Awarding of the 2023 Gender Studies Prize and Maria von Linden Gender Equality Prize

The winners of the 2023 Gender Studies Prize and Maria von Linden Gender Equality Prize were honored at a ceremony last Friday. The University of Bonn Gender Equality Office presents these awards recognizing outstanding theses and dissertations in the fields of gender studies and queer studies and exemplary commitment in the area of gender equality.

Japan’s Imperial House Bestows Prestigious Honor on Michael Hoch

Yesterday, the Japanese government officially announced its intention to honor Professor Michael Hoch, the Rector of the University of Bonn, with the “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” of the country’s Imperial House. Professor Hoch, who has held office since 2015, is thus being recognized for his contribution to academic exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and Germany. The order is one of the highest awarded for services to civil society. Other recipients of honors besides Rector Hoch include former federal minister Peter Altmaier and Professor Matthias Kleiner, former president of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Leibniz Association.

Focusing on Climate and Environmental Ethics

The European Union is committed to fighting climate change and the destruction of the environment and transitioning to a modern and competitive economy that makes efficient use of its resources. Yet technologies such as artificial intelligence have the potential to do as much harm as good. For instance, although AI applications can help reduce environmental pollution in agriculture, they expend significant computing resources, causing additional harm to people and the environment. The University of Bonn is assuming overall leadership of the RE4GREEN project, which is designed to focus on climate and environmental ethics during this upcoming transition. The initiative is to receive a total of €3 million in EU funding over the next three years.

How the Immune System Learns from Harmless Particles

Our lungs are bombarded by all manner of different particles every single day. Whilst some are perfectly safe for us, others—known as pathogens—have the potential to make us ill. The immune system trains its response whenever it encounters such a pathogen. Yet researchers at the University of Bonn have now shown that even harmless particles help to improve the immune response and have published their results in the journal “Nature Immunology.”

How immune cells communicate to fight viruses

Chemokines are signalling proteins that orchestrate the interaction of immune cells against pathogens and tumours. To understand this complex network, various techniques have been developed to identify chemokine-producing cells. However, it has not yet been possible to determine which cells react to these chemokines. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the University of Bonn have developed a new class of genetically modified mice that enables the simultaneous identification of chemokine producers and sensors. Using the chemokine Ccl3 as a “proof of principle”, they discovered that its function in the immune defence against viruses is different than had been previously assumed. Their results have now been published in the "Journal of Experimental Medicine".

Simplified diagnosis of rare eye diseases

Uveitis is a rare inflammatory eye disease. Posterior and panuveitis in particular are associated with a poor prognosis and a protracted course of the disease. Diagnosis and monitoring can be challenging for healthcare professionals. Fundus autofluorescence (FAF) is a fast and non-invasive imaging technique that supports this. Researchers from the University Hospital Bonn and the University of Bonn, together with experts from Berlin, Münster and Mannheim, have drafted a review on how FAF can facilitate the diagnosis and monitoring of posterior uveitis and panuveitis. The results have now been published in the journal "Biomolecules".

University of Bonn Household Robots Win the German Open

The University of Bonn’s Team NimbRo was the top scoring team in the @Home league for household robots at the RoboCup German Open, held in Kassel from April 18-20. Developed by the Autonomous Intelligent Systems working group at the Institute of Computer Science, NimbRo’s lifelike soccer-playing robots had the best final-round test results, according to the judges panel. The robots are able to navigate around on their own, grasp and place objects and interact with people via voice dialogue technology. 

A Guide to Perpetual Peace

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and Hamas’ attack on Israel are just two of the many conflicts that continue to shake the world. War would just seem to be part of human nature. Although making this observation 230 years ago, the polymath Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) then proceeded to formulate a 100-page blueprint for perpetual peace. Professor Rainer Schäfer from the Digital Kant Center NRW in Bonn discusses the practicality of Kant’s concept and its relevance for the 21st century.

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