The first title "doctor of engineering" at Heidelberg University bestowed on materials scientist Dr Christine Arndt
The newly founded Faculty of Engineering Sciences at Heidelberg University has awarded its first doctoral degree to Dr Christine Arndt, a materials scientist. She completed her doctorate in the 2022 summer semester with the defence of her thesis. At a short ceremony on 30 January 2023 Dr Arndt received the doctoral certificate from Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, and Guido Kanschat, Dean of the Faculty. Certificates conferring the new doctoral degree in engineering, the Dr.-Ing., were also presented to Dr Christian Ritter and Dr Praveen Narasu, who successfully completed their doctoral examinations in the current winter semester.
"Through founding the Faculty of Engineering Sciences, Heidelberg University has impressively demonstrated its internal strength and capacity for renewal. The fact that it was possible to award the first three doctoral degrees, the Dr.-Ing., within such a short time indicates the attractiveness of this new research profile," the Rector said. Even though over 1,200 dissertation projects are successfully completed at Ruperto Carola each year, he added, the first-ever awarding of doctoral degrees in engineering will be recorded in the annals of the university.
In her dissertation entitled "Microengineered conductive scaffolds for cell-based actuation", Dr Arndt presents manufacturing processes for artificial 3D cell scaffolds providing the necessary deformability to accommodate muscle cell contraction and the electrical conductibility to enable cell-to-cell signalling. Both of these are vital aspects in 3D cell tissue culture and biohybrid robotics. Her research work was supervised by Christine Selhuber-Unkel at the Institute for Molecular Systems Engineering and Advanced Materials. Dr Ritter’s doctoral thesis focuses on the analysis of fluorescence microscopy images for virus research, with PD Dr Karl Rohr from the BioQuant Center as first reviewer. Dr Narasu, whose doctorate in engineering was earned at the Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences, investigated nanoparticle synthesis in flame spray in his dissertation. His supervisor was Eva Gutheil from the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing. The two Faculties belong to the Combined Faculty of Mathematics, Engineering and Natural Sciences at Heidelberg University.
Founded in 2021, the Faculty of Engineering Sciences offers an original profile of skills in the field of Engineering Sciences that complements traditional fields of engineering disciplines. New engineering approaches arise from the cooperation of molecular life sciences, materials science and biochemistry with scientific computing and machine learning in connection with novel hardware models. That particularly promotes the translation from the natural sciences into medicine and medical technology, as well as transfer into industrial applications. Examples include biogenic packaging systems for mRNA vaccines, artificial cells as transport systems in the body, or a new fibre battery technology, which conducts electricity more efficiently and enables higher currents. Other examples are "portable" technologies like exoskeletons, which support people with lifting or walking and can be used in industry, rehabilitation or for further supportive assistance.