• Creating the Future

    The Hector Fellow Academy initiates innovative research projects on latest scientific problems.

Overview of current PhD projects

Every year, the Hector Fellow Academy supports several doctoral positions for promising young scientists from all over the world. Under the supervision of a Hector Fellow, they will work on their innovative PhD projects over a period of three years. In addition to financing their positions, they receive additional research funding from the Academy and take part in further training events.

The following projects are currently supported:

Continuum Damage Models for Reliability Assessment of Structural Composites

Zalikha Murni Abdul Hamid – Hector Fellow Peter Gumbsch

The market’s demand for carbon fiber/epoxy composite has dramatically increased due to its significant applications and advantages in industry. Typical loading on the structures that are made up by this material often involves tensile and lateral bending of the composite laminates. More ...

Genetics and Epigenetics of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and its Treatment

Daniela Conrad – Hector Fellow Thomas Elbert

The risk to develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) depends on the number of traumatic events experienced and individual risk factors, e.g. genetic predispositions. However, to identify causal genetic variants of this polygenic disease, trauma exposure needs to be adequately assessed. More ...

Photocatalysis and Transition-Metal-Catalyzed Reactions of Furane-Derivatives

Daniel Eppel  – Hector Fellow A. Stephen K. Hashmi

Fossil resources are increasingly depleted. They have to be replaced as quickly as possible by renewable raw materials, so that a slow transition to a new and modern production of „platform chemicals“ can take place. More ...

Towards Understanding the Genetic Basis of Appetitive Aggressive Behavior

Jan Gerwin – Hector Fellow Axel Meyer


Aggressive behavior can be of two distinct origins: (1) reactive aggression, as a response to threatening or dangerous situations and (2) appetitive aggression, that is motivated by intrinsic factors, for example positive feelings through the exertion of violence. More ...

Fermionic Quantum Gas Microscope

Joannis Koepsell – Hector Fellow Immanuel Bloch

A rich variety of phenomena in solid state systems such as quantum magnetism or high temperature superconductivity still pose open questions on parts of their microscopic explanation. Due to the complexity of these systems, the underlying quantum many-body dynamics is often not accessible to computational simulation. More ...


Bank Structuring in Urban Environments through Micro Groins

Andreas Müller – Hector Fellow Franz Nestmann

The European Water Framework Directive requires that all waterbodies achieve a good ecological status until 2027. In urban environments the restricted spatial conditions and different interests cause problems in river restoration. More ...

Influence of and Climate Change Landuse Changes on Hydrological Variations of Meso-scale Semi-Arid River Basin

Phoebe Pauline Onjira - Hector Fellow Franz Nestmann

Increased anthropogenic activities and climate change are causing a global shift in patterns of water fluxes. Semi-arid river basins are characterized by more water stresses, extreme and sporadic climatic events, and have been projected to worsen in many regions under the influence of climate change. More ...

RR Lyrae stars as tracers of substructure and Galactic archaeology

Zdenek Prudil - Hector Fellow Eva Grebel

Galactic archaeology uses stars as fossils to study the evolutionary history of galaxies like our own Milky Way. Cosmological simulations suggest that larger galaxies were partially formed by accreting smaller dwarf galaxies. Such merger events should leave observable signatures in the form of star streams, but empirical constraints on the times, numbers, and importance of such mergers are still missing. More ...


Towards Topological Many-Body Physics Using State-Dependent Optical Lattices

Hendrik von Raven – Hector Fellow Immanuel Bloch

In modern condensed matter physics topology plays a fundamental role in the classification of phases of matter. A prominent example is the quantum Hall effect discovered in two-dimensional electron gases under extreme conditions. Quantum Hall insulators are isolating in the bulk, but exhibit conducting edge states, which results in a quantised Hall conductance. More ...

Accommodation Behavior and Ciliary Muscle Activity in Myopia

Sandra Wagner – Hector Fellow Eberhart Zrenner

Prevalence of myopia (shortsightedness) increases considerably in industrialized countries. The mechanisms behind this development need to be fully understood in order to arrive at prevention. A well-founded hypothesis for myopia development is based on the underaccommodation during near-vision activities (lag of accommodation) which could trigger axial eye elongation. More ...