Sofja Kovalevskaja Award 2002 - Award Winners (S-Z)
born in 1972; (Spain), Research Field: Solid-State Physics
Host Institute: Institut für Theoretische Physik, Universität Hannover
Luis Santos studied at the University of Salamanca (Spain), where he received his doctorate in 1998. Since then he has been conducting research at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Hanover University.
Research Project: Ultra-Cold in the Light of a Laser
The theoretical physicist Dr Luis Santos has devoted his research to the area of ultra cold atomic gases. In particular he has analysed novel methods of achieving extremely cold atomic samples using laser light (laser-cooling), and studied different effects in which the atoms behave as a wave (atom-optics). In the last two years, he has turned his interest to the analysis of the Bose-Einstein condensation, a state of matter in which a macroscopic amount of atoms occupy a single quantum state. Such a phenomenon can be considered one of the hottest topics in modern atomic physics, due to the remarkable experimental results, which have obtained the coldest atomic samples ever, and also due to its intrinsic interdisciplinary character which links a broad spectrum of research areas. Currently, Dr Santos continues the analysis of the physics of Bose-Einstein condensates, and is additionally interested in the links between Atomic and Condensed-Matter Physics in the case of strongly-correlated systems in cold atomic gases, including one-dimensional gases, and lattice gases.
Dr Santos' research group has published more than fifteen papers in refereed journals, including five Physical Review Letters, the most prestigious journal in their research field. The group has been presented its work at more than fifteen conferences and has been invited to colloquia in Spain, The Netherlands, Russia, Italy, and Germany. The Sofja Kovalevskaja Award has supported different visitors from the United Kingdom, Italy, and Finland, and has allowed for the buying of new computational facilities.
Dr. Santos plans to remain within the German academical and research system within the next future, strengthening his current collaborations with German and foreign top-qualified groups.
born in 1969; (Sweden/Germany), Research Field: Material Sciences and Metallurgy
Host Institute: Lehrstuhl für Theoretische Hüttenkunde und Metallurgie der Kernbrennstoffe, Technische Hochschule Aachen
Jochen Schneider studied at the University of Hull (Great Britain) and at Northwestern University of Illinois, Urbana (USA). He received his doctorate in 1998. Since then he has been working at Linköping University (Sweden). He has also done research work as a visiting scientist at various institutions, including the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California (USA).
Research Project: A Second Skin of Nanocrystals
Professor Schneider is regarded as one of the leading experts in coating-technology. As a material scientist, he is creating oxide layers with tailor-made properties, and is developing a method using totally ionised plasmas for the deposition of nanocrystalline films from the gas phase. In his project, Dr Schneider will seek to understand the correlations between plasma chemistry and energetics, the structure evolution and the properties of thin films. Special attention is paid to impurity incorporation during growth due to residual gases.
Professor Schneider has built-up collaboration with RWTH departments as well as non-university institutes (FZ Rossendorf, IWS FhG Dresden, Physical Chemistry University Chemnitz) and others will follow. He was awarded the Chair in Materials Technology on 1 March 2002.
Joachim L. W. Schultze
born in 1965; (USA/Germany), Research Field: Immunology
Host Institute: Klinik 1 für Innere Medizin, Universität Köln
Joachim L. W. Schultze studied at Tübingen University, where he received his doctorate in 1992. Since then he has been conducting research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts (USA).
Research Project: Cancer Vaccines
The immunologist Professor Schultze researches into the immune response to tumors and tumors derived from blood cells in particular and develops vaccines for cancer treatment. In April 2002 he was appointed Professor for Tumor Immunology at the University of Cologne. Over the last 12 months together with his colleague Professor Wolf he has established a new and innovative research unit "Molecular Tumor Biology and Tumor Immunology" which combines basic, translational and clinical research in Cologne. Such integrative projects are essential for excellent research in the medical sciences. At present more than 10 scientists and physicians with a similar number of diploma and graduate students are working under the leadership of Professor Schultze and Wolf. The team is particularly focusing on the use of genomic techniques to answer important questions of tumor immunology. In the summer of 2003, the first study concerning blood derived immune cells in healthy individuals and cancer patients has been successfully concluded. Preliminary results about defects of immune cells in cancer patients have been established, also revealed by using modern genomic techniques. A strong emphasis is also the detection of new targets to be integrated into cancer vaccines as well as the development of novel immunodiagnostic techniques for cancer vaccine trials. For those two areas of development Professor Schultze together with colleagues at the University Hospital in Cologne founded already a biotech company.
Most recently, Professor Schultze has also been instrumental in founding a new initiative at the University of Cologne establishing a working group for preventative medicine. The main goal of this working group is the development of scientifically based clinical programs of preventative strategies - primarily in the areas of oncology, cardiology and immunology.
The team of Professor Schultze and Wolf are working closely together with scientists and clinicians at the Harvard Medical School, Boston University, University of Pennsylvania, and also from the Deutsche Krebsforschungszentrum, the Universities of Bonn and Frankfurt, and the GSF Neuherberg and the Max Delbrück Zentrum in Berlin.
born in 1965; (Austria), Research Field: Molecular Biology
Host Institute: Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie, Technische Hochschule Aachen
Eva Stoger studied at Salzburg University (Austria) and received her doctorate at Vienna University (Austria) in 1994. She has been conducting research at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida (USA), and most recently in the Molecular Biotechnology Unit of the John Innes Center in Norwich (Great Britain).
Research Project: Pharmaceutical Factories in Rice and Wheat
Dr Stoger is researching into the production of pharmaceutical proteins in plants. In the last few years, she has demonstrated that medical antibodies can, in principle, be produced in rice and wheat. Stoger's research group is already producing important pharmaceutical proteins in cereal plants, including coli Toxin B, humanes Serum-Albumin, and an antibody to the bacterial cause of tooth decay. The objective of the current research project is to refine the manipulation of these procedures with the help of molecular and cell-biological methods. Dr Stoger is developing a purification procedure to obtain significant amounts of these proteins from the plants for further analysis. She is examining in detail the effectiveness and biological security of recombinant pharmaceutical proteins from plants. She is receiving support in this work from medical working groups in Germany and abroad. The utilization of useful plants - particularly cereals - as bio-reactors for producing vaccines, therapeutic anti-bodies, and similar pharmaceutical proteins makes it possible to produce such substances free of contamination and at a reasonable price and thus employ them routinely in human medicine.
In the course of the project Dr Stoger has built up a network of national and international collaboration which will be involved in follow-up projects.
Greg J. Stuart
born in 1962; (Australia), Research Field: Neurophysiology
Host Institute: Universitätsklinikum, Physiologisches Institut 1, Universität Freiburg
Greg J. Stuart studied at Monash University in Melbourne (Australia) and at the Australian National University, Canberra (Australia), where he received his doctorate in 1991. As a Humboldt Research Fellow, he worked at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. Since 1995 he has again been conducting research at the Australian National University, Canberra (Australia).
Research Project: How Memories are Created
Dr Stuart is interested in understanding how we make memories. Our brains contain billions of nerve cells connected into complex networks. Previous work indicates that repetitive activation of individual networks can lead to changes in the strength of connections between nerve cells. These changes in connection strength are thought to underlie learning and memory. This project will address the cellular mechanisms underlying changes in the strength of connections between nerve cells. In particular, as most of the information nerve cells receive is made onto their dendrites (small branching processes that extend from the cell body), one of the main objectives will be to determine the role dendrites play in modulating changes in connection strength between nerve cells. This research will increase our understanding of how our brains make memories. In the long run it is hoped that this research will help us to fix them when things go wrong.
born in 1969; (Russian Federation), Research Field: Physical Chemistry and Surface Physics
Host Institute: Abteilung Grenzflächen, Max-Planck-Institut für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung, Potsdam
Gleb Sukhorukov studied at Lomonosov University in Moscow (Russian Federation), where he gained his doctorate in 1994. He worked as a scientific assistant at the Institute of Crystallography of the Russian Academy of Sciences and at the Max Planck Institute for Colloid and Surface Research in Potsdam.
Research Project: Polymer Capsules – Medication in Micropackages
As a biophysicist with a powerful reputation, Dr Sukhorukov has been specialising in hollow capsules made from polymers, such as are used for pharmaceutical and similar products, in the food industry, and in genetic engineering. Dr Sukhorukov has already developed new methods for producing capsules, and he also does research into the permeability and elasticity of polymer capsules and into the way these properties can be controlled. He has gained world-wide respect for his development of methods for colloid coating with polymer multi-layers.
born in 1973; (USA/Russian Federation), Research Field: Solid-State Chemistry
Host Institute: Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Stuttgart
Grigori Vajenine studied at the Higher Chemical College of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow (Russian Federation) and Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas (USA). He gained his doctorate in 1997 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York (USA). Since then he has been a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Solid-State Research in Stuttgart. He was also granted a Humboldt Research Fellowship and has won a number of research awards.
Research Project: Atomic Patterns in Crystals
The main goal of Dr. Vajenine's work is to prepare and characterise new solid-state inorganic materials. He analyses chemical bonding and interprets their physical properties. The interdisciplinary project builds up on the fields of chemistry, materials reaserch, and physics. On the one hand, Vajenine investigates a group of metal-rich compounds containing electropositive metals such as sodium and barium. The goal is to understand the interplay of ionic and metallic bonding in these substances. On the other hand, he applies a promising synthetic route employing plasma-activated nitrogen to prepare novel metal nitrides.
Employment of low-temperature nitrogen plasma allows one to access an alternative synthetic route to preparation of new nitrogen-containing materials. In conventional inorganic chemical synthesis high temperatures are typically used to bring the starting materials to react with each other. However, overheating of the reaction mixtute is sometimes undesirable because it complicates the process and may prevent formation of desired products. The application of plasma discharge enables more selective activation of reacting molecules while maintaining relatively low processing temperature. This opens a way to materials inaccessible by other synthetic approaches. Specifically, Dr Vajenine's group concentrate their efforts on obtaining transition metal nitrides with useful electrical and magnetic properties. They have demonstrated viability of this approach by preparing the superconducting niobium nitride NbN as an example.
born in 1968; (China), Research Field: Material Sciences and Metallurgy
Host Institute: Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH, Universität Kaiserslautern
Zhong Zhang studied at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei (China), where he received his doctorate in 1999. He worked at the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing since 1990. Between 1997 and 1998, he worked at the Karlsruhe Research Centre (Germany) and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (England) as a guest scientist. He has been working concurrently at the Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH (Institute for Composite Materials) at University of Kaiserslautern as a Humboldt Research Fellow since September 2000, and as a group leader sponsored by the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award program since November 2001.
Research Project: Parts for the Hydrogen Motor
Understanding of processing-structure-property relationships of polymer composites is the main research area of Professor Zhong Zhang, a professor from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. He worked in some leading research institutions in UK and Germany between 1997 and 1998, concentrating on low-temperature properties of polymers and composites. Parts of the results on failure processes in resins are of importance to support the design of large (11m diameter) superconducting magnets for the Atlas experiment at CERN. The objective of this new project is to investigate the long-term behaviour of short fibres/particles (including nanoparticles) reinforced thermoplastics at different environmental temperatures, finally leading to an accelerative use of these materials in various industrial applications, for example, the blossoming hydrogen technology for vehicle application. Artificial neural networks are also used in his project to predict the performance of these materials as a function of their compositions and testing conditions. Up to now, he has more than 60 research publications in refereed journals and international conferences.
Professor Zhong Zhang's research group has published 7 scientific papers in international journals. Other 12 papers have been submitted for reviewing or are in preparation. Parts of the work are on the way for a German patent application, due to the high potential for industrial purpose.