Pioneering biologists create a new crop through genome editing

From wild plant to crop: CRISPR-Cas9 revolutionizes breeding / New tomato contains more valuable antioxidants
The new cultivated tomato (right) has a variety of domestication features which distinguish it from the wild plant (left). The details (clockwise): It produces more flowers and therefore bears more fruit, the fruit is larger and oval in shape instead of round. The cultivated tomato contains more lycopene, which is noticeable through a deeper red colouring of the juice, and the plant has a more compact growth.<address>© Agustin Zsögön/Nature Biotechnology</address>
© Agustin Zsögön/Nature Biotechnology

For the first time, researchers have created, within a single generation, a new crop from a wild plant – the progenitor of our modern tomato – by using a modern process of genome editing. Participating in the study was a team led by Prof. Jörg Kudla from the Institute of Plant Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Münster.

Excellence Strategy: Major success for the University of Münster

Two applications approved / Münster still in the running for “University of Excellence” title
Raising their glasses to the success: Prof. Christopher Deninger, Prof. Mario Ohlberger, Vice-Rector Prof. Monika Stoll, Rector Prof. Johannes Wessels and Prof. Detlef Pollack (from left)<address>© Heiner Witte/MünsterView</address>
© Heiner Witte/MünsterView

A decision has been reached in the first funding line, “Cluster of Excellence”, in the Excellence Strategy being pursued by the national and state governments in Germany. In the competition, the University of Münster was successful with two of the three Cluster applications it submitted. The following Clusters of Excellence will receive funding for a period of seven years: “Religion and Politics. Dynamics of Tradition and Innovation” and “Mathematics Münster.

Scientists present new observations to understand the phase transition in quantum chromodynamics

New findings published in ''Nature“ on the formation of matter / Experiments provide information on the beginnings of the universe
Das Experiment ALICE am Teilchenbeschleuniger LHC<address>© CERN/Saba, A.</address>
© CERN/Saba, A.

In the science journal 'Nature' an analysis is presented by scientists of a series of experiments at major particle accelerators which sheds light on the formation of matter. Prof. Anton Andronic, physicist at Münster University, is part of the international team of scientists.

Bioinformaticians examine new genes the moment they are born

Precursors of genes constantly emerge "out of thin air" – but only a few survive for good
The scientists compared several properties of de novo genes in mice with those in other types of mammals.<address>© Montage: free</address>
© Montage: free

Accumulating evidence suggests that new genes can arise spontaneously from previously non-coding DNA instead of through the gradual mutation of established genes. Bioinformaticians at the University of Münster are now, for the first time, studying the earliest stages in the emergence of such “genes out of thin air”, also known as de novo genes.

New junior research groups at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence

Gerty Cori Programme: a stepping stone for excellent female researchers for their future careers
New Gerty Cori junior research group leaders Dr. Noelia Alonso Gonzalez (left) and Dr. Maria Bohnert<address>© WWU/ E. Wibberg</address>
© WWU/ E. Wibberg

Dr. Noelia Alonso Gonzalez and Dr. Maria Bohnert have started working as junior research group leaders at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence. Funding for their work is being provided by a new programme designed by the Cluster to support outstanding female researchers in leading positions.

Pioneering work: mathematical fundamentals of light refraction

Münster mathematician’s research into wave propagation in complex materials
Dr. Barbara Verfürth<address>© WWU/Kathrin Kottke</address>
© WWU/Kathrin Kottke

Dr. Barbara Verfürth from the Institute of Analysis and Numerics at the University of Münster has been doing research into wave propagation in materials with special optical properties. Her PhD dissertation demonstrates pioneering mathematical work, and in it she is the first to calculate the connection between materials and their light refraction.

Federal Cross of Merit for Martin Winter

Scientist from Münster honoured for his commitment to research and development
From left: Matthias Schwarte (Head of Administration of the University of Münster), Anja Karliczek (Federal Minister of Education and Research), Prof. Dr. Martin Winter, Veronika Winter, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Marquardt (FZ Jülich) and Prof. Dr. Harald Bolt (FZ Jülich)<address>© MEET/Adrienne Hammerschmidt</address>
© MEET/Adrienne Hammerschmidt

Prof. Martin Winter was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class for his outstanding achievements in the field of battery research. The chemist makes an essential contribution to the success of the energy and mobility turnaround in Germany, the letter of reasons states.

Dr. Mubarak Hussain Syed, an alumnus of the University of Münster, looks back on his time in the graduate programme by the University and the Max Planck Institute

“It was a fantastic experience to work with researchers from all over the world”
Dr. Mubarak Hussain Syed<address>© International Scholar’s Office University of Oregon</address>
© International Scholar’s Office University of Oregon

Dr. Mubarak Hussain Syed, who comes from Kashmir, in the Himalayas, is an alumnus of the University of Münster. He worked on his PhD at CEDAD-IMPRS, a PhD programme run jointly by the University and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Biomedicine, now known as the CIM-IMPRS programme. He reports on his time in Münster.

"Moments of true insight make all the apparently fruitless hours worthwhile"

Münster mathematicians Dr. Franziska Jahnke and Dr. Mira Schedensack talk about their work
Mathematicians Dr. Franziska Jahnke (l.) und Dr. Mira Schedensack<address>© WWU - Kathrin Kottke</address>
© WWU - Kathrin Kottke

Hours of contemplation, approaching a solution in small steps, and a healthy scepticism towards computer-generated results. Two mathematicians at the University of Münster, Dr. Franziska Jahnke und Dr. Mira Schedensack, explain what mathematical research means to them and what the aim of it is.

"Münster is a very special location"

Prof. Michael Seewald on the importance of his faculty and the role of dogma in the Catholic Church
Prof. Michael Seewald obtained his doctorate at 24 and was appointed Professor at 28. He has been undertaking research and teaching at the University of Münster since 2016 and is the recipient of many awards.<address>© private source</address>
© private source

Born in 1987, Prof. Michael Seewald is Germany’s youngest Professor of Theology and holds the Chair of Dogmatics and the History of Dogma at the Faculty of Catholic Theology – as the successor to, among others, Joseph Ratzinger and Karl Rahner – and he is also involved in the "Religion and Politics" Cluster of Excellence.

Chemists present new reaction path

Symmetrical cleavage of disulphides is fast and biocompatible
The team of researchers led by Frank Glorius uses photocatalysts and visible light for the selective cleavage of sulphur-sulphur bonds. The colour of the reaction mixture after the reaction can give a first indication of the products formed (the photo shows a plate with different reaction mixtures).<address>© WWU/Michael Teders</address>
© WWU/Michael Teders

A team of researchers led by Prof. Frank Glorius from the University of Münster have presented a new chemical reaction path which may prove to be of interest both for research and for the production of active ingredients in medicines. The new reaction leads to a splitting of bonds between two sulphur atoms.

Mathematician solves a seemingly unsolvable equation

Prof. Raimar Wulkenhaar: “No one can be this lucky”
The mathematical equation ...<address>© WWU/Raimar Wulkenhaar</address>
© WWU/Raimar Wulkenhaar

After ten years, Prof. Raimar Wulkenhaar from the University of Münster’s Institute of Mathematics and his colleague Dr. Erik Panzer from the University of Oxford have solved an equation which was considered to be unsolvable. In this interview, Wulkenhaar looks back on the challenges encountered in looking for the formula for a solution.

Thomas Großbölting, Professor of Modern History, talks about the current wave of xenophobia, racism and antisemitism

"Despite all the turbulence I see no danger of the system breaking down"
Prof. Thomas Großbölting<address>© WWU/Weischer</address>
© WWU/Weischer

Nowadays, anyone following the news is regularly confronted with reports on xenophobia, racism and antisemitism. In the interview, contemporary historian Thomas Großbölting, a member of the "Religion and Politics" Cluster of Excellence, talks about the current public and political discussion, the culture of remembrance since 1945 and the significance for the history of people who experienced and have experienced the Nazi regime.

"Appearance and facial expression play a major role"

Prof. Dr. Mitja Back, psychologist and project director of the cluster of excellence "Religion and Politics", is currently investigating the first impressions of Germans and refugees
Prof. Dr. Mitja Back<address>© WWU/Weischer</address>
© WWU/Weischer

For his new study “Integration at First Sight”, Mitja Back, professor at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Münster and project director in the “Religion and Politics” cluster of excellence, investigates what kind of first impressions Germans and refugees have of one another and what factors could have a positive impact on integration.