New memorial plaque commemorates Jewish elementary school

The site of the present-day Department of Law used to be home to a Jewish school from 1934 onward. Its children and teachers were ostracized, deported and murdered during the Third Reich. Only one pupil lived to see 1945. A plaque now commemorates the achievements of the school and its principal Hans-Herbert Hammerstein.

Alzheimer’s research: Inflammatory markers are conspicuous at an early stage

Bonn/Germany, January 12, 2022. Long before the onset of dementia, there is evidence for increased activity of the brain’s immune system. Researchers from DZNE and the University of Bonn come to this conclusion based on a study of more than 1,000 older adults. To this end, various proteins were measured in the cerebrospinal fluid: They served as so-called biomarkers that indicate inflammatory processes of the nervous system. As it turned out, some of these molecules seem to be part of a damage control program of the immune system, which could be useful for the development of new drugs. The study results have been published in the scientific journal “Neuron”.

Antiepileptic drugs with a light switch

Dr. Michael Wenzel from the Department of Epileptology at the University Hospital Bonn has received a coveted Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). With the associated funding of 1.5 million euros for the next five years, the neurologist wants to study novel light-activated drugs with antiepileptic effects investigating how they can help against hard-to-treat epilepsies.

Construction work begins on new laboratory and seminar building

At the beginning of the new year, Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb NRW (BLB NRW) has begun construction work on the new so-called "multi-use building" in the southwestern area of Poppelsdorf campus. The construction site had already been set up before the turn of the year. In the future, the new building will serve as interim space for various institute buildings of the University of Bonn that are in need of renovation. For this purpose, in addition to laboratories the multi-use building will provide meeting rooms, workrooms and offices for several hundred University members. The interim space is necessary to free up the existing institute buildings for the upcoming renovation measures.

2021 in Review

2021 was an eventful year with many ups and downs. We look back at the highlights in the news and press releases of the University of Bonn.

Earth’s first giant

A skull two meters long, a total body length of 17 meters, a weight of 45 tons, fins that comb the sea - what sounds like a sperm whale is actually a reptile and lived in the oceans around 250 million years ago. Now, an international team of researchers led by the Universities of Bonn and Mainz, as well as the Claremont Colleges and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, reports on this first giant animal that ever evolved. The researchers describe a new species of ichthyosaur, also called "fish-saurians" - the skeleton with the imposing skull, larger than that of Tyrannosaurus rex was excavated in the US state of Nevada. The study now proves that the ichthyosaurs evolved their impressive size within only three million years, much faster than the evolution of gigantism in today's whales. The results show how marine ecosystems can build up and respond to abiotic changes such as climate, atmosphere or water conditions. The study was published in the journal Science.

Conference on digital technologies for sustainable crop production

How can digital technologies be used for more sustainable crop production? Researchers from a wide range of disciplines are working on these questions at the Cluster of Excellence PhenoRob at the University of Bonn. At the Cluster's flagship conference, DIGICROP, experts pool their knowledge, bringing together distinguished speakers from around the world. Given the great success of DIGICROP 2020 at the end of last year, preparations are underway for the next edition of the conference, which will be held digitally from March 28 to 30, 2022. The Cluster of Excellence PhenoRob is receiving support from the AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems (USA). Scientists are invited to submit presentations in the form of videos by January 5.

"Heavy" hydrogen stabilizes drugs

Researchers at the University of Bonn have presented a method that allows the heavier hydrogen "brother" deuterium to be introduced specifically into many different molecules. The deuterated compounds obtained in this way are more stable against degradation by certain enzymes. Drugs produced using this method can be effective for longer, meaning they have to be taken in lower doses or less frequently. The article has now been published in the journal "Angewandte Chemie".

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