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Research Areas

Research Areas

Research Areas of the Hector Fellow Academy

The Hector Fellows work in many different fields in natural and engineering sciences, informatics, mathematics, psychology and medicine. PhD students of the Hector Fellow Academy realize a research project within the field of their supervising Hector Fellow.


Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius is professor of Geomicrobiology at the University of Bremen and conducts research at the Max Planck Institute of Marine Microbiology and the Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research. Her research field comprises anaerobic methane-oxidizing microorganisms and the geoecology of submarine gas sources.

Prof. Dr. Hegemann is head of the workgroup for experimental biophysics and executive director of the Institute for Biology at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin. He is the world's leading expert in photobiology and one of the founding fathers of optogenetics, which combines the methods of optics and genetics to create a form of non-invasive stimulation of neurons.

Prof. Dr. Axel Meyer is professor of Zoology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Konstanz. Among others, he established the empirical finding that speciation may occur even without geographical barriers and, thus, refuted a dogma disseminated for decades.

Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Pfanner is director of the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg. His research focuses on the energy budget of living cells; he was the first scientist worldwide to succeed in decoding the composition of cell organelles.


Prof. Dr. Manfred Kappes holds the chair for Physical Chemistry of Microscopic Systems at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and is co-director of the Institute of Nanotechnology. His research comprises the investigation of molecular systems in the gas phase, metal clusters, fullerenes, and carbon nanotubes.

Prof. Dr. Stephen Hashmi is professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Heidelberg and Vice-Rector for Research and Structure. He is a pioneer in the field of homogeneous gold catalysis.


Prof. Dr. Peter Gumbsch holds the chair of Material Sciences at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and is head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials in Freiburg and Halle. His research activities focus on modeling and simulation of materials, in particular multiscale modelling approaches.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Franz Nestmann is managing director of the Institute for Water and River Basin Management at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He is specialized in the construction and operation of hydrologic engineering facilities, in flood protection and water extraction.


Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Lengauer is director of the Max Planck Institute of Informatics in Saarbruecken and Honorary Professor at the University of the Saarland. His major fields of research are protein structure and function prediction, and computational drug screening and design. Furthermore, he aims to improve methods in bioinformatics to contribute to the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of diseases.


Prof. Dr. Günter M. Ziegler is professor of Discrete Geometry at the Freie University of Berlin. In his research he treats problems from discrete and computational geometry (in particular, the theory of convex polytopes), explores and develops graph-theoretical, algebraic and topological methods in combinatorics with applications e.g. to mesh generation and to linear and integer optimization.

Medicine / Psychology

Prof. Dr. Thomas Elbert is professor of Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology at the University of Konstanz. His research fields are trauma and social stress.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Christoph Klein is director of the Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital at the University of Munich. He explores rare diseases in children; especially in the blood and immune system, and developed cell and gene therapy to combat them.

Prof. Dr. Eberhart Zrenner is senior professor at the Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience at the University of Tübingen. He is specialized in degenerative diseases of the retina.


Prof. Dr. Immanuel Bloch is professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Munich and director of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching. His research focuses on quantum simulation with ultracold atoms trapped in optical lattices.

Prof. Dr. Eva Grebel is professor of Astronomy and director of the Astronomisches Rechen-Institut at the University of Heidelberg. She is one of the leading researchers in the field of galaxy evolution.

Prof. Dr. Martin Wegener is director of the Department Photonic Crystals at the Institute of Nanotechnology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He explores metamaterials.

Prof. Dr. Jürg Leuthold is head of the Institute of Electromagnetic Fields at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland. Previously he worked at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. In 2011 he set a world record when he succeeded in encoding data at a rate of 26 terabits per second on a single laser beam, transmitting the data over a distance of 50 kilometers.

Prof. Dr. Hilbert von Löhneysen is director of the Institute of Solid State Physics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. His research field comprises the study of quantum effects in metals and quantum phase transition.

Prof. Dr. Karl Leo is director of the Institute of Applied Photophysics at the University of Dresden. His main interests are novel semiconductor systems like semiconducting organic thin films; with special emphasis to understand growth, basic device principles and the optical response.

Prof. Dr. Jens Timmer is professor of Theoretical Physics at the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg. Working in the field of systems biology he uses mathematical modeling to describe biological processes, such as the formation of cancer.