News from the Clusters and TRAs

News from the Fields of Excellence

The University of Bonn is considered the most successful University in the Excellence Strategy of the German Federal and State Governments and we are the only German university to have received funding approval for six Clusters of Excellence in 2018. The University pursues an innovative research culture with its six Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRAs): Cross-disciplinary research is conducted on key scientific, technological and societal topics of the future. 

Find an overview of the latest developments in the Clusters of Excellence and TRAs.

Overview Clusters of Excellence

Navigate here directly to the news of the six Clusters of Excellence of the University of Bonn

Overview TRAs

What's new in Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRAs)? Learn more here:

News from the Clusters of Excellence

Hausdorff Center for Mathematics
Navigation software supports kidney research

Many kidney diseases are manifested by protein in the urine. However, until now it was not possible to determine whether the protein excretion is caused by only a few, but severely damaged, or by many moderately damaged of the millions of small kidney filters, known as glomeruli. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn, in cooperation with mathematicians from the University of Bonn, have developed a new computer method to clarify this question experimentally. The results of their work have now been published as an article in press in the leading kidney research journal "Kidney International".

Don Zagier Awarded Germany’s Biggest Mathematics Prize

The Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung is to present the Heinz Gumin Prize for Mathematics to Don Zagier, who was a director of the Bonn-based Max Planck Institute for Mathematics until 2019 and has strong ties to the University of Bonn. The foundation is thus honoring his pioneering research into number theory and the theory of modular forms. The Gumin Prize is worth €50,000, making it the most generous award for mathematics in Germany. 

Major Success for University of Bonn

The University of Bonn has some excellent news to report, with two new cluster initiatives given the green light to apply for funding as part of the Excellence Initiative of the German government and federal states. The German Research Foundation and the German Council of Science and Humanities made the announcement earlier today. The two new cluster initiatives are thus among the 41 chosen from the 143 draft proposals in all from across the country that were evaluated. In 2019, the University of Bonn secured an already impressive six clusters, more than any other university in Germany. All of these clusters are applying to maintain their status, putting the University in with a chance of hosting eight Clusters of Excellence.

University of Bonn Economist Wins ERC Proof of Concept Grant

The economist Professor Christian Bayer from the Institute for Macroeconomics and Econometrics at the University of Bonn has been awarded a Proof of Concept (PoC) Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). This program hands researchers €150,000 in funding for up to 18 months to help them commercialize their ideas from previous ERC projects through excellent basic research.

University of Bonn Receives Three ERC Consolidator Grants

Another big success for the University of Bonn in securing grants from the European Research Council (ERC), with three researchers receiving an ERC Consolidator Grant: Professor Jan Hasenauer of the LIMES Institute, Professor Florian I. Schmidt of the Institute for Innate Immunity and Dr. Evgeny Shinder of the Mathematical Institute.

Jessica Fintzen Wins Cole Prize

Jessica Fintzen, a professor at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Bonn and a member of its Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) Cluster of Excellence, is to receive the prestigious Frank Nelson Cole Prize in Algebra for 2024. She will be presented with the award at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Francisco, California in January 2024.

Lisa Sauermann receives the von Kaven Award

Prof. Dr. Lisa Sauermann from the cluster of excellence Hausdorff Center for Mathematics at the University of Bonn has been honored with the von Kaven Award 2023 for her outstanding scientific achievements. The award is presented by the von Kaven Foundation, which is managed by the DFG. Lisa Sauermann was appointed as one of the prestigious Hausdorff Chairs in the cluster of excellence at the University of Bonn only a few months ago. She has been carrying out research and teaching at the Institute for Applied Mathematics at the University of Bonn since August. The von Kaven Award includes prize money of 10,000 euros and will be presented on November 17, 2023, at the Gauß Lecture organized by the German Mathematical Society (DMV).

Angkana Rüland to Receive Illustrious New Horizons Prize

The mathematician Prof. Dr. Angkana Rüland from the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn is to be presented with the illustrious New Horizons Prize for her outstanding work on applied analysis. The high-caliber $100,000 award is conferred by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation. The 35-year-old researcher and University of Bonn alumna was only appointed to one of its prestigious Hausdorff Chairs at the start of the year. In her research, she draws inspiration from problems encountered in the natural sciences.

Lisa Sauermann Returns to the University of Bonn

The Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) at the University of Bonn has again succeeded in attracting a top mathematician back to Germany, as Lisa Sauermann has accepted an offer and recently started as Hausdorff Chair at the Bonn Cluster of Excellence; she comes to this high-profile position from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, US, where she was Assistant Professor. A University of Bonn alumna, Professor Sauermann became known for her outstanding mathematical talent as a young teen. 

International Conference: Mathematics Meets Life Sciences

Mathematical modelling and analysis are essential for all fields of the life sciences nowadays, ranging from basic research to clinical application. The collaboration between mathematicians and life scientists has a long tradition in Bonn. This week Bonn researchers exchange views with colleagues from Germany and abroad on the current status and possible future developments at an international conference at the Wissenschaftszentrum Bonn. 

Artificial intelligence to help tumor immunology

The success of cancer treatment depends not only on the type of tumor, but also on the surrounding tissue. Tumors influence it to their advantage, promoting the growth of blood vessels or fooling incoming immune cells. Developing methods to predict the nature of the resulting tumor microenvironment is the goal of researchers from the Clusters of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 and the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) led by Prof. Kevin Thurley at the University of Bonn. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the "InterpretTME" project with around 800,000 euros over the next three years.

Mathematician Angkana Rüland joins the University of Bonn

Excellent reinforcement for the University of Bonn: Mathematician Angkana Rüland has accepted the call to a Hausdorff Chair. These are professorships for outstanding scientists at the Cluster of Excellence Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM). The 35-year-old is the second woman to hold this position and is herself an alumna of the University of Bonn. She will take up her position in March of this year.

Catharina Stroppel receives Leibniz Prize

In recognition of her excellent research work, Prof. Dr. Catharina Stroppel received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, which is endowed with 2.5 million euros. The German Research Foundation (DFG) announced this today. The researcher from the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) at the University of Bonn is honored with the award for her outstanding work in representation theory, in particular in connection with category theory. The highly endowed prize permits a large degree of freedom in research.

High-ranking awards for mathematicians

For their outstanding research achievements, mathematicians Prof. Dr. Ana Caraiani and Jun.-Prof. Dr. Vera Traub of the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) at the University of Bonn have each received an award from the Breakthrough Prize Foundation. The $100,000 New Horizons Prize in Mathematics recognizes Ana Caraiani as an early-career scientists who has already made a significant impact on her field. Vera Traub, junior professor at the Research Institute for Mathematics, receives the $50,000 Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Prize, which is awarded to up to three outstanding women mathematicians who have completed their PhDs within the past two years.

Gossen Award for Christian Bayer

Prof. Dr. Christian Bayer, an economist at the University of Bonn, has received this year's Hermann Heinrich Gossen Award from the Verein für Socialpolitik (VfS) in recognition of his outstanding and internationally recognized research achievements. The prize is awarded once a year to an economist under the age of 45 from a German-speaking country. It is endowed with 10,000 euros and is intended to promote the internationalization of economics.

Pius XI Medal Awarded to Peter Scholze

Prof. Dr. Peter Scholze, director at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics and professor at the University of Bonn, has been awarded the Pius XI Gold Medal 2020 by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Excellence Slam at the Arkadenhof

What are the researchers of the Clusters of Excellence at the University of Bonn actually working on? They provide an up-close look on August 22 at 8 p.m. in the Arkadenhof of the University Main Building. At the Excellence Slam, scientists from the clusters will present their research in short talks in a generally understandable and humorous way. At the end, the audience votes - and the most popular slam wins. The free event takes place one day after the finale of the Bonn Silent Film Festival and uses the festival's stage in the courtyard of the Baroque Palace. Please note: The event and the slams will be held in German.

Four ERC Grants for the University of Bonn

Good news for the University of Bonn: Four scientists receive a coveted grant from the European Research Council (ERC) and thus funding in the millions for the next five years. Prof. Dr. Valentin Blomer from the Institute of Mathematics receives a so-called Advanced Grant, Prof. Dr. Claude Duhr from the Institute of Physics a Consolidator Grant, Dr. Julian Schmitt from the Institute of Applied Physics and Prof. Dr. Georg Oberdieck from the Institute of Mathematics each a Starting Grant.

Bonn mathematics graduate Maryna Viazovska receives the Fields Medal

Mathematician Maryna Viazovska has received the Fields Medal, which is presented at the International Congress of Mathematics in Helsinki, which opened today. The award has been presented every four years since 1936 to mathematicians under the age of 40. The 37-year-old Viazovska is from Ukraine. She completed her doctorate at the University of Bonn in 2013. Today she is a professor at EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland.

Two new research units on artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is getting a boost: the German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding a total of eight new AI research units with a total of 31.4 million euros. Two projects from the University of Bonn in the fields of geodesy and precision agriculture are among them. The millions in funding will flow over the next four years. An extension is possible.

International award for mathematician

Mathematician Prof. Dr. Georg Oberdieck from the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) at the University of Bonn has received this year's Dubrovin Medal from the renowned research institute SISSA in Italy. The medal is a special prize that recognizes exceptionally promising young researchers who have made outstanding contributions to the fields of Mathematical physics and Geometry.

Mathematician Ana Caraiani appointed to the University of Bonn

Reinforcement for the University of Bonn: The internationally highly recognized mathematician Ana Caraiani has accepted the call to a Hausdorff Chair. These are professorships for outstanding scientists at the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) Cluster of Excellence. The 37-year-old Romanian is the first woman to hold this position and will take it up this September. Ana Caraiani not only brings excellent mathematics with her to Bonn, but also her enthusiasm for promoting early career scientists.

"Mathematics fascinates me in how it applies to our daily lives"

Mathematics and life sciences - Sefah Frimpong is fascinated by this connection. The master's graduate in applied mathematics will begin his doctoral work on infectious diseases in populations at the beginning of this year. Prior to that, the 26-year-old Ghanaian paid a visit to the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) Cluster of Excellence - as the first participant in the so-called YAM program. The visitor program, which lasts several months, enables talented and motivated African students and graduates to get to know the mathematical community at the University of Bonn. In an interview, Sefah Frimpong talks about his stay in Bonn and his plans for the future.

Hausdorff Memorial Prize awarded

The Mathematics Department of the University of Bonn has awarded the Hausdorff Memorial Prize to former doctoral student Florian Schweiger for the best PhD thesis in mathematics in the past academic year. The honor, which took place virtually, was held by the chair of the Department, Prof. Dr. Anton Bovier, subsequent to the Hausdorff Colloquium.

Spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Ethiopia is underestimated

In an Ethiopian-German research collaboration, researchers of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at the LMU University Hospital with participation of the University of Bonn investigated blood samples of frontline healthcare workers and residents from urban and rural communities for antibodies. The results suggest that the true COVID-19 prevalence is much higher than previously reported official figures. Therefore, the research team recommends a realignment of the vaccination strategy for Africa. The study is published in the journal “The Lancet Global Health”.

Mathematics meets Life Sciences

The tremendous advances made in experimental life sciences in recent years provide a wealth of data on how organisms function. To gain biomedical knowledge from these data, both mathematical modeling and numerical analysis techniques in conjunction with experimental data are essential. At a joint symposium of the Clusters of Excellence Hausdorff Center for Mathematics and ImmunoSensation2 as well as the Transdisciplinary Research Areas "Modelling" and "Life and Health" of the University of Bonn, the professors working at the interfaces and their colleagues presented their research and invited to participate.

What factors impact the spread of viruses?

Many different factors are responsible for the spread of infectious diseases. What is known is that the spread process depends essentially on the infectiousness of the pathogen and the immune response of the host, but also on human behavior. This relates, for example, to the extent to which distance regulations are observed. Less often considered, however, is the fact that the factors and their influence can vary greatly between groups of people - both at the biomedical and socioeconomic levels. Mathematicians, physicians and economists now want to take a closer look at this so-called inter-individual variability in a joint collaboration project of the University of Bonn and the University Hospital Munich. The goal is to determine new factors that are relevant for the transmission or containment of SARS-CoV-2 viruses. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding the project with several hundred thousand euros, of which 270,000 euros will go to Bonn.

Winning a $100,000 Machine Learning Competition

How can parcel delivery be optimized with a mass of routes and parcels? More precisely, how can algorithms learn and use the knowledge and behavior of experienced drivers? To solve this problem, mathematician Prof. Dr. Stephan Held from the University of Bonn, together with two colleagues from Canada and Denmark, has now emerged as the winner of a worldwide competition - the "Amazon Last Mile Routing Research Challenge". The competition is organized by Amazon and the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics in Boston. The prize money of $100,000 for the winning team attracted 2,285 participants from all over the world this year.

Excellence Strategy: Federal Minister Anja Karliczek visits University of Bonn

The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, has visited the University of Bonn. The focus was on the developments in the Excellence Strategy. The University of Bonn had emerged from the current competition of the federal and state governments as the most successful applicant with six clusters of excellence and the status of a University of Excellence.

Discrete Mathematics for Green Route Planning

How can parcels and freight be delivered in a more resource-saving and sustainable way? Since 2017, the University of Bonn and the Deutsche Post DHL Group cooperate in the area of route planning. The Research Institute for Discrete Mathematics has developed an algorithm that exploits the considerable optimization potential and is already being used successfully in practice. Therefore, the Deutsche Post DHL has founded the subsidiary company Greenplan that aims at using the algorithm for a wide variety of applications. The cooperation will now be continued for an unlimited period.

ImmunoSensation2
Navigation software supports kidney research

Many kidney diseases are manifested by protein in the urine. However, until now it was not possible to determine whether the protein excretion is caused by only a few, but severely damaged, or by many moderately damaged of the millions of small kidney filters, known as glomeruli. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn, in cooperation with mathematicians from the University of Bonn, have developed a new computer method to clarify this question experimentally. The results of their work have now been published as an article in press in the leading kidney research journal "Kidney International".

Research Studying Research

In what ways do evaluation and reward systems influence the conduct and results of research studies? This is the question addressed by Dr. Oliver Braganza of the University of Bonn and University Hospital Bonn, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Utrecht, the University of Duisburg-Essen and colleagues from the University of Bonn. Titled “The cultural evolution of scientific practice—from simulation to experimentation,” the project is to receive around 1.8 million euros in funding from the Volkswagen Foundation over the next four years.

New findings on the immune system

T follicular helper cells (Tfh) are essential for strong antibody-mediated reactions of our immune system during infections and vaccinations. However, if they get out of control, this can cause diseases such as autoimmunity, allergies or cancer. Researchers from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 at the University of Bonn investigated the underlying mechanisms of Tfh cell development in a mouse model and thus decoded their internal networking. They hope that this will lead to new strategies for the development of highly effective vaccines and new therapies to combat various diseases. The results have now been published in the renowned journal "Science Immunology".

False alarm of the immune system during muscle disease

Researchers at the University Hospitals of Dresden and Bonn of the DFG Transregio 237 and from the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 at the University of Bonn have made progress clarifying why patients with myotonic dystrophy 2 have a higher tendency to develop autoimmune diseases. Their goal is to understand the development of the disease, and their research has provided new, potential therapeutic targets. The results of the study have now been published in the renowned journal "Nature Communications".

Major Success for University of Bonn

The University of Bonn has some excellent news to report, with two new cluster initiatives given the green light to apply for funding as part of the Excellence Initiative of the German government and federal states. The German Research Foundation and the German Council of Science and Humanities made the announcement earlier today. The two new cluster initiatives are thus among the 41 chosen from the 143 draft proposals in all from across the country that were evaluated. In 2019, the University of Bonn secured an already impressive six clusters, more than any other university in Germany. All of these clusters are applying to maintain their status, putting the University in with a chance of hosting eight Clusters of Excellence.

How does a molecular freight elevator work?

Some bacterial membrane transporters work almost like freight elevators to transport substances through the cell membrane into the interior of the cell. The transporter itself spans the bacterial membrane. Like a forklift, a soluble protein outside the bacterium transports the substance to the "elevator" and unloads its cargo there. The freight elevator transports it to the inside of the cell, in other words to another floor. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the University of Bonn, in collaboration with a team from the University of York, have now studied the interaction between the transporter and its soluble substrate binding protein. Interestingly, they adapt precisely to each other during the transportation process. As this happens very quickly, the researchers virtually "blocked" the elevator by specifically inserting anchors, so-called disulphide bridges. This enabled them to prove that only the loaded "forklift" fits the "elevator" if it is on the right floor. This makes transportation really effective. The study has now been published in the journal "Nature Communications".

Expert in the targeted degradation of proteins

Prof. Radosław P. Nowak has taken up the new professorship for "Immune Engineering and Drug Discovery" at the Institute of Structural Biology at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB). The 36-year-old biochemist will strengthen the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 at the University of Bonn scientifically in the field of systems immunology. He also wants to actively promote the topic of "drug discovery" in Bonn on an interfaculty basis and with non-university institutes. The aim is to create a high-performance, internationally competitive center for drug discovery. Prof. Nowak's academic training took him first to Oxford and then to Boston. He now comes from the Center for Protein Degradation (CPD) at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School.

University of Bonn Receives Three ERC Consolidator Grants

Another big success for the University of Bonn in securing grants from the European Research Council (ERC), with three researchers receiving an ERC Consolidator Grant: Professor Jan Hasenauer of the LIMES Institute, Professor Florian I. Schmidt of the Institute for Innate Immunity and Dr. Evgeny Shinder of the Mathematical Institute.

Outstanding Cancer Researcher Recognized

Dr. Simon Haas of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin has been awarded the Lisec Artz Prize, presented as part of the Cluster Science Days event organized by the University of Bonn’s ImmunoSensation2 Cluster of Excellence. Endowed with 10,000 euros, the Prize is competitively awarded to early-career cancer researchers on the basis of a nationwide public call for nominations conducted by the University of Bonn Foundation and the University of Bonn Faculty of Medicine. 

Matthias Geyer is awarded an ERC Advanced Grant

How can inflammatory responses be stimulated or inhibited? How do inflammasomes act as inflammatory switches at a molecular level? Prof. Dr. Matthias Geyer from the Institute of Structural Biology at University Hospital Bonn, the transdisciplinary research area “Life & Health” and the ImmunoSensation2 Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn is carrying out research into these and other questions. The scientist has now been awarded a coveted Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for this project. The European Union will provide total funding of around 2.5 million euros over the next five years.

Millions in funding for development of influenza drugs

How can the propagation of influenza viruses be stopped? For a new approach in the therapy of influenza infections, Prof. Hiroki Kato from the Institute of Cardiovascular Immunology at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 of the University of Bonn receives an Open Philanthropy grant of 2.2 million US dollars. Together with his team, he found a compound that inhibits the body's own methyltransferase MTr1 and thus prevents the replication of influenza viruses. The funded project now aims to identify further MTr1 inhibitors with influenza-inhibiting activity that could be considered for clinical trials in the near future.

Funding of €6.9 Million for Sepsis Research

Every year some 75,000 people die from bacterial blood poisoning, or sepsis, in Germany alone. Survivors of sepsis often struggle with secondary and concomitant conditions due to the resulting impairment of the immune system, the so called “Immunesuppression”. The International Center for Clinical Research (ICRC) at St. Anne's University Hospital (FNUSA) Brno (Czech Republic) has founded the research consortium “BEATSep”. HORIZON EUROPA is funding it with around 6,9 million euros over the next five years. The project aims to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms causing the immune suppression in sepsis survivors. Prof. Dr. Bernardo S. Franklin, Institute for Innate Immunity of the University Hospital Bonn and member of the ImmunoSensation2 Cluster of Excellence of the University of Bonn, is involved in the project. He receives about 800,000 euros from the EU funding.

Researchers decode new antibiotic

More and more bacterial pathogens are developing resistance. There is an increasing risk that common drugs will no longer be effective against infectious diseases. That is why scientists around the world are searching for new effective substances. Researchers from the University of Bonn, the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Utrecht University (Netherlands), Northeastern University in Boston (USA) and the company NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge (USA) now have discovered and deciphered the mode of action of a new antibiotic. Clovibactin is derived from a soil bacterium. This antibiotic is highly effective at attacking the cell wall of bacteria, including many multi-resistant “superbugs.” The results have now been published in the renowned journal “Cell.” 

Using “Mini-Organs” to Study Disease

Two new assistant professors at the University of Bonn are setting out to develop “mini-organs” in order to study metabolic and disease mechanisms. Elena Reckzeh is using these so-called organoids to identify new drug candidates, while Ana Ivonne Vazquez-Armendariz hopes that they can give her a better understanding of lung disease. As Argelander Professors in the Life and Health Transdisciplinary Research Area (TRA), the two researchers are working at the interface between various disciplines—and bridging the gap between chemistry, biology and medicine in the process.

Two ERC Proof of Concept Grants for the University of Bonn

Two researchers from the University of Bonn have been awarded a Proof of Concept Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) as part of a program designed to help researchers translate their ideas from previous ERC projects into commercial applications. Biologist Prof. Dr. Bernardo S. Franklin from the University Hospital Bonn and physicist Prof. Dr. Simon Stellmer will thus each receive €150,000 over a period of around one year.

Chatting with Researchers on the International Day of Immunology

What possibilities does mRNA technology offer? How can we use computers to answer biomedical questions? And how does what I eat affect my immune system? The ImmunoSensation2 Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn will be celebrating the International Day of Immunology in Bonn’s city center on April 29. On Marktplatz, researchers will be providing a personal insight into their work and will be on hand from 10 am to 6 pm to chat with locals and answer their questions. At Bonn City Library, meanwhile, selected topics from the field of biomedicine will be showcased in more detail between 11 am and 2 pm. Admission is free at both venues.

International Conference: Mathematics Meets Life Sciences

Mathematical modelling and analysis are essential for all fields of the life sciences nowadays, ranging from basic research to clinical application. The collaboration between mathematicians and life scientists has a long tradition in Bonn. This week Bonn researchers exchange views with colleagues from Germany and abroad on the current status and possible future developments at an international conference at the Wissenschaftszentrum Bonn. 

Cells refine palm fat into olive oil

For more than 50 years, it has been suspected that fat cells constantly remodel the lipids they store. Researchers at the University of Bonn have now demonstrated this process directly for the first time using culture cells. Among other things, the study shows that the cells quickly eliminate harmful fatty acids. They refine others into molecules that can be used more effectively. In the long term, this turns the components of palm fat into the building blocks of high-quality olive oil, for example. The results have now been published in the journal Nature Metabolism.

Beethoven’s genome offers clues to composer’s health and family history

Ludwig van Beethoven’s genome has been sequenced for the first time by an international team of scientists with the participation of the University of Bonn using five genetically matching locks of the well-known composer’s hair. 

New intracellular "smoke detector" discovered

Researchers at the Universities of Bonn and Singapore have discovered a new intracellular "smoke detector." The sensor warns of damage to the mitochondria - the microscopic power plants that supply the cell with energy. If it does not function properly, chronic skin diseases can result. The sensor may also be important for unimpaired heart and bowel function. The results have now been published in the journal Nature Immunology.

Immune cells have a backup mechanism

The enzyme TBK1 is an important component of the innate immune system that plays a critical role in the defense against viruses. Upon mutation-induced loss of TBK1 function, patients show an increased susceptibility to viral infections. Strikingly, if TBK1 is not expressed at all, this clinical effect is not seen. The mechanism behind this supposed discrepancy has now been elucidated by researchers led by Prof. Martin Schlee from the University Hospital Bonn and the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 at the University of Bonn. The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

Artificial intelligence to help tumor immunology

The success of cancer treatment depends not only on the type of tumor, but also on the surrounding tissue. Tumors influence it to their advantage, promoting the growth of blood vessels or fooling incoming immune cells. Developing methods to predict the nature of the resulting tumor microenvironment is the goal of researchers from the Clusters of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 and the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) led by Prof. Kevin Thurley at the University of Bonn. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the "InterpretTME" project with around 800,000 euros over the next three years.

New compound inhibits influenza virus replication

Viruses use the molecular repertoire of the host cell to replicate. Researchers from the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 at the University of Bonn, together with Japanese researchers, want to exploit this for the treatment of influenza. The team led by Prof. Hiroki Kato from the Institute of Cardiovascular Immunology at the University Hospital Bonn has identified a compound that inhibits the body's own methyltransferase MTr1, thereby limiting the replication of influenza viruses. The compound proved effective in lung tissue preparations and mouse studies and showed synergistic effects with already approved influenza drugs. The study is now published in the journal Science. 

How nerve and vascular cells coordinate their growth

Nerve cells need a lot of energy and oxygen. They receive both through the blood. This is why nerve tissue is usually crisscrossed by a large number of blood vessels. But what prevents neurons and vascular cells from getting in each other's way as they grow? Researchers at the Universities of Heidelberg and Bonn, together with international partners, have identified a mechanism that takes care of this. The results have now appeared in the journal Neuron. 

Cleft lip and palate: News from the genes

Cleft lip and palate are among the most common congenital malformations, which are mainly due to genetic causes. It is not yet known exactly which genes are affected. A study led by the University of Bonn has now uncovered new correlations: New mutations near known genes such as SPRY1 could contribute to the increase in disease risk. There is also evidence that the transcription factor Musculin is causally involved. The results have now been published online in advance in the journal Human Genetics and Genomics Advances. The final version will follow soon.

Next round for Collaborative Research Center in Immunology

Success for a research alliance of the University of Bonn, the Technical University of Dresden and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU): The Collaborative Research Center (SFB)/Transregio 237 "Nucleic Acid Immunity" has convinced with its research work of the past four years. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding it for another period with around ten million euros. As planned, the function of spokesperson will be transferred from Prof. Dr. Gunther Hartmann of the University of Bonn to Prof. Dr. Veit Hornung of the LMU.

Covid vaccination improves effectiveness of cancer treatment

Patients with nasopharyngeal cancer are often treated with drugs that activate their immune system against the tumor. Until now, it was feared that vaccination against Covid-19 could reduce the success of cancer treatment or cause severe side effects. A recent study by the Universities of Bonn and Shanxi in the People's Republic of China now gives the all-clear in this regard. According to the study, the cancer drugs actually worked better after vaccination with the Chinese vaccine SinoVac than in unvaccinated patients. The results are published as a "Letter to the editor" in the journal Annals of Oncology, but are already available online.

Rayk Behrendt receives ERC Consolidator Grant

The human genome harbors large segments that offer no obvious benefit and can potentially even cause disease. Nevertheless, these areas are copied and maintained every time a cell divides, which means a considerable effort and energy cost for the body. What is the evolutionary advantage of preserving these areas? This is the question that virologist and immunologist Prof. Rayk Behrendt from the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 at the University of Bonn is addressing. For his research, he now receives the prestigious Consolidator Grant of the European Research Council (ERC). The selected project of the Bonn professor will be funded with about 2 million euros.

Control hub for skin inflammation discovered

Inflammatory reactions in the skin can reduce damage from UV radiation or infections, but can also result in painful symptoms such as sunburn. A recent study at the University of Bonn and the University Hospital Bonn has now identified a molecular control which integrates these stress signals. The results have been published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Hemophilia: Training the immune system to be tolerant

Hemophilia A is the most common severe form of hemophilia. It affects almost exclusively males. The disease can usually be treated well, but not for all sufferers. A study at the University of Bonn has now elucidated an important mechanism that is crucial for making the therapy effective. The results could help better tailor treatment to patients. They have already been published online in a preliminary version; the final version will soon be published in the "Journal of Clinical Investigation."

Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
Major Success for University of Bonn

The University of Bonn has some excellent news to report, with two new cluster initiatives given the green light to apply for funding as part of the Excellence Initiative of the German government and federal states. The German Research Foundation and the German Council of Science and Humanities made the announcement earlier today. The two new cluster initiatives are thus among the 41 chosen from the 143 draft proposals in all from across the country that were evaluated. In 2019, the University of Bonn secured an already impressive six clusters, more than any other university in Germany. All of these clusters are applying to maintain their status, putting the University in with a chance of hosting eight Clusters of Excellence.

Experience Digs Virtually

How do you explore an excavation site without being there in person? The Classical Archaeology team and the Bonn Center for Digital Humanities at the University of Bonn want to use new digital tools such as 3D technologies and virtual reality in their research and teaching. Their researchers are collaborating with the Universities of Amsterdam and Oslo and the Open University of the Netherlands in an international project entitled “Virtual Worlds in Teaching Archaeology.” The European Union is co-financing the project to the tune of some €400,000 over the next three years.

Mongolia Honors Two University of Bonn Researchers

Two archaeologists from the University of Bonn have been presented with major awards in recognition of their many years of successful research work in Mongolia. At a ceremony held at the Ministry of Education and Science of Mongolia in the capital Ulaanbaatar, State Secretary M. Batgerel pinned the Order of the Polar Star - the highest honor that the country can award to a foreign citizen - onto Professor Jan Bemmann’s lapel. Susanne Reichert received the Friendship Medal. The two researchers are currently working in Mongolia as part of Research Unit 5438, “Urban Impacts on the Mongolian Plateau - Entanglements of Economy, City, and Environment,” which has recently secured funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG). 

From Both Sides Now: the Story of an Egyptian Stele

How people cope with crises has always been a fruitful field of research for the sciences. For instance, how do people from different cultures use objects to find strength and reassurance in times of need? This question lay at the heart of the indisciplinary collaborative project “SiSi,” which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and involved teams of researchers from Egyptology and the Anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn. In a case study on a stone tablet from the University of Bonn’s Egyptian Museum that has reliefs on both sides, Egyptologist Prof. Dr. Ludwig D. Morenz has now documented indications of personal piety in a new book.

Cult of the Gods in Pre-Egyptian Society

The desert in southern Egypt is filled with hundreds of petroglyphs and inscriptions dating from the Neolithic to the Arab period. The oldest date from the fifth millennium B.C., and few have been studied. Egyptologists at the University of Bonn and Aswan University now want to systematically record the rock paintings and document them in a database. Among them, a rock painting more than 5,000 years old depicting a boat being pulled by 25 men on a rope stands out in particular. 

All they wanted was to study: Women's fates in black-and-white

A new exhibition at the Frauenmuseum Bonn focuses on young Hungarian Jewish women whose lives were fundamentally altered by the introduction of the so-called “Numerus Clausus law” in 1920. Based on family memories, historical documents and photographs, the exhibition brings to life the fates and achievements of women born in the first quarter of the twentieth century. It also shows the influence the law had on the women's movement and Jewish assimilation. The exhibition is a cooperation with the Cluster of Excellence Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS) at the University of Bonn. It runs from 20 November to 22 December 2022. To take part in the opening, please register by 18 November to: events@dependency.uni-bonn.de

Ten million euros for archaeologists at the University of Bonn

The four Roman legionary fortresses in Bonn, Neuss, Xanten and Nijmegen still hold unexplored treasures of knowledge about the multifaceted life of the Romans on the Lower Rhine. The goal of a team led by archaeologist Prof. Dr. Jan Bemmann from the University of Bonn is to decipher these and preserve them for future generations of researchers. The project is now receiving major support from the Academies Programme, which is jointly funded by the federal and state governments: As one of five newly funded long-term projects, it will receive around ten million euros for the next 18 years.

Zentrum für Versöhnungsforschung ceremonially opened

Covid-19, climate change, populism, and not least the Ukraine war make the question of how and whether reconciliation is possible highly topical and relevant. The new Bonner Zentrum für Versöhnungsforschung (Center for Reconciliation Research) at the University of Bonn bundles research on this topic in cooperation with partner organizations. The center’s aim is to analyze reconciliation practices in an interdisciplinary and comparative way looking at different cultural, social and regional contexts. The center has now been ceremoniously opened in the University's Festsaal.

Launch of the Zentrum für Versöhnungsforschung

Covid-19, climate change, populism, and not least the Ukraine war make the question of how and whether reconciliation is possible highly topical and relevant. The new Bonner Zentrum für Versöhnungsforschung (Center for Reconciliation Research) at the University of Bonn bundles research on this topic in cooperation with partner organizations. The center’s aim is to analyze reconciliation practices in an interdisciplinary and comparative way looking at different cultural, social and regional contexts. The official opening will take place on June 22 at 6:30 pm in the Festsaal of the University of Bonn. The opening lecture will be given by Prof. Dr. Moshe Zimmermann from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Journalists are invited to attend the event. Registration is requested at vforum@unibonn.de.

Control, coercion, and constraint in religion

What role does religion play in both overcoming existing and creating new forms and types of dependencies? This question will be explored in the second part of the lecture series organized by the Centre for Religion and Society (ZERG) and the Cluster of Excellence Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS). The lecture series will now take place every Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. in the University's main building and will also be livestreamed.

Film series and discussion: Who’s Got the Power?

Who's Got the Power? This is the question addressed in a new film series by the Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS) at the University of Bonn and Förderverein Filmkultur, a film funding association in Bonn. The launch of the film series marks the start of a multi-year cooperation between these two institutions. The films will examine various scenarios of human oppression and strong asymmetrical dependency relationships, beginning with the award-winning film "La Pirogue" by Moussa Touré on April 28 at 8 p.m. at the Kino in der Brotfabrik, Bonn (Kreuzstraße 16). The format “screening plus talk” will offer a space for researchers, film makers, and the public to enter into a dialogue.

Fifth issue of research magazine DEPENDENT out now

The current issue of the research magazine DEPENDENT, issued biannually by the Cluster of Excellence Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, is dedicated to the topic of "Values, Norms, and Institutions in the Study of Slavery and other Forms of Asymmetrical Dependency".

Excellent historical publications

Two members of the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS), the Excellence Cluster in the field of humanities and social sciences at the University of Bonn, have been recognized for their outstanding academic work. Prof. Dr. Béla Bodó, Principal Investigator at the BCDSS, received the Hungarian Studies Association Book Prize for a monograph on anti-Semitism and political violence in Hungary between 1919 and 1921. Dr Eva Marie Lehner, BCDSS postdoctoral fellow, was awarded the Dissertation Prize of the Working Group on Historical Women and Gender Studies. Her dissertation examines the index of personal data in early modern church registers in southern German parishes.

New professorships for dependency studies

Opening up a new approach to research on slavery and dependency - that is the aim of the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS) at the University of Bonn. The Cluster of Excellence has now been strengthened by three outstanding female scholars: The historians Julia Hillner and Claudia Jarzebowski as well as the Americanist Pia Wiegmink will take up professorships at the Cluster starting in fall, completing the team of professorships established there as part of the Excellence Strategy. Christoph Witzenrath, also a historian, already researches and teaches at the BCDSS. At a reception in the university's Rector's Office, Rector Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Michael Hoch now officially presented the appointment certificates to the four Cluster Professors.

Excellence Strategy: Federal Minister Anja Karliczek visits University of Bonn

The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, has visited the University of Bonn. The focus was on the developments in the Excellence Strategy. The University of Bonn had emerged from the current competition of the federal and state governments as the most successful applicant with six clusters of excellence and the status of a University of Excellence.

Dealing with slavery past

How does one deal with the past, especially with the issues of slavery and colonization and their legacies? The tensions that this question can trigger among different groups of actors became visible last year in the global "Black Lives Matter" movement resulting in the toppling of statues and monuments. A workshop hosted by the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn will approach the topic from an interdisciplinary and European perspective from June 30 to July 2. During the conference, not only international scholars but also museum experts and activists will talk.

How language defines dependency relationships

How do asymmetrical dependencies and slavery manifest in language, narratives and lexical fields? Scholars of the Cluster of Excellence "Beyond Slavery and Freedom", located at the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies at the University of Bonn, worked intensively on this question in their first thematic year, which will culminate with a discussion of their research on October 1 and 2, 2020 at the annual international conference of the Cluster of Excellence. Due to the corona pandemic, the papers will be delivered digitally.

Research magazine DEPENDENT of the Cluster of Excellence "Beyond Slavery and Freedom" published

The first issue of the research magazine DEPENDENT of the Cluster of Excellence "Beyond Slavery and Freedom" of the University of Bonn has been published. It reports the scientific findings and ongoing research projects in the field of dependency and slavery research in an understandable and interdisciplinary way.

PhenoRob
All Countries’ Agri-Environmental Policies at a Glance

There can be no analysis without data. In this spirit, researchers from the University of Bonn and the Swiss Federal Institution of Technology (ETH) Zurich have published a database containing over 6,000 agri-environmental policies, thus enabling their peers as well as policymakers and businesses to seek answers to all manner of different questions. The researchers have used two examples to demonstrate how this can be done: how a country’s economic development is linked to its adoption of agri-environmental policies and how such policies impact soil erosion. Their study has now been published in “Nature Food.”

Maize genes control little helpers in the soil

Tiny organisms such as bacteria and fungi help to promote the health and function of plant roots. It is commonly assumed that the composition of these microbes is dependent on the properties of the soil. However, an international team of researchers led by the University of Bonn has now discovered when studying different local varieties of maize that the genetic makeup of the plants also helps to influence which microorganisms cluster around the roots. The results, which have now been published in the prestigious journal Nature Plants, could help to breed future varieties of maize that are better suited to drought and limited nutrients.

Phosphorus Absorption Improved and Zinc Content Increased

A new variety of rice that is adapted to life in low-phosphorus soils, that contains an exceptionally large amount of zinc and that was developed specifically for the conditions in Madagascar where it is grown, has recently been certified in the country. The variety was created under the leadership of plant scientist Professor Matthias Wissuwa from the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) and the PhenoRob Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn which he joined as a visiting professor in spring 2023,  together with the Africa Rice Center and the National Centre of Applied Research for Rural Development in Madagascar (FOFIFA)

Robotics Research at the Highest International Level

The state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hendrik Wüst, visited the Humanoid Robots Lab at the University of Bonn on Thursday afternoon. Talks centered on current research projects in the field of robotics and the challenges associated with the use of robots in human environments. The state premier was able to enter virtual reality with a robot and watch a three-armed robot harvesting peppers.

Major Success for University of Bonn

The University of Bonn has some excellent news to report, with two new cluster initiatives given the green light to apply for funding as part of the Excellence Initiative of the German government and federal states. The German Research Foundation and the German Council of Science and Humanities made the announcement earlier today. The two new cluster initiatives are thus among the 41 chosen from the 143 draft proposals in all from across the country that were evaluated. In 2019, the University of Bonn secured an already impressive six clusters, more than any other university in Germany. All of these clusters are applying to maintain their status, putting the University in with a chance of hosting eight Clusters of Excellence.

The Two (Country) Sides of Forests

How do national policies impact deforestation? Researchers from the University of Bonn have looked into this question at the global scale and have found that, contrary to common assumptions, national strategies have a significant—and visible—influence on efforts to protect forest heritage. Their study has now been published in the journal “Global Environmental Change.”

Cultivating Collaborative Excellence Across Borders

Producing sufficient food, feed, fiber, and fuel for our world population while simultaneously reducing the environmental footprint of agricultural production is a great challenge for humanity. DigiCrop.Net is a new platform of four leading research organizations from across the world who aim at supporting this endeavor with technology-driven approaches as key elements of possible solutions. Together, the partners seek to address central challenges and investigate novel ways for achieving sustainable crop production. 

New network connects agricultural research, industry and politics

At the career fair organized by the Cluster of Excellence PhenoRob together with the Faculty of Agriculture and the Theodor Brinkmann Foundation students, PhD students and graduates of the University of Bonn were able to expand their professional network and make new contacts.

New research group on the deformation of structures and infrastructure

Roads, bridges and dams age. How long can such structures still bear the weight? The new research group “Deformation Analysis with Terrestrial Laser Scanner Measurements (TLS-Defo)” at the University of Bonn wants to make a step forward in answering these questions. The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund the group with around 2.4 million euros over the next four years.

How plants adapt to nitrogen deficiency

Nitrogen as a fertilizer can increase yields. However, too much nitrogen can also have negative effects, such as groundwater pollution, high energy consumption in fertilizer production and the generation of climate-relevant gases. Science is therefore looking for ways to help crops thrive with less nitrogen. Researchers at the University of Bonn have discovered gene variants of the nitrate sensor NPF2.12 that trigger a signal cascade chain at low soil nitrogen levels. This induces stronger root growth, resulting in improved nitrogen utilization. The study had already been published online in advance in "New Phytologist." The final version has now been published.

First PhenoRob Career Fair

Students and graduates of the University of Bonn are welcome to participate in the first PhenoRob Career Fair to expand their professional network.

Two ERC Consolidator Grants for the University of Bonn

Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) go to outstanding researchers and provide funding worth millions. At the University of Bonn, two people are receiving coveted ERC Consolidator Grants: Prof. Dr. Annaliese Mason from the Institute of Crop Sciences and Resource Conservation (INRES) and Prof. Dr. Dennis Lehmkuhl from the Institute of Philosophy.

Meat import ban in Africa hurts local population

The EU regularly exports large quantities of poultry meat to West African countries. These exports have been criticized for harming importing countries in West Africa and exacerbating poverty there. The reason: Cheap imports depress the local price of chicken, making life difficult for local smallholders. Researchers at the Universities of Bonn and Göttingen have now used the example of Ghana to calculate the effects that would result if the country were to significantly increase its import tariffs for poultry meat or even stop imports completely. The result: Prices would indeed rise domestically, but most local households would not benefit. The study has been published in the journal Food Security.

Aphids and their favorite colors

Aphids are one of the least welcome garden visitors. These small insects can cause all the more damage in agriculture. But how do they actually choose their host plants? What are the basic mechanisms behind this? Researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Kassel now present two novel models that can be used to analyze aphid color vision and thus how the animals respond to plants. This opens up new possibilities for future research on this topic - but may also be relevant for agricultural applications. The study has been published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Excellence Slam at the Arkadenhof

What are the researchers of the Clusters of Excellence at the University of Bonn actually working on? They provide an up-close look on August 22 at 8 p.m. in the Arkadenhof of the University Main Building. At the Excellence Slam, scientists from the clusters will present their research in short talks in a generally understandable and humorous way. At the end, the audience votes - and the most popular slam wins. The free event takes place one day after the finale of the Bonn Silent Film Festival and uses the festival's stage in the courtyard of the Baroque Palace. Please note: The event and the slams will be held in German.

How a harmful fungus renders its host plant defenseless

The fungus Ustilago maydis attacks corn and can cause significant damage to its host. To do this, it first ensures that the plant offers little resistance to the infection. The surgical precision it applies is shown by a new study from the University of Bonn, which has now been published in the journal New Phytologist. The Gregor Mendel Institute in Vienna and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research in Gatersleben were also involved in the work.

Research for sustainable food systems

How does international trade in agricultural and forest products affect biodiversity? A research project led by the University of Bonn will investigate this question, particularly for animal feed, energy crops, tropical timber and aquacultures. In collaboration with stakeholders from politics, the private sector and civil society, the researchers will develop innovative solutions for more sustainable production and consumption. The European Union is funding the project with around 2.6 million euros over the next three years, of which around 850,000 euros will go to the University of Bonn. Funding has been granted for other projects.

Two new research units on artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is getting a boost: the German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding a total of eight new AI research units with a total of 31.4 million euros. Two projects from the University of Bonn in the fields of geodesy and precision agriculture are among them. The millions in funding will flow over the next four years. An extension is possible.

Wulf Amelung is a new member of the Leopoldina

Special distinction for Wulf Amelung: the professor of soil science and soil ecology at the Institute of Crop Sciences and Resource Conservation (INRES) at the University of Bonn and director of the Institute of Agrosphere at Forschungszentrum Jülich has now been admitted to the Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences. Amelung is assigned to the Section of Agricultural and Food Sciences. 

What benefits nutrition in Africa the most

Malnutrition in developing countries is best addressed not by increasing the variety of crops grown on smallholder farms, but by improving access to markets. This is the conclusion of a recent study by the MwAPATA Institute in Malawi and the University of Bonn in Germany. More variety in animal production, however, does show positive effects. The findings are now published in the journal “Lancet Planetary Health”.

Meat consumption must fall by at least 75 percent

If our planet Earth is to continue feeding us in the future, rich countries must significantly reduce their meat consumption - ideally by at least 75 percent. This is the conclusion of a new study by the University of Bonn. The study reviews the current state of research on various aspects of meat consumption. In addition to the effects on the environment and climate, these include health and economic effects. A conclusion of the researchers: Eating meat in small amounts can be quite sustainable. The results are published in the journal Annual Review of Resource Economics.

Three ERC Grants for the University of Bonn at once

Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) are highly coveted because they are hard to come by and provide funding in the millions of euros. At the University of Bonn, three scientists will receive such funding for the next five years.

Bundled expertise at DIGICROP

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 from March 28–30, experts pool their knowledge, bringing together distinguished speakers from around the world. The Cluster of Excellence is receiving support from the AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems (USA). Registrations for the digital, English-language conference are open until March 24.

Genetic engineering can have a positive effect on the climate

The use of genetically modified (GM) crops in agriculture remains contentious, especially in Europe. According to surveys, many people fear that these could have negative effects for human health and the environment. However, a new study shows that genetically modified crops could actually be good for the environment, and for the climate in particular. Results suggest that the adoption of GM crops in the European Union (EU) could reduce greenhouse gas emissions considerably. The study by scientists from the Breakthrough Institute in the USA and the University of Bonn in Germany was recently published in “Trends in Plant 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.

Agricultural scientist from PhenoRob Cluster of Excellence is most cited

Prof. Dr. Anne-Katrin Mahlein, co-opted professor at the University of Bonn and Director of the Institute of Sugar Beet Research (Göttingen) is the most cited author in the research field sensing and imaging of plant disease. According to a publication by the journal “Tropical Plant Pathology”, Mahlein’s research has significantly pushed this area of research forward. Overall, the University Bonn has been determined to be the most productive and most collaborative institution in the field.

University of Bonn recruits top-class researchers

Renowned reinforcement for the University of Bonn: With the first "High profile" professorships financed by excellence funds, three top-class scientific personalities join the University of Excellence to open up new fields of research and to provide important impulses in various disciplines. Ethicist Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen takes up a so-called Hertz Professorship today (October 1), while agricultural economist Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim and Catholic theologian Prof. Dr. Klaus von Stosch fill so-called Schlegel Professorships. The three professors were officially appointed at a reception in the Rector's Office.

How plants sense phosphate

A new study by the University of Bonn and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) in Gatersleben sheds light on the mechanism used by plants to monitor how much of the nutrient phosphate is available, and to decide when strategies to mobilize and take up more phosphate from the soil must be activated. The enzyme ITPK1 plays a key role in this process. The researchers were also able to show that a particular group of signaling molecules involved in phosphate sensing respond very sensitively to phosphate and that this regulation takes place not only in plants but also in human cells. In the long term, the results could lead to the breeding of new crop varieties that require less phosphate fertilizer. The final version of the study has now been published in the journal "Molecular Plant".

BMBF funds “Robots in Everyday Life” transfer center

Smart robots, such as vacuuming or mopping robots, are becoming more prevalent in everyday life and will also increasingly take care of tasks in the public sphere in the future. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has now approved EUR 2.25 million of funding for the Robots in Everyday Life (RimA) transfer center project. Computer Scientists at the University of Bonn will be working on the Benchmarking of Assistance Robots subproject until 2025.

Life could exist in the clouds of Jupiter but not Venus

Jupiter’s clouds have water conditions that would allow Earth-like life to exist, but this isn’t possible in Venus’ clouds, according to the groundbreaking finding of new research led by a Queen’s University Belfast scientist with participation of the University of Bonn. The study has been published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy
Major Success for University of Bonn

The University of Bonn has some excellent news to report, with two new cluster initiatives given the green light to apply for funding as part of the Excellence Initiative of the German government and federal states. The German Research Foundation and the German Council of Science and Humanities made the announcement earlier today. The two new cluster initiatives are thus among the 41 chosen from the 143 draft proposals in all from across the country that were evaluated. In 2019, the University of Bonn secured an already impressive six clusters, more than any other university in Germany. All of these clusters are applying to maintain their status, putting the University in with a chance of hosting eight Clusters of Excellence.

Why Are People Climate Change Deniers?

Do climate change deniers bend the facts to avoid having to modify their environmentally harmful behavior? Researchers from the University of Bonn and the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) ran an online experiment involving 4,000 US adults, and found no evidence to support this idea. The authors of the study were themselves surprised by the results. Whether they are good or bad news for the fight against global heating remains to be seen. The study is being published in the journal “Nature Climate Change.”

University of Bonn Economist Wins ERC Proof of Concept Grant

The economist Professor Christian Bayer from the Institute for Macroeconomics and Econometrics at the University of Bonn has been awarded a Proof of Concept (PoC) Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). This program hands researchers €150,000 in funding for up to 18 months to help them commercialize their ideas from previous ERC projects through excellent basic research.

What Does Having German Citizenship Mean for Children with an Immigration Background?

Having German citizenship means different things to boys and girls with an immigration background. Christina Felfe, Professor of Economics at the University of Konstanz, will be giving an online public talk (in German) about these differing impacts, to be held at 5 pm on Tuesday, November 21. Held in German, the event is part of the ReStart Talks series organized by the ECONtribute Cluster of Excellence, a joint initiative of the Universities of Bonn and Cologne.

Greix-Decline in apartment prices mainly affects existing stock, new construction prices relatively stable

A comparison of apartment price trends by year of construction in Germany's largest cities reveals a notable pattern: While prices for new buildings have experienced a relatively modest decline from their peak, the value of existing properties has fallen by more than twice as much. This finding comes from a comprehensive data analysis conducted by the German Real Estate Index (Greix), a project of ECONtribute and the Kiel Institute. 

How Germany made it through winter without Russian gas

The German economy has coped with the end of Russian gas supplies and would have also been able to withstand an import stop from April 2022. This is the result of ananalysis of a team around Prof. Dr. Moritz Schularick, member of the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute of the Universities of Bonn and Cologne and designated President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, joint with Prof. Dr. Benjamin Moll (London School of Economics) and Dr. Georg Zachmann (Bruegel). The study has been published as "ECONtribute Policy Brief".

Stereotypes influence whether people buy stocks

Whether people invest in stocks depends on what they think about stockholders. This is what a team led by Luca Henkel, a member of the ECONtribute Cluster of Excellence: Markets & Public Policy at the University of Bonn, found out. The study has been published as an ECONtribute Discussion Paper.

Sustainability more important for young people than high wages

Young people would accept a lower salary for a job in a sustainable or socially oriented company. This is what a team led by Thomas Dohmen, professor at the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute at the University of Bonn, has discovered.

Covid-19: Vaccination status polarizes population

People who strongly identify with their Covid vaccine status discriminate more strongly against the respective other group. This is shown by a study conducted by the team around Luca Henkel, member of the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute at the University of Bonn, with the participation of the Universities of Erfurt and Vienna and the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine Hamburg. The study was published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

Excellence Slam at the Arkadenhof

What are the researchers of the Clusters of Excellence at the University of Bonn actually working on? They provide an up-close look on August 22 at 8 p.m. in the Arkadenhof of the University Main Building. At the Excellence Slam, scientists from the clusters will present their research in short talks in a generally understandable and humorous way. At the end, the audience votes - and the most popular slam wins. The free event takes place one day after the finale of the Bonn Silent Film Festival and uses the festival's stage in the courtyard of the Baroque Palace. Please note: The event and the slams will be held in German.

Profits caused wages in the financial sector to rise

Companies share rising profits with their employees, which has led to above-average wage increases in the financial sector in recent years. This was revealed by a team led by Dr. Michael Böhm, a researcher at the ECONtribute Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn.

Why students later pursue careers in STEM subjects

An international team including Prof. Dr. Thomas Dohmen, spokesperson of the ECONtribute Cluster of Excellence at the Universities of Bonn and Cologne, has received a grant of up to $2.5 million from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). In the funded study, the researchers will determine the extent to which students' personality traits, executive function skills, and preferences predict their later academic achievement and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The project will run for five years.

Moderate GDP Decline if Russian Energy Imports Stopped

If the German government were to stop Russian energy imports, the German economy would be able to adapt to the new situation. This is shown in a recent study by the research team led by economists Prof. Dr. Moritz Schularick and Prof. Dr. Moritz Kuhn, members of the ECONtribute Cluster of Excellence at the Universities of Bonn and Cologne. The study has been published as "ECONtribute Policy Brief".

Residential property more profitable in smaller cities

Residential real estate in major cities is considered to be particularly profitable. However, the returns over the past 150 years have been lower on average than for properties in smaller cities. This is shown in a study by the team of economist Prof. Dr. Moritz Schularick, member of the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy at the University of Bonn. The study is the first of its kind to provide historical comparisons of long-term total returns on residential portfolios, linking house price data and rental yields. It was published in advance as "ECONtribute Discussion Paper".

Past stock prices mislead investors

Investors often decide how to invest based on past stock prices. In fact, however, future and past returns do not depend on each other. If investors are made aware of this error, they change their investment behavior. This is shown in a study by the team of economist Prof. Dr. Christine Laudenbach, member of the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy at the University of Bonn. The study was published in advance as an "ECONtribute Discussion Paper".

Smart consumer laws for smart technologies

Smartphones, tablets and wearables that measure step counts or calorie consumption, for example, have become an integral part of many people's everyday lives. All these devices are part of the Internet of Things - a socio-technological reality that is increasingly becoming the focus of legislation. In a new project, researchers from the Universities of Bonn, Osnabrück, Stirling and Warwick (both UK) investigate how consumers can be better protected when using smart devices. The project, which has been described by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as "world leading", is scheduled to run for three years and has a total funding volume of around 650,000 euros.

Prof. Dr. Moritz Schularick receives a Leibniz Prize

Prof. Dr. Moritz Schularick receives the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, which is endowed with 2.5 million euros, for his excellent research achievements. The German Research Foundation (DFG) made the announcement today. As Director of the MacroFinane Lab and Principal Investigator for the University of Bonn’s Cluster of Excellence, ECONtribute, his research on financial market stability, inequality and economic history receives great resonance beyond his academic work. The highly endowed prize gives the winners great research freedom.

University of Bonn recruits top-class researchers

Renowned reinforcement for the University of Bonn: With the first "High profile" professorships financed by excellence funds, three top-class scientific personalities join the University of Excellence to open up new fields of research and to provide important impulses in various disciplines. Ethicist Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen takes up a so-called Hertz Professorship today (October 1), while agricultural economist Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim and Catholic theologian Prof. Dr. Klaus von Stosch fill so-called Schlegel Professorships. The three professors were officially appointed at a reception in the Rector's Office.

Social norms influence willingness to protect the climate

People contribute only very little to climate protection, because they underestimate the willingness of others to contribute. This is the central result of a new study by the behavioural economists Peter Andre, Teodora Boneva, Felix Chopra and Armin Falk, members of the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute at the Universities of Bonn and Cologne, published as an “ECONtribute Discussion Paper”.

Rapid tests effectively contained Covid-19

Rapid tests effectively broke Covid-19 infection chains in spring 2021. This is shown by a model developed by researchers of the ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy Cluster of Excellence of the Universities of Bonn and Cologne, the Collaborative Research Center Transregio 224 EPoS of the Universities of Bonn and Mannheim, and the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). According to the results of this simulation model, antigen testing significantly reduced spring Covid-19 numbers, while vaccinations played a minor role. The study was published in advance as an "ECONtribute Discussion Paper."

Excellence Strategy: Federal Minister Anja Karliczek visits University of Bonn

The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, has visited the University of Bonn. The focus was on the developments in the Excellence Strategy. The University of Bonn had emerged from the current competition of the federal and state governments as the most successful applicant with six clusters of excellence and the status of a University of Excellence.

Listening to exciting topics from economic research

Listening to exciting topics from economic research

Patient people earn more money

Those who are more patient earn and save more on average. Institutions and campaigns such as World Savings Day encourage this from an early age. Researchers of the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy of the Universities of Bonn and Cologne have evaluated data on patient behavior from 76 countries.

Lack of support prolongs unemployment

Unemployed persons whose appointment with the responsible caseworker at the employment office is canceled unexpectedly remain unemployed for an average of twelve days longer. This is what Bonn economist Amelie Schiprowski established in a study by the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy at the Universities of Cologne and Bonn.

From pandemic shock to recession

The pandemic-related restrictions on economic activity resulted in a massive reduction in working hours in March and April 2020. Only the key professions and those jobs that could be done from home were largely spared. Once the strict corona rules were relaxed, the sectors that were particularly affected recovered relatively quickly, while other sectors recorded a significant drop in hours. This is shown in a new study based on Dutch data conducted by economists of the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute, a joint initiative of the universities of Bonn and Cologne, and the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

Three Starting Grants in economics

Starting Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) are highly coveted, because they provide young researchers with funding of up to 1.5 million euros over five years. In economics, three researchers from the University of Bonn and the Behavior and Inequality Research Institute (briq) will now benefit from this funding. The successful candidates are also members of the Clusters of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy and the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM).

Low-income earners suffer most from the COVID-19 crisis

Home office at full pay is not an option for all employees hit by the coronavirus crisis. To analyze changes in work arrangements during the pandemic, a team of economists from the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute in cooperation with the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) surveyed around 5,500 individuals in the Netherlands from March 20-31. The results show that high-skilled workers spend more time in the home office, while less-skilled workers are more likely to work reduced hours or lose their jobs.

ML4Q: Matter and light for quantum computing
Major Success for University of Bonn

The University of Bonn has some excellent news to report, with two new cluster initiatives given the green light to apply for funding as part of the Excellence Initiative of the German government and federal states. The German Research Foundation and the German Council of Science and Humanities made the announcement earlier today. The two new cluster initiatives are thus among the 41 chosen from the 143 draft proposals in all from across the country that were evaluated. In 2019, the University of Bonn secured an already impressive six clusters, more than any other university in Germany. All of these clusters are applying to maintain their status, putting the University in with a chance of hosting eight Clusters of Excellence.

Effect in the quantum world: When electrons slowly vanish during cooling

Many substances change their properties when they are cooled below a certain critical temperature. Such a phase transition occurs, for example, when water freezes. However, in certain metals there are phase transitions that do not exist in the macrocosm. They arise because of the special laws of quantum mechanics that apply in the realm of nature’s smallest building blocks. It is thought that the concept of electrons as carriers of quantized electric charge no longer applies near these exotic phase transitions. Researchers at the University of Bonn and ETH Zurich have now found a way to prove this directly. Their findings allow new insights into the exotic world of quantum physics. The publication has now been released in the journal Nature Physics.

Two ERC Proof of Concept Grants for the University of Bonn

Two researchers from the University of Bonn have been awarded a Proof of Concept Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) as part of a program designed to help researchers translate their ideas from previous ERC projects into commercial applications. Biologist Prof. Dr. Bernardo S. Franklin from the University Hospital Bonn and physicist Prof. Dr. Simon Stellmer will thus each receive €150,000 over a period of around one year.

Physical effect also valid in the quantum world

Physicists at the University of Bonn have experimentally proven that an important theorem of statistical physics applies to so-called "Bose-Einstein condensates." Their results now make it possible to measure certain properties of the quantum “superparticles” and deduce system characteristics that would otherwise be difficult to observe. The study has now been published in Physical Review Letters.

Excellence Slam at the Arkadenhof

What are the researchers of the Clusters of Excellence at the University of Bonn actually working on? They provide an up-close look on August 22 at 8 p.m. in the Arkadenhof of the University Main Building. At the Excellence Slam, scientists from the clusters will present their research in short talks in a generally understandable and humorous way. At the end, the audience votes - and the most popular slam wins. The free event takes place one day after the finale of the Bonn Silent Film Festival and uses the festival's stage in the courtyard of the Baroque Palace. Please note: The event and the slams will be held in German.

Four ERC Grants for the University of Bonn

Good news for the University of Bonn: Four scientists receive a coveted grant from the European Research Council (ERC) and thus funding in the millions for the next five years. Prof. Dr. Valentin Blomer from the Institute of Mathematics receives a so-called Advanced Grant, Prof. Dr. Claude Duhr from the Institute of Physics a Consolidator Grant, Dr. Julian Schmitt from the Institute of Applied Physics and Prof. Dr. Georg Oberdieck from the Institute of Mathematics each a Starting Grant.

1.5 million euros for improved quantum sensors

They originate from the world of the smallest particles and have the ability to measure things with the highest precision - quantum sensors are currently veritable stars among experts. For a project aimed at improving such sensors, physicists at the University of Bonn and their international partners are now receiving funding of around 1.5 million euros from the European QuantERA program. In their project, the researchers want to guide laser-cooled atoms through hollow-core photonic crystal fibers in order to incorporate them into quantum sensors and quantum computers. The Technical University of Darmstadt, the Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland), the University of Torun (Poland) and the company Alpine Quantum Technologies (Austria) are involved.

Physicists create extremely compressible "gas of light"

Researchers at the University of Bonn have created a gas of light particles that can be extremely compressed. Their results confirm the predictions of central theories of quantum physics. The findings could also point the way to new types of sensors that can measure minute forces. The study is published in the journal Science. 

Excellence Strategy: Federal Minister Anja Karliczek visits University of Bonn

The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, has visited the University of Bonn. The focus was on the developments in the Excellence Strategy. The University of Bonn had emerged from the current competition of the federal and state governments as the most successful applicant with six clusters of excellence and the status of a University of Excellence.

A new state of light

A single "super photon" made up of many thousands of individual light particles: About ten years ago, researchers at the University of Bonn produced such an extreme aggregate state for the first time and presented a completely new light source. The state is called optical Bose-Einstein condensate and has captivated many physicists ever since, because this exotic world of light particles is home to its very own physical phenomena. Researchers led by Prof. Dr. Martin Weitz, who discovered the super photon, and theoretical physicist Prof. Dr. Johann Kroha have returned from their latest "expedition" into the quantum world with a very special observation. They report of a new, previously unknown phase transition in the optical Bose-Einstein condensate. This is a so-called overdamped phase. The results may in the long term be relevant for encrypted quantum communication. The study has been published in the journal Science. STRICTLY EMBARGOED: Do not publish until 2:00 pm U.S. Eastern Time Thursday, 1 April!

When memory qubits and photons get entangled

Encrypting data in a way that ensures secure communication is an ever-growing challenge because crucial components of today's encryption systems cannot withstand future quantum computers. Researchers around the world are therefore working on technologies for novel encryption methods that are also based on quantum effects. The phenomenon of so-called quantum entanglement plays a particularly important role here. This means that in a quantum network, the stationary qubits of the network are entangled with the communication channel, which usually consists of photons (light particles). For the first time, physicists at the University of Bonn have now been able to demonstrate quantum entanglement between a stationary qubit, i.e. a two-state quantum system, and a photon with direct coupling to an optical fiber. The study has been published in the journal "npj Quantum Information".

Innovations through hair-thin optical fibres

Scientists at the University of Bonn have built hair-thin optical fibre filters in a very simple way. They are not only extremely compact and stable, but also colour-tunable. This means they can be used in quantum technology and as sensors for temperature or for detecting atmospheric gases. The results have been published in the journal “Optics Express”.

Physicists observe competition between magnetic orders

They are as thin as a hair, only a hundred thousand times thinner—so-called two-dimensional materials, consisting of a single layer of atoms, have been booming in research for years. They became known to a wider audience when two Russian-British scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for the discovery of graphene, a building block of graphite. The special feature of such materials is that they possess novel properties that can only be explained with the help of the laws of quantum mechanics and that may be relevant for enhanced technologies. Researchers at the University of Bonn have now used ultracold atoms to gain new insights into previously unknown quantum phenomena. They found out that the magnetic orders between two coupled thin films of atoms compete with each other. The study has been published in the journal Nature.

From the physics lab to industry

How do laser beams get the right shape? A question that occupies not just some fantasy heroes, but also physicists at the University of Bonn. In the course of their research, three of them have found a solution to the problem that is so practical that it has aroused the interest not only of the scientific community, but now also of industry experts: The start-up project "Midel Photonics" by Dr. David Dung, Dr. Christian Wahl and Frederik Wolf is one of twelve start-ups selected this year for the state-wide "HIGH-TECH.NRW" program.

News about the TRAs

TRA 1 Modelling
Transdisciplinary Research Area "Mathematics, Modeling and Simulation of Complex Systems"
A Transdisciplinary Win

A team of University of Bonn researchers wins a funding competition conducted by the Life and Health transdisciplinary research area.

Navigation software supports kidney research

Many kidney diseases are manifested by protein in the urine. However, until now it was not possible to determine whether the protein excretion is caused by only a few, but severely damaged, or by many moderately damaged of the millions of small kidney filters, known as glomeruli. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn, in cooperation with mathematicians from the University of Bonn, have developed a new computer method to clarify this question experimentally. The results of their work have now been published as an article in press in the leading kidney research journal "Kidney International".

Classroom Robots Helping Children

Mobile robots enabling chronically ill schoolchildren to participate in lessons: this is the objective of a new joint development project by the universities of Bonn, Göttingen (coordinator) and Duisburg-Essen, in collaboration with chilli mind GmbH. Protecting the privacy of all parties involved poses a particular project challenge.

Digital Twins Improve Stroke Treatment

After someone has suffered a stroke or brain hemorrhage, it is a race against time to prevent their brain cells from dying. Admittedly, it still sounds like science fiction: physicians are using a digital twin to test out the most promising potential treatments for precisely this scenario. However, if all goes to plan for the researchers in the European consortium christened “Gemini” (“twin” in Latin), this could be a reality in as little as six years. The 19 partners led by Amsterdam University Medical Center (UMC) have received a Horizon grant worth €10 million from the European Commission to tackle the project. The Department of (Social) Ethics in the Faculty of Protestant Theology at the University of Bonn is also involved in the work. 

How Bacteria load their syringes

Many bacterial pathogens use small injection apparatuses to manipulate the cells of their hosts, such as humans, so that they can spread throughout the body. To do this, they need to fill their syringes with the relevant injection agent. A technique that tracks the individual movement of proteins revealed how bacteria accomplish this challenging task. A team of researchers from the University of Bonn and the Max Planck Institute in Marburg have revealed how bacteria perform this complex task, using a technology that tracks the movement of individual proteins. Their findings have now been published in the leading journal Nature Microbiology.

New Collaborative Research Center at the University of Bonn

The new Collaborative Research Center (CRC) "NuMeriQS: Numerical Methods for Dynamics and Structure Formation in Quantum Systems" aims to advance the understanding of dynamics and structure formation in quantum systems. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is setting up the CRC at the University of Bonn to strengthen cutting-edge research. Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Max Planck Institute für Kohlenforschung are also involved. The start is planned for April 2024. Over the next three years and nine months, around eight million euros will flow into the research network. The Transdisciplinary Research Area "Matter" at the University of Bonn supported the creation of the CRC.

Measuring the Extent of Global Droughts in Unprecedented Detail

While some parts of the world suffer extreme heat and persistent drought, others are being flooded. Overall, continental water volumes vary so much over time that global sea levels fluctuate significantly too. By combining the hydrological model WaterGAP with GRACE satellite data, a team of geodesists at the University of Bonn have come up with a new set of data that shows how the total distribution of water over the Earth’s land surfaces has changed over the past 20 years more accurately than ever before. Their findings are now being published in the “Journal of Geodesy.”

First-Ever “Modelling for Life and Health” Transdisciplinary Research Prize Awarded

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schultz from the Institute for Computer Science II at the University of Bonn and Priv.-Doz. Dr. Theodor Rüber from the Clinic and Polyclinic for Epileptology at the University Hospital Bonn are the first winners of the “Modelling for Life and Health” Transdisciplinary Research Prize, which is presented by the Modelling and Life & Health Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRAs) at the University of Bonn. The €120,000 award funds highly innovative research projects at the interface between mathematics or computer science on the one hand and the topics covered by the TRA Life & Health on the other.

Simulation provides images from the carbon nucleus

What does the inside of a carbon atom’s nucleus look like? A new study by Forschungszentrum Jülich, Michigan State University (USA) and the University of Bonn provides the first comprehensive answer to this question. In the study, the researchers simulated all known energy states of the nucleus. These include the puzzling Hoyle state. If it did not exist, carbon and oxygen would only be present in the universe in tiny traces. Ultimately, we therefore also owe it our own existence. The study has now been published in the journal “Nature Communications.”

International Conference: Mathematics Meets Life Sciences

Mathematical modelling and analysis are essential for all fields of the life sciences nowadays, ranging from basic research to clinical application. The collaboration between mathematicians and life scientists has a long tradition in Bonn. This week Bonn researchers exchange views with colleagues from Germany and abroad on the current status and possible future developments at an international conference at the Wissenschaftszentrum Bonn. 

Catharina Stroppel receives Leibniz Prize

In recognition of her excellent research work, Prof. Dr. Catharina Stroppel received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, which is endowed with 2.5 million euros. The German Research Foundation (DFG) announced this today. The researcher from the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) at the University of Bonn is honored with the award for her outstanding work in representation theory, in particular in connection with category theory. The highly endowed prize permits a large degree of freedom in research.

Matthias Braun receives ERC Starting Grant

Freshly appointed to the Faculty of Protestant Theology at the University of Bonn and immediately successful in acquiring one of the highest-ranking top grants of the European Union: Ethicist and Theologian Prof. Dr. Matthias Braun receives a coveted Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). This is associated with funding of 1.5 million euros for the next five years. The researcher and his team are studying the ethical and societal impact of digital twins in healthcare.

Million Prize at International Robot Competition

Team NimbRo from the University of Bonn has won the grand prize of five million US dollars at the ANA Avatar XPRIZE competition in Long Beach (USA). The final of the competition, sponsored by the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) and hosted by the XPRIZE Foundation, featured 17 teams from ten countries who were selected from 99 registered research groups in a multi-stage qualification process. With a total of ten million US dollars in prize money, the ANA Avatar XPRIZE competition was the most highly endowed robotics competition to date.

Astronomy: Observation puzzles researchers

An international team of astrophysicists has made a puzzling discovery while analyzing certain star clusters. The University of Bonn played a major role in the study. The finding challenges Newton's laws of gravity, the researchers write in their publication. Instead, the observations are consistent with the predictions of an alternative theory of gravity. However, this is controversial among experts. The results have now been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Close alliance in Earth System Science

The University of Bonn, the University of Cologne and Forschungszentrum Jülich are placing their joint Center for Earth System Observation and Computational Analysis (CESOC) on a new contractual footing. As a joint scientific facility of the three partner institutions, an internationally visible focal point has been created to globally observe and comprehensively understand the Earth system and to predict changes. The center is additionally strengthened by a memorandum of understanding now signed with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), which has moved to Bonn in 2021.

No trace of dark matter halos

According to the standard model of cosmology, the vast majority of galaxies are surrounded by a halo of dark matter particles. This halo is invisible, but its mass exerts a strong gravitational pull on galaxies in the vicinity. A new study led by the University of Bonn and the University of Saint Andrews (Scotland) challenges this view of the Universe. The results suggest that the dwarf galaxies of Earth’s second closest galaxy cluster – known as the Fornax Cluster – are free of such dark matter halos. The study appeared in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Four ERC Grants for the University of Bonn

Good news for the University of Bonn: Four scientists receive a coveted grant from the European Research Council (ERC) and thus funding in the millions for the next five years. Prof. Dr. Valentin Blomer from the Institute of Mathematics receives a so-called Advanced Grant, Prof. Dr. Claude Duhr from the Institute of Physics a Consolidator Grant, Dr. Julian Schmitt from the Institute of Applied Physics and Prof. Dr. Georg Oberdieck from the Institute of Mathematics each a Starting Grant.

Two new research units on artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is getting a boost: the German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding a total of eight new AI research units with a total of 31.4 million euros. Two projects from the University of Bonn in the fields of geodesy and precision agriculture are among them. The millions in funding will flow over the next four years. An extension is possible.

Three ERC Grants for the University of Bonn at once

Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) are highly coveted because they are hard to come by and provide funding in the millions of euros. At the University of Bonn, three scientists will receive such funding for the next five years.

Mathematician Ana Caraiani appointed to the University of Bonn

Reinforcement for the University of Bonn: The internationally highly recognized mathematician Ana Caraiani has accepted the call to a Hausdorff Chair. These are professorships for outstanding scientists at the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) Cluster of Excellence. The 37-year-old Romanian is the first woman to hold this position and will take it up this September. Ana Caraiani not only brings excellent mathematics with her to Bonn, but also her enthusiasm for promoting early career scientists.

Eye provides clues to insidious vascular disease

Researchers at the University and the University Hospital of Bonn have developed a method that could be used to diagnose atherosclerosis. Using self-learning software, they were able to identify vascular changes in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), often at an early stage. Although these early stages do not yet cause symptoms, they are nevertheless already associated with increased mortality. The algorithm used photos from an organ not normally associated with PAD: the eye. The results have now been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Facial analysis improves diagnosis

Rare genetic diseases can sometimes be recognized through facial features, such as characteristically shaped brows, nose or cheeks. Researchers at the University of Bonn have now trained software that uses portrait photos to better diagnose such diseases. The improved version "GestaltMatcher" can now also detect diseases that are not yet known to it. It also manages to diagnose known diseases with very small numbers of patients. The study has now been published in the journal "Nature Genetics".

Too many disk galaxies than theory allows

The Standard Model of Cosmology describes how the universe came into being according to the view of most physicists. Researchers at the University of Bonn have now studied the evolution of galaxies within this model, finding considerable discrepancies with actual observations. The University of St. Andrews in Scotland and Charles University in the Czech Republic were also involved in the study. The results have now been published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Protons are probably actually smaller than long thought

A few years ago, a novel measurement technique showed that protons are probably smaller than had been assumed since the 1990s. The discrepancy surprised the scientific community; some researchers even believed that the Standard Model of particle physics would have to be changed. Physicists at the University of Bonn and the Technical University of Darmstadt have now developed a method that allows them to analyze the results of older and more recent experiments much more comprehensively than before. This also results in a smaller proton radius from the older data. So there is probably no difference between the values - no matter which measurement method they are based on. The study appeared in Physical Review Letters.

Hausdorff Memorial Prize awarded

The Mathematics Department of the University of Bonn has awarded the Hausdorff Memorial Prize to former doctoral student Florian Schweiger for the best PhD thesis in mathematics in the past academic year. The honor, which took place virtually, was held by the chair of the Department, Prof. Dr. Anton Bovier, subsequent to the Hausdorff Colloquium.

Next round for two Collaborative Research Centres

Great success for two research collaborations at the University of Bonn: The Collaborative Research Centre Transregio (CRC-TRR) 224 "Economic Perspectives on Societal Challenges" and the CRC-TRR 228 "Future in Rural Africa" have convinced with their research work of the past four years. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is therefore funding both collaborations for a further funding period with several million euros each. In the CRC-TRR 224 project, scientists from the Universities of Bonn and Mannheim are jointly opening up economic perspectives on social challenges. The CRC-TRR 228 project brings together researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Cologne, the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC) and the German Development Institute (DIE) to work on shaping the future of rural Africa.

New Collaborative Research Centres for the University of Bonn

New boost for excellent research at the University of Bonn: The German Research Foundation (DFG) is establishing two new Collaborative Research Centres (CRC). In the CRC 1502 "Regional Climate Change: The Role of Land Use and Water Management", researchers are investigating the hypothesis that human-induced land use change and intensified water management influence the regional climate. The speaker of the consortium is Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kusche. In the Transregio-CRC 333 "Brown and Beige Fat Organ Crosstalk, Signaling and Energetics ( BATenergy)", the research teams are looking at different types of adipose tissue and their role in metabolic diseases. The network is a collaboration of the Universities of Bonn and the University Hospital Bonn, the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Helmholtz Zentrum München. The speaker is Prof. Dr. Alexander Pfeifer.

Spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Ethiopia is underestimated

In an Ethiopian-German research collaboration, researchers of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at the LMU University Hospital with participation of the University of Bonn investigated blood samples of frontline healthcare workers and residents from urban and rural communities for antibodies. The results suggest that the true COVID-19 prevalence is much higher than previously reported official figures. Therefore, the research team recommends a realignment of the vaccination strategy for Africa. The study is published in the journal “The Lancet Global Health”.

Mathematics meets Life Sciences

The tremendous advances made in experimental life sciences in recent years provide a wealth of data on how organisms function. To gain biomedical knowledge from these data, both mathematical modeling and numerical analysis techniques in conjunction with experimental data are essential. At a joint symposium of the Clusters of Excellence Hausdorff Center for Mathematics and ImmunoSensation2 as well as the Transdisciplinary Research Areas "Modelling" and "Life and Health" of the University of Bonn, the professors working at the interfaces and their colleagues presented their research and invited to participate.

BMBF funds “Robots in Everyday Life” transfer center

Smart robots, such as vacuuming or mopping robots, are becoming more prevalent in everyday life and will also increasingly take care of tasks in the public sphere in the future. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has now approved EUR 2.25 million of funding for the Robots in Everyday Life (RimA) transfer center project. Computer Scientists at the University of Bonn will be working on the Benchmarking of Assistance Robots subproject until 2025.

TRA 2 Matter
Transdisciplinary Research Area "Building Blocks of Matter and Fundamental Interactions"
Günter Mayer Awarded an ERC Advanced Grant

Which signaling pathways are disrupted by the development of tumors and how can they be addressed effectively? Professor Günter Mayer from the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn is investigating these questions. The researcher has been awarded a coveted Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for this project. The European Union is providing some €2.5 million in funding over the next five years.

A Transdisciplinary Win

A team of University of Bonn researchers wins a funding competition conducted by the Life and Health transdisciplinary research area.

New method measures the 3D position of individual atoms

Since more than a decade it has been possible for physicists to accurately measure the location of individual atoms to a precision of smaller than one thousandth of a millimeter using a special type of microscope. However, this method has so far only provided the x and y coordinates. Information on the vertical position of the atom – i.e., the distance between the atom and the microscope objective – is lacking. A new method has now been developed that can determine all three spatial coordinates of an atom with one single image. This method – developed by the University of Bonn and University of Bristol – is based on an ingenious physical principle. The study was recently published in the specialist journal Physical Review A.

Turning One into Eight

To synthesize potential drugs or natural products, you need natural substances in specific mirror-image variants and with a high degree of purity. For the first time, chemists at the University of Bonn have succeeded in producing all eight possible variants of polypropionate building blocks from a single starting material in a relatively straightforward process. Their work has now been published in the prestigious journal “Angewandte Chemie.”

eROSITA relaxes cosmological tension

The analysis of how galaxy clusters, the largest objects in the Universe, evolve over cosmic time has yielded precise measurements of the total matter content and its clumpiness, report scientists of the German eROSITA consortium, led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and with participation of the University of Bonn. The results affirm the standard cosmological model and alleviate the so-called S8 tension, while at the same time offering insights into the elusive neutrinos' mass. The analysis is based on one of the largest catalogues of galaxy clusters and superclusters, also released today. An important pillar in the analysis is the ``weighing’’ of the discovered galaxy clusters, where the University of Bonn contributed in a major way.

Major Success for University of Bonn

The University of Bonn has some excellent news to report, with two new cluster initiatives given the green light to apply for funding as part of the Excellence Initiative of the German government and federal states. The German Research Foundation and the German Council of Science and Humanities made the announcement earlier today. The two new cluster initiatives are thus among the 41 chosen from the 143 draft proposals in all from across the country that were evaluated. In 2019, the University of Bonn secured an already impressive six clusters, more than any other university in Germany. All of these clusters are applying to maintain their status, putting the University in with a chance of hosting eight Clusters of Excellence.

eROSITA: The X-ray sky opens to the world

Today, the German eROSITA consortium released the data for its share of the first all-sky survey by the soft X-ray imaging telescope flying aboard the Spectrum-RG (SRG) satellite. With about 900,000 distinct sources, the first eROSITA All-Sky Survey (eRASS1) catalogue has yielded the largest X-ray catalogue ever published. Along with the data, the consortium released today more than 40 scientific papers describing new results ranging from studies of the habitability of planets to the discovery of the largest cosmic structures. Based on just the first six months of observations, eROSITA has already detected more sources than had previously been known in the 60-year history of X-ray astronomy. Now available to the worldwide science community, the data will revolutionize our knowledge of the high-energy Universe.

Stellar Birthplaces in the Whirlpool Galaxy

An international research team led by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) and involving the University of Bonn has mapped the cold, dense gas of future star nurseries in one of our neighboring galaxies with an unprecedented degree of detail. The data will enable the researchers for the first time to mount an in-depth study of the conditions that exist within the gas during the early stages of star formation outside the Milky Way at the scale of individual star-forming regions. Their findings have now been published in the Astronomy and Astrophysics journal.

New Collaborative Research Center at the University of Bonn

The new Collaborative Research Center (CRC) "NuMeriQS: Numerical Methods for Dynamics and Structure Formation in Quantum Systems" aims to advance the understanding of dynamics and structure formation in quantum systems. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is setting up the CRC at the University of Bonn to strengthen cutting-edge research. Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Max Planck Institute für Kohlenforschung are also involved. The start is planned for April 2024. Over the next three years and nine months, around eight million euros will flow into the research network. The Transdisciplinary Research Area "Matter" at the University of Bonn supported the creation of the CRC.

University of Bonn Receives Three ERC Consolidator Grants

Another big success for the University of Bonn in securing grants from the European Research Council (ERC), with three researchers receiving an ERC Consolidator Grant: Professor Jan Hasenauer of the LIMES Institute, Professor Florian I. Schmidt of the Institute for Innate Immunity and Dr. Evgeny Shinder of the Mathematical Institute.

Researchers design a pulsing nanomotor

An international team of scientists headed by the University of Bonn has developed a novel type of nanomotor. It is driven by a clever mechanism and can perform pulsing movements. The researchers are now planning to fit it with a coupling and install it as a drive in complex machines. Their findings have now appeared in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. 

Researchers “film” novel catalyst at work

A novel catalysis scheme enables chemical reactions that were previously virtually impossible. The method developed at the University of Bonn is also environmentally friendly and does not require rare and precious metals. The researchers recorded the exact course of the catalysis in a kind of high-speed film. They did this using special lasers that can make processes visible that last only fractions of a billionth of a second. The results allow them to further optimize the catalyst. They have been published in the international edition of the renowned journal “Angewandte Chemie.”

Effect in the quantum world: When electrons slowly vanish during cooling

Many substances change their properties when they are cooled below a certain critical temperature. Such a phase transition occurs, for example, when water freezes. However, in certain metals there are phase transitions that do not exist in the macrocosm. They arise because of the special laws of quantum mechanics that apply in the realm of nature’s smallest building blocks. It is thought that the concept of electrons as carriers of quantized electric charge no longer applies near these exotic phase transitions. Researchers at the University of Bonn and ETH Zurich have now found a way to prove this directly. Their findings allow new insights into the exotic world of quantum physics. The publication has now been released in the journal Nature Physics.

Euclid space telescope successfully launched into space / Project with participation from Bonn

The European Space Agency's Euclid space telescope was launched into space today at 17:11 CEST on a Falcon 9 rocket from the U.S. space company SpaceX. From its destination, the Lagrange Point 2 (L2) of the Earth and Sun, it will observe over a third of the entire sky for at least six years and map the spatial distribution of several billion galaxies. The data obtained will provide information about the influence of dark matter and dark energy on the structure of the Universe. With six research institutes, Germany is strongly involved in the international Euclid Consortium. Among them is the Argelander Institute for Astronomy (AIfA) at the University of Bonn.

Simulation provides images from the carbon nucleus

What does the inside of a carbon atom’s nucleus look like? A new study by Forschungszentrum Jülich, Michigan State University (USA) and the University of Bonn provides the first comprehensive answer to this question. In the study, the researchers simulated all known energy states of the nucleus. These include the puzzling Hoyle state. If it did not exist, carbon and oxygen would only be present in the universe in tiny traces. Ultimately, we therefore also owe it our own existence. The study has now been published in the journal “Nature Communications.”

International Network for Equal Opportunity and Inclusion Wins Award

The German Chemical Society (GDCh) is to present the Hildegard Hamm-Brücher Prize for Equal Opportunities in Chemistry to the project entitled “Women In Supramolecular Chemistry (WISC) – an international network supporting equality, diversity and inclusion within supramolecular chemistry.” The team led by Assistant Professor Dr. Anna McConnell from the University of Siegen will receive the award on September 4 at an event to mark the opening of the GDCh Science Forum Chemistry (WiFo) in Leipzig. Also on board is Dr. Larissa von Krbek from the Kekulé Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Bonn. The researcher is head of an Emmy Noether research unit and a member of the Matter Transdisciplinary Research Area.

Two ERC Proof of Concept Grants for the University of Bonn

Two researchers from the University of Bonn have been awarded a Proof of Concept Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) as part of a program designed to help researchers translate their ideas from previous ERC projects into commercial applications. Biologist Prof. Dr. Bernardo S. Franklin from the University Hospital Bonn and physicist Prof. Dr. Simon Stellmer will thus each receive €150,000 over a period of around one year.

On the trail of the big questions of particle physics

In seeking an explanation to what holds the world together at its core, particle physicists face many unresolved mysteries. The matter and energy we know make up only five percent of the cosmos; but what is the remaining “dark matter” and “dark energy” made of? Why is there so much matter but so little antimatter in the universe? And why do the second most common known particles in the universe, called neutrinos, have such tiny masses? To answer these fundamental questions, the new Clausius Professor Jun.-Prof. Dr. Lena Funcke and her team are developing models beyond the Standard Model of particle physics and applying novel computational methods for calculating model predictions for future experiments. This will be a new research focus at the University of Bonn in the Transdisciplinary Research Area “Building Blocks of Matter and Fundamental Interactions” (TRA “Matter”).

New ATLAS result weighs in on the W boson

The W boson is the mediator particle of the electroweak force. Discovered in the 1980s at CERN, its properties remain challenging to measure within the Standard Model of particle physics. An international team has now presented a new and improved W-boson mass measurement by the ATLAS experiment at CERN. Physicists from the University of Bonn were involved in the results: Dr. Philipp König and Dr. Oleh Kivernyk are part of the ATLAS team, which has now presented the results at the Moriond electroweak conference. The two young scientists work in the research groups led by Prof. Dr. Klaus Desch and Priv.-Doz. Philip Bechtle and Prof. Dr. Ian Brock at the Physics Institute.

Helium-burning white dwarf discovered

A white dwarf star can explode as a supernova when its mass exceeds the limit of about 1.4 solar masses. A team led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching and involving the University of Bonn has now found a binary star system in which matter flows onto the white dwarf from its companion. The system was found due to bright, so-called super-soft X-rays, which originate in the nuclear fusion of the overflowed gas near the surface of the white dwarf. The unusual thing about this source is that it is helium and not hydrogen that overflows and burns. The measured luminosity suggests that the mass of the white dwarf is growing more slowly than previously thought possible, which may help to understand the number of supernovae caused by exploding white dwarfs. The results are now published in the journal Nature.

European Football Championship with side effects

The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, which was played in 2021, had a very different impact on the infection dynamics of the coronavirus pandemic in different participating countries. The extent to which the rates of infection and death from Covid-19 increased depended primarily on the pandemic situation in the country at the start of the championship. This was concluded by physicists in an analysis of epidemiological data. The study involved the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich, as well as the Universities of Bonn and Göttingen and the PUNCH4NFDI consortium in the German national research data infrastructure NFDI. The study was published in Nature Communications. 

Physical effect also valid in the quantum world

Physicists at the University of Bonn have experimentally proven that an important theorem of statistical physics applies to so-called "Bose-Einstein condensates." Their results now make it possible to measure certain properties of the quantum “superparticles” and deduce system characteristics that would otherwise be difficult to observe. The study has now been published in Physical Review Letters.

Astronomy: Observation puzzles researchers

An international team of astrophysicists has made a puzzling discovery while analyzing certain star clusters. The University of Bonn played a major role in the study. The finding challenges Newton's laws of gravity, the researchers write in their publication. Instead, the observations are consistent with the predictions of an alternative theory of gravity. However, this is controversial among experts. The results have now been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Therapeutic drug renders cancer cell weapon harmless

Many tumor cells mist themselves with a protective perfume that disables the immune system. But a drug already approved for other purposes can apparently render this weapon harmless. This is shown in a study by the University of Bonn and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, which has now appeared in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer. The researchers now want to further optimize the compound. In the medium term, this could pave the way for new anti-cancer drugs.

No trace of dark matter halos

According to the standard model of cosmology, the vast majority of galaxies are surrounded by a halo of dark matter particles. This halo is invisible, but its mass exerts a strong gravitational pull on galaxies in the vicinity. A new study led by the University of Bonn and the University of Saint Andrews (Scotland) challenges this view of the Universe. The results suggest that the dwarf galaxies of Earth’s second closest galaxy cluster – known as the Fornax Cluster – are free of such dark matter halos. The study appeared in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Dormant black hole discovered outside our galaxy

A team of international experts, renowned for debunking several black hole discoveries, have found a stellar-mass black hole in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighbour galaxy to our own. Moreover, they found that the star that gave rise to the black hole vanished without any sign of a powerful explosion. The discovery was made thanks to six years of observations obtained with the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO’s) Very Large Telescope (VLT). The study has been published in the journal “Nature Astronomy”.

University and Nobel Laureates Celebrate Rudolph Clausius as Visionary

Roughly 400 guests took part today in a ceremony at the University of Bonn celebrating Bonn physicist Rudolph Clausius. A range of speakers from research and politics hailed the man’s scientific breakthroughs, including his formulation of the second law of thermodynamics, the coining of the term ‘entropy,’ and his prescience in what we today call ‘sustainability.’ To commemorate the occasion, the Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry has renamed itself the Clausius Institute. The highlight of the evening: speeches by Nobel Prize winners Professor Jean-Marie Lehn (Chemistry, 1987) and Professor Steven Chu (Physics, 1997).

Dating for researchers at the Bundeskunsthalle

Life and health matter(s): At an exceptional networking event, members of the Transdisciplinary Research Areas "Building Blocks of Matter and Fundamental Interactions" (Matter) and "Life and Health" at the University of Bonn got to know each other and exchanged ideas.

1.5 million euros for improved quantum sensors

They originate from the world of the smallest particles and have the ability to measure things with the highest precision - quantum sensors are currently veritable stars among experts. For a project aimed at improving such sensors, physicists at the University of Bonn and their international partners are now receiving funding of around 1.5 million euros from the European QuantERA program. In their project, the researchers want to guide laser-cooled atoms through hollow-core photonic crystal fibers in order to incorporate them into quantum sensors and quantum computers. The Technical University of Darmstadt, the Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland), the University of Torun (Poland) and the company Alpine Quantum Technologies (Austria) are involved.

Successful spin-off from the University of Bonn and LSI

The British company APIS Assay Technologies Ltd has acquired the University of Bonn's spin-off project Clickmer Systems, which was further developed at the Life Science Inkubator (LSI), for a single-digit million euro sum. The startup is developing clickmers as a synthetic alternative to antibodies that can be utilized in research and medical diagnostics. Clickmers can be used, for example, to detect viral infections, determine vaccination status or detect rejection reactions after organ transplants. The company now wants to bring the innovative products to market quickly so that users can benefit from them in the near future.

TRA 3 Life and Health
Transdisciplinary Research Area "Life and Health"
Günter Mayer Awarded an ERC Advanced Grant

Which signaling pathways are disrupted by the development of tumors and how can they be addressed effectively? Professor Günter Mayer from the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn is investigating these questions. The researcher has been awarded a coveted Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for this project. The European Union is providing some €2.5 million in funding over the next five years.

A Transdisciplinary Win

A team of University of Bonn researchers wins a funding competition conducted by the Life and Health transdisciplinary research area.

Navigation software supports kidney research

Many kidney diseases are manifested by protein in the urine. However, until now it was not possible to determine whether the protein excretion is caused by only a few, but severely damaged, or by many moderately damaged of the millions of small kidney filters, known as glomeruli. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn, in cooperation with mathematicians from the University of Bonn, have developed a new computer method to clarify this question experimentally. The results of their work have now been published as an article in press in the leading kidney research journal "Kidney International".

Research Studying Research

In what ways do evaluation and reward systems influence the conduct and results of research studies? This is the question addressed by Dr. Oliver Braganza of the University of Bonn and University Hospital Bonn, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Utrecht, the University of Duisburg-Essen and colleagues from the University of Bonn. Titled “The cultural evolution of scientific practice—from simulation to experimentation,” the project is to receive around 1.8 million euros in funding from the Volkswagen Foundation over the next four years.

University of Bonn Welcomes New Schlegel Professor

The University of Bonn has appointed yet another outstanding Schlegel Professor financed from Excellence funding. Prof. Dr. Laura Münkler is Professor of Public Law and the Philosophy of Law and will drive forward transdisciplinary research. Besides the philosophy of law, her main areas of focus are legal theory, constitutional and administrative law and healthcare law, especially the foundations of the democratic state governed by the rule of law.

New findings on the immune system

T follicular helper cells (Tfh) are essential for strong antibody-mediated reactions of our immune system during infections and vaccinations. However, if they get out of control, this can cause diseases such as autoimmunity, allergies or cancer. Researchers from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 at the University of Bonn investigated the underlying mechanisms of Tfh cell development in a mouse model and thus decoded their internal networking. They hope that this will lead to new strategies for the development of highly effective vaccines and new therapies to combat various diseases. The results have now been published in the renowned journal "Science Immunology".

Artificial intelligence recognizes patterns in behaviour

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, the University Hospital Bonn and the University of Bonn have created an open-source platform known as A-SOiD that can learn and predict user-defined behaviors, just from video. The results of the study have now been published in the journal "Nature Methods".

Zebrafish Navigate to Find Their Comfortable Temperature

Zebrafish are smaller than your little finger, with a brain no more than half the size of a pinhead. Yet these animals possess an efficient navigation system that enables them to find their way back to spots in the water where the temperature suits them. This has been revealed in a recent study by the University of Bonn and University Hospital Bonn together with the Technical University of Munich (TUM), whose findings have been published in the journal “Current Biology.”

News on drug-induced skin swelling

Angioedema is a rare but potentially life-threatening adverse reaction to ACE inhibitors. In a joint analysis of eight European study collectives, researchers from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB), the University of Bonn and the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) for the first time conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) with more than 1,000 affected individuals. They identified a total of three risk loci in the genome. These included a new locus that had not previously been associated with the risk of ACE inhibitor-induced angioedema. The results of the study have now been published in the "Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology".

Digital Twins Improve Stroke Treatment

After someone has suffered a stroke or brain hemorrhage, it is a race against time to prevent their brain cells from dying. Admittedly, it still sounds like science fiction: physicians are using a digital twin to test out the most promising potential treatments for precisely this scenario. However, if all goes to plan for the researchers in the European consortium christened “Gemini” (“twin” in Latin), this could be a reality in as little as six years. The 19 partners led by Amsterdam University Medical Center (UMC) have received a Horizon grant worth €10 million from the European Commission to tackle the project. The Department of (Social) Ethics in the Faculty of Protestant Theology at the University of Bonn is also involved in the work. 

Main regulator for the body`s oven discovered

Brown fat cells convert energy into heat – a key to eliminating unwanted fat deposits. In addition, they also protect against cardiovascular diseases. Researchers from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Life & Health" at the University of Bonn have now identified the protein EPAC1 as a new pharmacological target to increase brown fat mass and activity. The long-term aim is to find medicines that support weight loss. The results of the study have now been published in the renowned journal "Nature Cell Biology".

How does a molecular freight elevator work?

Some bacterial membrane transporters work almost like freight elevators to transport substances through the cell membrane into the interior of the cell. The transporter itself spans the bacterial membrane. Like a forklift, a soluble protein outside the bacterium transports the substance to the "elevator" and unloads its cargo there. The freight elevator transports it to the inside of the cell, in other words to another floor. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the University of Bonn, in collaboration with a team from the University of York, have now studied the interaction between the transporter and its soluble substrate binding protein. Interestingly, they adapt precisely to each other during the transportation process. As this happens very quickly, the researchers virtually "blocked" the elevator by specifically inserting anchors, so-called disulphide bridges. This enabled them to prove that only the loaded "forklift" fits the "elevator" if it is on the right floor. This makes transportation really effective. The study has now been published in the journal "Nature Communications".

How Bacteria load their syringes

Many bacterial pathogens use small injection apparatuses to manipulate the cells of their hosts, such as humans, so that they can spread throughout the body. To do this, they need to fill their syringes with the relevant injection agent. A technique that tracks the individual movement of proteins revealed how bacteria accomplish this challenging task. A team of researchers from the University of Bonn and the Max Planck Institute in Marburg have revealed how bacteria perform this complex task, using a technology that tracks the movement of individual proteins. Their findings have now been published in the leading journal Nature Microbiology.

Evi Kostenis Awarded PHOENIX Pharmaceutical Science Prize

Carvedilol is a beta blocker that is often prescribed to lower blood pressure or prevent heart attacks. Professor Evi Kostenis from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology at the University of Bonn has contributed to a better understanding of how this drug works as the corresponding author for an article published in the journal “Nature Communications.” Kostenis’s research team has been presented with a €10,000 PHOENIX Pharmaceutical Science Prize in recognition of this important discovery. 

Malfunction in spermatogenesis

For successful fertilization, sperm should move forward rapidly and be shaped correctly. The unique structure of the sperm cells forms during spermiogenesis. Now, researchers from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the Transdisciplinary Research Unit "Life & Health" at the University of Bonn have found that fertility problems in both mice and humans can be caused by loss of so-called cylicines. This causes defects in head and tail structure of sperm. The results of the study have now been published in the scientific journal "eLife".

University of Bonn Receives Three ERC Consolidator Grants

Another big success for the University of Bonn in securing grants from the European Research Council (ERC), with three researchers receiving an ERC Consolidator Grant: Professor Jan Hasenauer of the LIMES Institute, Professor Florian I. Schmidt of the Institute for Innate Immunity and Dr. Evgeny Shinder of the Mathematical Institute.

Possible cause of male infertility

Mature spermatozoa are characterized by an head, midpiece and a long tail for locomotion. Now, researchers from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Life & Health" at the University of Bonn have found that a loss of the structural protein ACTL7B blocks spermatogenesis in male mice. The cells can no longer develop their characteristic shape and remain in a rather round form. The animals are infertile. The results of the study have now been published in the scientific journal "Development".

Matthias Geyer is awarded an ERC Advanced Grant

How can inflammatory responses be stimulated or inhibited? How do inflammasomes act as inflammatory switches at a molecular level? Prof. Dr. Matthias Geyer from the Institute of Structural Biology at University Hospital Bonn, the transdisciplinary research area “Life & Health” and the ImmunoSensation2 Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn is carrying out research into these and other questions. The scientist has now been awarded a coveted Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for this project. The European Union will provide total funding of around 2.5 million euros over the next five years.

Researchers design a pulsing nanomotor

An international team of scientists headed by the University of Bonn has developed a novel type of nanomotor. It is driven by a clever mechanism and can perform pulsing movements. The researchers are now planning to fit it with a coupling and install it as a drive in complex machines. Their findings have now appeared in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. 

New findings on hair loss in men

A receding hairline, a total loss of hair from the crown, and ultimately, the classical horseshoe-shaped pattern of baldness: Previous research into male pattern hair loss, also termed androgenetic alopecia, has implicated multiple common genetic variants. Human geneticists from the University Hospital of Bonn (UKB) and by the Transdisciplinary Research Unit "Life & Health" of the University of Bonn have now performed a systematic investigation of the extent to which rare genetic variants may also contribute to this disorder. For this purpose, they analyzed the genetic sequences of 72,469 male participants from the UK Biobank project. The analyses identified five significantly associated genes, and further corroborated genes implicated in previous research. The results have now been published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Communications.

Researchers decode new antibiotic

More and more bacterial pathogens are developing resistance. There is an increasing risk that common drugs will no longer be effective against infectious diseases. That is why scientists around the world are searching for new effective substances. Researchers from the University of Bonn, the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Utrecht University (Netherlands), Northeastern University in Boston (USA) and the company NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge (USA) now have discovered and deciphered the mode of action of a new antibiotic. Clovibactin is derived from a soil bacterium. This antibiotic is highly effective at attacking the cell wall of bacteria, including many multi-resistant “superbugs.” The results have now been published in the renowned journal “Cell.” 

First-Ever “Modelling for Life and Health” Transdisciplinary Research Prize Awarded

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schultz from the Institute for Computer Science II at the University of Bonn and Priv.-Doz. Dr. Theodor Rüber from the Clinic and Polyclinic for Epileptology at the University Hospital Bonn are the first winners of the “Modelling for Life and Health” Transdisciplinary Research Prize, which is presented by the Modelling and Life & Health Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRAs) at the University of Bonn. The €120,000 award funds highly innovative research projects at the interface between mathematics or computer science on the one hand and the topics covered by the TRA Life & Health on the other.

Yongguo Li Secures ERC Starting Grant

Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) are awarded to outstanding researchers and are worth millions of euros in funding. Assistant Professor Yongguo Li from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Bonn has now obtained a much-sought-after ERC Starting Grant. The researcher is investigating how the lipid metabolism can be influenced so as to “burn” as many calories as possible, thus opening up potential new ways to treat obesity and diabetes.

Using “Mini-Organs” to Study Disease

Two new assistant professors at the University of Bonn are setting out to develop “mini-organs” in order to study metabolic and disease mechanisms. Elena Reckzeh is using these so-called organoids to identify new drug candidates, while Ana Ivonne Vazquez-Armendariz hopes that they can give her a better understanding of lung disease. As Argelander Professors in the Life and Health Transdisciplinary Research Area (TRA), the two researchers are working at the interface between various disciplines—and bridging the gap between chemistry, biology and medicine in the process.

International Conference: Mathematics Meets Life Sciences

Mathematical modelling and analysis are essential for all fields of the life sciences nowadays, ranging from basic research to clinical application. The collaboration between mathematicians and life scientists has a long tradition in Bonn. This week Bonn researchers exchange views with colleagues from Germany and abroad on the current status and possible future developments at an international conference at the Wissenschaftszentrum Bonn. 

Gene scissors find target for testicular cancer therapy

Cisplatin is used successfully in the chemotherapy of testicular cancer. However, patients who develop resistance to the cytostatic drug urgently need alternative therapy options. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) have now been able to elucidate a mechanism underlying cisplatin resistance in testicular cancer. Using CRISPR gene scissors, they identified the NAE1 gene as its driver. Inhibiting this resistance mediator by adding the NAE1 inhibitor MLN4924 not only restores the effect of cisplatin, but also has an additional killing effect on tumor cells. The study results have now been published in the British Journal of Cancer.

New project to eliminate worm infections in sub-Saharan Africa

Worm infections (helminthiases) affect around 1.5 billion people worldwide, making them one of the most prevalent infections in humans. Parasitic worms (helminths) are often transmitted through insect bites or contaminated soil in areas with limited access to clean water, sanitation, and healthcare. These infections can cause chronic and debilitating health problems, such as lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness), loiasis (African eye worm), mansonellosis, and trichuriasis (whipworm infection).In the new eWHORM project, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Marc Hübner from the University of Bonn, African and European partners join forces to enable the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) “Road Map for Neglected Tropical Diseases” (NTDs) and reduce the burden of disease associated with worm infections.

A new look at the power houses of cells

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is establishing a new priority program coordinated by the University of Bonn. Prof. Dr. Thomas Becker from the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and his colleagues are focusing their attention on how the power houses of the cell (mitochondria) are integrated into the cellular proteostasis network. Proteostasis stands for the basic cell biological processes such as the folding, transport and degradation of proteins. A deeper insight into the interplay of mitochondria and proteostasis network may contribute to better understanding of neurodegenerative diseases and aging processes. The DFG is funding the supraregional network with around 7.8 million euros for an initial period of three years.

Beethoven’s genome offers clues to composer’s health and family history

Ludwig van Beethoven’s genome has been sequenced for the first time by an international team of scientists with the participation of the University of Bonn using five genetically matching locks of the well-known composer’s hair. 

New intracellular "smoke detector" discovered

Researchers at the Universities of Bonn and Singapore have discovered a new intracellular "smoke detector." The sensor warns of damage to the mitochondria - the microscopic power plants that supply the cell with energy. If it does not function properly, chronic skin diseases can result. The sensor may also be important for unimpaired heart and bowel function. The results have now been published in the journal Nature Immunology.

TRA 4 Individuals & Society
Transdisciplinary Research Area "Individuals, Institutions and Societies"
A Transdisciplinary Win

A team of University of Bonn researchers wins a funding competition conducted by the Life and Health transdisciplinary research area.

Research Studying Research

In what ways do evaluation and reward systems influence the conduct and results of research studies? This is the question addressed by Dr. Oliver Braganza of the University of Bonn and University Hospital Bonn, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Utrecht, the University of Duisburg-Essen and colleagues from the University of Bonn. Titled “The cultural evolution of scientific practice—from simulation to experimentation,” the project is to receive around 1.8 million euros in funding from the Volkswagen Foundation over the next four years.

University of Bonn Welcomes New Schlegel Professor

The University of Bonn has appointed yet another outstanding Schlegel Professor financed from Excellence funding. Prof. Dr. Laura Münkler is Professor of Public Law and the Philosophy of Law and will drive forward transdisciplinary research. Besides the philosophy of law, her main areas of focus are legal theory, constitutional and administrative law and healthcare law, especially the foundations of the democratic state governed by the rule of law.

Why Are People Climate Change Deniers?

Do climate change deniers bend the facts to avoid having to modify their environmentally harmful behavior? Researchers from the University of Bonn and the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) ran an online experiment involving 4,000 US adults, and found no evidence to support this idea. The authors of the study were themselves surprised by the results. Whether they are good or bad news for the fight against global heating remains to be seen. The study is being published in the journal “Nature Climate Change.”

Digital Twins Improve Stroke Treatment

After someone has suffered a stroke or brain hemorrhage, it is a race against time to prevent their brain cells from dying. Admittedly, it still sounds like science fiction: physicians are using a digital twin to test out the most promising potential treatments for precisely this scenario. However, if all goes to plan for the researchers in the European consortium christened “Gemini” (“twin” in Latin), this could be a reality in as little as six years. The 19 partners led by Amsterdam University Medical Center (UMC) have received a Horizon grant worth €10 million from the European Commission to tackle the project. The Department of (Social) Ethics in the Faculty of Protestant Theology at the University of Bonn is also involved in the work. 

A Network for Women Active in AI and Robotics

Human-robot interaction and sustainable artificial intelligence (AI) will be the topics of discussion on Thursday, November 9th at an event organized jointly by the University of Bonn Institute for Science and Ethics (IWE) and the Women in AI and Robotics network. The event date marks the start of partnership between the two organizations, and is aimed at recruiting new members interested in joining Women in AI & Robotics. Held in English, the event will be held in the foyer of the IWE with address Bonner Talweg 57, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. All interested parties are invited to attend.

A Legal Angle on Green Urban Planning

What legal levers can cities pull in order to reinvent themselves as green, equitable, productive and healthy places to live in the spirit of the New Leipzig Charter of 2021? What legal constraints are they subject to? And what answers do constitutions provide to the question of an environmentally sustainable transformation and the social sustainability challenges that it brings? These and other questions are being tackled by the legal expert Jun.-Prof. Dr. Jacqueline Lorenzen, a new Argelander Professor at the University of Bonn. Within the Individuals, Institutions and Societies Transdisciplinary Research Area (TRA), she is working at the interface between law, economics and the social sciences.

Experts for sustainable AI discussed in Bonn

What impact does artificial intelligence (AI) have on the environment? And what might the ramifications of AI be for society? These are some of the questions being tackled by the research group led by Prof. Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe, a Humboldt Professor at the University of Bonn. Last week, she brought together international experts in the research field.

International Conference on Sustainable AI

What impact does artificial intelligence (AI) have on the environment? And what might the ramifications of AI be for society? These are some of the questions being tackled by the research group led by Prof. Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe, a Humboldt Professor at the University of Bonn. She will now bring international experts in the field together between May 30 and June 1. At the Universitätsclub Bonn, the researchers will discuss cross-cultural perspectives of sustainable AI on a global level.

What is Love?

What is love? And how does love ‘work’? What is beauty? These are the questions concerned in the inaugural Annemarie Schimmel Lecture to be held from June 12-14. The Lecture event starts at 5 pm, the first part being held in Bonn Minster. The Lecture sessions on the days following, June 13 and 14, start at 4 pm, and will be held in the Grand Hall of the University of Bonn. The event language is English. All interested parties are cordially invited to attend! Jordanian Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, a professor of philosophy, is the speaker. To register please contact lwiesenh@uni-bonn.de.

Two ERC Consolidator Grants for the University of Bonn

Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) go to outstanding researchers and provide funding worth millions. At the University of Bonn, two people are receiving coveted ERC Consolidator Grants: Prof. Dr. Annaliese Mason from the Institute of Crop Sciences and Resource Conservation (INRES) and Prof. Dr. Dennis Lehmkuhl from the Institute of Philosophy.

Matthias Braun receives ERC Starting Grant

Freshly appointed to the Faculty of Protestant Theology at the University of Bonn and immediately successful in acquiring one of the highest-ranking top grants of the European Union: Ethicist and Theologian Prof. Dr. Matthias Braun receives a coveted Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). This is associated with funding of 1.5 million euros for the next five years. The researcher and his team are studying the ethical and societal impact of digital twins in healthcare.

EU project focuses on research ethics

From the CRISPR Cas9 gene scissors to artificial intelligence and reprogrammed cells: New technologies are always associated with ethical questions for research and application, to which there are no easy answers. irecs, the new collaborative project funded by the European Union, aims to strengthen principles of research ethics in as many disciplines as possible. Under the leadership of the University of Bonn, 17 partner organizations from Germany and abroad have joined forces to drive the project forward. The EU is funding the project with a total of 4.5 million euros over the next three years.

Economist Julia Mink is new Argelander Professor

How do pollution and climate change affect health and the associated costs? How do people adapt to their environmental conditions, and what factors are crucial for such adaptability? Julia Mink, new Argelander Professor at the University of Bonn, addresses these and other questions. In the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Individuals, Institutions and Societies", she will work at the interface of environmental and health economics.

Aimee van Wynsberghe admitted to academy

The Academy of Sciences and Literature has admitted six new members. Among them is Humboldt Professor Aimee van Wynsberghe. The AI ethicist from the University of Bonn has become a full member of the Humanities and Social Sciences Class.

Ten million euros for archaeologists at the University of Bonn

The four Roman legionary fortresses in Bonn, Neuss, Xanten and Nijmegen still hold unexplored treasures of knowledge about the multifaceted life of the Romans on the Lower Rhine. The goal of a team led by archaeologist Prof. Dr. Jan Bemmann from the University of Bonn is to decipher these and preserve them for future generations of researchers. The project is now receiving major support from the Academies Programme, which is jointly funded by the federal and state governments: As one of five newly funded long-term projects, it will receive around ten million euros for the next 18 years.

Zentrum für Versöhnungsforschung ceremonially opened

Covid-19, climate change, populism, and not least the Ukraine war make the question of how and whether reconciliation is possible highly topical and relevant. The new Bonner Zentrum für Versöhnungsforschung (Center for Reconciliation Research) at the University of Bonn bundles research on this topic in cooperation with partner organizations. The center’s aim is to analyze reconciliation practices in an interdisciplinary and comparative way looking at different cultural, social and regional contexts. The center has now been ceremoniously opened in the University's Festsaal.

Launch of the Zentrum für Versöhnungsforschung

Covid-19, climate change, populism, and not least the Ukraine war make the question of how and whether reconciliation is possible highly topical and relevant. The new Bonner Zentrum für Versöhnungsforschung (Center for Reconciliation Research) at the University of Bonn bundles research on this topic in cooperation with partner organizations. The center’s aim is to analyze reconciliation practices in an interdisciplinary and comparative way looking at different cultural, social and regional contexts. The official opening will take place on June 22 at 6:30 pm in the Festsaal of the University of Bonn. The opening lecture will be given by Prof. Dr. Moshe Zimmermann from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Journalists are invited to attend the event. Registration is requested at vforum@unibonn.de.

Wilhelm Weber Prize for Christiane Woopen

Ethicist Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen of the University of Bonn received this year's Wilhelm Weber Award in Dortmund for her many years of social commitment. The prize, named after the theologian and social scientist Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Weber (1925-1983), is awarded for "special services in the spirit of Catholic social ethics." During a ceremony at the Kommende Dortmund, the social institute of the archdiocese of Paderborn, former federal constitutional judge Prof. Dr. Paul Kirchhof gave the laudatory speech for the prize winner.

Opening of new Center for Comparative Theology

To promote the worldwide dialogue of theologies of different religions among themselves, but also to network with other disciplines - that is the goal of the newly founded International Center for Comparative Theology and Social Issues (CTSI) at the University of Bonn. The official opening of the Center will now take place on May 4 at 10 a.m. in the Festsaal (main building) of the University. Words of welcome will be given by Lord Mayor Katja Dörner, Rector Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch and Auxiliary Bishop Rolf Steinhäuser. Media representatives and all other interested persons are invited to attend the opening event. Registration is requested: lwiesenh@uni-bonn.de.

Smart consumer laws for smart technologies

Smartphones, tablets and wearables that measure step counts or calorie consumption, for example, have become an integral part of many people's everyday lives. All these devices are part of the Internet of Things - a socio-technological reality that is increasingly becoming the focus of legislation. In a new project, researchers from the Universities of Bonn, Osnabrück, Stirling and Warwick (both UK) investigate how consumers can be better protected when using smart devices. The project, which has been described by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as "world leading", is scheduled to run for three years and has a total funding volume of around 650,000 euros.

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.

How is Artificial Intelligence Changing Science?

How do artificial intelligence (AI) technologies affect the sciences? This question is being investigated by researchers at the University of Bonn, working in the field of media studies, together with the University of Vienna and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The Volkswagen Foundation is funding the project with 1.4 million euros over the next four years through its „Artificial Intelligence and the Society of the Future“ initiative.

Sustainable AI Lab officially opened

Now the Sustainable AI Lab at the University of Bonn is officially launched being a space for excellent researchers from different fields to work, collaborate, and brainstorm about the environmental, social, and economic costs of designing, developing, and using AI across society.

Next round for two Collaborative Research Centres

Great success for two research collaborations at the University of Bonn: The Collaborative Research Centre Transregio (CRC-TRR) 224 "Economic Perspectives on Societal Challenges" and the CRC-TRR 228 "Future in Rural Africa" have convinced with their research work of the past four years. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is therefore funding both collaborations for a further funding period with several million euros each. In the CRC-TRR 224 project, scientists from the Universities of Bonn and Mannheim are jointly opening up economic perspectives on social challenges. The CRC-TRR 228 project brings together researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Cologne, the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC) and the German Development Institute (DIE) to work on shaping the future of rural Africa.

University of Bonn recruits top-class researchers

Renowned reinforcement for the University of Bonn: With the first "High profile" professorships financed by excellence funds, three top-class scientific personalities join the University of Excellence to open up new fields of research and to provide important impulses in various disciplines. Ethicist Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen takes up a so-called Hertz Professorship today (October 1), while agricultural economist Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim and Catholic theologian Prof. Dr. Klaus von Stosch fill so-called Schlegel Professorships. The three professors were officially appointed at a reception in the Rector's Office.

Online conference: Sovereignty at the End?

The dynamics and consequences of techno-political disputes, which in the global information age affect all political levels, will be discussed at the international online conference "Digital Fragmentations and Digital Sovereignty" on September 17 and 18. The Transdisciplinary Research Area “Individuals, Institutions and Societies” (TRA 4) and the Center for Advanced Security, Strategic and Integration Studies (CASSIS) at the University of Bonn have invited experts from Europe, the U.S. and China.

Social norms influence willingness to protect the climate

People contribute only very little to climate protection, because they underestimate the willingness of others to contribute. This is the central result of a new study by the behavioural economists Peter Andre, Teodora Boneva, Felix Chopra and Armin Falk, members of the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute at the Universities of Bonn and Cologne, published as an “ECONtribute Discussion Paper”.

World's first conference on Sustainable AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be an important tool for sustainable development to minimize energy usage in large factories or to predict natural disasters before they happen. However, these uses can also have a social and ethical downside. For example, training and tuning AI models produces carbon emissions that harm the environment. Or there are power asymmetries between people when not everyone gets access to the technology. At the world's first conference on the sustainability of artificial intelligence, researchers will discuss environmental, social and economic costs of designing, developing, and using AI from June 15 to 17. The virtual conference is launched by AI ethicist Prof. Aimee van Wynsberghe, Humboldt Professor at the University of Bonn. The conference is supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Institute for Science and Ethics at the University of Bonn.

Robot ethicist will join the University of Bonn

Living and working with robots changes people. How can artificial intelligence (AI) be innovative and respect social values at the same time? In the future, one of the world's leading experts in the field of robot ethics will be conducting research on these questions at the University of Bonn. Prof. Aimee van Wynsberghe has been selected by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for a Humboldt Professorship and will receive EUR 3.5 million—the highest endowed research prize in Germany intended to attract renowned scientists from abroad to carry out long-term research at German universities. Aimee van Wynsberghe comes from the Technical University of Delft (Netherlands) and plans to begin her work at the University of Bonn on February 1, 2021.

TRA 5 Present Pasts
Transdisciplinary Research Area " Past Worlds and Modern Questions - Cultures Across Time and Space"
A Transdisciplinary Win

A team of University of Bonn researchers wins a funding competition conducted by the Life and Health transdisciplinary research area.

Was Human Height in the Neolithic Period Influenced by Cultural Factors?

Body size differences between females and males in northern Europe during the early Neolithic period (6,000 to 8,000 years ago) may reflect cultural factors in play. The findings of an international research project led by the University of Pennsylvania (USA) suggest that differences in stature during that period cannot be explained solely by genetics and diet. Eva Rosenstock of the University of Bonn is involved in the study, the results of which have now been published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. 

Experience Digs Virtually

How do you explore an excavation site without being there in person? The Classical Archaeology team and the Bonn Center for Digital Humanities at the University of Bonn want to use new digital tools such as 3D technologies and virtual reality in their research and teaching. Their researchers are collaborating with the Universities of Amsterdam and Oslo and the Open University of the Netherlands in an international project entitled “Virtual Worlds in Teaching Archaeology.” The European Union is co-financing the project to the tune of some €400,000 over the next three years.

Colonial entanglements of museums

How can we make the formation of knowledge in museums and cultural heritage more sustainable and equitable? As the new Argelander Professor at the University of Bonn, Jun-Prof. Dr. Julia Binter is not only carrying out research into cultural, political and economic entanglements past and present but also seeking to reshape them in collaborative film and exhibition projects. In the transdisciplinary research area “Present Pasts,” the social and cultural anthropologist is currently co-leading the collaborative research, curation and restitution project “Confronting Colonial Pasts, Envisioning Creative Futures” for collections from Namibia together with research partners from Germany and Namibia.

Mongolia Honors Two University of Bonn Researchers

Two archaeologists from the University of Bonn have been presented with major awards in recognition of their many years of successful research work in Mongolia. At a ceremony held at the Ministry of Education and Science of Mongolia in the capital Ulaanbaatar, State Secretary M. Batgerel pinned the Order of the Polar Star - the highest honor that the country can award to a foreign citizen - onto Professor Jan Bemmann’s lapel. Susanne Reichert received the Friendship Medal. The two researchers are currently working in Mongolia as part of Research Unit 5438, “Urban Impacts on the Mongolian Plateau - Entanglements of Economy, City, and Environment,” which has recently secured funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG). 

From Both Sides Now: the Story of an Egyptian Stele

How people cope with crises has always been a fruitful field of research for the sciences. For instance, how do people from different cultures use objects to find strength and reassurance in times of need? This question lay at the heart of the indisciplinary collaborative project “SiSi,” which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and involved teams of researchers from Egyptology and the Anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn. In a case study on a stone tablet from the University of Bonn’s Egyptian Museum that has reliefs on both sides, Egyptologist Prof. Dr. Ludwig D. Morenz has now documented indications of personal piety in a new book.

Cult of the Gods in Pre-Egyptian Society

The desert in southern Egypt is filled with hundreds of petroglyphs and inscriptions dating from the Neolithic to the Arab period. The oldest date from the fifth millennium B.C., and few have been studied. Egyptologists at the University of Bonn and Aswan University now want to systematically record the rock paintings and document them in a database. Among them, a rock painting more than 5,000 years old depicting a boat being pulled by 25 men on a rope stands out in particular. 

Ten million euros for archaeologists at the University of Bonn

The four Roman legionary fortresses in Bonn, Neuss, Xanten and Nijmegen still hold unexplored treasures of knowledge about the multifaceted life of the Romans on the Lower Rhine. The goal of a team led by archaeologist Prof. Dr. Jan Bemmann from the University of Bonn is to decipher these and preserve them for future generations of researchers. The project is now receiving major support from the Academies Programme, which is jointly funded by the federal and state governments: As one of five newly funded long-term projects, it will receive around ten million euros for the next 18 years.

Colonial heritage in knowledge production

The University of Bonn has once again received excellent reinforcement. The internationally renowned anthropologist, curator and critical heritage specialist Paul Basu now occupies a so-called Hertz Professorship in the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Present Pasts". The starting point for his work is a critical engagement with the heritage of Western knowledge production, especially as it is reflected in scientific archives and collections. In doing so, he brings together different disciplines, but also the non-university public.

Zentrum für Versöhnungsforschung ceremonially opened

Covid-19, climate change, populism, and not least the Ukraine war make the question of how and whether reconciliation is possible highly topical and relevant. The new Bonner Zentrum für Versöhnungsforschung (Center for Reconciliation Research) at the University of Bonn bundles research on this topic in cooperation with partner organizations. The center’s aim is to analyze reconciliation practices in an interdisciplinary and comparative way looking at different cultural, social and regional contexts. The center has now been ceremoniously opened in the University's Festsaal.

Early urbanism found in the Amazon

Several hundred settlements from the time between 500 and 1400 AD lie in the Bolivian Llanos de Mojos savannah and have fascinated archaeologists for years. Researchers from the German Archaeological Institute, the University of Bonn and the University of Exeter have now visualized the dimensions of the largest known settlement of the so-called Casarabe culture. Mapping with the laser technology LIDAR indicates that it is an early urbanism with a low population density - the only known case so far from the Amazon lowlands. The results shed new light on how globally widespread and diverse early urban life was and how earlier societies lived in the Amazon. The study appeared in the journal Nature.

With the wiki into the early Middle Ages

"Repertorium Saracenorum". With this impressive name, historians at the University of Bonn now present the result of a project that took years to complete: an online wiki, created from more than 70 Latin-Christian works and 622 individual reports from the 7th to 11th centuries - digitally collected, categorized and scientifically processed. In cooperation with the Cologne Center for eHumanities (CCeH) at the University of Cologne, a novel compilation of sources dedicated to the so-called Saracens has been created. These are medieval populations of Muslim faith. The platform, called "Saracen Wiki" for short, is intended to benefit researchers, students and the interested public. The resulting new research questions and findings have relevance for present times, for example in researching communication and globalization processes or the history of Christian-Muslim relations. The website is now online and open to the public.*

Dealing with slavery past

How does one deal with the past, especially with the issues of slavery and colonization and their legacies? The tensions that this question can trigger among different groups of actors became visible last year in the global "Black Lives Matter" movement resulting in the toppling of statues and monuments. A workshop hosted by the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn will approach the topic from an interdisciplinary and European perspective from June 30 to July 2. During the conference, not only international scholars but also museum experts and activists will talk.

Rulers and elites in the past

How do elites emerge? Do they exercise power independently or only 'by order'? How is domination transmitted and perpetuated? These and many other questions will be transculturally addressed by researchers from June 17 to 19 during the digital conference "Rulers and Elites between Symbiosis and Antagonism. Communicating in Premodern Hegemonic Structures". All those interested are invited to attend. The free event will be held via the Zoom conference system.

The oldest "place name sign" in the world

Together with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, researchers from the University of Bonn have deciphered the oldest place name sign in the world. An inscription from the time of the emergence of the Egyptian state in the late fourth millennium B.C. from the Wadi el Malik east of Aswan, which is still barely explored archaeologically, bears four hieroglyphs: "Domain of the Horus King Scorpion".

TRA 6: Sustainable Futures
Transdisciplinary Research Area "Innovation and Technology for a Sustainable Future"
A Transdisciplinary Win

A team of University of Bonn researchers wins a funding competition conducted by the Life and Health transdisciplinary research area.

Maize genes control little helpers in the soil

Tiny organisms such as bacteria and fungi help to promote the health and function of plant roots. It is commonly assumed that the composition of these microbes is dependent on the properties of the soil. However, an international team of researchers led by the University of Bonn has now discovered when studying different local varieties of maize that the genetic makeup of the plants also helps to influence which microorganisms cluster around the roots. The results, which have now been published in the prestigious journal Nature Plants, could help to breed future varieties of maize that are better suited to drought and limited nutrients.

Main regulator for the body`s oven discovered

Brown fat cells convert energy into heat – a key to eliminating unwanted fat deposits. In addition, they also protect against cardiovascular diseases. Researchers from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Life & Health" at the University of Bonn have now identified the protein EPAC1 as a new pharmacological target to increase brown fat mass and activity. The long-term aim is to find medicines that support weight loss. The results of the study have now been published in the renowned journal "Nature Cell Biology".

Variety Is Key

Where and how can diversified farming practices be put to profitable use in order to boost both productivity and biodiversity? Researchers at the University of Bonn have tackled this question in a study that has now been published in “Communications Earth & Environment.”

New Collaborative Research Center at the University of Bonn

The new Collaborative Research Center (CRC) "NuMeriQS: Numerical Methods for Dynamics and Structure Formation in Quantum Systems" aims to advance the understanding of dynamics and structure formation in quantum systems. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is setting up the CRC at the University of Bonn to strengthen cutting-edge research. Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Max Planck Institute für Kohlenforschung are also involved. The start is planned for April 2024. Over the next three years and nine months, around eight million euros will flow into the research network. The Transdisciplinary Research Area "Matter" at the University of Bonn supported the creation of the CRC.

Planetary health as a holistic concept

The University of Bonn has once again recruited an exceptional talent: Ina Danquah has been appointed as the new Hertz-Chair “Innovation for Planetary Health” at the “University of Excellence Bonn”. The Hertz-Chair combines various disciplines in a unique manner. Danquah is a nutritional scientist and expert in public health and epidemiology. Her Hertz-Chair contributes to the Transdisciplinary Research Area “Sustainable Futures”. In addition, Danquah is one of the three directors of the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn. 

Reliable Security Online for Protection against Fraud

Is there a feasible way to enjoy more effective online fraud protection that is more consumer-friendly at the same time? This question is being worked on by University of Bonn researchers in collaboration with the Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure (FIZ) in Karlsruhe and the University of Duisburg-Essen, who are jointly developing an online platform that affords better protection against identity data misuse for both consumers and merchants. The project is to receive a total of 1.5 million euros in funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) over a three-year period.

A Network for Women Active in AI and Robotics

Human-robot interaction and sustainable artificial intelligence (AI) will be the topics of discussion on Thursday, November 9th at an event organized jointly by the University of Bonn Institute for Science and Ethics (IWE) and the Women in AI and Robotics network. The event date marks the start of partnership between the two organizations, and is aimed at recruiting new members interested in joining Women in AI & Robotics. Held in English, the event will be held in the foyer of the IWE with address Bonner Talweg 57, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. All interested parties are invited to attend.

More animal welfare or more environmental protection?

Which sustainability goals do people in Germany find more important: Animal welfare? Or environmental protection? Human health is another one of these competing sustainability goals. A team of researchers from the Department of Agricultural and Food Market Research at the University of Bonn have now found that consumers surveyed in their study would rather pay more for salami with an “antibiotic-free” label than for salami with an “open barn” label that indicates that the product promotes animal welfare. The results have now been published in the journal “Q Open.”

Study calls for improvements in climate protection

Projects that reduce deforestation often sell carbon credits - for instance, to consumers purchasing airline tickets. However, over 90 percent of these project credits do not actually offset greenhouse gas emissions. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Netherlands), the University of Bonn, the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) and the European Forest Institute in Barcelona (Spain). It was carried out on an exemplary basis for 26 projects in six countries. The results have now been published in the renowned journal Science.

A Compass for Successful Climate Adaptation

Work to adapt to climate change is becoming increasingly important across the globe. Ensuring that these efforts are effective and have no unintended negative consequences is a vital part of this process. Researchers from the University of Twente in the Netherlands have joined forces with colleagues from France, Kenya, India, South Africa, the US and the University of Bonn to propose a framework that they call “Navigating the Adaptation-Maladaptation Continuum” (NAM). This tool will aid decision-making on climate adaptation measures and help promote a more equitable and more sustainable future. Their findings have now been published in the journal “Nature Climate Change.” 

Measuring the Extent of Global Droughts in Unprecedented Detail

While some parts of the world suffer extreme heat and persistent drought, others are being flooded. Overall, continental water volumes vary so much over time that global sea levels fluctuate significantly too. By combining the hydrological model WaterGAP with GRACE satellite data, a team of geodesists at the University of Bonn have come up with a new set of data that shows how the total distribution of water over the Earth’s land surfaces has changed over the past 20 years more accurately than ever before. Their findings are now being published in the “Journal of Geodesy.”

Study: When Introducing Bioeconomy Get People on Board

Innovative production methods are needed in order to tackle global challenges such as climate change, population growth and ecosystem loss. This has put strategies for a sustainable bioeconomy that place greater emphasis on using renewable raw materials firmly on the political agenda, both in Europe and around the world. When pursuing strategies of this kind, however, it is important to get the people who will be affected on board first. This is the finding from a study that three researchers from the Institute for Food and Resource Economics at the University of Bonn have recently published in the journal “Technology in Science.”

Yongguo Li Secures ERC Starting Grant

Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) are awarded to outstanding researchers and are worth millions of euros in funding. Assistant Professor Yongguo Li from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Bonn has now obtained a much-sought-after ERC Starting Grant. The researcher is investigating how the lipid metabolism can be influenced so as to “burn” as many calories as possible, thus opening up potential new ways to treat obesity and diabetes.

Experts for sustainable AI discussed in Bonn

What impact does artificial intelligence (AI) have on the environment? And what might the ramifications of AI be for society? These are some of the questions being tackled by the research group led by Prof. Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe, a Humboldt Professor at the University of Bonn. Last week, she brought together international experts in the research field.

Investigating Collective Action

How can people work together to forge new, environmentally sustainable paths in a complex system? This is the question being tackled by Jun.-Prof. Dr. Wolfram Barfuss, the new Argelander professor in the Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Futures Transdisciplinary Research Area (TRA Sustainable Futures) at the University of Bonn. He is developing mathematical models for collective learning and linking different research areas, including complex systems, artificial intelligence and social ecology, in order to identify key levers for easing the transition to sustainability. Barfuss and his team are based at the Center for Development Research (ZEF).

International Conference on Sustainable AI

What impact does artificial intelligence (AI) have on the environment? And what might the ramifications of AI be for society? These are some of the questions being tackled by the research group led by Prof. Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe, a Humboldt Professor at the University of Bonn. She will now bring international experts in the field together between May 30 and June 1. At the Universitätsclub Bonn, the researchers will discuss cross-cultural perspectives of sustainable AI on a global level.

Paper-based packaging has a good eco-image

German consumers consider paper-based packaging to be particularly environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, they tend to be skeptical about innovative products such as paper-based bottles. This is shown by a recent study by the University of Bonn and Forschungszentrum Jülich. Almost 3,000 women and men from all over Germany were surveyed for the study. The results have now been published in the journal “Food Quality and Preference.”

8.1 million euros for innovative research greenhouse

Research for more sustainable crop production: A new type of research greenhouse is now being built at the University of Bonn's Klein-Altendorf campus. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is providing 8.1 million euros in funding for the project, called START. Partners from various institutions will be working together here on an interdisciplinary basis over the next four years. Construction of the deep water culture greenhouse at the Klein-Altendorf campus is scheduled to begin this year so that demonstration operations can begin in 2024.

New research group on the deformation of structures and infrastructure

Roads, bridges and dams age. How long can such structures still bear the weight? The new research group “Deformation Analysis with Terrestrial Laser Scanner Measurements (TLS-Defo)” at the University of Bonn wants to make a step forward in answering these questions. The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund the group with around 2.4 million euros over the next four years.

First PhenoRob Career Fair

Students and graduates of the University of Bonn are welcome to participate in the first PhenoRob Career Fair to expand their professional network.

Meat import ban in Africa hurts local population

The EU regularly exports large quantities of poultry meat to West African countries. These exports have been criticized for harming importing countries in West Africa and exacerbating poverty there. The reason: Cheap imports depress the local price of chicken, making life difficult for local smallholders. Researchers at the Universities of Bonn and Göttingen have now used the example of Ghana to calculate the effects that would result if the country were to significantly increase its import tariffs for poultry meat or even stop imports completely. The result: Prices would indeed rise domestically, but most local households would not benefit. The study has been published in the journal Food Security.

Justus von Liebig-Award for World Nutrition to Louise O. Fresco

For outstanding achievements in the fight against hunger and rural poverty, the Foundation fiat panis has awarded the Justus von Liebig-Award for World Nutrition for the seventh time. This year it goes to the Dutch agricultural and nutrition expert Prof. Dr. Louise O. Fresco. The award ceremony took place at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn. Fresco gave a lecture on "Where Are We in Understanding World Hunger" as part of the Distinguished Lectures Series of the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Sustainable Futures" at the University of Bonn.

Close alliance in Earth System Science

The University of Bonn, the University of Cologne and Forschungszentrum Jülich are placing their joint Center for Earth System Observation and Computational Analysis (CESOC) on a new contractual footing. As a joint scientific facility of the three partner institutions, an internationally visible focal point has been created to globally observe and comprehensively understand the Earth system and to predict changes. The center is additionally strengthened by a memorandum of understanding now signed with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), which has moved to Bonn in 2021.

Aphids and their favorite colors

Aphids are one of the least welcome garden visitors. These small insects can cause all the more damage in agriculture. But how do they actually choose their host plants? What are the basic mechanisms behind this? Researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Kassel now present two novel models that can be used to analyze aphid color vision and thus how the animals respond to plants. This opens up new possibilities for future research on this topic - but may also be relevant for agricultural applications. The study has been published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Aimee van Wynsberghe admitted to academy

The Academy of Sciences and Literature has admitted six new members. Among them is Humboldt Professor Aimee van Wynsberghe. The AI ethicist from the University of Bonn has become a full member of the Humanities and Social Sciences Class.

How a harmful fungus renders its host plant defenseless

The fungus Ustilago maydis attacks corn and can cause significant damage to its host. To do this, it first ensures that the plant offers little resistance to the infection. The surgical precision it applies is shown by a new study from the University of Bonn, which has now been published in the journal New Phytologist. The Gregor Mendel Institute in Vienna and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research in Gatersleben were also involved in the work.

Soil scientist receives Klaus Töpfer Research Prize

Not only in the sea, but also in our soils there is "invisible" plastic - nanoplastics to be precise. This is a problem because it can be absorbed by plants and thus enter the food chain. But how much of such plastic is actually hiding in the soil? To find out, Dr. Melanie Braun from the University of Bonn wants to develop a new method. For her innovative project, the junior scientist has now received the Klaus Töpfer Research Prize worth 50,000 euros, which is awarded internally by the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Futures" (TRA Sustainable Futures) at the University of Bonn. The prize was named after Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer, former Federal Minister for the Environment and pioneer of climate policy, who was a guest at the award ceremony.

Protein folding in times of oxygen deficiency

Protein molecules require a defined shape in order to function. When they are created, their building blocks are therefore linked together in a very specific way. Researchers at the University of Bonn are now taking a closer look at a key step in this process and are investigating the effects of transient oxygen starvation on protein folding in plants. Researchers from the University of Münster, the Technical University of Kaiserslautern and the University of Bielefeld were also involved in the study. The study has now been published in the journal Plant Cell.

Molecule boosts fat burning

A study led by the University of Bonn and the University Hospital Bonn has identified a molecule - the purine inosine - that boosts fat burning in brown adipocytes. The mechanism was discovered in mice, but probably exists in humans as well: If a transporter for inosine is less active, the mice remain significantly leaner despite a high-fat diet. The study, which also involved researchers from the University of Leipzig and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, has now been published in the journal Nature.

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