Interviews with research alumni

Researchers share their experiences

In our research alumni interviews, we speak to outstanding international guest researchers. They share their experiences from their time at FAU and in the Erlangen-Nuremberg region.

The latest research alumni interviews are available here:

Prof. Dr. Bozhidar Hristov Boytschev, born in Bulgaria, researched and taught at FAU as a visiting professor from 1991 to 1992 on a DAAD scholarship. In the interview he tells us why he is still deeply connected with Germany and what he experienced during his time at FAU.

Dr. Helen Kaufmann's research interests include late Latin poetry, intertextuality, poetic genres, local identities and reception. In 2020, Dr. Kaufmann will further her research on Latin poetry of late antiquity at the Chair of Classical Philology (Latin) at FAU. Her stay is supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

In 2014 Dr. Weiqing Mao completed a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Soochow University, China. Subsequently, in 2019 he received his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. Until September 2021, Dr. Mao will work on the synthesis, structure and reactivity of highly reactive Iron complexes at the Chair of Inorganic and General Chemistry of FAU. His stay is supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Dr. Sandip Shinde's research interest is in organic synthesis in order to develop fluorination methods and their applications in pharmaceutical and agro-chemical companies. Findings from his PhD research work were transferred and patented to various multinational companies. Dr. Shinde will further his research at the Clinic of Nuclear Medicine at the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen. His stay is supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Prof. Dr. den Hollanders' research areas include the theory of stochastic processes and their applications in physics, biology and computer science. In particular, he deals with the theory of large deviations, processes in the random medium and metastable behaviour. Prof. Dr. den Hollander is currently a guest researcher at the Department of Mathematical Stochastics at FAU.

Already in the late 1990s, Prof. Dr. Chandrajith came to Erlangen to receive a doctorate in Geochemistry from FAU. Ten years later, he came back to Erlangen in the frame of a George Forster Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to do postdoctoral research at FAU. From July 2019 until January 2020, Prof. Dr. Chandrajith is studying seawater intrusion in coastal aquifers and also the geo-environmental factors affecting the kidney disease with unknown etiology in Sri Lanka at FAU. His research stay is supported by a Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship.

Prof. Dr. Walter Daesslé-Heuser is Professor of Environmental Geosciences at the Independent University of Baja California, Mexico. In 2007, he received a George Forster Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to conduct research at the FAU on the sedimentology and hydrochemistry of the lower Colorado River Basin south of the American-Mexican border. He is currently back at FAU and is working with Prof. Johannes Barth on various groundwater studies.

Prof. Dr. Tentzeri's research interests include RF electronics, batteries and sensors manufactured using 3D printing or ink-jet processes, as well as green and sustainable energy harvesting, wireless energy transmission systems or the Internet of Things. He is the winner of the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award and works as a visiting scientist at FAU's Department of Technical Electronics in the development of new RF modules from the 3D printer.

Prof. Zapperi is an expert in statistical physics of complex systems and researches in the fields of materials science, biophysics and systems biology. Among his most notable contributions is the theory of the Barkhausen noise in magnets, the statistical physics of plasticity and fracture, as well as recent work on the physics of cancer and protein aggregation. As a guest researcher, he does research on mechanical metamaterials at FAU´s Institute of Materials Simulations.

The research of biochemist Prof. Dr. Berezovski focuses on understanding molecular processes in the development of cancer and immune diseases. In his projects he explores fundamental biomolecular interactions and uses this knowledge to develop new biosensors and bioanalytical methods. He was awarded the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award and uses it to continue his research on so-called "synthetic antibodies" at the FAU.

In his research, the Romanian born Prof. Dr. Alexandru Babes currently focuses on the molecular mechanisms of sensory transduction in peripheral mammalian thermoreceptors and nociceptors. In 2002, he received his doctorate in biology from the University of Bucharest with “Summa cum laude”. In 2019, Prof. Dr. Babes was awarded the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award. This enables him together with Prof. Dr. med. Peter Reeh, Institute for Physiology and Patho-physiology at FAU, to carry out an opto-thermo-genetic research project.

Halmuthur M. Sampath Kumar obtained a PhD degree from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT), Hyderabad, in the area of biomimetic chemistry. In 2000, he moved to the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology in Dortmund as Alexander von Humboldt Fellow to work in the area of nuclear localization and gene therapy. From May 2019 until July 2019, Prof. Dr. Kumar will research on new, gentler anti-cancer drugs at FAU.

In 2016, Dr. Xi Wang completed his PhD in Mechanical Electronic Engineering at Xidian University, Xi’an, China. Dr. Wang has been awarded a 24-month Humboldt Research Fellowship to work on his research in FAU, supervised by Prof. Thomas Moor, as a Postdoctoral Researcher during February 2018 and January 2020.

Dr. Sunghwan Shin was born in South Korea. In 2017, he completed his PhD at the Department of Chemistry at Seoul National University. Dr. Shin's research interests include the development of a nanocapacitor, which is a new experimental method for applying a strong electric field, electric field-induced dissociation of acid and phase transition of solid acetone films among others. Since January 2018, he conducts research at FAU´s Chair for Physical Chemistry II as a Humboldt Research Fellow.

In December 2014, Dr. Thompson completed his PhD at the University of Chicago with a dissertation entitled “The Role of Lupus of Ferrières in the Ninth-Century Predestination Controversy”. Since April 2018, Dr. Thompson furthers his research at the FAU Chair for Ancient Languages, Latin Philology of the Middle Ages and Modern Times as an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow. His research area includes the intellectual and cultural history in the Latin Middle Ages, from 800 to 1200.

Marta Caballero was born in Santiago de Chile, Chile. Until 2012, she studied Physics Engineering at the University of Santiago, Chile (Universidad de Santiago de Chile, USACH) where she specialised on environmental and air quality measurements. In March 2016, Marta Caballero was awarded a DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship for doctoral research for her PhD project “Role of the clouds on the Energy Balance on the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet” at the Institute for Geography at FAU.

Muhammad Ali was born in Indonesia. From 2014 until 217, Muhammad Ali was a student of the Master of Science in Chemistry at FAU. Since June 2017 he is working on his PhD on constructing nanoparticle networks by using supramolecular interactions at the Chair for Organic Chemistry II at FAU. Besides his love for chemistry, he also enjoys singing, cooking and travelling.

Since May 2018, Prof. Ballarre has been a guest researcher at the Institute of Biomaterials lead by Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Aldo R. Boccaccini at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at FAU. Her stay is supported by the Georg Forster Research Fellowship for experienced researchers of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Together with researchers from FAU, Prof. Ballarre will further he research on bioactive and antibacterial hybrid coatings for complex geometry surgical orthopedic and dental implants.

Dr. Tallal Osama Elshabrawy, Ph. D., from Egypt has more than 10 years of experience in physical and MAC layer research within telecommunications networks. From 2000 to 2006, Dr. Elshabrawy conducted doctoral research at the McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he was then awarded a PhD. He will further his research at FAU´s Chair of Information Technology with a focus on Communication Electronics until November 2018.

Prof. Suman Chakraborty was born and raised in India. Currently, he is professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur, India. Prof. Chakraborty is Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), the American Physical Society, the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), the Indian Academy of Science (IAS) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME). His research interests are microfluidics and microscale transport processes. From May to June 2018, Prof. Chakraborty is a visiting scientist at the Chair of Computer Science 10 (System Simulation) at FAU.

From 2005 to 2007, Dr. He completed his PhD at the Virginia Tech. Dr. He´s research interests are comprehensive and range from computational fluid dynamics to particle models for plasma simulation. From March to August 2018, he will further is studies at the Institute for Informatics 10 (System Simulation) at FAU.

From 2004 to 2010, Dr. Aleksandra Mitrovic studied Chemistry at the University of Belgrade. Right after, she started her Ph.D. studies in Chemistry, also at the University of Belgrade. In 2017, Dr. Mitrovic defended her doctoral dissertation and received the best grade possible. Since 2017, she is a Humboldt Research Fellow at the Chair for Organic Chemistry II at FAU.

Dr. Lipiao Bao's research interest focuses on the chemistry and material science of carbon allotropes, the synthesis and separation of novel fullerenes as well as their structure, properties and applications, crystal engineering and structural programming of molecules among others. As an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, he will further his research at the Chair for Organic Chemistry II at FAU.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common autoimmune disease of the joints: endogenous defense cells, which are produced by the body, attack the joints and a chronic inflammation develops. Humboldt Research Fellow Dr. Dr. Koshiro Sonomoto will conduct research on the mechanism underlying rheumatoid arthritis at the Department of Medicine 3, Rheumatology and Immunology led by Prof. Dr. med. univ. Georg Schett during the following months.

Dr Mohammad Javed Ali is a globally known name in the field of Dacryology, the science that deals with the tear ducts and tears drainage. As Ophthalmology clinician, he is among the rare recipients of the “Experienced Alexander Von Humboldt Research Fellowship”. He would stay at FAU for 4 months each year starting in 2017.

Dr. Garcia started his scientific career at his home country Venezuela, where he obtained a Masters degree in Physics, working on the calculation of atomic data required for astrophysics. Dr. Garcia is now a Postdoctoral Scholar at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, working as a Science Team Member of NASA’s X-ray mission NuSTAR. He is also a visiting Research Associate at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and now a Senior Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

In 2015, Dr. Srivathsan carried out postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen, where he focused on free space coupling of light and a single atom using a 4-π parabolic mirror. Since November 2016, he furthers his studies at the Chair of Optics at FAU as an Alexander von Humboldt research fellow. His research interests are experimental quantum optics, atom-light interaction and quantum information among others.

Canadian Dr. Mike Sinding has been a fellow at ELINAS, the Erlangen Center for Literature and Natural Science, from 2015 until 2017, where he worked on his postdoctoral project “Genre Dynamics and Functions: Blending, Framing and Worldview”. The focus of his research is on defining cognitive models of tragedy, comedy, their blended forms, and their roles in framing political discourse.

Wireless communications and signal processing
Dr. Xiaoming Chen obtained his PhD in electronic engineering from Zhejiang University, China, in 2011. He then joined Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in China, where he is currently an Associate Professor. He was a Visiting Professor ...

Dr. Thajudeen got the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt research fellowship to carry out his postdoctoral research at FAU. He joined the Institute of Particle Technology in January, 2014 after completing his PhD at the University of Minnesota, USA. Dr. Thajudeen aims to extend the capabilities of current characterizing techniques to measure the sizes and properties of non-spherical particles, specifically focusing on nanorods and fractal aggregates.

Dr. Huynh Van Luong (Vietnam) is involved in research related to the field of image and video coding and processing. As a Humboldt Fellow at the Chair of Multimedia Communications and Signal Processing at FAU, he is developing a distributed sensing framework to deal with high-dimensional data for multi-view object recognition and tracking toward mobile augmented reality.

Dr. Duo Xu focuses his research interests on turbulent flows and transition to turbulence in shear flows using state-of-the-art experimental and numerical research tools. Since August 2014, he has been a Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Chair of Fluid Mechanics (FAU) studying the transition to turbulence in pulsation pipe flows in the group led by Prof. M. Avila (FAU) in collaboration with Prof. B. Hof (IST Austria).

Dr. Liang Zhang got the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt research fellowship to carry out his postdoctoral research at FAU under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Steinrück at the Chair of Physical Chemistry II. At FAU, his research is mainly about “surface science with porphyrins”.

Dr. Josefina Rodríguez Arribas has been a member of the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities "Fate, Freedom and Prognostication" at FAU (October 2014 - September 2015). Her most recent research at the Consortium "Fate, Freedom and Prognostication" at FAU concerns the textual and material evidence about the practice of divination among Jews in the Middle Ages.

Dr. Davide Amato has been the scientific director of the Addiction Medicine Laboratory since 2010 at the Psychiatric and Psychotherapeutic Clinic at FAU University Hospital. The research focus of the Italian is in the field of neurochemistry of schizophrenia and its pharmacotherapy.

Since 2011, the Australian Dr. Clancy James has worked as a scientist in the projects ANTARES and KM3NeT at the Erlangen Center for Astroparticle Physics (ECAP). He is chair of the ANTARES Publications Committee and the future head of the Simulations Follow-Up Experimental Unit KM3NeT. In addition to his own research, Clancy James is a supervisor for doctoral candidates and students at the ECAP.