We are supporting many talented minds. There are currently more than 100 doctoral students working on and with the H-BRS. In the following we give a small insight into the variety of topics of their research and list by whom they are supervised at H-BRS. Further links lead to research institutes, cooperation partners, publications and futher more (selection, 06/2020).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
Callistus Agbaam, IZNE
Over the last two decades, social protection reforms have become a globalised phenomenon. Many national governments in low and middle-income countries, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America, have embraced the logic of these reforms and are now extending the coverage of their public social protection systems. However, despite the recent proliferation of social protection reforms in developing countries, not much has been done to explain the key issues that affect the reform processes themselves. Much of the available scientific evidence focuses largely on the design and impact of social protection. PhD student Callistus Agbaam therefore attempts to explain the factors in the context that determine public support for social protection reforms. In addition, his study also analyses how and in what ways public support could contribute to the policy sustainability of reforms in developing countries. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Katja Bender
Abla Alzagameem, Natural Sciences/ TREE, 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, Computer Science / 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 the work of doctoral student Iman Awaad. Supervisor: 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
Andrew Boogaards, Management Sciences / IZNE
Indigenous Peoples from around the world have been observing a continuous state of rural economic transformation. At a fundamental level, the integration of market-based economic activities into traditional lifestyles has had a profound impact on their culture, environment, and livelihoods. Ph.D. student Andrew Boogaards has been working with Indigenous communities in southern Guyana to study the diverse livelihood strategies that local Indigenous Peoples utilise in order to balance their traditional practices with market-based activities, particularly during a global pandemic. In his study, he will examine how protective measures that were designed to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 to the region have impacted economic relationships between local residents and gold miners, and if a disruption in this relationship has led residents to transition away from market-based activities and towards traditional subsistence activities. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Katja Bender
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. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Peter Kaul.
Dominik Büchner, Natural Sciences/ TREE
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. Supervisor: 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. Doctoral student 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/ TREE
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. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Margit Schulze.
Helmut Ertel, Social Policy and Social Security Studies
Do employees of German companies remain insured under German social security law if they are sent abroad? What applies to volunteers who venture into the crisis regions of the world with the help of charitable organisations or similar institutions? Is the current (social) legal situation satisfactory for these people or does it need to be optimised? Doctoral student Helmut Ertel is researching this issue - with a special focus on statutory accident insurance. He shows that the long arm of the German statutory accident insurance extends abroad. Supervision: Prof. Dr. Susanne Peters-Lange
Jessica Felappi, Natural Sciences/ IZNE
Urban green spaces are associated with manifold benefits to human health and well-being, as well as biodiversity conservation. Less is known about the role of green space quality on the provision of these services and which conflicts may arise when combining in the same place multiple functions. In her research, PhD student Jessica Felappi investigates which park characteristics affect mental health outcomes and biodiversity support in a megacity of the Global South (Sao Paulo, Brazil). The aim is to identify synergies and trade-offs between requirements for human use and biodiversity conservation so that recommendations can be developed to improve the planning and management of multifunctional urban parks. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wiltrud Terlau
Silvia Berenice Fischer, Wirtschaftswissenschaften/IZNE
Cities are highly prone to the impacts of extreme weather events; impacts such as: rise in extreme temperatures, increase in extreme rainfalls and floods, heat-island aggravation, yield decrease and urban food insecurity are expected to increase the vulnerability of urban agricultural systems. In this sense, vulnerability and risk assessments are essential to enable practitioners and decision-makers to identify who are the vulnerable social groups and why, to establish effective adaptation action. Taking the case of Sao Paulo city, from a socio-ecological perspective, PhD student Silvia Berenice Fischer aims to assess the extreme weather events vulnerability of urban and peri-urban agriculture and the current adaptation strategies. Through a mixed-methods approach, she characterizes vulnerability and analyzes the urban farmer´s adaptation strategies. Her study will contribute to the development of policy options to enhance resilience and reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events. Betreuerin: Prof. Dr. Wiltrud Terlau
Adam Gaier, Computer Science/ TREE
Simulating aerodynamics is incredibly slow even with massive computers, limiting the ability of AI algorithms to assist in the design of aerodynamic forms, such as cars and wind turbines. Doctoral student Adam Gaier creates AI algorithms which test a variety of designs, building understanding through experimentation. By exploring and experimenting these algorithms solve problems faster, better, and in a variety of ways. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Alexander Asteroth
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/ TREE/ 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. Supervisor: 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. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Andreas Wiesehahn
Peter Leo Gorski, Computer Science
Over 23 million software developers around the world produce an impressive variety of software that plays an increasingly important role in our lives. The developers are also responsible for the absolutely necessary implementation of data protection and data security. However, not every software developer is automatically a security expert. Moreover, the integration of security functions is a complex and error-prone task. For this reason, all tools in a development environment should provide the best possible support for the development of secure software. Since Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are elementary building blocks in the development of software, PhD student Peter Leo Gorski's PhD project investigates to what extent information flows can support software developers in the correct use of security APIs and thus in the production of secure software. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Luigi Lo Iacono
Roman Grimmig, Natural Sciences/ TREE, 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
Carl-Daniel Hailfinger, Computer Science
Data security is an important concern for doctoral student Carl-Daniel Hailfinger. Modern computers and their components process and store data in a way that maximizes the utilization of computing units and throughput. These internal optimization strategies mean that the execution is done in a different processing sequence and that the time behavior in reality can vary in a way that users and programmers do not expect. Although the behaviour (architecture) of e.g. a microprocessor, which can ostensibly be detected from the outside, corresponds to the expectations, a considerable gain in speed is actually achieved internally in the so-called microarchitecture through speculative execution, prediction, intermediate storage and reordering of instructions and data. Attacks such as Spectre, which have become public in recent years, use the resulting side effects to spy on data from another process that is protected against access (side channel / cover channel). Doctoral student Carl-Daniel Hailfinger is researching on the development of novel ways of exploiting such side effects in microarchitecture to spy on or transfer data, on the one hand, and how to protect against such unwanted attacks, on the other. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Kerstin Lemke-Rust
Dorothee Hielscher, Natural Sciences
Large bone defects after accidents or tumour removal can make the use of bone transplants necessary. The discovery of so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) has paved the way for new therapeutic options. In order to make the potential use of iPS in bone transplants in patients as safe as possible, the cells need to be precisely characterised. Therefore, PhD student Dorothee Hielscher investigates and compares the potential of induced pluripotent stem cells for osteogenesis (bone formation). A special focus is on specific receptors that can be stimulated/inhibited by certain substances and could thus contribute significantly to the improvement of bone transplantation in the future. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Edda Tobiasch
Jana Hinz, Natural Sciences/ ISF
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. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Michaela Wirtz
Sawsan Jaafreh, Natural Sciences/ ISF
The efficient assessment of meat quality is one of new challenges brought by the recent development in meat industry and the increase in public demand for high-quality meat. However, most of the traditional techniques are costly, tedious, destructive and time-consuming, which cannot meet the requirements of the modern meat industry. PhD student Sawsan Jaafreh is investigating the feasibility of Raman spectroscopy in conjunction with chemometric methods for the characterization and analysis of quality and shelf life of poultry meat in real-time. In doing so, she was able to discriminate and classify eight bacterial strains related to meat spoilage microorganisms commonly found in poultry meat, monitor the spoilage process and provided information about the quality and the remaining shelf life of commercially packed fresh chicken breast fillets, and characterize and discriminate fillets samples from different poultry meat production lines of a German poultry producer. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Peter Kaul
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/ ISF
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
Caroline Knoch, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Technical Journalism, IMEA
Doctoral student Caroline Knoch examines the relationship between text and image within different sign systems. The basis for this is formed by the pictorial poems of the French poet and writer Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918), which have their origins in the Asian language area and have been taken up again in avant-garde typography. A pictorial poem, also known as a calligram, not only communicates the content of a text, but also creates a visual object of perception with its own level of meaning, thus combining text and image. In her dissertation Caroline Knoch asks the question whether the colourful helpers of our digital communication - we are talking here about the so-called emojis (Japanese: picture characters, or moji Japanese: writing) - can be regarded as the digital heritage of 20th century pictorial poems. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Oliver Ruf
Rebecca Komp, Management Sciences/ Project Healthy University
Are short absences inevitably an indication of healthy employees? Doctoral student 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.
Markus Matt, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Technical Journalism, IMEA
The importance of digital games has changed in recent years. In addition to economic growth and constant technical innovations, a further development can be observed: narrative structures are becoming increasingly complex. In this context, Doctoral student Markus Matt is working on the narrative character in digital games. He would like to explore their specific dynamics as well as their nature as an elementary involvement factor and ultimately their function as virtual world openers. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Oliver Ruf
Stephan Maurer, Natural Sciences, ISF
Improviced explosive device (IED) is often used in terrorist activities and are part of the threat in the global trouble spots. The protection of people and material therefore requires effective countermeasures. This also includes enabling security forces or military personnel to classify unknown substance finds as dangerous or non-critical with little time and logistical effort on site. In order to differentiate between explosive and non-explosive materials, the highly exothermic reaction that can be initiated in explosives can be used. This results in radiation emissions as well as in local pressure and temperature increases. The measurement of these reaction effects and the requirement for mobile, easy-to-use and robust analysis are made possible by a system developed by PhD student Stephan Maurer, which stimulates samples in the single-digit mg range to undergo chemical conversion by rapid heating on microstructured heaters. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Peter Kaul
Klaudia Michalek-Kursawe, Management Sciences / IZNE
Over the past few years, developing and emerging countries have increasingly tried out new concepts for extending social health insurance to the informal sector. A nationwide insurance of the entire population in the form of universal health insurance is one of them. However, entitlement to insurance benefits can also create incentives to change behaviour. For this reason, Klaudia Michalek-Kursawe's research examines the effects of universal health insurance on labour market variables and human capital in the informal sector. The focus is particularly on workers with a low level of human capital, who are mostly in unskilled work in the agricultural sector. It also examines which policy instruments can promote a transition to formal employment. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Katja Bender
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
Cassandra Moers, Natural Sciences/TREE
PhD student Cassandra Moers researches aluminium thick wires that are processed in a variety of electronic components, for example in sensors and control units of means of transport. Such electronic components are becoming increasingly important in the context of e-mobility and "assisted and autonomous driving". In daily use, aluminium thick wires are exposed to mechanical, thermal and electrical stresses and can fail over time, which can lead to a complete failure of the component. Therefore, doctoral student Cassandra Moers investigates and evaluates the reliability of the wire materials and simulates their application behaviour. The aluminum thick wires she is investigating have diameters of less than half a millimeter, which is about ten times thicker than a human hair. Supvisor: Prof. Dr. Christian Dresbach
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. Supervisor: 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
Hoai Viet Nguyen, Computer Science
Distributed software systems form the technical foundation of the advancing digitalization. The Internet already comprises several million software services used by billions of people. Due to this high number of users and the importance of software for society, security and scalability are two essential quality characteristics for modern distributed systems. These two quality characteristics are the focus of PhD student Hoai Viet Nguyen's dissertation. He investigates the interaction between security and scalability of modern software systems. Mr. Nguyen's research focuses on the analysis of attack vectors on massively scalable software systems (Ultra-Large Scale (ULS) Systems) and the development and evaluation of solutions. Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Luigi Lo Iacono
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
Ana Maria Perez Arredondo, Management Sciences/IZNE
Doctoral student Ana Maria Perez Arredondo researches the interconnections of humans and animals with their environment, better known as the "One-Health" approach, and its integration into Ghana's country policy. Her interest lies in the capital of Ghana, Accra, and the inter-sectoral cooperation there, which has enabled various actors to pursue comprehensive health outcomes for all. As the inclusion of the "One-Health" approach in Ghana's political agenda is relatively new, PhD student Ana Maria Perez Arredondo evaluates the processes of policy development and implementation and examines the relationship between different environments (e.g. social, political, economic, built, natural), and their impact on health and poverty. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Katja Bender
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
Julian Rech, Natural Sciences/TREE
Plastics have become an integral part of everyday life. In order to improve the mechanical properties of plastics and thus extend the range of applications, plastics are reinforced with fillers, for example with glass fibres, glass beads, carbon fibres etc. Doctoral student Julian Rech wants to model and verify the new mechanical properties of the resulting composite material in his research work. The new development of this model approach (Elementary Volume Concept) is based on the consideration of the adhesion between filler and matrix (plastic), which results in a better prediction of e.g. the stiffness of the composite material. These model results are important for designers and engineers for the construction of new plastic components for e.g. automotive, aerospace and safety related applications. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Möginger
Markus Rohde, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Technical Journalism
In recent years, 3D cameras based on the time-of-flight method - also driven by the use in smartphones - have increasingly found their way into our everyday lives. The possible applications of this technology are immense, be it for automatic environment detection in the automotive sector, security and automation functions in robotics, tasks of automatic area monitoring, biometric problems or even the contactless control of technical devices. The aim of the research work of PhD student Markus Rohde is to expand the application areas of such 3D cameras. For example, the range for outdoor applications, which is currently limited to about 10 meters, is to be extended to more than 100 meters. For this purpose, innovative infrared laser illuminations are being developed and approaches to signal processing close to the sensor are being researched. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Robert Lange
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. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. André Hinkenjann
Sara Schäfer, Natural Sciences/ ISF
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. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dirk Reith
Sven Schneider, Computer Science/Autonomous Systems
In contrast to industrial robots, we expect household robots to be able to perform gripping movements with their arms depending on the situation. However, they must first learn this ability with the help of models from various disciplines (e.g. mechanics or control engineering). PhD student Sven Schneider makes this interdisciplinary knowledge available to domestic robots by developing application-specific languages. If you like, he is an interpreter and language teacher for household robots. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Paul Plöger
Sven Seele, Computer Science/ Institute for Visual Computing
Virtual environments are artificial computer worlds in which people can learn and train skills for the real world. In such environments, even potentially life-threatening situations can be repeated and varied almost as often as desired without exposing users to real danger. Often other simulated participants (software agents) are also part of the virtual world, supporting or preventing users from achieving training goals. The behaviour of these "agents" can make a significant contribution to making the virtual environment credible and thus enhance the learning effect. Doctoral student Sven Seele is therefore investigating how agent behaviour can be generated by simulating cognitive processes in such a way that the simulation appears as plausible as possible, can be easily controlled and users can experience the simulation interactively at the same time. The modeling of personality, emotions and perception plays a decisive role in this process. Supervision: Prof. Dr. Rainer Herpers
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/ IVC
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
Michael Stotter, Natural Sciences/IZNE
The German-Dutch project called "Food Protects" aims to reduce regional and surplus existing nitrate inputs from agriculture and to increase structural diversity in the agricultural landscape. To this end, PhD student Michael Stotter is working on the environmental impacts of the use of Miscanthus biomass in livestock farming. He focuses on the application of organic fertilizers from Miscanthus additions in an environmentally friendly and site-appropriate manner. The influence on the nitrogen and carbon dynamics and the interaction in the soil-plant system are in the foreground. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Martin Hamer
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
Philipp Swoboda, Natural Sciences, IZNE
Can stones be turned into bread? Ground stones have been used in agriculture for centuries. Many rocks contain essential plant nutrients and could therefore be used as natural fertilizers and soil conditioners. However, previous results are contradictory, as the effect depends strongly on the respective rock, soil and plant type. PhD student Philipp Swoboda is therefore investigating how and under what conditions rock flour can best be used in agriculture. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Martin Hamer
Jan Tolsdorf, Computer Sciences
The ongoing digitalisation and introduction of new information systems in everyday working life means that ever larger amounts of personal data of employees are processed by their employers. This development is particularly problematic with regard to employee data protection when employees have neither sufficient knowledge nor control over the processing and thus the right to informational self-determination as a fundamental element of human dignity is threatened. To compensate for the lack of knowledge and skills in exercising the right to privacy at the workplace, Dokorand Jan Tolsdorf is designing and testing an assistance system in the form of a "privacy dashboard" for everyday work. For its prototypical implementation, design guidelines are to be derived from the mental models and privacy perceptions of employees, with the help of which data processing and data flows in the work environment can be prepared in an understandable way, sensitised to possible infringements of privacy and options for intervention can be shown, so that employees become capable of acting. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Luigi Lo Iacono
Sarah Vermeeren, Natural Sciences/ISF
PhD student Sarah Vermeeren is developing a method for the detection of wart disease, which is caused by the potted fungus Synchytrium endobioticum (Schilb.) Perc. and is one of the most important pests of potatoes. It even has quarantine status in EU countries, i.e. infected areas are closed to potato cultivation for years. Early detection and containment of wart disease is therefore extremely important. Sarah Vermeeren uses thermodesorption gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS) and proton-transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) to analyse the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) profiles of potato plants, potatoes and residual soils with the aim of differentiating between healthy and infected status. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Peter Kaul
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. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens
Katharina Walbrück, Natural Sciences/ TREE/ 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. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Peter Kaul
Stephan Wiefling, Computer Sciences
Many of us know the problem with passwords: If they are short, we can easily remember them, but they also make it easier for hackers to access our accounts. Long passwords, on the other hand, are safer, but are difficult to remember. Doctoral student Stephan Wiefling is researching how the security of passwords can be increased without increasing the burden on users. One promising approach is the so-called risk-based authentication (RBA), which is used by large online services such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, but which has hardly been researched despite its great potential. Due to a lack of transparency of the services using RBA, it is hardly used by smaller websites. Stephan Wiefling examines how online services use this technology, how users perceive and use it (usability), and how RBA can be used efficiently in terms of data protection and privacy. The results of the research should provide a full understanding of RBA, which could increase the adoption of the technology and help more websites worldwide protect their users from hackers. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Luigi Lo Iacono
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/ TREE
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. Because 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. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Remi Maier-Rigaud
You can find descriptions of other doctoral projects under the following links to our scholarship holders: