New professors appointed in 2022

Prof. Dr. Svenja Ahlhaus
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Prof. Dr. Svenja Ahlhaus
(Faculty of Educational and Social Sciences)

Svenja Ahlhaus has been an assistant professor of political theory in the Faculty of Education and Social Sciences at the University of Münster since August 2022. She teaches at the Institute of Political Science (IfPol). Svenja Ahlhaus studied political science and political theory at the Freie Universität Berlin, Goethe University Frankfurt and TU Darmstadt, as well as at University College London.

She received her doctorate in political science from the University of Hamburg in 2018 where she continued working as a postdoc. Research stays took her to the European University Institute in Florence and to the Political Science Department at Yale University.

Her research focuses on democratic theory, especially in connection to citizenship, political representation and legitimate institutional change. Svenja Ahlhaus examines, for example, how decisions on naturalisation tests can claim democratic legitimacy, whether animals should be politically represented and how strategic litigation should be assessed from a democratic perspective. At the University of Münster, she will work in the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” and conduct research on the democratic challenges of religious plurality.

Faculty of Educational and Social Sciences

Prof. Dr. Noelia Alonso Gonzalez
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Prof. Dr. Noelia Alonso Gonzalez
(Faculty of Medicine)

Noelia Alonso Gonzalez has been a professor at the Institute of Immunology since October 2021. Following her studies at the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid, she earned her PhD at the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC). She completed her first postdoctoral stay at the Department of Immunobiology at Yale University, and a second at the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) in Madrid. After receiving a research fellowship for experienced researchers from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2017, she transferred to Münster where she was appointed junior group leader in the Cluster of Excellence "Cells in Motion" in 2018.

Her research work focuses on macrophage biology and the resolution of inflammation. Her aim is to understand how macrophages respond to acute inflammatory stimuli through various mechanisms linked to discrete tissue microenvironments. Her research explores organ-specific inflammatory responses that allow scientists to identify potential therapeutic targets in tissue-macrophages.

Faculty of Medicine

Prof. Dr. Julia Backmann
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Prof. Dr. Julia Backmann
(School of Business and Economics)

In August 2022 Julia Backmann joined the School of Business and Economics at the University of Münster (WWU) as a professor of transformation of work and co-director of the “Research Center for Business Transformation in Times of Radical Change”. Before joining the WWU, Julia Backmann was an assistant professor of management at University College Dublin in Ireland. After her master’s studies at the London School of Economics (LSE) and some time in consulting, Julia Backmann started her PhD at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, which she completed in 2014. She habilitated at the LMU Munich in 2021.

Julia Backmann’s research and teaching activities focus on how technological and societal change affects organisations in general, and collaboration and leadership in particular. The aim is to understand current challenges and how they shape and change the future of work.

School of Business and Economics

Prof. Dr. Philip Bockholt
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Prof. Dr. Philip Bockholt
(Faculty of Philology)

Philip Bockholt has been an assistant professor of Turco-Persian history at the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies since October 2022. He studied Islamic studies, history and Catholic theology in Bochum, Münster, Berlin, Jerusalem, Istanbul, Cairo and Tehran, and received his doctorate in 2018 from the Freie Universität Berlin on Persian world historiography around 1500. He received several awards for his dissertation, including the Annemarie Schimmel Foundation Award for Islamic Studies of the Islamic Studies Section of the German Oriental Society. From 2018 to 2022, he worked at the Oriental Institute of the University of Leipzig and conducted research in St. Petersburg, Jerusalem, Madrid, Paris and Istanbul as a visiting scholar.

His habilitation deals with inner-Islamic knowledge transfer in the eastern Mediterranean of early modern times (ca. 1400 to 1750) on the basis of Arabic-Persian-Turkish translation processes. Thematically connected to this is his Emmy Noether Independent Junior Research Group, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) from 2022 to 2028, in which various texts and genres that were part of translation processes in the eastern Mediterranean are being studied in several sub-projects. As part of his assistant professorship, he represents the field of history of the eastern Islamic world, which includes the Ottoman Empire, Iran, Central Asia and India. He is particularly interested in denominations and minorities, the legitimisation of rule and historiography, as well as Islamic manuscript studies and book culture.

Faculty of Philology

Prof. Dr. Maria Bohnert
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Prof. Dr. Maria Bohnert
(Faculty of Medicine)

Maria Bohnert has been a professor at the Institute of Cell Dynamics and Imaging since December 2022. She studied molecular medicine at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, where she completed her doctorate at the Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. After a three-year postdoctoral research stay at the Department of Molecular Genetics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, she returned to Germany in 2018 and became a junior group leader at the Cells in Motion research network at the University of Münster.
She is currently investigating how the body stores lipids and how their metabolism works. Using microscopy-based genetic screens, she is identifying unknown molecular factors that mediate these processes. A long-term goal of her research is to understand how metabolic processes are spatially organized in the cell and how adaptations of these organizational principles allow the organism to respond efficiently to metabolic stress conditions.

 

Prof. Dr. Tanya Braun
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Prof. Dr. Tanya Braun
(Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science)

Tanya Braun has been an assistant professor for data science at the Institute of Computer Science since November 2021. She completed her bachelor's degree in business administration before studying computational informatics at the Hamburg University of Technology. She then completed her PhD in computer science at the University of Lübeck, where she also worked as a postdoc, furthering her research and working on research data management.

Her research interests lie at the intersection of the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and data science. She is particularly interested in statistical relational AI (StaRAI), i.e. relational data, its modelling and efficient query answering. Its models can range from probabilistic to decision-theoretical in nature, both for single agents and for large-scale, multi-agent systems. To build human-oriented AI systems, criteria such as interpretability, predictability, and readability become important. These are typically applied in connection with medical decision support and the modelling of medical nanoagent systems. Other applications can be found in the fields of logistics and word processing.

Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science

Prof. Dr. Rupert Conrad
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Prof. Dr. Rupert Conrad
(Faculty of Medicine)

Rupert Conrad has been a professor at the Faculty of Medicine since July 2022. He teaches psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy and heads the clinic of the same name. Rupert Conrad studied medicine (RWTH Aachen, TU Munich) and psychology (University of Bonn, RWTH Aachen). Before moving to Münster, he worked at the Clinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy at the University of Bonn, where he most recently headed the outpatient clinic and research department.

Rupert Conrad researches the genetics, psychoendocrinology and immunology of anxiety disorders and the mechanisms of action of psychotherapy. Another topic is the differential diagnosis of somatoform disorders and rare diseases, especially in the context of new diagnostic possibilities using artificial intelligence. In his future research, Rupert Conrad would also like to explore the possibilities and challenges of digitalisation for psychotherapy, for example when using virtual reality glasses for anxiety-, eating- or trauma-related disorders.

Faculty of Medicine

Prof. Dr. Kristin Courtney
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Prof. Dr. Kristin Courtney
(Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science)

Kristin Courtney joined the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science as a professor in April 2022. After studying at Auburn University in Alabama (USA), she received her PhD from the University of Virginia in 2018. Afterwards, she transferred to the University of Münster where she held two postdoc positions before being appointed as a professor. Her research focuses on mathematical objects called operator algebras. She is especially interested in finite dimensional approximations and the interplay between algebra and analysis.

Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science

Prof. Dr. Melanie Dammhahn
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Prof. Dr. David De Vleeschouwer
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Prof. Dr. David De Vleeschouwer
(Faculty of Geosciences)

David De Vleeschouwer has been a professor at the Institute of Geology and Palaeontology since January 2022. He studied and received his PhD at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Belgium with a thesis on cyclic climate changes about 375 million years ago. This corresponds to a geological period called the Devonian, a time when Germany and Belgium were covered by a warm, tropical sea. After a seven-year postdoc at MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (University of Bremen), he is now establishing an independent research group at the University of Münster, focusing on modelling and reconstructing climate change throughout our planet’s geological past.

David De Vleeschouwer and his team are investigating extremely small changes in the astronomical alignment of the Earth with respect to the Sun. Albeit small, these rhythmical changes caused major shifts in the distribution of solar energy over the planet and thus impacted the global and regional climate. In other words, David and his team investigate the climate response to astronomical forcing under planetary conditions very different from today’s, for example with continents in a different position than today. The focus is on sediments and rocks from all layers of the Earth’s past. These rock layers are between a few thousand and several million years old. The sediments and rocks under investigation are collected, for example, from sediment drilling off the coast of Australia and from quarries in the Sauerland region. This research creates an empirical database for reconstructing the rate of climate change under natural conditions. These reconstructions can then be used to contextualise the human influence on today’s climate. It is already becoming apparent that the Earth system is now changing at a pace not seen for at least 66 million years.

Faculty of Geosciences (only in German)

Prof. Dr. Oliver Dyma
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Prof. Dr. Asmaa El Maaroufi
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Prof. Dr Asmaa El Maaroufi
(Faculty of Philology)

Asmaa El Maaroufi has been an assistant professor at the Centre for Islamic Theology within the framework of the professorship for Islamic Philosophy, specialising in Islamic ethics since June 2022. She studied to be a teacher of philosophy/ethics, history and German. She earned her doctorate in the field of Islamic theology with a dissertation on “The Ethics of Being-with. Principles of Animal Ethics in Islamic Theology”. During this time, El Maaroufi also conducted research in India and Morocco. After receiving her PhD, she worked as a postdoc at the University of Münster.

Her current research focuses on the possibilities and opportunities of Islamic philosophical ethics, yet also encompasses practical issues of ethics, such as medical, environmental and animal ethics.

Faculty of Philology

Prof. Dr. Dina El Omari
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Prof. Dr. Dina El Omari
(Faculty of  Philology)

Dina El Omari has been a professor at the Centre for Islamic Theology (CIT) since April 2022, before which she had held a substitute professorship for Intercultural Religious Education at CIT. After her studies and her doctorate at the WWU, the Islamic scholar earn her postdoctoral qualification at the University of Cologne with the habilitation on "The Quranic Human Couple in Creation and Eschatology under Consideration of the Question of Gender - the Attempt of a Historical-Literary Commentary on the Quran". At CIT, she is the director of the Centre for Islamic Theological Gender Research.

Dina El Omari’s research interests include the Qur'an and Qur'anic exegesis, Islamic feminism, interreligious learning and interreligious dialogue.

Faculty of Philology

Prof. Dr. Mana Gharun
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Prof. Dr. Mana Gharun
(Faculty of Geosciences)

Mana Gharun earned her PhD in ecohydrology at the University of Sydney in Australia. Before starting her appointment at the University of Münster in March 2022, she was a lecturer and senior scientist at the Department of Environmental Systems Science at ETH Zürich. Since arriving in Münster, she has established the Biosphere-Atmosphere Interaction group, with which she is investigating the feedback between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere under climate change.

Mana Gharun’s research work focuses on understanding how ecosystems respond to climate extremes such as drought, heatwaves, wildfires, and their feedback effects on global warming. Her experiments are set up under natural conditions and she uses non-destructive in-situ approaches such as eddy covariance measurements of greenhouse gases and sensor-based networks to understand how ecosystems function across multiple spatial-temporal scales and how they impact climate change. She combines field observations with modelling techniques to promote scientific understanding and improve nature-based climate solutions.

Faculty of Geosciences (only in German)

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Grünstäudl
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Prof. Dr. Anna Gusakova
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Prof. Dr. Tanja Hechler
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Prof. Dr. Benedikt Heuckmann
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Prof. Dr. Benedikt Heuckmann
(Faculty of Biology)

Benedikt Heuckmann has been professor of biology education at the Centre for Biology Education. He is a certified biology teacher by training and completed his PhD in science education in 2020 with a thesis on research about teachers’ professional development, teachers’ attitudes, and their beliefs. During his PhD studies, he was a visiting scientist at the Southampton Education School, University of Southampton, UK (Prof. Marcus Grace). His PhD thesis was awarded as outstanding by the Association for Biology, Biosciences & Biomedicine in Germany (VBIO).

Following his PhD, Benedikt Heuckmann spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Science Education at the Leibniz University Hannover, Germany. Before returning to Münster in January 2022, he was an interim professor for biology and science education at the University of Trier, Germany.

Benedikt Heuckmann's research interests divide into two main areas. First, his research concerns complex health- and sustainability-related issues from a biology education perspective. For example, he investigates how learners and teachers can develop knowledge and skills in dealing with complexity, uncertainty, and risk in science teaching. Second, he investigates how digital technologies and digital tools could be integrated into science teaching and how using these technologies and tools shape teachers’ beliefs and their professional development. A dedicated focus is on computer simulations and 3-D modeling in human biology and health contexts.

Faculty of Biology

Prof. Dr. Patrick Hilbert
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Prof. Dr. Onno Husen
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Prof. Dr Onno Husen
(Faculty of Educational and Social Sciences)

Onno Husen joined the Institute of Educational Science (IfE) at the University of Münster in September 2022. After his studies in educational science at the University of Trier and childhood studies at NTNU Trondheim, he obtained his PhD at the University of Trier. As a postdoc, he worked at Leuphana University in Lüneburg, was a research associate and guest lecturer at NTNU and DMMH in Trondheim, and held a deputy professorship for social pedagogy with a focus on comparative youth welfare research at Leuphana University in Lüneburg.

In his research and teaching, he addresses the following questions: What relevance does social pedagogical theory have for the practice of social pedagogy, and vice versa? What commonalities and differences can be identified with regard to the theory and history of social pedagogy in different states and cultural contexts? How do child and youth welfare systems organise and manage themselves in international comparison? And what effects do migration and forced migration have on social pedagogical fields of action? In his research, he uses ethnographic, comparative and mixed-method research designs.

Faculty of Educational and Social Sciences

Prof. Dr. Jakob Jünger
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Prof. Dr. Sigrid Kannengießer
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Prof. Dr Sigrid Kannengießer
(Faculty of Educational and Social Sciences)

Sigrid Kannengießer has been a professor of communication studies with a focus on media sociology since October 2022. Her research focus is on digital media and sustainability, critical data practices, social movements and gender media studies. She studied film and television studies and political science at Ruhr University in Bochum and media culture and political science at the University of Hamburg, where she completed her master's degree (Magistra Artium).

Previously, she was a professor of communication and media studies with a focus on media society at the University of Bremen. She turned down appointments as a professor to the University of Paderborn and the Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen.Prior to her appointment, she worked as a scientific manager at the artec Sustainability Research Center at the University of Bremen and a research associate at the Center for Media, Communication and Information Research at the University of Bremen, at the Center for Transnational Studies at the Universities of Oldenburg and Bremen, and at the Department of Language, Literature and Media at the University of Hamburg.

Her second book (habilitation), entitled “Digital Media and Sustainability. Media Practices for a Good Life”, was funded as an independent postdoc project by the Central Research Development Fund of the University of Bremen, and her PhD project on “Translocal Empowerment Communication. Media. Globalization. Women’s Organizations” by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. Her dissertation was awarded the Bremen Study Prize.

Faculty of Educational and Social Sciences

Prof. Dr. Oliver Koch
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Prof. Dr. Oliver Koch
(Faculty of Chemistry an Pharmacy)

Oliver Koch has been Heisenberg Professor of Computational Drug Discovery at the Institute of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry at Münster University since April 2022. He studied pharmacy and computer science at the University of Marburg, where he completed his PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry. After a postdoctoral stay as a scientific software developer at the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre in 2008, he joined MSD Animal Health Innovation GmbH in Schwabenheim. In 2012, he moved to TU Dortmund University as a junior research group leader. Since January 2019, he has been a member of the Institute of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Münster, where he completed his Habilitation in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry. Oliver Koch received the Young Investigator Award of the Horst Böhme Foundation of the German Pharmaceutical Society in 2017 and the Innovation Award in Medicinal Chemistry in 2020.

His research interests lie in the development and application of computational methods in rational drug design with a focus on structure-based design and "Big Data"-driven decisions in combination with artificial intelligence methods. He aims to use this approach to design bioactive molecules and understand the selectivity, promiscuity, and polypharmacology of protein-ligand interactions. For this, he combines computational methods with biochemical evaluation and the synthesis of small organic molecules.

Faculty of Chemistry an Pharmacy (only in German)

Prof. Dr. Helga Leineweber
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Prof. Dr Helga Leineweber
(Faculty of Psychology/Sport and Exercise Sciences)

Helga Leineweber has been an assistant professor at the Institute of Sport Science since September 2022, where she heads the research area Education and Culture in Sport. After studying English, physical education and history for primary school education at the University of Freiburg, she initially worked at the sports science institutes of the University of Freiburg and the University of Education in Freiburg until she transferred to the Institute for Sports Didactics and School Sports at the German Sport University (GSU) in Cologne in 2008. There, Helga Leineweber completed her doctorate in 2019, for which she investigated professionalisation processes of teachers in the context of inclusive physical education. In addition to various activities in teaching and research, Helga Leineweber was the director of studies for the physical education teaching programmes from 2017 until she resigned from GSU Cologne.

Her research interests lie in the area of professional development of prospective and trained P.E. teachers, as well as current pedagogical challenges of physical education and school sports. The latter includes, among other things, questions that fundamentally deal with subject-specific education in the field of physical education, but also the diverse requirements of physical education among heterogeneous learning groups. She is currently researching language-sensitive instructional design. Another issue concerns the effects of the digital transformation on sport and physical education, as well as related professional demands on teachers who are not only required to integrate digital media into lessons, but also to take on educational tasks at the intersection of media use, physicality and sport.

Faculty of Psychology/Sport and Exercise Sciences

Prof. Dr. Christina Lill
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Prof. Dr. Christina Lill
(Faculty of Medicine)

In August 2022, Christina Lill has been appointed Heisenberg Professor of Translational Epidemiology at the Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine. The professorship will initially be funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Christina Lill studied human medicine at the University of Münster and at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich. After her studies, she carried out the practical part of her medical doctoral thesis during a two-year stay abroad at the Harvard Medical School in Boston (USA), earning her doctorate at the University of Münster. She then worked at the Charité Berlin, the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics Berlin and at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, where she also completed a Master's degree in epidemiology. Before returning to her home town Münster, she had worked as a research group leader at the University of Lübeck. Furthermore, Christina Lill has held a Lecturer position at the School of Public Health of Imperial College London since 2018.

In her scientific work she focuses on the molecular epidemiology of age-related phenotypes and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. For example, she described the gene ITGA8 as one of the first Parkinson's disease risk genes during her doctoral thesis and collaborated on numerous international genome-wide studies to elucidate neurodegenerative diseases. A major goal of her current research is to develop predictive models that can identify individuals at high risk for subsequent neurodegenerative disease using molecular biomarkers from blood. The future availability of reliable prediction models will pave the way for the development of effective preventive and early therapeutic approaches to these currently incurable diseases.

Faculty of Medicine

Prof. Dr. Simon Lux
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Prof. Dr Simon Lux
(Faculty of Chemistry)

Simon Lux has been the chair of applied electrochemical energy storage technology and economic chemistry at the University of Münster (WWU) since August 2022. He is also a director of the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Battery Cell Production FFB in Münster.

Simon Lux studied technical chemistry/chemical engineering at Graz University of Technology from September 2002 to July 2008 and subsequently completed a doctoral programme at the MEET Battery Research Center at the WWU. Following his doctorate, he spent several years as a postdoctoral researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, USA. In 2013 he joined the BMW Group Technology Office as a senior advanced battery technology engineer and was later appointed as team leader of the Advanced Powertrain Research Group in Silicon Valley.

In May 2017 Simon Lux moved to Munich, where he continued his career at BMW in the development area of e-drives and battery cell technology. As a senior expert, his responsibilities there included the development of cross-functional mechanical and electrochemical cell designs, as well as the introduction of production technologies for next-generation lithium-ion cells for motor vehicles.

In the summer of 2022, Simon Lux returned to academia in Münster, where his research is focused on novel technologies for battery cell production, circular economy and thermal protection materials for high-voltage battery packs.

Faculty of Chemistry

Prof. Dr. Carla Meyer-Schlenkrich
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Prof. Dr. Carla Meyer-Schlenkrich
(Faculty of History and Philosophy)

Carla Meyer-Schlenkrich has been a professor of Westphalian and comparative regional history at the Faculty of History and Philosophy in Münster since December 2021. She studied German language and literature, journalism, literary communication and history at the University of Bamberg and at the Sapienza University of Rome. She received her doctorate from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Heidelberg with the thesis "The City as Topic. Nuremberg’s Discovery in Texts around 1500". There, she also wrote her second book (Habilitation) entitled "When Does the Paper Era Begin? On the History of Knowledge of a High and Late Medieval Writing Material".

She obtained the venia legendi for medieval history and historical ancillary sciences. Before Carla Meyer-Schlenkrich was appointed professor in Münster, she served as the scientific director of the Research Centre for the History of Cologne and worked as a research and teaching fellow at the Department of History at the University of Cologne. Her research interests include late medieval urban history, the history of writing, the history of perception and environmental history.

Faculty of History and Philosophy (only in German)

Prof. Dr. Gerd Meyer zu Hörste
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Prof. Dr. Gerd Meyer zu Hörste
(Faculty of Medicine)

Gerd Meyer zu Hörste was appointed associate professor in the Department of Neurology at the Institute for Translational Neurology in December 2021. He studied medicine at the University of Göttingen, where he received his medical doctorate in neurogenetics. He then moved to the University in Düsseldorf for his residency and later postdoctoral training in neurology. Subsequently, he continued his research in the field of neuroimmunology for three years at Harvard Medical School in Boston and returned to Germany in 2015 to head a NRW junior research group at the University of Münster. In 2021 Gerd Meyer zu Hörste was accepted into the DFG’s Heisenberg Programme and later appointed to Heisenberg Professor at the University of Münster. He studies how the immune system interacts with the nervous system at its borders and how to improve the diagnosis of neurological diseases using high-resolution analyses including single-cell transcriptomics.

Faculty of Medicine

Prof. Dr. Marcus Nührenbörger
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Prof. Dr. Marcus Nührenbörger
(Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science)

Since April 2022, Marcus Nührenbörger has been working at the Institute for Fundamental and Inclusive Mathematics Education. After studying teaching at the University of Münster, he worked as a teacher for a few years before obtaining his doctorate in mathematics didactics on children's understanding of measurement as a scholarship holder of the Cusanuswerk at the University of Münster in 2002. He conducted his research at the University of Duisburg-Essen focusing on mathematical interaction processes of learners in primary school and in 2009 accepted a professorship for the didactics of mathematics at the Institute for Development and Research of Mathematics Education at the TU Dortmund University.

His subject didactic development research and transfer research is aimed at empirical questions of inclusive mathematics teaching and the promotion of individual potential development processes. In this way, he wants to contribute to a better understanding of the development of mathematical teaching and learning processes and to improve the quality of inclusive mathematics teaching. Furthermore, he is dedicated to the professionalisation processes of mathematics lecturers. His findings flow into the design of teaching and learning materials.

Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science

Prof. Dr. Jacco Pekelder
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Prof. Dr. Jacco Pekelder
(Faculty of Philology)

Jacco Pekelder has been a professor of Modern and Contemporary History of the Netherlands at the Centre for Dutch Studies (ZNS) since 1 October 2021. He studied History of International Relations at Utrecht University, where he also earned his PhD on Dutch relations to communist East Germany in 1998. In 2007, after working as a researcher at Nijmegen’s Radboud University and research coordinator at the Germany Institute in Amsterdam, he became an assistant professor and later associate professor for International Relations at Utrecht University. He has also worked at Saarland University in Saarbrücken as guest professor and later honorary professor since 2013.

Professor Pekelder is currently working on a book project entitled "Europe and the Rise of Germany. The Spectre of Hegemony from Europe’s Centre, 1830 – 1871." In this research project, he examines the conceptions of a European state-based system with a strongly unified German nation-state at centre stage. Apart from that, Professor Pekelder also studies how the Dutch and German democracies deal with the acute challenges posed by extremist and populist right-wing parties and groups.

Faculty of Philology (only in German)

Prof. Dr. Marlies Pirner
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Prof. Dr Marlies Pirner
(Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science)

Marlies Pirner has held an assistant professorship at the Institute for Analysis and Numerics since October 2022. She studied mathematical physics at the University of Würzburg before earning her PhD at the Institute of Mathematics at the University of Würzburg. She has conducted research as a postdoc at the Universities of Vienna and Würzburg.

Marlies Pirner is currently researching the applied analysis of kinetic equations. In this context, the time evolution of a gas is described by using a probability density. This description is used, for instance, for plasmas and many astrophysical phenomena. She considers questions in mathematical modelling and theoretical questions regarding, e.g. existence, the qualitative behaviour of solutions and the convergence to equilibrium.

Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science

Prof. Dr. Benjamin Risse
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Prof. Dr. Benjamin Risse
(Faculty of Geosciences)

Since April 2022 Benjamin Risse has been a professor at the Institute of Geoinformatics, where he heads the Computer Vision & Machine Learning Systems group. He studied and received his PhD in Münster where he developed new algorithms and methods for the analysis of animal behaviour in a neurobiological context. During his time as a postdoc at the University of Edinburgh, he gained expertise in the field of robotics in particular and specialisation in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Since 2017 Benjamin Risse has been researching and teaching at University of Münster, where he accepted a professorship in sustainable development in geoinformatics in April 2022.

His research interests involve combining machine learning and image analysis methodologies with specific and concrete problems, often from sustainability research. The projects are usually facilitated in interdisciplinary collaborations and focus on the development of novel image analysis and visual computing techniques, as well as the development of sustainable AI technologies themselves.

Faculty of Geosciences (only in German)

Prof. Dr. Roland Scheel
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Prof. Dr Roland Scheel
(Faculty of Philology)

Roland Scheel has been a professor of Scandinavian studies and the head of the Institute of Nordic Philology since October 2022. He studied history and Scandinavian studies at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main and Copenhagen University. He received his doctorate in Frankfurt in 2014 with a thesis on Scandinavian-Byzantine cultural relations in the Middle Ages. After a short term of employment in a project on computational historical semantics, he obtained a position as an assistant professor of medieval Scandinavian studies at the University of Göttingen in 2015. From 2020 to 2022 he served as an interim professor of Scandinavian studies in Göttingen.

His research focuses on transcultural processes in the Scandinavian Middle Ages, especially on the making of identities, political discourse, and legal and normative considerations in narrative and legal texts. He is also interested in historical semantics as a mirror of social change. As the ideas established in early Scandinavian literature are relevant to this day and influenced the modern concept of the “Viking”, these earlier constructions of the past and the modern reception of Scandinavian mythology constitute a further field of interest.

Faculty of Philology

Prof. Dr. Anika Schlenhoff
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Prof. Dr. Anika Schlenhoff
(Faculty of Physics)

Since September 2022 Anika Schlenhoff has been Professor of experimental Physics at the Institute of Physics. Grown up in Freiburg im Breisgau, Anika Schlenhoff completed her studies in physics and journalism and her doctorate, which was awarded by the department, at the University of Hamburg. On the 29. Conference on Surface Sciencer in Edinburgh Anika Schlenhoff was awarded the ECOSS Prize 2012 for her outstanding research on local interactions of spin-polarized electrons with nanomagnets. Before she was appointed to the WWU, she pursued her research on non-collinear spin structures (including spin spirals and skyrmions), many-body interactions and image-potential states, magnetization dynamics and spin transport as project leader with a Research Fellowship (Eigene Stelle) of the German Research Foundation (DFG).
 
Anika Schlenhoff specializes in the development of novel spin-sensitive scanning probe methods (such as spin-polarized field emission microscopy and Magneto-Seebeck imaging). Her research group “Atomic-scale Microscopy and Spectroscopy” at the WWU applies (spin-polarized) scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy in combination with novel in-house developed scanning probe methods to low-dimensional solid state systems in order to directly correlate structural, electronic, magnetic and opto-electronic properties on the atomic length scale. This will contribute to a fundamental understanding of physical phenomena in reduced dimensions and on the atomic scale, potentially paving the way for future miniaturized and functionalized opto-electronic and spin-electronic devices.

Prof. Dr. Kai Schmitz
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Prof. Dr Kai Schmitz
(Faculty of Physics)

Kai Schmitz has been an assistant professor at the Institute for Theoretical Physics since May 2022, where he heads the newly created Particle Cosmology research group. After studying physics at the Freie Universität Berlin and Michigan State University in the United States, he received his doctorate in 2012 at Deutsches Elektron-Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg. He then conducted research as a postdoc at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe in Japan, at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg and at the University of Padua in Italy. Before moving to Münster, he was a Marie Curie Fellow of the European Commission at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research CERN in Switzerland.

In his research, Kai Schmitz focuses on questions at the interface of particle physics and cosmology which can help us better understand the first fractions of a second after the Big Bang and thus offer insights into the fundamental laws of nature at the highest energies. One focus of his work is the theoretical description of gravitational waves from the early universe and the search for these gravitational waves by observing pulsars in our Milky Way.

Faculty of Physics

Prof. Dr. Carlos Silvestre-Roig
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Prof. Dr. Theresa Simon
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Prof. Dr. Laura Stutenbecker
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Prof. Dr. Laura Stutenbecker
(Faculty of Geosciences)

Laura Stutenbecker has been a professor of sedimentology at the Institute of Geology and Palaeontology since October 2022. She graduated in 2014 from the Freie Universität Berlin with a master’s degree in geological sciences. She received her PhD from the University of Berne for her dissertation on the influence of reservoir dams and climate change on sediment fluxes and sediment composition in the Alps. Before her appointment in Münster, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Technical University of Darmstadt.

Her research deals with sedimentary systems and how erosional, transport and depositional processes are influenced by climatic, tectonic and anthropogenic changes. At the moment she is focusing on the Alpine-Rhine river sedimentary system. She is using quantitative methods to study sediment fluxes in modern sedimentary systems in order to apply them to sedimentary rocks of the geological past. An important aspect of her research is the development of chemical and mineralogical proxies that are suitable to reconstruct the source area and evolution of ancient sedimentary rocks (provenance analysis).

Faculty of Geosciences

Prof. Dr. Sonja Suntrup-Krüger
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Prof. Dr Sonja Suntrup-Krüger
(Faculty of Medicine)

Sonja Suntrup-Krüger has been a professor in the Department of Neurology at the Institute of Translational Neurology at the Faculty of Medicine since July 2022. She completed her studies in medicine with a MD at the University of Münster in 2009. Afterwards she worked as a resident physician in the Department of Neurology at the University Hospital Münster (UKM) for two years, followed by a research visit at the University of Manchester. Parallel to a position as a post-doctoral research associate in the field of functional neuroimaging and neurostimulation at the Institute for Biomagnetism and Biosignal Analysis at UKM, she specialised in clinical neurology and received her venia legendi. She has been a senior physician in neurology and intensive care medicine since 2018. In 2020 Sonja Suntrup-Krüger was awarded a Clinician-Scientist Professorship by the Else-Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung, which allows her to combine clinical and scientific work in the long term.

Her research focuses on the pathophysiology of neurogenic dysphagia. The act of swallowing is processed through a complex and distributed network in the central nervous system. Consequently, difficulties in swallowing (dysphagia) represent a frequent symptom of various neurological disorders, e.g. after stroke. Dysphagia can lead to severe physical consequences including pneumonia, malnutrition and the need for tube-feeding. With her research, she aims to improve dysphagia care and develop innovative, neuro-modulatory treatment strategies for neurogenic dysphagia.

Faculty of Medicine

Prof. Dr. Holger Thünemann
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Prof. Dr. Holger Thünemann
(Faculty of History and Philosophy)

Holger Thünemann has held the Chair of History Didactics with Special Regard to Historical Culture since October 2021. He studied History, Latin and Educational Science in Münster and Bologna. After obtaining his PhD and completing his teacher’s degree, he taught at the Gymnasium Paulinum grammar school in Münster and worked as a university lecturer. Prior to his professorship in Münster, he was professor of History Didactics at the University of Education in Freiburg and at the University of Cologne.

His work focuses on researching the public and societal treatment of history, for instance, in museums, memorials and historical anniversaries or in controversies concerning monuments. In this context, the focus lies particularly on the topic of the Nazi period and the Holocaust. To this end, he regularly takes students on excursions, for example, in cooperation with the Yad Vashem and Auschwitz memorials. Additionally, Holger Thünemann and his team work in the field of textbook research as well as the empirical investigation and theoretical modelling of teaching history. Among other things, he is co-editor of the "Beiträge zur Geschichtskultur" (Contributions to Historical Culture), a member of the presidium of the German-Polish Textbook Commission and a liaison professor/mentor of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. 

Faculty of History and Philosophy (only in German)

Prof. Dr. med. Jonel Trebicka
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Prof. Dr. med Jonel Trebicka
(Faculty of Medicine)

Jonel Trebicka has been the director of the Department of Medicine B (Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Endocrinology, Infectious Diseases) at the University Hospital Münster since May 2022.

After earning his medical degree in 2004, he specialised in internal medicine, gastroenterology and hepatology at the University Hospital Bonn. One year later, he received his PhD at the University of Copenhagen. In 2015 he was appointed adjunct professor for gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, as well as visiting professor at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, Barcelona. In October 2018 Professor Trebicka began working as coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Competence Centre for Liver Diseases and professor for translational hepatology at the University Hospital Frankfurt.

His academic fields of interest include basic and clinical research on end-stage liver diseases (acute-on-chronic liver failure and portal hypertension), HIV and vascular liver diseases with special emphasis on chronic inflammation, genetic mechanisms and intracellular signalling.

Faculty of Medicine

Prof. Dr. Eva Viehmann
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