All new appointments at a glance

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Prof. Sebastian-Edgar Baumeister
(Faculty of Medicine)

Sebastian-Edgar Baumeister has been at the Faculty of Medicine since February 2021. He wrote his doctoral and habilitation theses at the University of Greifswald in the field of population-based epidemiology. Before he moved to Münster, Baumeister headed the "Epidemiological Statistical Methods" working group at the Chair of Epidemiology at the University of Munich at UNIKA-T Augsburg. Further stages in his career were at the Technical University of Munich, the University of Regensburg and the Department of Health Policy and Management & Department of Family Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles. His current focus of research is on the impact of physical activity on psychiatric, cardiometabolic and cancerous diseases, as well as the effects on pulmonary diseases and cancer of taking cannabis. At the Centre for Dental, Oral and Maxillo-Facial Surgery he is investigating causal determinants of periodontitis and is developing data-assisted decision support systems in the treatment of periodontitis.

Prof. Benjamin Bomfleur
(Faculty of Geosciences)

Benjamin Bomfleur has been a professor at the Institute of Geology and Palaeontology since October 2020. He studied in Münster, where he also wrote his PhD thesis on plant fossils from the Antarctic. After working as a postdoc at the University of Kansas, USA, and at the Museum of Natural History (Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet) in Stockholm, Sweden, he returned to Münster and took up the position of leader of a team of junior researchers in the field of palaeobotany within the framework of the German Research Foundation’s Emmy Noether Programme.
Some of the topics which Bomfleur focuses on in his research are terrestrial palaeo-ecosystems at high latitudes and their importance for the evolution of plants, as well as the systems, biology and ecology of palaeozoic and mesozoic plants. He also investigates unusual fossil preservation, fossil curiosities and the history of the development of ferns. Some of the places that expeditions have taken him to are Jordan, western Australia, Argentina, the Canadian Arctic and the Antarctic.

Prof. Stephan von Delft
(Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy)

Stephan von Delft has been Professor of Chemistry and Entrepreneurship at the Institute of Business Administration within the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy since October 2020. His professorship is being funded jointly by the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy and the REACH - EUREGIO Start-up Center. He is also part of the Recycling, Sustainability and Life Cycle Analysis team at the international research school BACCARA at the MEET Battery Research Centre. Von Delft graduated in Chemistry and Business Studies at the University of Münster, where he also gained his PhD in 2014. After various positions abroad, including the Universities of Amsterdam and Glasgow, he returned to Münster.
His research is at the interface between entrepreneurship and strategy. For example, he is studying the question of how chemical and pharmaceutical companies can successfully develop new digital business models. He is also looking into the transformation of chemical and pharmaceutical companies and the design of sustainable business models for the recycling economy. He acts as a consultant to specialists and managers in established companies on these and other strategic topics, and he is also a mentor for start-ups. Outside his work, van Delft has been involved in voluntary work for the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (Technisches Hilfswerk, THW) for the past 15 years - for which he was awarded the "Münster Nadel" badge for exemplary civic engagement.

Prof. Daniel Frischemeier
(Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science)

Prof. Daniel Frischemeier has been working at the Institute for the Didactics of Mathematics and Computer Science since April. He studied Mathematics and Physics at the University of Paderborn, where he completed his PhD in 2016. After this, he took up a deputy professorship at the University of Munich. Frischemeier returned to his alma mater in 2018 as a research associate at the Institute of Mathematics. Before becoming a professor at Münster he worked for a year as a lecturer at the Institute for Development and Research in Mathematics Education (IEEM) at the Technical University of Dortmund.
The focuses of his research include the design and testing of teaching and learning environments, as well as the qualitative analysis of cognitive processes both in children at primary school level and in trainee teachers in the field of stochastics. He also undertakes research in the field of designing, testing and evaluating teaching materials on the topics of data science and civic statistics. Handling data competently and having an understanding of statistical presentations and indicators are important, says Frischemeier. He adds that with his research work and the teaching materials he develops, he wants to make his contribution to showing that primary school children can develop data competence at this early age.

Prof. Stephan Hailfinger
(Faculty of Medicine)

Stephan Hailfinger has been a professor at the Faculty of Medicine since November 2020. He teaches Biochemistry and Immunology and also works at Medical Clinic A at Münster University Hospital. Hailfinger studied Biochemistry at the University of Tübingen. After graduating he moved to the University of Lausanne, where he took his PhD within the Immunology and Cancer Programme. After this, he stayed at Lausanne as a postdoc. Before moving to the University of Münster, he carried out research at the Interfaculty Institute of Biochemistry in Tübingen into how immune cells are activated and how they can be influenced externally. His team received funding from the University’s "Future Concepts" programme, and in 2015 there was additional funding from the German Research Foundation through the Emmy Noether Programme.
Immune cells have the ability to use their receptors to recognize bacteria, viruses, parasites or even tumour cells. Stephan Hailfinger is researching into how these receptors pass on the signals into the cell and how the cell activates itself as a result. The proteins which play an important role in transmitting these signals may be interesting target structures for new medicines. This is important not only for autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis or multiple sclerosis, but also for haematological diseases. One focus is B-cell lymphomas, in which mutations in these receptors or in the signalling proteins have frequently been identified.

Prof. Hans-Joachim Hein
(Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science)

Hans-Joachim Hein has been Professor of Theoretical Mathematics since October 2020. He researches into differential geometry and partial differential equations. After studying in Gießen and Bonn, he gained his PhD at Princeton University, USA. After that, he undertook research as a postdoc for three years at Imperial College, London. His first permanent position was at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Nantes, France. In 2014 he returned to the USA, where he was appointed Assistant Professor - first at the University of Maryland, then at Fordham University in New York, where he eventually held the Kim B. and Stephen E. Bepler Chair as Associate Professor.

Prof. Gustav Holzegel
(Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science)

Gustav Holzegel has, since November 2020, been a professor at the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, where he holds an Alexander von Humboldt professorship. Holzegel is one of the world’s leading experts in the field of the General Theory of Relativity. After graduating in Physics from the University of Kaiserslautern, he gained his PhD in 2008 at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge. After this, he undertook research at Princeton University in the USA. From 2012, Holzegel worked at Imperial College, London, where he was made professor in 2018. For his contributions to a mathematical understanding of black holes, he was awarded the London Mathematical Society’s Whitehead Prize in 2016, the University of Cambridge Adams Prize in 2018 and the Blavatnik Award in 2019. He is an investigator at the "Mathematics Münster" Cluster of Excellence in the research focuses "Spaces and Operators" and "Models and Approximations".

Prof. David Kerr
(Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science)

Since January, Prof. David Kerr has been teaching and carrying out research at the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science. After his studies in Canada at the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto - where he also gained his PhD - he taught at Texas A&M University, the University of Tokyo, the ENS de Lyon in France and the University of Rome I. Research stays took him to Austria, Sweden, China, Spain and the UK. He already knew the University of Münster from his time as Alexander von Humboldt research fellow in 2003-2004. Kerr’s research focuses on ergodic theory and operator algebras.

Prof. Hubert Krenner
(Faculty of Physics)

Hubert Krenner has been a professor at the Institute of Physics since April. He studied at the Technical University of Munich, where he also gained his PhD with a dissertation on experimental semiconductor physics. After this, he did research for two years at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) as an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation postdoc. After his stay in the USA, Krenner worked as an assistant at the Chair of Experimental Physics at the University of Augsburg. He then moved to the University of Munich to take up a deputy professorship, after which he returned to the University of Augsburg to head an Emmy Noether team of junior researchers. Before moving to the University of Münster he spent seven years as Professor of Nanophotonics and Nanomechanics at the University of Augsburg.
In his team, Krenner uses nano-soundwaves, so-called surface acoustic waves, which are suitable for precision control and examination of nanostructures on a chip. As a result, the team is able to generate frequencies on a chip in the gigahertz range. This is a principle which is also used by transmitter/receiver components in smartphones or WiFi routers. The research focus is primarily on underlying phenomena in quantum mechanics. The team examines, for example, whether the three "elementary particles" in solid-state physics can be connected with one another. Krenner is investigating how soundwave quanta or phonons can be specifically utilized. The team has, for example, already succeeded in "mixing" individual light quanta, photons, with phonons in a targeted way by means of a single artificial atom in a semiconductor chip. This opens up the possibility of developing so-called hybrid quantum technologies which use soundwaves to transmit information.

Prof. Aleksandra Kwiatkowska
(Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science)

Since October, Aleksandra Kwiatkowska has been a professor at the Institute of Mathematical Logic and Basic Research and at the "Mathematics Münster" Cluster of Excellence. She studied at the University of Wroclaw in Poland and gained her PhD at the University of Illinois in the USA. After three years as a postdoc at the University of California in Los Angeles and a year as Hausdorff Fellow at the University of Bonn, she taught and researched in Münster and at the University of Wroclaw.
Aleksandra Kwiatkowska is working on the structure and dynamics of separable, completely metrizable topological groups. Her research borders on topological dynamics, Ramsey Theory, descriptive set theory and model theory. At the Cluster of Excellence she is a member of the research focus team "Groups, model theory and sets". At the Collaborative Research Centre "Geometry: Deformations and Rigidity" she is working on her own project concerning the rigidity of group topologies and universal minimum flows.

Prof. Rainer Mehren
(Faculty of Geosciences)

Since April Prof. Rainer Mehren has been teaching at the Institute for the Didactics of Geography within the Faculty of Geosciences. After his training as a teacher of Geography, Biology and Social Sciences at the University of Münster, Mehren gained his PhD in 2006 with a dissertation on "Young People’s View of Globalization - Theoretical Bases and Empirical Studies". After this he undertook research as a postdoc in Münster until 2008.
In 2008 Mehren was appointed Professor of the Didactics of Geography at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. In 2014 he moved to the University of Gießen. In Münster he is carrying out research into how complex, controversial challenges of the 21st century - e.g. migration, climate change and the scarcity of resources - can be dealt with in an appropriate way in geography lessons. Particular research focuses are systemic thinking and forming ethical judgements. Another research focus is on transfer.

Prof. Silke Mende
Faculty of History / Philosophy

Prof. Silke Mende has been teaching at the Department of Modern and Contemporary History since April 1. She studied Modern History - focusing on Contemporary History, Medieval History and Political Science - at the University of Tübingen and in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. Before being appointed to her position in Münster, she was until March the deputy Director of the Marc Bloch Centre in Berlin and Professor of European History at the Department of History at the Humboldt University of Berlin. After graduation, Mende gained her PhD in Tübingen with a dissertation on "Not right, not left, but at the front: a history of the founding members of the Green Party." Besides research stays at the German Historical Institute (DHI) in Paris, and at the Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po, likewise in Paris, Mende was until 2017 a research associate and lecturer at the Department of Contemporary History at the University of Tübingen. She gained her habilitation in Modern and Contemporary History in Tübingen in 2018. After this she worked as a research associate at the Munich-Berlin Institute of Contemporary History and then took on a deputy professorship at the Europa University in Flensburg. Her research and teaching cover the 19th to the 21st centuries. Her focuses are on the history of Germany, France and western Europe. She is particularly interested in histoire croisée and in new imperial history, as well as the history of democracy and parliamentarism in Europe.

Prof. Chiranjib Mukherjee
(Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science)

Chiranjib Mukherjee has since January been Professor of Probability Theory at the Institute of Mathematical Stochastics. From April 2017 to December 2020 he taught and researched at the University of Münster as an Associate Professor of Probability Theory. Mukherjee studied Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science at Chennai Mathematical Institute in Chennai, India. After graduation he moved to the University of Leipzig to gain his PhD there. After this he worked as a postdoc at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, at the Technical University of Munich and at the Weierstraß Institute of Applied Analysis and Stochastics in Berlin. Before his appointment in Münster he was Visiting Assistant Professor at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University in New York. Mukherjee is carrying out research into probability theory in the natural sciences and the interaction between probability theory and other topics in mathematics. One topic that crops up frequently in his research, and which links up many sub-areas, is that of "large deviations". The theory of large deviations deals with the occurrence of improbable events and supplies a mathematical theory which has numerous applications both inside and outside mathematics.

Prof. Jens Niebaum
(Faculty of History / Philosophy)

Prof. Jens Niebaum has been teaching Art History since October 1 at the Faculty of History / Philosophy. He studied Art History, History and Classical Archaeology in Bonn, where he also gained his PhD in 2007. After this he held an associate professorship financed by the Max Planck Institute and divided his time between the Institute of Art History in Münster and the Bibliotheca Hertziana, which is the Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome. After this, Niebaum worked as a research associate at the "Religion and Politics" Cluster of Excellence at the University of Münster and took on two deputy professorships at the University of Bonn. His most important area of research is the history and theory of architecture in the Early Modern Period, together with its many interrelationships with other arts and fields of knowledge; the focuses are on the renaissance in Italy and on architecture around 1700 from an international perspective. The Research he is currently engaged on concerns the relationship between three elements in the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period: architecture and the visual arts, rule legitimized by the church, and piety. He also undertakes research into architectural knowledge cultures and ’Theory of Practice’ in the Pre-Modern Period. "I’m particularly looking forward to working at a university which, unlike most others, combines a broad range of subjects and subject cultures - which is itself something which can certainly no longer be taken for granted - with a great tradition of interdisciplinary research. This engenders space for new questions and projects which will be a pleasure for me to become involved in," he says.

Prof. Philipp Schäpers
(Psychology and Sport Science)

Philipp Schäpers has been a professor since April at the Institute of Psychology within the Faculty of Psychology and Sport Science. After his studies at the University of Münster he gained his PhD at the Freie Universität Berlin with a dissertation on "Situational Perception in Situational Judgment Tests", which received an "honorable mention status" from the European Association of Psychological Assessment. After this he worked as a postdoc, researching and publishing at Singapore Management University. Before moving to Münster, Schäpers worked as a postdoc at the Chair of Psychological Assessment, Differential and Personality Psychology in Berlin.
His research focuses are divided into "personnel selection and suitability assessments", "entrepreneurship and the ’DNA’ of a company" and "experimental validation of psychological testing procedures and examinations of the underlying processes". He has worked as a consultant for management assessments and, at the same time, for start-ups on questions relating to human resource management. "I’m looking forward to being able to help and advise young entrepreneurs through my work at the Euregio Start-up Center ’REACH’," he says.

Prof. André Schlichting
(Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science)

Since November André Schlichting has been Professor of the Dynamics of Complex Systems at the Institute of Analysis and Numerics. During his studies of Applied Mathematics at the Bergakademie Freiberg Technical University, he spent time at the University of Pavia in Italy. He gained his PhD at the University of Leipzig. Further stages in his academic career were the University of Bonn, where he gained his habilitation, and RWTH Technical University Aachen. His research focuses include partial differential equations and numerical and stochastic analysis. He concentrates on the quantification of the dynamic behaviour of complex systems, which are often motivated by a physicsor engineering-related background. Schlichting is an investigator at the "Mathematics Münster" Cluster of Excellence, in the research focus "Models and Approximations".

Prof. Silvia Schultermandl
(Faculty of Philology)

Silvia Schultermandl has been a professor since April, holding the Chair of American Studies at the Department of English. After graduating in English Studies, American Studies and Media Studies at the University of Graz, she also gained her PhD there. Afterwards, she researched and taught in the USA: at Rutgers University in New Jersey, at the University of Tennessee and at Williams College in Massachusetts through the Fulbright Programme. After returning to Austria, Schultermandl took up the position of Associate Professor at her alma mater.
She is especially interested in literary and cultural studies, in particular American literature from the late 18th century until the present time, with a focus on Ethnic American Studies and Transnational American Studies. "What is especially fascinating," she says, "are texts which question familiar family concepts and see kinship as a social activity - as is often the case in narratives on transnationality, migration, colonialism and slavery." Before she came to the University of Münster she was Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Graz.

Prof. Helena Stehle
(Faculty of Educational and Social Sciences)

Since October 2020, communication specialist Prof. Helena Stehle has been teaching and researching at the Department of Communication (IfK). After graduating in communication science and gaining her PhD at the University of Hohenheim, she also attained her habilitation there on the identity and role of journalism in a digital media world in the eyes of the public. Before her appointment in Münster she taught at the Universities of Hohenheim and Tübingen and at the University of Education in Schwäbisch Gmünd. Research stays and scholarships took her to Manchester Business School in the UK and the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. Her research focuses include not only strategic communication and communication in organizations, but also discourses on environmental and energy-related topics, digital (in)visibility and online journalism. At Münster, and working with the Universities of Erfurt and Tübingen, she coordinates the new joint project being funded by the Federal Ministry of Research and entitled "Journalists and their public in the digital age". In addition, she is actively involved in academic self-governance at the University of Münster - not only in the Rectorate Committee for Academic Personnel Development, but also as a member of the Ethics Committee at the Department of Communication and in the Master’s Degree Selection Committee there.

Prof. Julian Varghese
(Faculty of Medicine)

Julian Varghese has been a professor since January at the Institute of Medical Informatics within the Faculty of Medicine. Parallel to studying Medicine at the University of Münster, he studied Computer Science at Hagen Open University. After taking his master’s degree at Imperial College London, he returned to Münster in 2013 to work as a research associate at the Institute of Medical Informatics.
Varghese gained his PhD at Münster in 2015, and in 2016 he became head of the "Digital Health" working group. He was presented with the Rolf Hansen Memorial Award by the European Federation for Medical Informatics for his work on data collection for leukaemia. One focus of his research work is the development of artificial intelligence systems for research into movement disorders, as well as the development and analysis of semantic data models for medical research. Working with the Neurological Clinic at Münster University Hospital, for example, he developed a smart device system which investigates Parkinson’s disease diagnostics using smartwatches and artificial intelligence. In addition to heading the "Digital Health" working group, Varghese is joint leader of the "Teaching Medical Informatics in Medicine" working group. This group works on digital competences and medical informatics content in medical studies.

Prof. Martin Watzinger
(School of Business and Economics)

Since February Prof. Martin Watzinger has held the new Chair of Economics, with particular emphasis on the Economics of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, at the School of Business and Economics. Before moving to Münster he was a lecturer at the University of Munich. Watzinger graduated in Business Studies at the University of Tübingen, and he gained his PhD at the University of Munich. He was a visiting academic at the Universities of Stanford, Boston and Harvard, and at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Since 2020 he has been working as an external academic at the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).
In his research he analyses the impact of competition policy and economic policy on innovation and entrepreneurship. He is currently studying the end of the telecommunications company AT&T in 1984, which was the biggest corporate break-up in the history of the USA. In another project he is examining what value basic research has for innovation in companies.

Prof. Frank Zimmermann
(Faculty of Law)

Since December, Frank Zimmermann has been Professor of German and European Criminal Law, including Challenges in Criminal Law posed by Digitalization, at the Institute of Criminology. He graduated from the University of Augsburg and gained his PhD at the University of Munich with a dissertation on "Conflicts Relating to Penal Power in the European Union" - for which he received the Dissertation Prize of the Munich Lawyers’ Society in 2014 and the Faculty Prize awarded by the Faculty of Law at the University of Munich, likewise in 2014. The subject of his habilitation at Munich University was "The Impunity of Political Decisions in a Liberal, Democratic State Based on the Rule of Law." Before he moved to Münster, Zimmermann held a deputy professorship in Criminal Law at the University of Frankfurt/Main.