JGU FACES. People in portrait

Franziska Fay was appointed Junior Professor of Political Anthropology at JGU in April 2021. (© private)POLITICAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Disciplined empathy as an important tool in highly political times

For over a decade, Franziska Fay conducted research on the Zanzibar Archipelago. There she worked with child protection organizations, children in primary and Koranic schools, was a guest lecturer at Zanzibar University, and advised international aid organizations. After completing degrees in Frankfurt and London, she was appointed Junior Professor of Political Anthropology at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in 2021.


MOLECULAR CELL BIOLOGY

The search for causes of neurodegenerative diseases

In spring 2021, the Faculty of Biology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) was lucky to acquire a specialist in the field of neurodegenerative disorders – Professor Dorothee Dormann. A cell biologist and biochemist by training, she is an expert in identifying the molecular processes that underlie conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and has already won several awards for her research.


Her time at Mainz University had a decisive influence on Gutenberg Alumna Maria Böhmer in many topic areas that are still close to her heart today. (photo: Peter Pulkowski)GUTENBERG ALUMNI

The never-ending story of equal rights

She was the first State Commissioner for Women in Rhineland-Palatinate and the first politician of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to be appointed Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees, and Integration. She made important contributions as a Minister of State in the cabinet of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and in the Federal Foreign Office, acted as National Chairwoman of the Frauenunion, the CDU's women's organization, and today is President of the German Commission for UNESCO. From her years at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), where she started studying in 1968, she has taken with her important impulses for her later public offices and tasks.


TURKIC STUDIES

A minor subject with major themes

The division of Turkic Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) is in a period of transition. A second professor is currently being recruited, and new, independent degree courses will soon be launched. Professor Julian Rentzsch, who was appointed to Mainz University in 2017, is structuring and supervising this process.


NEUROBIOLOGY

How flies and humans see the world

Professor Marion Silies joined the Faculty of Biology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in early 2019. Here she has been investigating the organization and function of circuits in the visual system of the fruit fly. Her work has already earned her numerous awards.


HUMAN GEOGRAPHY

"Research always involves a major biographical aspect"

Veronika Cummings was appointed Professor of Human Geography at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in 2017. Her current research focuses on social, cultural, and political aspects of migration. In these fields she can also draw from the experiences and insights  she collected during her time in Singapore and the Sultanate of Oman – and on her return to Germany.


FORENSIC PHYSICS

When fatal stabbing becomes a scientific experiment

In 2017, Stefan Axmann came to the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the Mainz University Medical Center to establish a forensic physics department. It attracted a lot of attention from the media at the time, which was keen to report on the new facility, the first of its kind in Germany. The physicist himself likes to talk about his enthusiasm for his work and explains how he ended up in Mainz.


Professor Atoosa Meseck was appointed Professor of Accelerator Physics – Collective Effects and Nonlinear Beam Dynamics at Mainz University in September 2018. (photo: Stefan F. Sämmer) NUCLEAR PHYSICS

New professor in accelerator physics

In September 2018, Professor Atoosa Meseck was appointed Professor of Accelerator Physics – Collective Effects and Nonlinear Beam Dynamics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). The professorship was instituted in cooperation with the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB), where Meseck is researching into novel concepts for particle accelerators. One particular class of components, known as undulators, feature prominently in her work.


Professor Peter Baumann is one of the world's leading cell biologists and chromosome researchers. (photo: Peter Pulkowski)ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT PROFESSORSHIP

Highest endowed German research award brings world-class biologist to Mainz University

He is a world-leading cell biologist and chromosome researcher and recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, the most highly-endowed research award in Germany: Professor Peter Baumann. In 2017, Baumann left the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Kansas City in the USA and moved to Germany to work at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), where he supports the strategic realignment and expansion of the life sciences disciplines.


Professor Jairo Sinova has set up new research infrastructures in the area of ​​spintronics at Mainz University. (photo: Peter Pulkowski)SPINTRONICS

"We need to get out of our comfort zone"

Professor Jairo Sinova came from Texas A&M University to Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in 2014 to take up an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship. He is one of the world's leading researchers in the field of spintronics and has already set-up the Spin Phenomena Interdisciplinary Center (SPICE) and the Interdisciplinary Spintronics Research (INSPIRE Group) at Mainz University.


ISRAEL PROFESSORSHIP

"We talk about one another rather than with each other"

The first holder of the Israel Professorship at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) takes up his work. Yossi David comes from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is joining the Department of Communication at Mainz University. He will be a guest professor for three years with the goal of stimulating German-Israeli exchange in the field of Communication Studies.


Professor Edward Lemke undertakes research into the formation and function of special protein complexes in cells. (photo: Bernd Eßling)BIOPHYSICS

The mystery of flexible proteins

Professor Edward Lemke conducts research into intrinsically disordered proteins. Among other things, he has developed new methods of observing these albumins. He has been a professor at the Faculty of Biology of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) since January 1, 2018. Here he works in collaboration with the Faculty of Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Geosciences. He is also Adjunct Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) and a Fellow of the Gutenberg Research College (GRC).


Mahmoud Hassanein has translated "Das Sams" into Arabic. (photo: Britta Hoff) TRANSLATION

The Sams learns Arabic

Last year, the Goethe Institute awarded its German-Arabic Translation Prize in the Young Translators category to Mahmoud Hassanein, a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Translation Studies, Linguistics, and Cultural Studies of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in Germersheim. Here he talks about his work, about literature, and about cultures.


Professor Dmitry Budker (photo: Stefan F. Sämmer) RESEARCH COOPERATION

Not everything in the universe is symmetrical

Research into fundamental symmetries and a unique nationwide cooperation between Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Helmholtz Association have brought Professor Dmitry Budker to Mainz. He will be heading up the Matter Antimatter Symmetry section at the JGU-based Helmholtz Institute Mainz, which collaborates with the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt.


Professor Tamara Grcic (photo: Stefan F. Sämmer) MAINZ ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS

"The aim is to have everybody find their own voice"

The Mainz Academy of Fine Arts of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) welcomes an acclaimed artist as a professor in the person of Tamara Grcic. The idea is that the versatility of her work will be reflected in her teaching. In her sculpture class, for instance, Grcic does not plan to lay down hard and fast rules but to allow students sufficient space in which to find their own personal form of artistic expression.


Professor Dagmar von Hoff (photo: Peter Pulkowski) EUROPEAN RESEARCH NETWORK

"What we are doing is 'reading' violence"

What can literature and film, what can the various media do to help uncover the structures underlying violence? This is the focus of research being undertaken by a network of German Studies scholars, among whom is Professor Dagmar von Hoff of the German Department at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). She believes that German Studies as a discipline needs to take a more international, intercultural, and intermedial approach.


Professor Krishnaraj Rajalingam (photo: Stefan F. Sämmer) HEISENBERG PROFESSORSHIP

What happens in cells

In the person of Krishnaraj Rajalingam, the Research Center for Immunotherapy of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has been very lucky to acquire one of the world's foremost cell biologists. The newly appointed Heisenberg Professor focuses on the molecular signal pathways that regulate a wide variety of different processes within cells. He investigates not only the causes of cell growth and cell differentiation but also the pathogenesis of tumors and cancer and thus supplies concepts for new treatment approaches.


Dr. Sigrid Rieuwerts (photo: Peter Pulkowski) JGU INTERNATIONAL

An advocate of German in Scotland

She founded the Society for Scottish Studies in Europe and is the head of the largest Sir Walter Scott research program. She acts as an advisor to the Scottish Parliament and set up an internship program that brings students of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) to Scottish schools. It is remarkable what Dr. Sigrid Rieuwerts has already achieved in terms of promoting the relationship between Germany and Scotland.


Professor Carola Lentz (photo: Stefan F. Sämmer)ANTHROPOLOGY

Anthropologist from Mainz becomes a Ghanaian chief

It was the first time that the title of "maalu naa" had been awarded in Nandom, in Ghana’s Upper West Region – and it was bestowed on Professor Carola Lentz from the Department of Anthropology and African Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). The title makes her a kind of chief, or, to be more precise, a "development chief" of a district that encompasses some 100 settlements with around 50,000 inhabitants.


Dr. Bianca Navarro-Crummenauer (photo: Stefan F. Sämmer)FORENSIC OUTPATIENT CLINIC

"This child's death could have been prevented"

Fifteen years ago, a young physician started thinking about how she could better help abused and mistreated children. Now that physician, Dr. Bianca Navarro-Crummenauer, is in charge of the Forensic Outpatient Clinic for Victims of Domestic Violence at the Institute of Legal Medicine at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Some 500 cases a year keep her busy.


Professor Dr. Stephan Goertz (photo: Stefan F. Sämmer)MORAL THEOLOGY

The Catholic Church under fire

The Catholic Church seems to be constantly in the headlines, but for all the wrong reasons. The controversies surrounding the morning-after pill, child abuse, and the employment rights of those working for the church are making waves. The atmosphere has become so charged that the situation is becoming increasingly radicalized. Professor Dr. Stephan Goertz, holder of the Chair of Moral Theology at the Faculty of Catholic Theology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), has taken a stand.


Dr. Dr. Ilkan Ilhilic (photo: Peter Pulkowski)MEDICINE AND PHILOSOPHY

A Muslim, Turk, and Mainz resident on the German Ethics Council

His appointment has caused quite a stir: Dr. Dr. Ilhan Ilkilic of the Institute of the History, Philosophy, and Ethics of Medicine at the Mainz University Medical Center is the first Muslim on the German Ethics Council. In this capacity, he views himself as an intermediary between cultures and academic disciplines.


(photo: Peter Pulkowski)SPORTS SCIENCE

The Olympic spirit has a home in Mainz

Professor Dr. Norbert Müller has played an important role in forming the modern image of the Olympics. He advises the International Olympic Committee in various posts, is initiating new projects, and has always been a passionate defender of the Olympic ideal, which he considers more important than all the medals.


(photo: Peter Pulkowski)SOCIAL MEDIA

Privacy is just an illusion

From party photos to relationship status to sexual orientation – self-disclosure in the social web has become part of our everyday lives. But, users rarely make distinctions between good friends, acquaintances or workmates when posting private information. As a result, the 'private sphere' is disappearing. Dr. Leonard Reinecke, Junior Professor at the Institute of Media and Communication Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), has been looking closely at this trend; how are users of social network platforms like Facebook dealing with this problem of self-disclosure and the protection of their private sphere?


(photo: Peter Pulkowski)ARS LEGENDI PRIZE 2012

One man gets excited about tiresome teaching

Mass universities need to place greater emphasis on teaching, says Dr. Malte Persike from the Institute of Psychology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). He has just been awarded the Ars legendi Prize for Excellence in University Teaching from the German Rectors' Conference and the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany – even though he teaches a subject that most of his students dread: Psychological methodology


(photo: Peter Pulkowski)BIOLOGY

A molecule folds itself into a solar sail

Professor Dr. Harald Paulsen and his team are researching the characteristics of the light-harvesting protein LHCII. The protein and its unusual self-organization skills have fascinated biologists for twenty years. It plays an important role in photosynthesis and may one day majorly increase the efficiency of solar cells.


(photo: private)SCHOOL OF MUSIC

Straight from university to the opera stage

In 1988, the famous mezzo-soprano Claudia Eder brought a breath of fresh air to the School of Music at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Appointed to a professorship, the singer was able to combine study and practice in a unique way. Her concept continues to be very successful and she now has many imitators.


(photo: Peter Pulkowski)NATIVE AND INDIGENOUS STUDIES

Winnetou under scrutiny

Professor Dr. Mita Banerjee's research focuses on indigenous peoples. She studies how Maori, Inuits, Aborigines, and American Indians live in contemporary society. The North American Studies specialist challenges stereotypes and combines diverse academic disciplines in her projects.


(photo: Stefan F. Sämmer)DOPING IN MASS SPORTS

Drugs testing is only a band-aid

Professor Dr. Dr. Perikles Simon has caused a stir with his method for detecting gene doping: He and his colleagues have succeeded in doing what was previously thought impossible. When it comes to headlines, this kind of research is exactly what the media love. However, in an interview, the head of the Sports Medicine, Prevention and Rehabilitation division at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) tends to take a rather different view.


(photo: Peter Pulkowski)TRANSLATION STUDIES

The trials of becoming a good interpreter

Dörte Andres is Professor of Translation Studies at  the Germersheim location of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Her field of research is still young and the professorship she holds was created only a short time ago. She talks about the challenges presented by the course and about the many facets of her subject.


(photo: Stefan F. Sämmer)HISTORICAL LINGUISTICS

The landscape of surnames

As Professor of Historical Linguistics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), Damaris Nübling's special interest is the development of the German language from its first documented form as Old High German, dating to around 800 AD, to contemporary German. Her current projects are witness to the fact that historical linguistics is actually anything but a drab and dry-as-dust discipline. Currently she is investigating the morphology of surnames in Germany.  


(photo: Stefan F. Sämmer)PARTICLE PHYSICS

Higgs boson electrifies Mainz physicists

Matthias Neubert and his team are elated since scientists at Geneva's CERN research center found the first indications of the existence of the Higgs boson. This is the last building block missing from the standard model of physics. The head of the Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics unit at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) now expects his area of research to take off.


(photo: Stefan F. Sämmer)DIAGNOSTICS

Evaluating cirrhosis 'live' and accurately at the cellular level

Detlef Schuppan and his colleagues are developing a revolutionary method that will make it possible to evaluate the progress of fibrosis and cirrhosis at the cellular level and to even view the effects. For this work, the physician and chemist has been awarded the most highly endowed research grant of the European Union, the ERC Advanced Grant.


(photo: Peter Pulkowski)ECONOMIC EXPERTISE

The euro area needs a redemption pact

Beatrice Weder di Mauro presented the Annual Report of the five-member German Council of Economic Experts at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). This council, which has included Weder di Mauro since 2004, is suggesting a redemption pact for the euro area as a way out of the current crisis.