Our PhD students

"Just to make it clear - my research is on water!" (Doctoral student Roman Grimmig)

We are supporting many talented minds. Currently, 84 young scientists from all disciplines are doing their doctorates at H-BRS. In the following some of them give you a small insight into the variety of topics of their research work. (Selection, 02/2020)

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"My research thrives on turbulence and chaos."

Currents and turbulences surround us every day: we see them pouring milk into coffee, in the smoke of an incense stick or feel them during a turbulent flight. Predicting these flows requires both mathematical descriptions and methods to solve these equations. Mario Bedrunka is researching Lattice Boltzmann methods for calculating these flows. In recent years, these methods have proven to be a mature tool for flow simulations and enable the efficient calculation of turbulence, which is always present in aerospace or electromobility. With the focus on turbulence in porous media, current issues such as hydrogen storage in chemical form can be analysed. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dirk Reith.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"Applied research is worth every cent."

Dynamic price models are no longer uncommon in some sectors, especially for travel and flight bookings. Due to changing market conditions, prices for identical products are adjusted dynamically over time and now in real time. In her research, Lena Cassens deals with the effects of this pricing policy on consumer behaviour. With her findings she wants to show how customers perceive and accept dynamic prices and what potential the model offers in industries such as food retailing. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens.


Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"R2D2 is a buddy of mine."

Ahmad Drak develops a flying robot system that is capable of efficiently exploring the ever-changing environment in which it moves. The result is a wealth of useful information that the system is designed to learn and maximize. Firstly, it shortens the time the robot takes to explore its environment, and secondly, it reduces the energy consumption of the robot system. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Alexander Asteroth.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"I find new energy in applied research."

Hydrogen as an energy carrier is a promising alternative to fossil fuels. An important aspect for its use is storage, for which metal hydrides are suitable. The gas is chemically bound in a metal or metal alloy. One of David Dreistadts' research goals is to investigate the integration of such metal hydride storage systems for hydrogen into modern energy supply networks. With the help of the simulation, knowledge about the optimal design and operation of these networks is to be gained. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Stefanie Meilinger.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"We are building teams of humans and machines."

Engineers and designers often want to anticipate early on in development processes which potential solutions will meet quality criteria that are important to them, e.g. in architecture, aircraft technology, urban planning or robotics. Because not all criteria can be easily described, such processes are usually divided into different phases. PhD student Alexander Hagg investigates how so-called quality diversity algorithms, which are capable of producing large amounts of good solutions, can be embedded as interactive tools in development processes. This creates an interaction between man and machine, which enables the engineer to discover innovative solutions early in the development process. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Alexander Asteroth.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"My research results remain stable."

Plastic packaging is usually made from petroleum and contains chemicals that prevent the packaging from decomposing and significantly increase its shelf life. Thomas Havelt is researching plant-based alternatives for these chemicals, some of which are hazardous to health and the environment, with the aim of developing more environmentally friendly packaging. Thomas Havelt is a scholarship holder of the Faculty of Applied Sciences and works in the EFRE project (Bio-based materials and packaging materials, sub-project Bioactive additives) at the H-BRS site in Rheinbach. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Michaela Schmitz.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"Applied research is really plitting hairs."

Sarah Heß' research goal is the detection of DNA profiles ("genetic fingerprints") from fallen single hairs. In most cases, they carry only a small amount of DNA, which has disintegrated into very short pieces. In order to deduce the cause of the trace from the hair, the analysis of this trace type requires a number of highly sensitive detection methods, which are improved at the H-BRS and optimized for application to micro traces. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Richard Jäger.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"Imagine you do research and everyone plays along."

In many regions there is a lack of psychotherapists, so patients have to wait a long time for appointments. In order to bridge these waiting times, some patients temporarily make use of therapeutic help via the Internet. Unfortunately, these aids (interventions) are usually quite monotonous, which leads to high dropout rates. So how do we succeed in creating interventions that not only help but are also fun? Ben Lenk-Ostendorf deals with this field of research. He systematically tries to turn interventions into games so that health is fun. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Christine Syrek.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"K.O. from sports? My computer knows earlier."

In her research, Melanie Ludwig is investigating how she can model a person's fitness during endurance sports on the computer using heart rate only, i.e. how she can simulate and predict it. Normally, the determination of fitness in endurance sports is associated with complex and strenuous tests, which are particularly difficult to implement in hobby and health sports for many reasons. With her computer models, which are based on everyday sporting activities and heart rate, Melanie Ludwig wants to avoid complex tests and support as many people as possible with individual and health-promoting training. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Alexander Asteroth.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"For me, applied research is justice."

South Africa is characterised by high unemployment, poverty and inequality. The universal basic income support (UBIG) was discussed as a political option, but not systematically. Currently, different concepts of the UBIG exist, and it is not known whether different variants of the UBIG would lead to different (political) levels of support. Brian Mathebula's research focuses on the different conceptual understanding of the UBIG. He wants to know what socially accepted preconditions would be necessary to implement the unconditional basic income in South Africa. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Esther Schüring.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"I'm literally stuck with my research."

Michael Meurer's research interest gets under the skin. He deals with Transdermal Therapeutic Systems = TTS. These are drug patches that are stuck onto the skin and release active substances from a depot into the body. These patches are used to treat severe pain or diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Unfortunately, the adhesion of these plasters to stainless steel plates is unfortunately tested as a standard method far removed from the application. On human skin, however, the adhesion can be quite different. That is why Michael Meurer is researching application-oriented test methods on artificial skin substrates in order to advance the further development of plasters. The goal is the adhesion of the entire patch to the skin over a period of up to one week. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Möginger.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"In research, I'm a tough guy: I reconstruct bones."

Patrick Ottensmeyer is investigating how people with large bone defects and a need for transplants can be helped. He isolates human stem cells from fat and differentiates them into bone cells on a carrier material. Using "HOX" transcription factors, he hopes to define the best body region for stem cell harvesting. In addition, Patrick Ottensmeyer is trying to stimulate bone cell development and the formation of new blood vessels for the supply of the graft with specific receptors. The new system will be tested in cell cultures, bioreactors and preclinical applications. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Edda Tobiasch.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"I make coaching personal."

Personalities found companies. Aleksandra Paluch develops a modular coaching concept based on a questionnaire for the acquisition of personality traits of successful company founders, which can be individually adapted to the personality trait of the company founder. In addition to the evaluation of the concept, it also clarifies the question of changing the specific personality traits for successful or unsuccessful company founders and examines whether the well-being of the coached company founders differs from that of the non-coached founders. Other relevant constructs, such as the individual's ability to deal with change, to communicate or to network, should expand the research question in the course of the doctorate. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Peter Muck.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"The best thing about my research is the breaks."

In order to ensure the long-term employability of fewer and older employees, occupational health management is becoming increasingly important. A central approach to reducing stress and maintaining performance during the working day is the targeted use of work breaks. However, a mere interruption of work does not necessarily mean recovery. The aim of André Scholz's research work is therefore to make breaks as needs-based as possible and to investigate the effects of different types of breaks. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Theo Peters.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"We don't need anti-aging cream in the workplace."

"War for Talent" is the battle for qualified employees in times of a shortage of skilled workers. Due to globalization and demographic change, German companies are also in the midst of this battle for the best brains. PhD student Usha Singh investigates how areas of personnel planning in companies can be optimized: To what extent can visible features such as facial expressions or generational affiliation be used in application procedures? Do younger generations, in particular Generation Y, have different job ideas than people belonging to older generations? Different older employees may also have different health needs. For this reason, Usha Singh also questions trends in sustainable company health management, especially with regard to the design of breaks. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Theo Peters.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"We are teaching doctoral students about risks and side effects."

Osteoporosis (bone atrophy) is a systemic skeletal disease in which the bone substance is increasingly broken down. Basically, osteoporosis cannot be cured nowadays. Only the progression of the disease can be delayed by treatment. However, currently used drugs can have considerable side effects, making new target molecules useful for additional treatment strategies. Cathepsin K could be such a target molecule. Therefore, Christian Tonk is investigating a cathepsin K inhibitor for its influence on bone metabolism in order to test the capacity of the inhibitor as a future drug against osteoporosis. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Edda Tobiasch.

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
"In applied research I keep my perspective."

Augmented Reality glasses are data glasses in whose field of vision all imaginable information is displayed visually at the same time. This information is intended to improve awareness of certain situations by correct perception, interpretation and assessment of the surroundings. Current AR glasses, however, have one disadvantage: their field of vision is so small that the information they display can obscure critical information from the environment, distract the wearer or overwhelm him with too much information density. Christina Trepkowski is working on converting part of the visual digital information into audio and vibration stimuli. As a psychologist, her focus is on evaluating, comparing and optimizing these novel methods by developing and applying methods to measure the situational awareness of spectacle wearers. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ernst Krujiff.


You will find further doctoral projects in the following list, sorted alphabetically according to who is working on them.

Abla Alzagameem, Natural Sciences, Projekt BiopolymerModell
In order to do without petroleum-based resources, recent research is trying to develop green materials from sustainable resources for future chemicals, fuels, polymers and fibres. The second most common biopolymer on earth (after cellulose) is lignin, and this could replace fossil fuel resources in the future. Lignin separates cellulose and hemicellulose in the plant cell wall. It is largely produced as a by-product of pulp treatment and burned to produce energy that is used in the rest of the pulping process. Especially exciting is the polyphenolic nature of lignin with antioxidative and antimicrobial activity. Doctoral student Abla Alzagameem has obtained several types of lignins (Kraft, Organosolve, wood-based and grass-based lignin) in her research. She also tested the antioxidant and antimicrobial activity and polymerized the active lignin types with cellulose and chitosan for food packaging applications. Finally, she tested the antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of the films against pathogens that spoil food. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Margit Schulze



Iman Awaad, Informatik / Atonomous Systems
Humans are able to come up with plans to achieve their goals, and to adapt them to changes in their environment, finding fixes, alternatives and taking advantages of opportunities without much deliberation.  Despite decades of research, artificial agents, such as robots, are not as robust or as flexible.  If we look at how we manage to get things done despite the ever-changing environments and our own lack of omniscience we find that this is most often accomplished by making substitutions for missing or unavailable objects and making assumptions about objects for which we have limited information. Enabling service robots, operating in domestic environments to use these two techniques to support human users is the aim of my work. Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Paul Plöger (Prof. Dr. Gerhard Kraetzschmar)



Patrick Babczyk, Natural Sciences
PhD student Patrick Babczyk is investigating the influence of secreted extracellular vesicles (exosomes) from stem cells differentiating towards fat cells on endothelial cells. These are cells that form the inner layer of blood vessels. He hopes to find a starting point for preventing the development of atherosclerosis, the pathological narrowing of arteries, and the associated consequences such as heart attack or stroke. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Edda Tobiasch



Paul Bossauer, Management Sciences, Projekt maas4 bzw. Forschungsgruppe Verbraucherinformatik
At 45 %, motorized individual transport is still the most frequently chosen means of transport in Germany. At the same time, private vehicles stand unused in public spaces for an average of 23 hours a day. Especially in rural areas, people are dependent on private vehicles because of a lack of mobility alternatives such as sharing services. Missing mobility services is often due to the lack of economic benefits for mobility providers. In his doctoral thesis, doctoral student Paul Bossauer is investigating how new technologies, e.g. the blockchain technology, can be usefully applied to improve the mobility offer in rural areas and especially to promote the sharing of vehicles by municipalities, associations, companies with their own fleets and private individuals. Supervision: Prof. Dr. Dirk Schreiber/ Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens


Rene Breuch, Natural Sciences, ISF
Unwanted bacteria in the food industry are a problem, and detecting them is a particular challenge. PhD student Rene Breuch is investigating how surface-enhancing Raman spectroscopy (SERS) can be used to detect such bacteria in time. In doing so, he detects and differentiates spoilage bacteria through the targeted development of durable SERS substrates based on gold nanoparticles, suitable sampling methods and multivariate statistics. Supervision: Prof. Dr. Peter Kaul.



Dominik Büchner, Natural Sciences
Biocompatible, synthetic bone replacement materials are a good alternative to the patient's own bone tissue, as they show fewer rejection reactions, are available in large quantities and can be modified if necessary. In the Hybrid KEM project, doctoral student Dominik Büchner is developing a novel bone substitute material that comes as close as possible to natural bone and is also therapeutically active. To this end, he is optimizing the synthesis of the bone mineral hydroxyapatite and chemically modifying polysaccharides derived from algae with bisphosphonate agents, which are used for bone regeneration. Supervision: Prof. Dr. Margit Schulze.



Pranjal Dhole, IZNE
About 23% of our current energy demand is required by transportation sector. Development of policies that enable sustainable infrastructure planning for smart cities and lower the impact of transportation sector on green-house gas emissions is paramount. We rely on results obtained by traffic simulations to implement policies that reduce our energy expenditure on mobility. Therefore, we need to make sure that the policies evaluated in simulation have same impact when implemented in real world. Pranjal Dhole works in the field of realistic traffic flow simulation where he creates experiments for generating microscopic traffic flow simulations that approximates traffic situations observed in reality. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Alexander Asteroth



Xuan Tung Do, Natural Sciences
Doctoral student Xuan Tung Do is investigating how to turn a centuries-old waste product into a material with superpowers. Many objects of daily life are still produced in some form from fossil raw materials such as crude oil. Since these raw materials are only available in limited quantities, scientists are looking for sustainable alternatives. To this end, doctoral student Xuan Tung Do is investigating a waste material from the paper industry - lignin. It is a complex biopolymer and must first be characterised using different analytical and statistical methods before it can be used as a direct substitute for crude oil. As part of his doctoral thesis, Do determines the molecular weight of the biopolymer using different spectroscopic as well as 1D and 2D chromatographic methods. Supervision: Prof. Dr. Margit Schulze.



Argang Ghadiri, Management Sciences
Company health management is increasingly becoming a focus of attention for companies in order to promote and maintain the health of their employees. A wide range of offers in the areas of relaxation, nutrition and exercise are now being offered in practice to positively influence both physical and mental health. However, there are hardly any economic considerations of health offers and effects in practice and research. The aim of the research work of PhD student Argang Ghadiri is therefore to evaluate measures in the context of occupational health management, such as work breaks and healthy leadership, for their contribution to increasing health and productivity. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Theo Peters



Philipp Gillemot, Natural Sciences/ Project REDEX
High-quality drinking water is one of the most widely used resources in industry, agriculture and private households. However, the wastewater produced during use requires complex treatment, as it can be contaminated by a wide range of chemicals. In order to break down potentially harmful contaminants, so-called oxidation processes are widely used in sewage treatment plants. However, certain compounds, including pesticides and drug residues, are very stable and cannot be broken down by oxidative means - they remain persistent in the environment. Therefore, doctoral student Philipp Gillemot is investigating to what extent the reductive treatment of contaminated water can be used as an efficient alternative to render such critical water constituents harmless. One focus is on the development of suitable catalyst materials in order to fully exploit the potential of this novel treatment method. Supervision: Prof. Dr. Steffen Witzleben


Pascal Görres, Management Sciences
Family businesses can be found all over the world in the most diverse forms. Everything is represented, from the smallest company to the internationally operating large enterprise. As different as family businesses are, they all face the great challenge of company succession at some point in time. How can the success of such a business succession be ensured? This is where controlling comes into play. Doctoral student Pascal Görres examines the extent to which controlling can act as an enabler for a successful succession process and what influence it can thus have on a sustainable company survival. In doing so, the special characteristics of the different types of family-owned companies and their individual forms of controlling should also be taken into account. Supervision: Prof. Dr. Andreas Wiesehahn



Roman Grimmig, Natural Sciences, OzonArray, ReDeX
It is an absolute matter of course for us that we get water of perfect quality from the tap. In the context of drinking water treatment, oxidative processes such as ozonation are often used, which effectively remove potentially harmful water constituents (e.g. germs) and thus disinfect the water. For this purpose, PhD student Roman Grimmig is developing a modular ozone generator that enables this oxidative treatment option to be tailored to the specific requirements. In order to be able to reliably exclude undesirable disinfection by-products arising in the process, a combined oxidative and reductive treatment in conventional tap water is being evaluated. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Steffen Witzleben


Andrea Hahn, Management Sciences
What will mobility look like in the future? In view of climate change, high levels of particulate matter and congested inner cities, this question is currently the subject of social negotiation, and it is a very emotional one. For doctoral student Andreas Hahn, the human being with his or her individual needs is the focus of mobility. One focus of his transport research is on the role of local public transport (ÖPNV) in the context of a necessary shift from motorised private transport, which is still dominant throughout Germany (IV). In this context, he is particularly concerned with the impact of technological developments such as Smart City on future mobility. Supervision: Prof. Dr. Dirk Schreiber/ Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens



Jana Hinz, Angewandte Naturwissenschaften
N-nitrosamines are partly highly volatile compounds that can be formed in many different industrial processes and are classified as carcinogenic. Due to their high health risk, it is of acute interest to develop reliable, sensitive and mobile systems for the detection and quantification of N-nitrosamines. PhD student Jana Hinz is working on the development of a GC-FAIMS system, a measuring device for the rapid analysis of N-nitrosamines. This system is to be applied in various branches of industry. Compared to common methods, the GC-FAIMS offers the advantage of being fast, field applicable and cost efficient. Betreuerin: Prof. Dr. Michaela Wirtz


Christine Kawa, Management Sciences/ Project Healthy University
Christine Kawa investigates how students at the Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences can be persuaded to lead healthier lives. The students spend a large part of their everyday life on campus and often even a little "nudge" in the right direction helps to induce health-promoting behaviour. Doctoral student Christine Kawa uses experimental psychological methods, among other things, to investigate how only small changes in everyday decision-making situations as interventions can bring about a positive change in the health behaviour of the target group. In the future, successful interventions will be integrated at the university in order to promote the health behaviour of the students in a sustainable way. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Patrizia Ianiro-Dahm.



Lil Klaas, Natural Sciences
Doctoral student Lil Klaas, with the support of the Association for Pediatric Metabolic Disorders (APS), is investigating rare genetic defects in selected enzymes (aminoacylases) that lead to congenital metabolic disorders. The aim of her research is to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying such disorders and thereby create a basis for therapeutic approaches. Lil Klaas is a fellow of the Equal Opportunities Office and conducts research at the H-BRS site in Rheinbach. Supvervisor: Prof. Dr. Jörn Oliver Sass


Stephanie Klein, Natural Sciences
Due to the increasing scarcity of raw materials, the search for alternative renewable raw materials and their recycling is becoming more and more important in industry. The research goal of PhD student Stephanie E. Klein is the production and optimisation of bio-based plastic coatings for construction chemical applications and for the production of packaging materials. She and her research group used the synthesized plastic coatings with different additives to improve the material scientific properties and analyzed them. Finally, homogeneous, flexible and antimicrobially more effective, bio-based plastic films could be produced. Supervisor: Margit Schulze



Rebecca Komp, Management Sciences/ Project Healthy University
Are short absences inevitably an indication of healthy employees? Rebecca Komp pursues this question and examines the phenomenon of so-called "presenteism" in her dissertation. Presenteism refers to the behaviour to appear at the workplace, although the state of health is so impaired that the corresponding employee should actually recover at home. Through qualitative and quantitative studies, reasons for presenteeism should be identified, the negative effects should be highlighted and measures to reduce presenteeism should be developed. In the further course of the promotion also presenteism will be examined with students. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Patrizia Ianiro-Dahm.



Jens Maiero, Computer Science, Institute for Visual Computing
Everyone uses everyday human-machine interfaces, e.g. in the form of keyboard and mouse. In his doctoral project, PhD student Jens Maiero investigates whether performance (e.g. error rate), usability or perception can be increased by extended user interfaces. Extended user interfaces are interfaces that either integrate an additional sensory channel into the interaction or provide a novel interaction metaphor. Specifically, Jens Maiero investigates extended interaction with mobile projections, the combination of haptic feedback with touch screens as well as unconventional interaction metaphors. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. André Hinkenjann.



Aleksandar Mitrevski, Computer Science/ Autonomous Systems
Useful autonomous robot assistants need the ability to modify their behavior if it deviates from what is expected or desired; in other words, they need the ability to deal with execution errors and learn from them accordingly. PhD student Aleksander Mitrevski is developing behavioral models that a domestic robot can acquire through experience with the world and which can be used both to predict errors and to diagnose their causes. In particular, he investigates the balance between modelled and learned behaviour and combines techniques such as learning by demonstration, reinforcement learning, qualitative modelling and logical thinking. The overall goal of his project is to make robots more reliable and thus more useful for practical everyday use. Supervisor. Prof. Dr. Paul Plöger



Patrycja Muc, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Technical Journalism (in Cooperation with Katholischen Universität Eichstädt)
Architectural journalism is considered an untapped subject area in science. While there are already empirical studies on journalistic genres such as political, science and technology journalism, there is little knowledge about architectural journalism. In the context of society as a whole, architecture plays a no less important role than politics and business. This becomes clear in questions of urban planning and development, new housing concepts and public building projects. Doctoral student Patrycja Muc therefore examines in content analysis how German daily newspaper editorial offices report on architecture. In addition, guided expert interviews with architects and journalists will shed light on how both actors assess the relevance of architectural issues. Supervision: Prof. Dr. Andreas Schümchen.



Ina Neher, IZNE/TREE, Project
Energy production with the help of solar energy offers a possibility to meet the increasing energy demand worldwide and to reduce CO2 emissions at the same time. For the construction of solar energy plants, a precise analysis of potential locations and in particular of the radiation available there is necessary. For this reason, it is important to know the effects of the regional and local atmospheric composition on solar radiation in order to be able to realistically predict the energy yield. PhD student Ina Neher is investigating the influence of atmospheric variability on the solar energy potential in West Africa. To this end, she analyses, among other things, satellite data for the entire region. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Stefanie Meilinger



Christina Pakusch, Management Sciences/TREE
Experts see great potential in autonomous driving for tackling today's traffic problems. Traffic accidents could be reduced, traffic flow could be made more efficient and, as a result, climate-damaging emissions could be reduced. In addition, automated mobility on demand could substantially reduce the number of vehicles on the roads. Doctoral student Christina Pakusch is investigating the potential technological consequences of shared autonomous vehicles in terms of their ecological (rebound effects) and social impacts (job losses) with the aim of identifying possible unintended effects at an early stage and thus contributing to the development of environmentally and socially compatible design of automated mobility on demand. Supervision: Prof. Dr. Dirk Schreiber, Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens


Lukas Pschyklenk, Natural Sciences/ISF, Project "Optospin"
Liquid crystals are generally only known from displays (LCD). The extraordinary optical properties of these fascinating substances can be used for various applications. One of them is gas sensor technology. A special liquid crystalline phase, which is created by doping with optically active substances, reflects only a narrow wavelength range of the incident light back, similar to the wings of a butterfly. For the observer, the liquid crystal then appears in a very intense color. However, no dye is responsible for the color, only the structure of the liquid crystal. Through a chemical reaction of the dopant with a substance to be detected, this structure changes and with it the visible color immediately. For the detection of substances, PhD student Lukas Pschyklenk is developing a gas sensor that has no power consumption and can be read with the naked eye. The PhD project is linked to the BMBF project OptoSpin. The aim of the project is to find suitable dopants for selected safety-relevant substances and to improve the applicability of these sensors. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Peter Kaul



Dina Ramien, Management Sciences
In today's society, the striving for better performance is a phenomenon that has long since ceased to be associated solely with sport. The attempt to increase the cognitive performance of healthy persons by taking psychoactive substances is called neuroenhancement. In her research, Doctoral student Dina Ramien investigates the following question: Are there clear causes and influencing factors that trigger the intake of neuroenhancement substances? Empirical studies are intended to identify the reasons for neuroenhancement and, based on this, to develop differentiated preventive measures to reduce neuroenhancement. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Christina Syrek



Thorsten Roth, Computer Science/IVC
Advanced computer graphics techniques play a central role in areas such as virtual reality (VR), design review or architectural visualization. The fluent presentation of an application (performance) is very important especially in the VR field: On the one hand, one wants to avoid undesired effects of the so-called "simulator sickness" like nausea or dizziness, on the other hand a high degree of realism is of great importance for the other mentioned disciplines. The aim of the research work of PhD student Thorsten Roth is to improve the representation as well as the visual quality of so-called beam-based approaches, which often form the basis for graphical representation in the mentioned fields. In doing so, the image generation can be adapted to human perception or situational requirements, for example. Lighting information of a scene can be buffered to avoid unnecessary computing load and to achieve an increase in both performance and visual quality. Supervision: Prof. Dr. André Hinkenjann




Sara Schäfer, Natural Sciences
Due to its unique properties, ultrapure water serves as solvent or starting product for pharmaceuticals and is used to clean surfaces in the production of high-precision components in semiconductor manufacturing. Water quality monitoring is of utmost importance. For this reason PhD student Sara Schäfer develops an universal measuring instrument for quality monitoring of ultrapure water. It combines two standard methods of oxidation. The oxidation is performed by ozonation in combination with UV radiation. That leads to an advanced oxidation process and a significant increase in the oxidation power compared to conventional systems. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Peter Kaul


Martin Schenk, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Technical Journalism/TREE
Molecular simulations are used for biological questions, such as structural investigations of proteins or the development of medical agents, and for material science problems, such as the determination of thermodynamic material properties or investigations of interface structures. Molecular simulations are therefore always used when real experiments are too expensive, too dangerous or even impossible. In his research, doctoral student Martin Schenk validates and develops atomistic molecular models for the simulation of ionic liquids. His goal is to predict the solubility of gases and gas mixtures in these liquids. Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Dirk Reith



Jannika Staudt, Natural Sciences, BONARes-ORDIAmur (P6)
In addition to weather extremes and climate changes, other factors such as nutrient supply or other soil components have an influence on plant growth and food quality. Especially in regional and national apple cultivation, the repeated cultivation of apple trees (lat.: malus) on the same area leads to reduced growth, quality and yield losses. One then speaks of "apple replant disease" (ARD). A variety of factors are considered to be the cause, such as bioactive substances in the soil or the composition of microorganisms in the soil. Since soil treatment agents are largely banned by regulations, the symptoms are treated in a different way. In the research project "BONARes-ORDIAmur (P6)" PhD student Jannika Staudt identifies and characterizes tolerant and less tolerant rootstocks, i.e. root system and part of the stem. This should lead to plants being able to cope with the given conditions themselves due to their defence system and to farmers being able to avoid the use of soil treatment products. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Michaela Schmitz



Katharina Stollenwerk, Computer Sciences
Lower back pain is an important issue in modern Western societies. With portable devices, postural changes can be monitored by postural training, the shape of the spine can be measured and the spinal curvature can be reconstructed. PhD student Katharina Stollenwerk focuses her research on the systematic evaluation of (specific) sensor-supported wearables and the reconstruction of spinal curvature as well as the analysis of the recorded data. This improves postural training in back training with reliable and objective measurements of the spinal column shape. Trainers and trainees thus gain a better understanding of their actions or concepts. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. André Hinkenjann



Robin Strickstrock, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Technical Journalism, TREE
The heart of doctoral student Robin Strickstrock beats in science for molecular computer simulations of hydrocarbons and the force fields required for this. Force fields have a very large influence on the simulation results and are the subject of Robin Strickstrocks' doctorate. The main focus of his research is the (further) development of an automated, algorithm-controlled optimization of the force field parameters, which enables computer simulations to reproduce or predict the properties of new substances at both molecular and macroscopic levels. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dirk Reith



Stephanie Vonholdt, Management Sciences, Project FreshIndex
Everyday practices are composed of a variety of elements such as knowledge, activities, objects, data, motivations and emotions. Doctoral student Stephanie Vonholdt investigates everyday practices in dealing with food, for example how to assess the freshness of food or how to handle recipes. In doing so, she looks at the possibilities of support through digital media. The aim is to simplify the practices by doing so and to think according to the rules of consumer information from the consumer and his or her everyday world. Supervision: Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens



Katharina Walbrück, Natural Sciences/ Project Biobasierte Produkte
The demand for ecological and sustainable insulation materials is growing, especially in view of the advancing climate change and dwindling fossil raw materials. Renewable raw materials represent a possible alternative to traditional insulation materials, as they are CO2-neutral compared to fossil raw materials. PhD student Katharina Walbrück is investigating the suitability of the giant Chinese reed Miscanthus x giganteus for use in insulating materials. Miscanthus is a fast-growing, perennial grass that binds 10 to 36 t CO2 per hectare and year during its growth. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Steffen Witzleben



Johannes Warmer, Natural Sciences
In his doctoral thesis, Johannes Warmer is working on the development of a sensor system for the detection of triacetone triperoxide (TATP), a highly explosive substance that has been used by terrorists for several attacks. In his work he is mainly concerned with so-called metal oxide semiconductor gas sensors, which are characterized by a very high sensitivity but low selectivity at low acquisition costs. In order to compensate for the disadvantage of low selectivity, the sensor performance has to be optimized by selecting suitable materials and operating modes of the sensor. Within the scope of the doctoral thesis, starting with the production of the actual sensor, the development of suitable signal processing strategies and the combination of different spectroscopic and electrical measuring methods are used to not only realize the suitability of such a sensor system, but also to formulate the underlying chemical surface reactions. The aim is to gain a deeper understanding of the actual sensory mechanism. Supervision: Prof. Dr. Peter Kaul



Dominik Wilde, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Technical Journalism, TREE
Doctoral student Dominik Wilde is researching new methods for predicting compressible supersonic flows - his research is spreading with supersonics. For the first time since the "Concorde" was taken out of service in 2003, companies are again working on the development of civil supersonic aircraft. However, high pollutant and noise emissions are undesirable side effects of these high-speed technologies in aerospace. To predict and reduce these properties, computer clusters with modern calculation methods are used today, which were not yet available to Concorde engineers. Doctoral student Dominik Wilde is researching the further development of these methods, which help to optimise the pollutant and noise emissions of aircraft as early as the design process. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dirk Reith



Markus Witzler, Natural Sciences
In the therapy of bone defects, implants are often used to accelerate and improve healing. A modern approach is a carrier material for bone cells, which simultaneously releases active ingredients and can be broken down by the body during the healing process. PhD student Markus Witzler is researching novel carrier materials based on agarose and calciumphosphat. Agarose, a renewable biopolymer, is chemically modified to release active ingredients in a controlled and delayed manner over a period of several days.These active substances should help stem cells to develop specifically towards bone cells. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Margit Schulze


Sandra Wrzeziono, Social Policy and Social Security Studies
In recent years, the collective participation of citizens has increasingly found its way into the German health care system in order to orient health policy decisions more strongly towards the needs of patients. Against the background of the challenges in the implementation and establishment of collective participation possibilities as well as the ongoing discussion about the democratic deficit in the German health care system, PhD student Sandra Wrzeziono examines in her research project the understanding of democracy of the involved actors by means of qualitative interviews. The project aims to shed more light on the implications for the future design of institutionalized citizen participation. Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Remi Maier-Rigaud




You can find descriptions of other doctoral projects under the following links to our scholarship holders: