PhD Students

PhD Students
(Vorländer cohort)

Muhammad Abu Bakar

Supervisor: Prof. Jörg Kreßler
Contact: muhammad.abu-bakar@chemie.uni-halle.de

During my M. Phil/MS chemistry program I have worked on different research projects. I have experience of using Raman and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy techniques. I have experience of synthesizing and characterizing nanoparticles and used these nanoparticles as biosensors for different biological applications. I have experience of different spectroscopic techniques such as NMR, UV-VIS, Infrared, ESR, Fluorescence and Mass spectrometry. My PhD thesis topic is “Synthesis and characterization of fluorophilic polymers”. I am interested to synthesized different fluorophiic biopolymers and characterized these biopolymers by using different spectroscopic techniques such as Raman, 19F NMR, UV-VIS, Infrared, ESR, Fluorescence and Mass spectrometry.

Christian Anders

Supervisor: Prof. Carsten Tschierske
Contact: christian.anders@chemie.uni-halle.de

During my bachelor and master thesis I learned what an exciting topic the synthesis and characterization of liquid crystalline substances can be. Through the targeted design of the molecules and the introduction of incompatible parts within a molecule, so many different organizational forms can be created that there is an incredible range of possibilities for the design of liquid-crystalline phases. My interest in further researching this spectrum and the experiment to generate liquid quasi-crystalline phases using the already known concepts have led me to pursue a PhD in the field of organic synthesis of liquid crystals in the working group of Prof. C. Tschierske.

Virginia-Marie Fischer

Supervisor: Prof. Rebecca Waldecker
Contact: virginia-marie.fischer@mathematik.uni-halle.de

I will do a doctorate in the project “Design of liquid quasicrystals and their approximants”. My focus will be on modelling of self-organized specific matter, developing mathematical tools for abstract describing and explaining changes of structures. This fascinating project is a possibility to break new ground in the scientific world and to show that mathematics is more than calculation of chemical quantities. I am pleased to be a part of this and the BEAM-Team.

Elise Johanna Hingst

Supervisor: Prof. Dariush Hinderberger
Contact: elise-johanna.hingst@chemie.uni-halle.de

Being part of professor Hinderberger’s team during my diploma thesis I already had the chance to gather practical experience in the field of amphiphilicity. My research focused on structure and organization of monoclonal antibodies at the air/water interface in presence of pharmaceutical polymers. The experiments were conducted by Langmuir Film Balance measurements, Drop Shape Tensiometry and Infrared Reflection-Absorption-Spectroscopy (IRRAS). I was impressed by the practical relevance, the topicality of the subject and the chance to cooperate with the commercial enterprise Boehringer Ingelheim. I’m very glad about the opportunity to continue my diploma project and to start doing research on the myelin basic protein (MBP) and lipid model systems within the framework of a doctoral thesis. Studies on MBP at the air/water interface open up new possibilities for me to apply and expand acquired knowledge of proteins interacting with interfaces. For example, with Infrared Reflection-Absorption measurements, I will be able to contribute to discovering structural properties of soft matter. My motivation is to pave the way for biophysical research in the field of membrane proteins using model membrane systems.

Til Kundlacz

Supervisor:Prof. Carla Schmidt
Contact: til-erik.kundlacz@bct.uni-halle.de

Til Kundlacz obtained his Master’s degree in biochemistry from the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg. In his Master thesis, he studied the interaction of Synaptotagmin-1 with phospholipids using native mass spectrometry. The goal of his PhD project is the characterization of interactions formed between proteins and lipids or detergents. Til uses mass spectrometric methods (i.e. native MS and IM-MS) as well as biophysical methods such as ITC, DSC or IRRAS to achieve his goal.

Jonas Lührs

Supervisor: Prof. Daniel Sebastiani
Contact: jonas.luehrs@chemie.uni-halle.de

Philicity in biological systems plays an important role in explaining the functions as well as the structures of such systems. Further philicity describes the different intermolecular interaction energies competing with each other. In my PhD study I am interested in describing these different intermolecular interactions occurring in solvents by using quantum-mechanical and classical methods . These methods include molecular dynamics (MD) simulations as well as geometry optimizations to explore and determine the structural behaviour of different molecules/compounds in solvents.

Judith Münch

Supervisor: Prof. Martin Weissenborg
Contact: judith.muench@chemie.uni-halle.de

My thesis focusses on discovering, expressing and engineering new enzymes from the class of unspecific peroxygenases (UPOs). Those secreted, heme containing enzymes are able to perform oxyfunctionalization reactions, relying only on hydrogen peroxide as pre-reduced oxygen source. This omits the need for any reduction equivalent or a complex electron transfer chain. I am interested in tuning their activity and selectivity towards desired products by means of directed evolution. Especially the use of different computational tools, mostly in close cooperation with different external partners, leads to fast and targeted strategies. Screening for improved variants is performed through colorimetric assays or a fast GC-MS approach called MISER (Multiple Injection in a Single Experimental Run).

Subham Ojha

Supervisor: Prof. Frederik Haase
Contact: subham.ojha@chemie.uni-halle.de

During my masters I was really interested in Metal Organic Frameworks and always wanted to do further research on MOFs and other similar porous materials. I was intrigued by these materials due to their various applications, including gas separation/storage, water purification, catalysis, electrode materials, chemical sensing, drug delivery, and so on. For my doctorate research, I will be focusing on the new and some known reticular framework materials based on frustrated pseudo-C5- symmetrical building blocks and their applications in a variety of field such as gas and water adsorption, Proton conductivity, etc. The frustration in these frameworks arises from the conflict of the framework lattice and the fascinating thing about the geometric frustration possessed by these building blocks is that it can be used as a strategy to obtain highly complex porous materials.

Anna Franziska Roth

Supervisor: Prof. Dariush Hinderberger
Contact: anna-franziska.roth@chemie.uni-halle.de

By trying to find new polymers that are formed through noncovalent forces, a new species of colloid-like ionic clusters has been discovered in 2012. These so-called „ionoids“, consisting of a multicationic molecular box and dipotassium methanedisulfonate, are monodisperse, spherical structures that form in DMSO:glycerole:water 50:43:7 (v/v/v) after 10 days of incubation. The goal of the doctorate is to better understand the forces that lead to the formation and high stability of these clusters with the help of different physico-chemical measuring methods.

Li Wan

Supervisor: Prof. Martin Weissenborn
Contact: li.wan@chemie.uni-halle.de

My doctorate study is to explore the catalytic potential of fungal unspecific peroxygenases (UPOs) through directed evolution and apply it to the oxyfunctionalization of terpenes and terpenoids. A novel method will be developed to screen the reactivity of UPOs mutants toward multiple substrates. Then, the reaction specificity, regioselectivity, and enantioselectivity of the positive mutants can be further determined and altered. My goal is to develop and refine this method to adapt to different UPOs and substrates.

Marah Alqaisi

Supervisor: Prof. Wolfgang Binder
Contact: marah.alqaisi@chemie.uni-halle.de

My research topic is focusing on understanding and engineering the structural organization of polyphilic polymers that is governed by the supramolecular interactions present within the polymer chains and synthesizing single-chain nano-particles (SCNPs) based on such interactions. What motivates me the most about scientific research in general and this topic specifically is not just the desire to be of service to the scientific society, it is also the curiosity of unraveling the causes behind scientific observations. The introduction of monomers of many different philicities in the polymer chain is proposing a unique organization that’s not well-understood yet. I believe such challenge will keep me occupied throughout my PhD journey!

Simona Bassoli

Supervisor: Prof. Frederik Haase
Contact: simona.bassoli@chemie.uni-halle.de

Given the structural versatility of COFs and their ability to tune and
customize pore size and shape, these materials provide an opportunity to
design materials with specific properties and tailored pores for
targeted applications. Additionally, most COFs exhibit a single type of
linear pore, which is usually uniform in size and chemical environment.
Therefore, the focus of my research is to explore the use amphiphilicity
and beyond to create pores, within a single material, with distinct
chemical environments.

David Haselberger

Supervisor: Prof. Kay Saalwächter
Contact: david.haselberger@physik.uni-halle.de

Project B3 will focus on studying the effect of macromolecular crowding on translational and rotational diffusion of proteins. The object of study will be bovine serum albumin and how the addition of multivalent cations such as Y³⁺ alters the rotational and translational dynamics of the system. Various NMR techniques ranging from NMR-relaxometry to pulsed-field-gradient NMR are used for this purpose. As a chemist by training, I have always been drawn to the field of physical chemistry. For my PhD, I am looking forward to learn and apply many new methods and hope to contribute new knowledge in the field of protein diffusion.

Dominik Homann

Supervisor: Prof. Martin Weissenborn
Contact: dominik.homann@chemie.uni-halle.de

My thesis is based on unspecific peroxygenases (UPOs) and their potential for non-natural known bioconversions. Especially radical reactions and the investigation of the mechanism is of particular interest for me. My motivation is to discover new and exciting reactions, which have not been described with enzymes yet.

Jana Krüger

Contact: jana.krueger@few.de

The goal for my PhD ist to develop migration-stable reagents For the purpose of photopolymerization. These reagents should be incorporated into the polymer in different ways to prevent diffusion from the end product. For this purpose, monomers based on acrylates and methacrylates are being developed, as they exhibit excellent properties for photopolymerization. Various iodonium salts are used as photoinitiators to initiate the process, and Coulomb interactions arising from their charge could be utilized to reduce diffusion. Depending on the intended application of the products, photosensitizers in the form of novel dyes and absorbers are also used to support initiation and must be bound within the polymer.

Florian Lehmann

Supervisor: Prof. Dariush Hinderberger
Contact: florian.lehmann@chemie.uni-halle.de

During my bachelor thesis I gathered experience in photocatalysis. After that I became a part of Prof. Dr. Dariush Hinderberger’s group where I utilized EPR spectroscopy and EPR imaging to investigate protein hydrogels. Now I combine these knowledges about photochemistry and EPR spectroscopy to examine the influence of visible light on proteins, polymers and other materials. I currently work on the light-induced decay of monoclonal antibodies, photochemical Bergman cyclisation of main-chain enediyne polymers and characterization of radical formation in carbonitrides and Cer-MOFs under irradiation.

Sebastian Michler

Supervisor:Prof. Dariush Hinderberger
Contact: sebastian.michler@student.uni-halle.de

All living vertebrates need to synthesize, incorporate and metabolize hydrophobic molecules inside their tissues. For a smooth transport between cell organelles, membranes and blood, evolution created a system of amphiphilic transport proteins which can non-covalently bind these molecules. In my PhD-project I am going to analyze the binding characteristics and dynamic structures of human transport proteins from blood plasma (serum albumin) and myelin (FABP8). Combining modern EPR-spectroscopy, binding studies and comparative genetic analyses, their functionalities and evolutionary purpose will be further illuminated. Additionally, the role of proteins in human myelin will be analyzed by interaction studies with myelin-mimicking model membranes of rising complexity. Beyond the achievement of basic understanding, this approach could provide new cues for advanced diagnostics and therapeutic treatment of neuropathies such as multiple sclerosis.

Sarah Neudorf

Supervisor: Prof. Kirsten Bacia
Contact: sarah.neudorf@chemie.uni-halle.de

While studying biochemistry at Martin-Luther-University in Halle I became more and more fascinated by the complexity of proteins in terms of their interplay between their functions, biophysical properties and structural features. As part of the GRK2670 – Beyond Amphilicity – I am eager to elucidate protein-protein and protein-membrane interactions and the role of multiple interactions between multiple different particles.

Eliane Roos

Supervisor: Prof. Daniel Sebastiani
Contact: eliane.roos@chemie.uni-halle.de

Cellulose is one of the most abundant bio-polymers and has a broad range of applications. One limiting factor is its poor solubility in most solvents, resulting in a small fraction of cellulose being processed. Some ionic liquids can dissolve cellulose, but the reason is still not fully understood. My aim is an understanding of the solution process on a molecular level using ab-initio and force field molecular dynamics simulations. As a first step, I develop a number of force fields for cellulose and various ionic liquids. As hydrogen bonds play a key role for the solution process, a special focus is given on an accurate reproduction of the hydrogen bonds in these systems. By using these force fields, a deeper understanding of interactions, concentration-related effects, and the behavior of the system under external influences becomes possible.

Anna Luisa Upterworth

Supervisor: Prof. Daniel Sebastiani
Contact: anna-luisa.upterworth@chemie.uni-halle.de

In mixtures, diverse structural phenomena occur due to different philicities of the components. The concept of philicity can be understood as the result of competing intermolecular interactions of different nature, but a quantitative formulation of philicity in terms of interaction energies remains difficult. Our goal is to develope such a description in order to get a better understanding of how the interplay of interactions is related to structural phenomena in complex multi-component systems. For this purpose, we will use various methods of quantum-chemistry as well as classical and quantum-mechanical molecular dynamics (MD) simulations.

Alena Winter

Supervisor: Prof. Frederik Haase
Contact: alena.winter@chemie.uni-halle.de

The idea behind my PhD project is to increase the stability and crystallinity of Covalent Organic Frameworks (COFs) by developing a new synthesis route: Initially, force-field optimized linkers with well-defined attachment points are designed and synthesized. Then, we synthesize Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs), which arrange the linkers in space. These MOFs are then the starting point for the chemical transformation in the solid state leading to the formation of COFs. The highly crystalline MOF-template helps to overcome the crystallinity and stability problems and broaden the application of COFs.