- Doctoral projects
- Zaloa Aguirre
- Tim Althuon
- Maximilian Ammenwerth
- Magda Cardozo Mino
- Ziad Chaoui
- Maximilian Dax
- Felix Dörr
- Yu-Hsin Hsieh
- Franziska Klingler
- Valentin Klüsener
- Gustavo Medina Toledo
- Andreas Müller
- Rashi Pant
- Eva Paulus
- Daniel Petersheim
- Sina Rometsch
- Philip Scott
- Yannick Stahl
- Philipp Stein
- Stian Torset
- Jonas Wunsch
- Anja Zeller
- Projects of Associated Fellows+
- Alumni Projects+
Overview of doctoral 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 doctoral 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 supported:
Zaloa Aguirre – Hector RCD Awardee Tessa Quax
Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on Earth. Although they infect members of the three domains of life, little is known about the infection mechanisms of archaeal viruses. The aim of this research is to gain insight into the interaction between halophilic archaeal cells and their viruses by using a combination of light and electron microscopy with molecular biology and virological techniques. More ...
Tim Althuon – Hector Fellow Wolfgang Wernsdorfer
Carbon nanotube (CNT) resonators will be designed and fabricated to exploit their sensing properties. We will graft a single-molecule magnet (SMM) on such a CNT resonator in order to manipulate its spin states via the mechanical motion of the CNT. Using this nanomechanical approach, single-molecule magnets will be investigated with the long-term prospect of applying them in future quantum technologies. More ...
Maximilian Ammenwerth – Hector Fellow Immanuel Bloch
In this project, an innovative quantum gas microscope is developed that makes use of optical tweezers to rearrange neutral strontium atoms into configurable and defect-free patterns. This allows for rapid initialization of the system and serves as a starting point for the analog simulation of quantum many-body systems and as a qubit register for digital quantum computing. Exploiting long-range Rydberg interactions enables the simulation of spin models and the implementation of quantum logic gates. More...
Magda Cardozo Mino – Hector Fellow Antje Boetius
The project investigates composition and function of microbial communities in Fram Strait, the major gateway between the Arctic and the Atlantic Oceans, and how these are linked with environmental conditions. A series of cutting-edge, molecular approaches are applied to assess microbial functional capacities, community composition and their temporal variation in a region under special threat by climate change. The project is supervised by Hector Fellow Antje Boetius. More ...
Ziad Chaoui – Hector RCD Awardee Anna Pappa
Due to technological advances we can now build devices that actively manipulate quantum mechanical objects, and using quantum objects as information carriers has many important implications for future communication. Quantum information can be used to achieve perfect security and provide efficiency for communication networks. This research project focuses on designing secure and anonymous quantum communication protocols in an effort to build a future quantum internet. More ...
Maximilian Dax – Hector Fellow Bernhard Schölkopf
The detection of gravitational waves (GWs) has opened a new window on the universe, through which we can study the physics of black-hole and neutron-star mergers. By analyzing GWs we can infer properties of the corresponding astrophysical systems. Current analysis methods are however too computationally expensive to deal with the growing amount of data. My research is thus concerned with the development of more efficient methods for the GW analysis using powerful machine learning methods. More ...
Felix Dörr – Hector Fellow Franz Nestmann
Land subsidence and groundwater salinization are existence-threatening environmental changes in the Mekong Delta (MD). Their origin and process dynamics are not fully understood yet. By innovative measurement technology, field/lab investigations and numeric modeling, a comprehensive understanding of the processes is developed and the effect of potential countermeasures can be examined. The elaborated knowledge is the basis for sustainable water concepts in the MD and other delta areas worldwide. More ...
Yu-Hsin Hsieh – Hector RCD Awardee Leif Ludwig
T cell differentiation and function are tightly regulated by numerous cellular processes, including cellular metabolism, which can be significantly affected by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations. However, the impact of mtDNA mutational burden on T cell differentiation and functional heterogeneity remains poorly understood. Thus, this project aims to characterize the mtDNA mutational landscape and its functional consequences in human T cells using single-cell multi-omics approaches. More ...
Franziska Klingler – Hector Fellow Ralf Bartenschlager
Anelloviruses are a diverse group of ubiquitous viruses infecting humans and vertebrates. Their contribution to disease development remains elusive. We hypothesize that during lifelong, persistent infection disbalances in the viral community can drive onset and progression of disease, e.g. cancer. We aim at a thorough description of the viral spectrum present in healthy and diseased tissue by high-throughput screening of sequencing data and subsequent identification of viral variants correlated with pathogenesis. More ...
Valentin Klüsener – Hector Fellow Immanuel Bloch
The central paradigm of quantum optics is the absorption and emission of radiation by quantum emitters. When the coupling between an emitter and its environment becomes strong, intriguing radiative properties can be engineered, such as directional emission patterns or strongly modified emission rates. This project aims at accessing such effects in a system of ultracold atoms in optical lattices where artificial emitters decay by emitting matter waves rather than optical radiation. More ...
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 ...
Gustavo Medina Toledo – Hector Fellow Eva Grebel
This project aims to explore the use of young and old pulsating variable stars to improve our current understanding of the Milky Way. This will be achieved by performing a novel study of the kinematics, ages and chemical compositions of Cepheids and RR Lyrae stars which, in spite of being archetypes of different stellar populations, represent key tracers of the recent star formation and assembly history of the Galaxy. More ...
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 ...
Rashi Pant - Hector Fellow Brigitte Röder
Visual experience during a sensitive period is crucial for the normal development of the brain. Individuals who are treated for congenital cataracts more than a few weeks from birth suffer from low visual acuity as well as specific deficits (such as impaired face processing). This project investigates the possible mechanisms that mediate this sensitive period, by non-invasively assessing brain structure and function in congenitally and developmentally visually deprived individuals. More ...
Eva Paulus - Hector Fellow Axel Meyer
Mesopelagic fishes are an important part of the deep pelagic ecosystem in the world’s oceans. During my PhD thesis, I will collect and genomically investigate an especially abundant and little-studied order of fishes, the Stomiiformes. I will strive to learn whether and how their populations are genetically connected in their open-ocean habitat. I will aim to identify isolating barriers that are important for speciation and ask whether gene flow can occur over large distances. More ...
Daniel Petersheim - Hector Fellow Christoph Klein
In the EU alone, approximately 30 million people are affected by a rare disease, many of them children. Most of the 6,000 to 8,000 rare diseases known to date are caused by the altered function of a single gene (Boycott&Ardigó, 2018). This project under the supervision of Prof. Christoph Klein aims to develop innovative strategies for precision medicine in rare diseases by (i) re-wiring aberrant molecular networks for therapeutic purposes and (ii) identifying novel “druggable” targets using CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome-wide screens. More ...
Sina Rometsch – Hector Fellow Axel Meyer
Reproductive isolation, the ceased exchange of genetic material, is crucial for the divergence of populations into distinct species. This is commonly facilitated by an extrinsic physical barrier, but rarely it can also occur devoid of such barriers. Whether speciation proceeds by the same or different reproductive isolation mechanisms under these two geographic scenarios remains a matter of debate. We aim to contribute to this fundamental question in biology by taking advantage of a model system of speciation: the Midas cichlid fishes. More ...
Philip Scott – Hector Fellow Martin Wegener
Most modern drugs are made up of one handedness of a chiral molecule (one enantiomer). In many cases, depending on the handedness of the enantiomer, the drug could have either beneficial or harmful effects, thus is it desirable to be able to detect the handedness. Circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy can differentiate between the handedness due to differential absorption of circularly polarised light but suffers from weak signals; therefore, a method that can enhance the signal is desired. More ...
Philipp Stein – Hector Fellow A. Stephen K. Hashmi
The efficient design of chemical processes is of great importance for the chemical industry. Current research makes an essential contribution to synthesizing complex substrates inexpensively in as few steps as possible and in high yield. This PhD project, under the direction of Hector Fellow A. Stephen K. Hashmi, therefore, deals with the mechanism and the functionalization of a wide range of 1,3-diynes with varying nucleophiles. More...
The investigation of the formation- and purpose of black matter in anaerobic methane oxidisers and methanogens
Stian Torset – Hector Fellow Antje Boetius
The project investigates the structure, purpose, and mechanisms of origin for amorphous carbon formed by methanogenic and methane-oxidizing archaea. I will use advanced biophysical, computational, and genetic tools to determine the genes, proteins and structures, including the molecular mechanisms involved in the formation of this carbon. Potential applications will be assessed. The project is supervised by Hector Fellow Antje Boetius. More ...
Jonas Wunsch – Hector Fellow A. Stephen K. Hashmi
The development of catalysts to increase the chemical efficiency or to find completely new chemical reactions has found great interest. For this a wide variety of ligands are needed.
The doctoral is supervised by Hector Fellow A. Stephen K. Hashmi and aims at developing new ligands that are based on the formal double deprotonation of 1,3-diketones and thereby enlarging the chemical space of known ligands. For this new synthetic methods have to be found and the obtained ligands have to be tested and characterised. More ...
Anja Zeller – Hector Fellow Thomas Elbert
Aggression can be distinguished in a reactive form, which is a protective response to an acute threat and an instrumental form, which is goal directed. Appetitive aggression is a sub form of instrumental aggression, which is defined by the experience of lust when perpetrating violence.
So far, the latter has been only assessed through self-report. The doctoral project under supervision of Prof. Thomas Elbert intends to create an objective, epigenetic marker for appetitive aggression. More ...