, and, on the other, looking at cultural stipulations for such processes in the context of organisations and nation states. Drawing comparisons across organisations and countries plays an important part on her research. In her research and her teaching Michalowski is an advocate of the use of quantitative and qualitative methods.

Prof. Dr. Corinna Norrick-Rühl
© Uni MS-Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Corinna Norrick-Rühl (Faculty of Philology)

Since April 2020, Prof. Corinna Norrick-Rühl has been Chair of Book Studies in the English Department. After studying English and Book Studies at the Universities of Mainz and Udine (Italy), she took her PhD at the University of Mainz in 2009. From 2016 to 2020 she was Associate Professor of Book Studies at the Gutenberg Institute of World Literature and Written Media.
In Münster, Corinna Norrick-Rühl took on a deputy professorship at the Institute of Book Studies and Textual Research back in 2014. “In Germany, English Book Studies is something which is unique to Münster,” she says, referring to the long tradition which her subject has at the University. One focus of the German-American Norrick-Rühl’s research is on the English-speaking book market and book culture in the 20th and 21st centuries. “What always interests us, too, are the surrounding economic and legal conditions,” she says. In Collaborative Research Centre 1385 – “Law and Literature” – she is co-leader of the subproject “Literature and the Market”. Since 2012 she has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP), the most important international society specialising in book studies. Since 2019 she has been the Director of Publications at the society.

Prof. Dr. Julia Reckermann
© Uni MS-Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Julia Reckermann
(Faculty of Philology)

Prof. Julia Reckermann has been an Associate Professor of English Language Teaching since January 1st. After training as a teacher for primary and secondary schools at the University of Paderborn, she completed her practical training with the 2nd State Examination and worked as a schoolteacher for one year before taking her PhD in teaching English at the University of Bielefeld in 2017 on the subject of reading authentic English children’s books in English-language classes at primary schools. Before taking up her appointment at Münster, Julia Reckermann was an Associate Professor of English Language Teaching at the University of Paderborn. She worked as a research associate at the University of Bielefeld and the Technical University of Dortmund; in Dortmund she was also an executive employee at the Chair of English Language Teaching.
The focus of her research is primarily in the field of early foreign language learning, learning English in bilingual kindergartens, inclusive English teaching, digital teaching and bilingual lessons.
Reckermann grew up in Steinfurt. “Because I’m based in the Münsterland in my private life,” she says, “I have a lot of contacts with people in schools there – which is very beneficial as far as collaborations in research and teaching are concerned.”

Prof. Dr. Christian Scheffer
© Uni MS-Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Christian Scheffer
(Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science)

Prof. Christian Scheffer has held an Professorship at the Institute of Computer Science since April. He studied Computer Science, with Mathematics as a subsidiary, at the Technical University of Dortmund before taking his PhD at the University of Münster, where in 2014 he received the Dissertation Prize of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science. He carried out research as a postdoc at the Technical University of Braunschweig, where he gained his habilitation. His research interests are primarily in the field of algorithmic geometry, which, as a branch of algorithmics, deals with the efficient solution of geometrical problems.

Prof. Dr. Jochen Schmid
© Uni MS

Prof. Jochen Schmid
(Faculty of Biology)

Since August, Prof. Jochen Schmid has been a professor at the Institute of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, where he heads the Bio-Reactor Laboratory. A microbiologist, Schmid is engaged in both basic research and applied research. His work centres on substituting bio-based alternatives for fossil chemicals and polymers. Before Jochen Schmid took up his appointment at the University of Münster, he was Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biopolymers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. He obtained his habilitation in Microbial Biotechnology at the Technical University of Munich. He graduated and took his PhD at the Technical University of Berlin. The Bio-Reactor Laboratory is open to the entire faculty, and beyond, for a wide range of scientific questions and projects. In the field of teaching, too, the Bio-Reactor Laboratory is to once again play an important role in the training of students in the future. “Students who have had excellent training and are highly motivated will be making an important contribution to our society in the future,” Jochen Schmid says. Here, especially with a view to a bio-based economy, is where he sees one of the main tasks which the University of Münster has.

Prof. Dr. Christoph Schneider
© Uni MS-Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Christoph Schneider
(School of Business and Economics)

Prof. Christoph Schneider has been a professor at the Chair of Banking within the Finance Center Münster since August 2020. After graduating in Economics at the Humboldt University of Berlin and spending a year at the University of California in Berkeley, he took his PhD and gained his habilitation at the University of Mannheim. After stays at Tilburg University (Netherlands) and the University of Michigan (USA) as an Assistant Professor of Finance, he has now returned to Germany as a Professor of Finance. His research focuses on corporate financing, principles of corporate management and behavioural economics.

Prof. Dr. Anna Siffert
© Uni MS-Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Anna Siffert
(Faculty of Mathematics)

Prof. Anna Siffert took up her appointment as Professor of Theoretical Mathematics on 1 April 2000. Siffert, a mathematician, graduated from the University of Bonn and took her PhD at the Ruhr University of Bochum. A grant from the German Research Foundation then enabled her to undertake research for a year at the University of Pennsylvania, in the USA. Before her appointment at the University of Münster, she carried our research at the Max Planck Institute of Mathematics in Bonn. Her research interests are in the field of global differential geometry and its interactions with topology, analysis and complex geometry.

Prof. Dr. Kai Sina
© Uni MS-Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Kai Sina
(Faculty of Philology)

On April 1st, Prof. Kai Sina became Lichtenberg Professor of Modern German Literary Studies and Comparative Literature at the Institute of German Studies. His focus is on transatlantic literary history. The Lichtenberg professorship is a programme funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, helping researchers to establish unconventional and interdisciplinary focuses for their work.
After reading German Studies and Philosophy at the University of Kiel, Kai Sina took his PhD at the University of Göttingen where, from 2010 to 2020, he worked as a research associate and gained his habilitation. During his time at the University of Göttingen, Sina went to the University of Chicago to carry out research as a Fellow of the Humboldt Foundation and was awarded the Academic Prize presented by the Fritz Behrens Foundation. His research and teaching focus on literary and intellectual exchanges between Europe and America, in particular between Germany and the United States. Some of the topics he is currently engaged on are Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s reception in the USA in the 19th and 20th centuries, the essays written by Thomas Mann in his Californian exile, and the literary consequences of the western Allies’ policy of re-education in the early postwar period.
Since 20111, Kai Sina has also been working on a freelance basis for the literary supplement of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

Prof. Dr. Nicholas Schwab
© Uni MS - Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Nicholas Schwab
(Faculty of Medicine)

Nicholas Schwab studied biology at the University of Würzburg, where he gained his PhD in neuroimmunology. Since 2010 he has been a lecturer and an Associate Professor Adjunct of Neurology at the University of Münster, where he gained his habilitation in the field of experimental neurology. Since March 2020 he has been a professor at the Faculty of Medicine.

The focuses of his research work include biomarker research, the influence of the immune system in diseases of a neurological nature, the migration of immune cells across the blood-brain barrier, and the influence of environmental factors on the immune system. He is also carrying out research on the analysis of the AIRR (adaptive immune receptor repertoire) of B- and T-cells of the immune system.

Prof. Dr. Till Utesch
© Uni MS-Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Till Utesch
(Faculty of Education and Social Science)

Since December 2019, Prof. Till Utesch has held the Chair of Education, with a focus on Schoolteaching: Paedagogical Diagnostics and the Development of Potential, at the Institute of Education’s Schoolteaching Department. Prior to this, since 2013, he was a research associate in the field of sport psychology at the Institute of Sport Science.
In his research, Till Utesch works on empirical questions relating to the normative and differential development of potential in children and juveniles, on diagnostic questions mostly in an educational context, and on the professional competences of teachers. His research also includes the study of determinants and mechanisms which foster optimum development processes. Something which is important to him is working in interdisciplinary teams with the aim of bringing together viewpoints from various disciplines and methodological focuses in order to find answers to research questions. “Working with partners in practice also represents an important element for me in successful academic work,” he adds.

Prof. Dr. Claudia Voelcker-Rehage
© Uni MS - Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Claudia Voelcker-Rehage
(Faculty of Psychology and Sports Science)

Claudia Voelcker-Rehage, an expert on neural motor coordination, moved to Münster University in November 2019. She studied biology, sport, physics and sports science at the University of Bielefeld, where she gained her PhD on the subject of “The Learning Capability of Sport Motor Activity in the Light of Lifespan Psychology”. Further steps in her career took her to the Georgia Institute of Technology in the USA and to Jacobs University in Bremen. Before she moved to Münster, she was Professor of Sports Psychology, focusing on prevention and rehabilitation, at the Technical University of Chemnitz.

The focus of her research is on the interaction between physical and neurocognitive performance, the early recognition of cognitive loss, and the effect of physical activity and training on the brain, cognition and motor activity. To this end, she takes an interdisciplinary approach and uses a broad range of methods from kinesiology and training science, as well as from neuroscience and psychology. Another aim of her research is the linking of basic research with clinical practice, high-performance sport and activities of daily life.

Prof. Dr. Irina Wutsdorff
© Uni MS-Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Irina Wutsdorff
(Faculty of Philology)

Prof. Irina Wutsdorff has been Chair of Slavic Studies and the Administrative Director of the Institute of the same name since September. As an undergraduate, Irina Wutsdorff took Slavic Studies, Political Science, Modern German Literature and the History of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe at the Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Prague. She took her PhD at the University of Potsdam with a thesis on “Modelling on the Category of Openness. Texts and Concepts on the Czech Avant-Garde Movement of Poetism, Prague Structuralism and of Michail Bachtin”. From 2011 to 2017 she was Associate Professor of Transcultural Eastern Central European Studies at the Department of Slavic Studies at the University of Tübingen. Here she obtained her habilitation in 2016 and received her venia legendi teaching authorisation for Slavic Literary and Cultural Studies and for General and Comparative Literature. Her habilitation treatise deals with the interaction between literature and philosophy in Russian culture in the 19th century. Before her appointment at the University of Münster, Irina Wutsdorff was an adjunct professor at the Department of Slavic Studies at the University of Tübingen, as well as working as a deputy professor at the University of Regensburg.
Irina Wutsdorff’s research currently includes Prague Modernism(s), a comparative consideration of German and Czech literature, and the culture of Prague around the turn of the century and at the beginning of the 20th century. A further focus is literary theories from an historical, inter-relational perspective. Within the German Research Foundation’s Heisenberg Programme, Wutsdorff is also researching into Russian symbolism under the title of “Figurations of Apocalypse and Revolution”.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Zeier
© Uni MS-Lukas Walbaum

Prof. Wolfgang Zeier
(Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy)

In July, Prof. Wolfgang Zeier was appointed Professor of Inorganic Solid-State Chemistry at the Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry within the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Wolfgang Zeier took his PhD at the University of Mainz and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He worked as a postdoc both at the University of Southern California and at Caltech. Before his appointment to a position at the University of Münster, Zeier, a chemist, worked at the University of Gießen in a group of junior researchers within the Emmy Noether Programme run by the German Research Foundation.
One of the focuses of Zeier’s research is inorganic solid-state chemistry, especially structure-property relationships and material design. One particular focus which he has is research into solid ion conductors for solid-state batteries and into thermoelectric materials.