FAU Magazin

FAU Magazin #FAUmenschen

Dear readers,

A university thrives because of the people who research, study, teach and work there. A university is supported by people who are connected to it as alumni, friends and sponsors and who are committed to promoting its interests all over the world.

They all contribute their unique talents, skills and perspectives. It is this diversity that makes our FAU a place of innovation, a place where many talented individuals tackle the major challenges of our times together, and a place where they keep finding answers.

With this magazine, we would like to invite you to get to know some of the people who make FAU what it is. It includes articles about researchers who bravely break new ground. Young researchers will tell you why they are so passionate about their work. You will meet staff who are dedicated to tackling the climate crisis. And you will hear about open-minded students who are taking a “playful” approach to shaping the future.

I hope you enjoy reading,

Joachim Hornegger

FAU President

Titelbild FAU Magazin #FAUmenschen
Cover FAU Magazin #FAUmenschen


If the energy transition is to be a success, we need sources of green hydrogen and efficient technologies to use the energy it contains. Mechanical engineer Marion Merklein and process engineering specialist Simon Thiele are researching this field. An interview.

Two years ago, Georg Schett treated patients suffering from serious autoimmune disease using the patients’ own genetically-modified cells for the first time. It was so successful that these patients do not require any other form of treatment.

Digital education works very well if it is based on well-founded teaching methods, says Svenja Bedenlier. This applies both to courses held solely online and to various teaching formats used in digitally-supported face-to-face teaching.

One room, three young researchers and lots of ideas. This is how it all started. By now, Golden Devices’ customers include automobile manufacturers, the aerospace industry and even NASA.

How much information can pass through a fiber optic cable? Christoph and Florian Marquardt want to go beyond the current dimensions of data transmission – with quantum technologies.


Joachim Hornegger is one of Germany’s top 100 IT specialists and has been President of FAU since 2015. Top-level research, supporting young researchers and the courage to take risks in research are important to him. And what else?

The 17 heads of junior research groups at FAU are excellent in their subject area and already have responsibility for staff. Radiation biologist Lisa Deloch is one of them.

What quantity of greenhouse gases does FAU produce and how can it reduce its emissions? David Brenner, who works as a climate action officer at the Green Office, has been considering questions such as these since the beginning of the year.

Katharina Breininger works with image data, Paula Andrea Pérez-Toro with audio signals. Both are investigating how AI can help to predict illnesses, make surgery more tolerable, and find the best treatment options.

How can links be improved between academia and industry? How can the public perception of the University be improved? Sabina Jeschke and Mathias Miedreich are involved in networks pursuing these objectives.

Two doctoral candidates, two worthwhile goals: Nora Gourmelon wants to improve climate models using artificial intelligence, and Eva Gengler is working on creating feminist AI that does not discriminate against people in any way.  

Limited efficiency, difficult to recycle and no notable production sites in Germany. There is much to improve when it comes to photovoltaic technology. Christoph Brabec, Verena Tiefenbeck and Ian Marius Peters have now come together to give photovoltaic technology new impetus.


Quantum technologies may be on the rise, but conventional electronics are not set to disappear any time yet. Kai Phillip Schmidt and Janina Maultzsch investigate how both worlds can be combined.

Artificial intelligence for medicine and robots that assist during surgery – that is Franziska Mathis-Ullrich’s area of research. Her professorship is funded by the High-Tech Agenda Bavaria.

FAU is gearing up for the future. A strong university brand is essential. Silke Sauer, Chief Brand Officer at FAU, is responsible for guiding the process and ensuring a uniform brand identity.

Students from FAU and Istanbul Technical University have organized a three-day challenge on sustainable urban planning. This has led not only to online games for children but also to international friendships.

Designing new materials at the atomic level: Julien Bachmann and Andreas Hirsch. An introduction to the FAU researchers – what they do, where they come from and what drives them.

Three Questions

Fatima El-Tayeb’s research focuses on ethnicity, race and migration. Due to her expertise in our key research priority of cultural values, religions and human rights, the University awarded her the honor of FAU Ambassador in 2023.

In 2023, Bastian Etzold received a distinguished professorship with 5 million euros of funding. As part of the High-Tech Agenda Bavaria, he will drive forward the development of Power to X technology at FAU.

Patricia Wiater is Chair of Public Law, Public International Law and Human Rights at FAU. She was awarded the Bavarian Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2023 for her dedication and her teaching methods, which have a practical focus.

Nadine Hamilton won the Bavarian Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2023. The theologian is particularly keen to support students in all their diversity and encourage them to find their own position.

Tanja Franken has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant. With the funding amount of 1.8 million euros, chemist Franke hopes to drive forward her research into novel catalysts.

Danijela Gregurec designs nanomaterials that can be used to control neurons in the brain. She has been awarded a Pathfinder Open Grant from the EU worth one million euros in recognition of her creative research.

Bernhard Kainz develops deep learning models for analyzing medical image data. He has been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant worth two million euros for his research.

Thomas Brabletz, one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of tumor metastasis, has received 1.25 million euros of funding from the Koselleck Program at the German Research Foundation (DFG). He intends to use the funding to develop new treatments.