Excellence Strategy

Junior Research Groups

Dr. Friederike Adams: Tailor-Made Intelligent Polymer Materials for Pharmaceutical Applications

Joint Research Group with the University of Stuttgart, Institute of Polymer Chemistry

Our group is located at the interface of polymer chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences. We are focusing on the design and development of innovative drug delivery systems for low molecular weight drugs and biomacromolecules as well as on 3D printing applications. These systems are based on novel intelligent, biobased or biodegradable polymers that are synthesized using sophisticated polymerization techniques. We develop tailor-made and advanced catalysts and monomers to meet the special needs for each specific pharmaceutical application.

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Dr. Samantha Brown: Archaeo and Palaeoproteomics

Research Group at the Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology

We apply cutting edge techniques in the extraction and analysis of proteins to aid in our understanding of the ancient human past. Our team studies hominin dispersal and interaction during the Pleistocene, bone tool production and specialisation, artefact manufacture, and protein preservation across archaeological timescales. We have a particular focus on the study of fragmented bones, which typically can’t be identified using traditional zooarchaeological practices and may contain rare human and faunal remains that are key to our understanding of the archaeological record.

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Dr. Andrew Clark: Cell Biology of the Intestine

Joint Research Group with the University of Stuttgart, Institute of Cell Biology and Immunology

The mammalian intestinal epithelium is an incredibly dynamic tissue; nearly all intestinal epithelial cells turn over every 3-5 days, while maintaining a tight barrier to regulate nutrient absorption and prevent entry of harmful or pathogenic materials. Our lab studies how the properties and behaviors of intestinal epithelial cells are regulated and contribute to overall intestine function. To address these questions, we employ a multidisciplinary approach, combining cell biology and live imaging with quantitative analytical methods, biophysics and theoretical modeling. Through these studies, we strive toward understanding how dysregulation of intestinal cell and tissue properties contribute to intestinal pathologies such as inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.

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Dr. Thanigaimalai Pillaiyar: Development of anti-SARS-CoV-2 drugs

Research Group at the Institute of Pharmacy

The etiological agent of the current COVID-19 pandemic has been identified as SARS-CoV-2. As of June 23, 2021, it has affected over 150 million people globally and killed over 4 million people. Some kinases have been postulated as potential mediators in the viral infection cycle, and several of them are implicated in the virus-induced hyperinflammatory response that results in death in the worst cases. Additionally, the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 (Mpro) has a critical role in the SARS-CoV-2 replication. As a result, targeting both kinases and the main protease might be a viable strategy for developing anti-SARS-CoV-2 drugs, which is what we are currently focusing on as medicinal chemistry researchers.

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Prof. Dr. Bettina Weigelin: Multiscale Immunoimaging

Research Group at the Werner Siemens Imaging Center

Immunotherapy is an emerging first-line therapy for advanced cancer with the potential to achieve long-lasting regression and cure. Most solid tumors respond to immunotherapy to some degree, but many patients experience resistance in tumor subregions or metastases, followed by relapse. Our lab combines dynamic intravital microscopy with macroscopic PET/MR imaging to provide mechanistic insights into cellular immunotherapies at the tissue and whole-body scale to identify strategies for improved cancer immunotherapies. We further apply intravital microscopy to visualize supporting strategies, such as fever-range thermal-therapy or immunmodulatory antibodies, to provide rationales for therapy combinations that enhance immune cell function in solid tumors.

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Past Junior Research Groups

Dr. André Martins: Hyperpolarized Metabolism & Multimodal-Imaging Sciences

Research Group at the Werner Siemens Imaging Center (WSIC)

Our team (nicknamed the HyperM&Ms) is interested in understanding relevant paradigms in human pathology and physiology through accurate non-invasive biomedical imaging. The team uses highly translational molecular and metabolic imaging approaches to determine the role of metabolism in different diseases in vivo. Our research is multidisciplinary, and placed at the intersection of several scientific fields in oncology, biomedical imaging, and fundamental sciences (biophysics, biochemistry, chemistry). The team is also interested in developing the next generation of non-invasive hybrid metabolic sensors for biomedical imaging.

Funding until 2022

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Dr. Jeanne Féaux de la Croix: Environment and Society in Central Asia

Research Group at the Department for Asian and Oriental Studies

Across the world, there are enormous inequalities in people’s access to sweet water, with climate change likely to further exacerbate the situation. As social anthropologists we analyse people’s changing attitudes to water - and their consequences- in Central Asia. We pursue historically-informed research on moral economies of water in a landlocked region where most agriculture depends on irrigation. We ask in what contexts water is treated as sacred, as a public or private resource (in various formats) or used to produce other resources such as electricity and cotton.

Ended 2022

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