PRIME Fellows 2017

Fellowship holders 2017

selection date: October 2017
funding: 2018-2019

The list will be continuously updated to include the profiles of all fellows of the 2017 selection cycle. You can search the entire website for any terms using the search function Strg + F.

Social Sciences and Humanities

Christopher Bren d'Amour, Germany

Field of research:
Interdisciplinary

Research interests:
Linkages between urbanization and food systems, sustainable urban development, competing land-uses, food systems under global change

Planned research project:
"Urbanization and food consumption"
The project aims to advance the understanding of how urbanization is affecting food consumption patterns in rapidly urbanizing developing regions.

Keywords:
Urbanization, food security, food systems, urban transitions, changing food consumption patterns

German host institutions:
Technische Universität Berlin

Host during the mobility phase:
Yale University, USA

Website:
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Christopher_Bren_Damour

Dr. Jurrit Daalder, The Netherlands

Field of research:
American Literature

Research interests:
postwar American literature, Cultural Studies, literary nonfiction and the personal essay, Gilded Age regionalism and local color, Critical Whiteness Studies

Planned research project:
"First Person: Authorial Voice and the Personal Essay"
Recent developments in American letters have seen more and more writers and critics appeal to a philosophy of empathy in their efforts to stress literary fiction’s continued relevance as a force for moral progress. Literary nonfiction, however, has been noticeably absent from this “empathy craze,” primarily because of its reliance on a strong first-person authorial voice, which treats the reader as an interlocutor instead of inviting her to step into a character’s shoes. It is precisely this “monophonic” quality that is the main focus of my DAAD P.R.I.M.E. project, which will explore a subgenre of literary nonfiction known as the “personal essay”—a subgenre practiced by, most notably, James Baldwin, Phillip Lopate, and Cynthia Ozick. Under the mentorship of Phillip Lopate at Columbia University and Andrew Gross at the Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, I will examine the strong “personality” behind the authorial voice on which the writing of these three postwar American essayists typically depends. In doing so, I will not only aim to provide new insights into empathy’s limitations but also seek to further our understanding of the conversational or “dialogic” model that informs the personal essay.

Keywords:
literary nonfiction, the personal essay, authorial voice, empathy, dialogism

German host institutions:
University of Göttingen

Host during the mobility phase:
Columbia University, New York, USA

Website:
http://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/jurrit-daalder/560508.html

Dr. Jan Engelmann, Germany

Field of research:
Comparative Psychology

Research interests:
I compare the cognitive and social abilities of human children to those of one of our closest living relatives, chimpanzees, to draw inferences about human-unique social skills and motivations.

Planned research project:
"The role of friendship in cooperation: A comparative and cross-cultural developmental approach"
In this project, I propose to integrate comparative and cross-cultural developmental approaches to study the role friendship plays in cooperation. By comparing the behavior of children and chimpanzees it is possible to isolate what aspects of friendship may be uniquely human and to theorize about the evolutionary trajectory of friendship from the time humans and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor. Studying the expression and role of friendship in children from 3 different cultures contributes to our understanding of the ontogenetic development of friendship and in addition, is especially valuable as it acknowledges cultural influences on friendship allowing for a more thorough understanding of cooperative behavior and its complexities.

Keywords:
comparative psychology, cross-cultural psychology, cooperation, friendship

German host institutions:
University of Göttingen

Host during the mobility phase:
Yale University, USA

Dr. Sara Fascione, Italy

Field of research:
Classical Philology

Research interests:
Latin literature; late antique Latin epistolography

Planned research project:
"Symmachus and the Letters of Sidonius Apollinaris"
The research aims at analysing the relationship between Symmachus' and Sidonius Apollinaris' letter collections; the results will improve our understanding of Sidonius' Letters and of the strategies of self-representation deployed by 5th-century aristocracy. Furthermore, the research will provide an important insight into the early reception of Symmachus' Letters, enabling to better outline the process of editing of the work.

Keywords:
Latin literature; Symmachus; Sidonius; epistolography; late antiquity

German host university:
Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt

Host during the mobility phase:
University of Edinburgh

Dr. Leszek Gardela, Poland

PRIME_Fellow_Leszek Gardela

© Mira Fricke

Field of research:
Archaeology and Old Norse studies

Research interests:
Viking Age; Scandinavia; Viking archaeology; Old Norse literature and religion; magic and ritual in the Early Middle Ages; funerary archaeology; gender studies; medieval warfare

Planned research project:
"Amazons of the North: Armed Females in Viking Archaeology and Old Norse Literature"
This project will examine the motif of female warriors in the Viking Age through an interdisciplinary approach to archaeological materials and textual sources. In traditional studies, Norse women were seen as confined mainly to the domestic sphere, with only a very limited role in the social arena. Recently, this cliché has undergone major transformations due to an increased interest in how gender roles and identities were conceptualized and negotiated in the medieval past. A broad spectrum of textual and archaeological material demonstrates that there is much more to be learned about Viking Age women and that their activities were not only restricted to ‘household chores’, as previously believed. A number of written accounts describe women who actively engaged in martial activities, led men, and fought savagely at the forefront of armies. Archaeological excavations have also revealed graves of women buried with weapons, and there are a wide range of iconographic depictions of armed females. By adopting an interdisciplinary methodology, this project will explore whether and to what extent ‘warrior women’ were a product of the vivid imagination of medieval writers and artists. Was it typical to encounter female fighters in Viking warbands, or was this a rare occurrence regarded as a form of social deviancy and transgression of norms? What other circumstances lead women to take up arms? To find answers to these questions, this project will draw from the rich textual heritage of the North, critically combining it with specialist studies of archaeological materials, including a comprehensive museum-based analysis of funerary evidence from the Viking Age.

Keywords:
Viking archaeology; Old Norse studies; Viking Age; Early Middle Ages; Scandinavia; women; weapons; warfare; gender; religion

German host university:
Institut für Germanistik, Vergleichende Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaften, Abteilung für Skandinavistik, Universität Bonn

Host during the mobility phase:
Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, University of Bergen, Norway

Websites:
https://amazonsofthenorth.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Amazons-of-the-North-Armed-Females-in-the-Viking-Age-126517371437469/

Dr. Uros Matic, Serbia

Field of research:
Egyptology, Archaeology

Research interests:
New Kingdom Egypt, foreign relations, violence, gender, postcolonial and queer theory

Planned research project:
"Beautiful Kush: Cosmetic substances and utensils in Egyptian New Kingdom Nubia"

Keywords:
beauty, cosmetic utensils and subtsances, identity, New Kingdom Egypt, Nubia

German host institutions:
University of Münster, Institute for Egyptology and Coptic Studies

Host during the mobility phase:
Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology (OREA), Austria

Website:
https://uni-muenster.academia.edu/UrošMatić

Dr. Manuel May Castillo, Mexico

Field of research:
Global heritage

Research interests:
My work focuses on Maya heritage, neocolonialism, transnationalism, Indigenous movements, postcolonial studies and decolonizing methodologies. I am interested on exploring the significance Mayan heritage has for present day society, at both global and local levels.

Planned research project:
In the Maya region, there are more than 5,000 archaeological sites, of which the most representative examples are included in the list of World Heritage sites. In the Chenes region of Hopelchen, Mexico, there are several buildings that have been of interest to the international academic community due to their aesthetic uniqueness and scientific importance. However, some of these unique samples of architecture are under threat by large scale industrial cultivation, triggered by transnationalism.
This project aims to develop a guideline for safeguarding Maya cultural heritage in areas threatened by industrial cultivation. In particular, I am going to 1) conduct a cadastral survey in the archaeological sites under threat at Hopelchen in the Chenes region, utilizing Global Positioning Systems and photogrammetry, in order to register their state of preservation and assess the degree of risk faced, 2) produce a map with the collected data, to document endangered areas of cultural scientific importance, and 3) undertake interpretive studies relating to the architecture of these sites in order to evaluate them and better grasp the meaning and value they have for both local and global society.
This project has a substantial social dimension in which local communities are actively involved in transversal decision making processes and community-based research.

Keywords:
Maya, Heritage, Globalisation

German host institutions:
University of Bonn

Host during the mobility phase:
Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mexico

Dr. Steven Serels, Canada

Field of research:
History

Research interests:
Poverty, Africa, Middle East, Imperialism, Economic History, Environmental Change

Planned research project:
"A Monetary History of Poverty in the Southern Red Sea Region"
This project examines the link between the spread of the modern international monetary system and the development of structural poverty in the Southern Red Sea Region (SRSR). The SRSR, which is comprised of modern day Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, is one of the poorest regions of the world. However, this was not always the case. Historically, the SRSR was the site of a closely linked, robust socio-economic system that produced wealth and stability. Except for petrol-rich Saudi Arabia, the countries that comprise the SRSR experienced the twentieth century as a period of economic decline. This project hypothesizes that one of the previously unaccounted for major causes of this decline was the adoption of modern currencies, i.e. government issued fiat currencies whose value is determined by international currency exchange markets and whose circulation is supported by central banks with sweeping powers. This project further hypothesizes that the dismantling of the traditional regional currency system and the integration of the SRSR into the modern international monetary system increased economic instability and decreased the ability of local communities to cope with economic downturns.

Keywords:
Money, Poverty, Red Sea, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia

German host institutions:
Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

Host during the mobility phase:
Harvard University

Dr. Jana Stöver, Germany

Field of research:
Economics

Research interests:
environmental & resource economics, development economics, sustainable development

Planned research project:
"Sustainable Development: The Role of Technology Diffusion"
Only if we know how firms actually behave can we design policies that serve normative goals such as green growth or sustainable development. In my research project I thus aim to empirically investigate, firstly, how firms’ responses to environmental regulations using German and French firm-level data and, secondly, analyse its implications for the role of international technology transfers in the context of climate change mitigation and firm-level adaptation.

Keywords:
Sustainable development, green growth, Porter hypothesis, environmental regulation, competitiveness, green investment, firm-level data, technology diffusion, international technology transfer

German host institution:
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

Host during the mobility phase:
MINES ParisTech, France

Dr. Alena Thiel, Germany

Field of research:
Interdisciplinary

Research interests:
I am interested in the creative adaptation of transnationally travelling models and devices in the production of (measurement) policies in Ghana.

Planned research project:
"The Production of Measurement Policies in Africa: Ghana’s National Biometric Identification System"
Based on in-depth ethnographic fieldwork covering Ghana’s ongoing biometric identity registration project, the project explores the ways in which technological innovation and standardization, business, development, and major state-funded investments in information infrastructures interact in the production of biometric population registers in Africa.

Keywords:
Biometric technology, identity registration, Ghana, measurement policies

German host institutions:
University of Bayreuth

Host during the mobility phase:
Sciences Po, Paris, France
WISER, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
, South Africa

Website:
https://lost-research-group.org/staff/alena-thiel/

Life Sciences

Janus Borner, Germany

Field of research:
Molecular Biology

Research interests:
parasite genomics, evolution of parasite life history, phylogenomics, data mining of molecular sequence databases

Planned research project:
"A comparative genomic approach to investigate the molecular basis of host cell specificity and hemozoin formation in malaria parasites"

Keywords:
malaria, Plasmodium, comparative genomics, evolution, parasitology, cell invasion, hemozoin

German host institutions:
University of Ulm

Host during the mobility phase:
American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA

Presentation

Dr. Carmela Rianna, Italy

Field of research:
Bioengineering, biophysics

Research interests:
Mechanobiology; cell mechanics; biophysics of cancer cells; cancer metastases; use of bioengineered tools to mimic natural extracellular matrix (ECM); cell-ECM interaction

Planned research project:
"Employing novel platforms to study cancer mechanobiology: role of matrix proteins and stiffness in metastases"

Keywords:
Cancer metastases, cell mechanics, cell morphology, cell adhesion, ECM stiffness, cell-protein affinity

German host institutions:
University of Bremen

Host during the mobility phase:
University of California, Berkeley, USA

Website:
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Carmela_Rianna
https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=cdNnDhgAAAAJ&hl=it

Dr. Vivian Valencia, United States

Field of research:
ecology, conservation biology, and public health nutrition

Research interests:
I am interested in investigating the socio-ecological processes that shape agricultural landscapes and the associated consequences for food security and biodiversity conservation.

Planned research project:
"Adaptation to regional environmental change: Implications for biodiversity conservation and food security in a coffee growing landscape in southern Mexico"

Keywords:
agroecology, food and nutrition security, sustainable food systems, global environmental change

German host institutions:
University of Würzburg

Host during the mobility phase:
McGill University, Montreal, Canada
El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), Mexico

Website:
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Vivian_Valencia

Natural Sciences

Dr. Wasilij Barsukow, Germany

Field of research:
Mathematics

Research interests:
Numerical analysis, partial differential equations, fluid mechanics

Planned research project:
"High order vorticity preserving schemes for the Euler equations on unstructured grids"

Keywords:
Finite volume methods, Euler equations, multi-dimensional methods, vorticity preserving, third order methods

German host institutions:
University of Würzburg

Host during the mobility phase:
University of Zurich, Switzerland

Website:
https://www.mathematik.uni-wuerzburg.de/~barsukow

Dr. Audrey Margirier, France

Field of research:
Geology

Research interests:
My research aims to develop a better understanding of the interactions between geodynamic, tectonics, climate and surface processes and more specifically in their contribution to the topographic evolution of mountain belts at different time-scales from tens of million years to thousand years. I want to understand processes that control the landscape changes in active tectonic settings and to quantify their respective roles with quantitative geomorphology methods. I am also interested in exhumation processes, including glacial erosion and tectonic denudation.

Planned research project:
"North Andean block extrusion contributing to topographic growth in the Ecuadorian Andes."
This project aims at deciphering the roles of oceanic ridge subduction and/or or strike-slip motion in prompting the growth of the northern part of the Andes.

Keywords:
Mountain building, geodynamics, tectonics, exhumation, thermochronology, numerical modeling, Andes

German host institutions:
University of Potsdam

Host during the mobility phase:
University of Arizona

Website:
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Audrey_Margirier

Dr. Stefan Mitzinger, Germany

Field of research:
Inorganic Chemistry

Research interests:
Formation of Metallic and Intermetallic Main Group Element Clusters, Derivatization of Cluster compounds, Poly-Pnictides, Metal Pnictides, Zintl Anions

Planned research project:
"Novel routes to metal pnictides: Molecules, clusters and solids derived from heavier group 15 cyanate analogues"

Keywords:
main group elements, metal pnictides, Zintl anions, clusters, inorganic chemistry

German host institutions:
Philipps-Universität Marburg

Host during the mobility phase:
Prof. Jose Goicoechea, University of Oxford, UK

Website:
http://goicoechea.chem.ox.ac.uk

Dr. Kevin Schewior, Germany

Field of research:
Theoretical Computer Science and Discrete Mathematics

Research interests:
Algorithms under Uncertainty, Approximation Algorithms, Algorithmic Game Theory, Bioinformatics

Planned research project:
"Online Algorithms for Self-Organizing Data Structures and Scheduling Beyond the Worst Case"
Algorithms that are employed in real-time environments often have to make decisions without complete knowledge of the input, in particular, the future. Provable guarantees of the performance of such online algorithms are particularly valuable if the underlying performance measure captures the structure of real-world inputs. Unfortunately, for many problems, results based on widely used worst-case measures such as the competitive ratio fail to meet these standards. To obtain meaningful results in the above sense, we propose to more rigorously apply and develop new performance measures that are more fine-grained or less pessimistic.

German host institutions:
Technische Universität München

Host during the mobility phase:
École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France

Dr. Tetiana Sergeieva, Ukraine

Field of research:
Chemistry

Research interests:
Physical Organic Chemistry, Computational Chemistry, Catalysts design, Reaction Mechanisms, Structure elucidation, Conformational properties, Tautomerism of Heterocycles

Planned research project:
"Computational design of catalysts to control enantioselectivity in synthesis of natural product-derived fragments"
The project aims to develop high-yielding enantioselective C-H activation reactions for construction of medically-relevant bioactive compounds by means of fundamental physical organic chemistry and state-of-the-art computational chemistry modeling.

Keywords:
Organometallic catalysis, Fragment-oriented design of catalysts, C-H activation, Chiral Diphosphines, Lactones

German host institutions:
University of Freiburg

Host during the mobility phase:
Free University of Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam), The Netherlands

Dr. Vincent Theeuwes, The Netherlands

Field of research:
Theoretical particle physics

Research interests:
Quantum chromodynamics, Resummation, Jet physics, Jet substructure, Standard Model Physics, Precision physics

Planned research project:
"Improving Strong Coupling Fits Through use of Jet Substructure Techniques"

Keywords:
Jet Substructure, Resummation, Strong Coupling constant

German host institutions:
University of Göttingen

Host during the mobility phase:
Institut de Physique Théorique, CEA Saclay, France

Website:
http://inspirehep.net/author/profile/V.Theeuwes.1

Presentation

Engineering

Dr. Monireh Fazeli Zoghalchali, Germany

Field of research:
Engineering

Research interests:
Carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) Lightweight structures

Planned research project:
"Development of a cost efficient manufacturing process for carbon fiber-reinforced plastics node structures in integrated design"
Carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) show their biggest advantages in ultra-lightweight, highly-anisotropic truss frameworks (e.g. space frames, automotive roof frames, bicycle frames or various sailing boat parts). In these frameworks, node structures are the critical elements, since they connect the load-bearing tubular profiles and have to withstand and distribute a complex set of mechanical loads. Although the use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics for truss frameworks is well-established by now, the node structures are still mostly made from aluminum or titanium, which results in additional costs and limits the achievable mass reduction. The reason for the limited use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics for the node structures is the difficulty in producing such highly-complex parts with conventional composite preforming methods. In my dissertation, I have developed a new method for manufacturing such complex, three-dimensional node structures with an innovative weaving process. However, for the industrialization it is necessary to also develop an adapted consolidation process that allows a fast and reproducible impregnation of the three-dimensional dry woven node in order to produce a reinforced plastic component. Due to the complex geometry, a customized novel infusion set-up still needs to be developed, with special design of the mold shape and the infusion process. The proposed P.R.I.M.E. research project aims at carrying out this crucial step and thus making a fully integrated manufacturing chain for carbon fiber-reinforced plastic node structures available.

Keywords:
3D woven node structures, lightweight truss frameworks, carbon fiber-reinforced plastics, resin transfer molding (RTM) process

German host institutions:
Institute of Textile Machinery and High Performance Material Technology, Technische Universität Dresden

Host during the mobility phase:
Centre for Advanced Composite Materials, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Franziska Muckel, Germany

Field of research:
Nanotechnology, Material Science

Research interests:
Colloidal Quantum Dots, Perovskites, Nanocrystal-based Devices

Planned research project:
"Nanocrystal-perovskite hybrid phototransistors for low cost optical sensing applications"
In many optoelectronic device photodetectors represent key elements converting optical into electrical signals. Due to the increasing interest in low cost optical sensors the demand on devices with high sensitivities based on low-temperature solution-processed photoconductors rises. Due to the restricted charge carrier mobilities in solution-based semiconductors, high gains can only be achieved in combination with conductive channels, suffering from bad dark current suppression. Thus solution-processable phototransistors with high gains and low dark currents remain an open challenge.
In this project we propose a novel device concept for high-sensitivity solution based phototransistors. Our vision is to embed colloidal quantum dots into metal-halide perovskites as active material in order to introduce tailored minority trap sates. While the minorities are localized in the quantum dots, we envision the majority charge charrier to recirculate in the conductive channel provided by the gate voltage. We expect this trapping to boost the gain while the transistor architecture allows suppressing the dark current via the gate electrode.  As a second benefit of our proposed composite material, we hope to make use of the carrier multiplication process in quantum dots. With this inverse Auger process magnifying the number of charges generated by photons with energies high above the band gap, we propose to further increase the gain at the high energy end of the spectrum.

Keywords:
Optical Sensors, Advanced Scanning Force Microscopy, Nanocrystal-Perovskite-Hybrids, Colloidal Quantum Dots, Perovskites

German host institutions:
University Duisburg-Essen

Host during the mobility phase:
University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Dr. Sören Zimmermann, Germany

Field of research:
Materials Science, Nanotechnology

Research interests:
Two-dimensional materials, Micro- and Nanorobotics, Nanomanipulation, Scanning Probe Microscopy, Nanotribology, Adhesion at nanoscale

Planned research project:
"Delamination of two-dimensional materials: friction and adhesion studies"
This research proposal focuses on the development and implementation of direct, reliable, and accurate testing methodologies that enable the systematic studies of surface adhesion and friction of two
dimensional (2D) nanostructures on selected substrates.

The basic methodology proposed herein functions via the delamination of 2D materials using nanowire-assisted peeling tests. For this purpose, different 2D materials will be deposited on top of nanowires located on selected substrates using deterministic transfer procedures. Here, both the nanowires and the underlying substrates are in contact with the 2D nanosheet. Peeling off the nanowire applying nanomanipulation techniques results in a nanofilm bridge. Accurate measurements of the geometrical shape of this bridge ultimately allow determination of the absolute value of the adhesion energy. Moreover, the created nanofilm bridge serves as testing structure for studying the influence of mechanical strain and delamination on the frictional properties of the 2D material. To this end, approaches based on friction force microscopy will be used for thoroughly investigating the dependency of frictional properties on different aspects.

Following the above-stated methodology, systematic studies on key parameters such as surface conditions and material combinations can be realized in order to gain a deeper knowledge on the fundamental origins of nanoscale adhesion and friction.

Keywords:
2D materials, Nanomanipulation, Adhesion, Nanotribology

German host institutions:
University of Oldenburg

Host during the mobility phase:
The University of Queensland, Australia

Standard Disclaimer for External Links:
Links are being provided for informational purposes only. DAAD bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external sites.